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Two senators, taking their cue from Representative George Miller's recent successful attempt to establish a Select Committee on Children, Youth, and Families, are advocating the creation of a Senate caucus to monitor the problems of children and youth.

Senators Christopher J. Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut, and Arlen Specter, Republican of Pennsylvania, began contacting their colleagues last month to see if they were interested in forming the caucus, according to a spokesman.

Marla Romash, Senator Dodd's press secretary, said that although the caucus "would have no power over specific legislation, it would have the ability to bring attention to the problems of children and youth.''

She added that the Senators agreed that "the caucus route" was the proper one to take because its creation would not have to be approved by the full Senate, as would have been the case for a new select committee such as the one in the House.

Congressman Miller, a Democrat from California, was named last month to chair the select committee in the House.

Other members have not yet been named, although the authorizing legislation, passed by a vote of 312 to 69, permits "not more than 30 members."

Teachers for Hart?

With the 1984 Presidential campaign "season" off to an unusually early start, the National Education Association (nea) announced recently that it may decide on which candidate to support as early as next October.

But the teachers' union--whose early endorsement of Jimmy Carter followed the former President's support for a Cabinet-level Education Department--already seems to be hinting that it may encourage its 1.6 million members to support Senator Gary Hart, the Colorado Democrat who officially became a candidate last month.

The Senator's announcement included a special "education address"--delivered symbolically in the capital city of Mississippi, the state where education spending is lowest and where an education-improvement bill recently passed the legislature.

The address included references to how "America's teachers open new worlds for our children," how tuition tax credits would "drain money from our public schools," and how Reagan-inspired budget cuts are harming handicapped and disadvantaged children.

The Senator's announcement speech, delivered the day before in his home state, featured a slogan that paraphrased a favorite bumper sticker distributed to teachers by some of the union's state affiliates.

"To an Administration which says education is too expensive, I say: 'Wait until you see how much ignorance costs'," the Senator said.

Last week, Mr. Hart also introduced in the Senate the nea-authored bill to improve the teaching of science and mathematics--an event that was celebrated at a joint news conference by the Senator and the union's officials.

--Tom Mirga and Eileen White

Vol. 02, Issue 23

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