Federal File: Media relations; Child advocacy; In print

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It was billed as a major media event, and the White House convened 150 business leaders from around the country last week to hear President Clinton challenge the private sector to create thousands of new jobs for young people this summer.

But the event became a private meeting when the President was detained in Little Rock, Ark., due to the failing health of his father-in-law.

The event was advertised as a forum for a significant announcement, although the President, Secretary of Labor Robert B. Reich, and Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley have spoken often of their hope that the private sector will create thousands of new jobs to match those created by increases Mr. Clinton has proposed in a federal summer youth-jobs program.

Journalists, photographers, and television-camera operators gathered for the big story were allowed to observe a part of the proceedings, but were hastily escorted out of the East Room as soon as Vice President Gore arrived. Mr. Riley had just begun addressing the crowd.

A White House press aide was overheard saying the event was "completely substantiveless.''

When Clinton Administration officials announced last month that their budget will call for cuts in impact aid, the National Association of Federally Impacted Schools mailed packets to its constituent districts urging a letter-writing campaign.

Sarah Lynn Thompson, the principal of the Justin S. Kuntz Elementary School in Lawton, Okla., apparently felt a letter from her would not be sufficiently moving. According to a recent NAFIS newsletter, the school's students sent letters to the President.

"Please don't take Mrs. Riley, Mrs. Driver, and Mrs. McAllister,'' one 2nd grader wrote. "We need new books and chairs.''

Charles E.M. Kolb, an official in the Education Department and the White House during the Reagan and Bush administrations, is working on a book about what he views as the political shortcomings of the Bush Administration's domestic-policy apparatus.

Mr. Kolb said the book would touch on issues of education policy.

A chapter titled "The Week They Fired Lauro Cavazos'' will discuss the Administration's handling of the former Secretary of Education's departure and of the controversial minority-scholarship policy unveiled by Michael L. Williams, the former assistant secretary for civil rights, the same week.

Mr. Kolb is currently the general counsel for United Way of America.--J.M.

Vol. 12, Issue 28

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