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The New York-based Harry Walker Agency has announced that it will act as booking agent for the "controversial, flamboyant, tough, and articulate'' William J. Bennett when he steps down as Secretary of Education to join the lecture circuit.

Mr. Bennett also plans to write a book on education, but his spokesman, Loye W. Miller, said the Secretary would not make those arrangements until after he leaves office in September.

However, Mr. Miller said a Bennett book of sorts could hit the shelves relatively soon, as Simon and Schuster plans to publish a collection of Mr. Bennett's speeches.

The speeches are in the public domain, but Mr. Miller said the Secretary has agreed to advise the publishers without pay on "what speeches he is proudest of and what might make a good selection.''

Perhaps the relationship between Mr. Bennett and Vice President George Bush is not so frosty, despite widespread speculation that a rift with the Presidential candidate contributed to the Secretary's decision to step down early.

Mr. Miller said the vice president invited Mr. Bennett to share a ride to the Texas state Republican convention recently, and that they "had a good session on the plane.''

Mr. Bush also mentioned in a speech last week that Mr. Bennett had paid him a visit to discuss educational choice.

Last week, Mr. Bennett took part in two distinctly different ceremonial events: a karate demonstration, in which he smashed some boards (wooden not school), and a gathering of Administration appointees, where he received a "Reagan Revolution Medal of Honor.''

The informal Reaganite gathering is held annually, and medals have been awarded to a long list of appointees.

The more physical event was a ceremony for students of the local Tae Kwon Do master Jhoon Rhee.

Mr. Miller said that the Secretary has known Mr. Rhee for some time and admires his efforts to foster good character traits and academic achievement among his students. Mr. Bennett learned the board-breaking feat especially for an event in suburban Montgomery County, he said.

In a promotional package sent to news media last week, Mr. Bennett lauded Kraft Inc., for its generosity to a federal program, and appeared in a photograph with the company's chairman.

But the materials fail to mention that the Leadership in Educational Administration program, which Kraft has enriched by $450,000, was targeted for elimination by the Administration for three years.

The Education Department's 1989 budget requests $4.3 million for LEAD, which received $8.2 million last year.

The program supports technical- assistance centers for school administrators.

Kraft's grant, to be disbursed over three years to the Washington-based Institute for Educational Leadership, will help establish a network for joint projects by the centers.

Presidential hopeful Jesse Jackson recently launched an advertising campaign targeted at educators.

An "Educators for Jackson'' mailing touts the "high priority'' Mr. Jackson has placed on education issues and carries the signature of Representative Augustus F. Hawkins, the California Democrat who chairs the House Committee on Education and Labor.

An attached brochure promises that Mr. Jackson would "double federal education spending,'' work to increase teachers' power and pay, and create "youth action programs'' to attack social ills.

The brochure says the candidate pledges to propose a $1-billion scholarship program for aspiring teachers and to support major increases for Head Start and student aid. "Join the Jackson campaign for education,'' the mailing says.

Chester E. Finn Jr., the Education Department official who raised an alarm about teen-agers' lack of knowledge in a book published last year, learned recently that they do know how to register disagreement.

Mr. Finn, assistant secretary for research and improvement, says he was besieged recently by letters protesting his suggestion that American students should spend more time in school.

The fuss was spurred by an article in Sassy magazine, which is aimed at teen-age girls, Mr. Finn told the Presidential Scholars last week.

The magazine "said there's this guy in Washington who thinks you should spend more time in school'' and urged readers to write in, Mr. Finn said. He added that the piece was prompted by an article he wrote comparing the hours put in by American students and their foreign peers.

"For a couple of weeks I got a lot of letters from teen-agers, suggesting with varying degrees of politeness that they didn't think much of the idea,'' he said. "The really sad thing is that so many of them were incoherent.''

Vol. 07, Issue 39

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