Federal File

July 14, 1999 1 min read

New job for Cohen

President Clinton this month nominated his former White House education adviser, Michael Cohen, to serve as the assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education at the Department of Education.

Since February, Mr. Cohen has worked as a senior adviser to Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley. Before that, Mr. Cohen had served since 1996 as the special assistant to the president for education policy.

Mr. Cohen is set to replace Gerald N. Tirozzi, who left the department on Feb. 24 to become the executive director of the National Association of Secondary School Principals.

Judith Johnson, who previously was the deputy assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education, has served as acting assistant secretary since March.

Mr. Cohen’s nomination still must be approved by the Senate. Ms. Johnson will continue to serve as the acting assistant secretary until then.

Education trust fund

Mr. Clinton has proposed creating a “Children and Education Trust Fund” with part of the unexpected $1 trillion budget surplus he announced late last month.

In June, the Clinton administration reported that the booming economy would channel even more money than expected to the federal budget in coming years. Over the next 15 years, that would mean cumulative surpluses of $1 trillion, the White House said.

The trust fund would use $156 billion over 14 years to augment programs such as Title I, Head Start, and the president’s plan to hire 100,000 new teachers over the next six years.

Sandra Feldman, the president of the 1 million-member American Federation of Teachers, quickly released a statement in support of the president’s initiative.

“By investing in our children ... we can go far to guarantee them the benefits of an outstanding education: smaller classes, well-qualified teachers, extra help for children who need it, and up-to-date school facilities,” Ms. Feldman said on June 28.

The plan may rile congressional Republicans, who want much of the surplus to go for tax cuts.

--Erik W. Robelen & Joetta L. Sack

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A version of this article appeared in the July 14, 1999 edition of Education Week