Federal File: Careerism; Spinning

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Maybe the girls didn't think Madeleine M. Kunin looked like a federal official. Maybe they had trouble believing that a former Governor would be such a good sport. Maybe Sally H. Christensen has been at the Education Department so long, and knows the script so well, that she really ought to be deputy secretary.

Whatever the reason, a crowd of children--on hand to participate in "Take Our Daughters to Work'' day--failed to pick Ms. Kunin out of a lineup of four department officials claiming to be the agency's second-in-command. They voted almost unanimously for Ms. Christensen, a career civil servant who is the director of the department's budget service and the acting assistant secretary for management and budget.

"I'm glad this wasn't a real election,'' Ms. Kunin quipped.

The girls, some of them the children of employees and others visiting from two nearby elementary schools, were participating in a national event initiated by the Ms. Foundation in an effort to give girls exposure to the workplace.

Their day at the department began with the mock game of "To Tell the Truth,'' modeled on the old television series in which panelists guessed which of three candidates was really the person they all claimed to be.

Unlike the television contestants, the four officials who participated each accurately outlined their backgrounds and career paths.

Also in the lineup were Ramon Ruiz, the assistant director of migrant-education programs, who has taught at virtually every level of the education system, and Emerson J. Elliott, the commissioner of education statistics, who began his career at the Office of Management and Budget.

The emcee of the event was Terry Dozier, a high school English teacher from Columbia, S.C., a former national "teacher of the year.'' She said Secretary Richard W. Riley, a former Governor of her state, asked her to join his staff to "give him the teacher's perspective.''

Mr. Riley also spoke briefly.

In an apparent effort to head off criticism of President Clinton's progress during his first 100 days in office, the White House last week released a lengthy chronicle of his works.

It begins with a page of flowery prose, claiming, among other accomplishments, that Mr. Clinton has "restored an active purpose to the Presidency and renewed America's commitment to change and progress.''

The opening is followed by a day-by-day account of the speeches he made, the legislation he unveiled, and the foreign leaders with whom he met.

The entry for "Day 92: April 21, 1993,'' notes the unveiling of the "goals 2000'' act, which is described as "sweeping education-reform legislation.''--J.M.

Vol. 12, Issue 32

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