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Although speculation that Terrel H. Bell is planning to resign as Secretary of Education continued here last week, the executive assistant to Mr. Bell has denied that the Secretary is planning to leave the Education Department.

Elam Hertzler, who is also chief of the Secretary's staff, attempted in a brief interview to put to rest three of the most widely circulated rumors concerning Mr. Bell.

Contrary to published reports that the Secretary is accepting no speaking engagements after July 1, Mr. Hertzler--who oversees scheduling--asserts that Mr. Bell "has several engagements" in late summer. Mr. Hertzler also addressed speculation that Mr. Bell would retire in June, when he would be eligible for a full government pension. "The Secretary won't be eligible for two years, until he is 62 years old," he claimed.

Another popular rumor had it that Mr. Bell would return to his native Utah to enter the state's gubernatorial race this fall.

If Mr. Bell does decide to become a candidate for the Utah governor's seat, he is unlikely to start campaigning soon, according to Mr. Hertzler. The term of the current governor, Scott M. Matheson, does not expire until January 1985.

A spokesman for Mr. Matheson said he intends to complete his term of office.

National Library Week, a time when school and public librarians try to encourage reluctant students to discover the joys of reading, was celebrated here last week on a decidedly somber note.

Several hundred librarians from around the country temporarily left their circulation desks to walk the halls of Congress in an effort to encourage their Congressmen to fight a Reagan Administration proposal that would eliminate federal funding of public libraries.

The librarians, representing the Chicago-based American Library Association, are still smarting from a 1981 legislative change that consolidated the $161-million federal program that aids school libraries into the new education block grants.

Robert Wedgeworth, the association's president, says librarians are also concerned about First Amendment issues, such as school-textbook censorship and the Administration's proposal to amend the Freedom of Information Act.

"We're moving backwards. There'll be less access to information in the future," he says. And libraries may be strapped for money "at a time when we need to usher in a whole new decade of electronics."

The deficit projections of the federal Office of Management and Budget (omb) have been denounced by scores of economists and members of Congress--most of whom regard the $100-billion projected deficit for the fiscal year 1982 as smaller than the actual deficit will prove to be.

Now comes a voice for another point of view. Representative Clarence J. Brown, Republican of Ohio, has written a letter to President Reagan claiming that the budget office overestimated the deficit by $30 billion.

Mr. Brown says he has information that proves the Treasury Department is taking in more revenue and spending less than David A. Stockman, the omb director, projected for this year.

"Is this another Trojan Horse?" he asks, suggesting that if Mr. Stockman is playing a shell game with Congress designed to achieve more budget cuts, "it is time for another trip to the woodshed."

Not only are 18-year-old men failing to register for the draft in record numbers, but some are registering under assumed names, according to a study conducted by the General Accounting Office (gao).

The gao found that of 3.5 million men who registered since 1980, 459 have given names that are obviously not their own.

According to the Washington Post, the fictitious registrants included "Jimmy Carter" and "Ronald Reagan," residents--logically--of places like "Earth" and "the White House."

The coming of spring here signals the end of an annual winter ritual: the issuing of alternatives to a President's budget proposals. Two late arrivals to the range of proposals were issued this month.

The Brookings Institution, the public-policy research organization, examined Reagan Administration proposals for education as part of its annual budget analysis.

"Fewer federal dollars and increased state and local discretion are almost certain to reduce spending for education in many states and to diminish opportunity for low-income or disadvantaged groups," concluded the 267-page book.

On the other side of the political spectrum, the National Conservative Political Action Committee presented a balanced-budget proposal that would simply eliminate all federal aid to education. The committee, known as "nick-pack," also launched a $1-million advertising campaign using television to encourage taxpayers to lobby in favor of its budget proposal.

Eileen White

Vol. 01, Issue 31

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