News in Brief: A Washington Roundup

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Cortines Fills Spot in Research Office

Ramon C. Cortines, a former chancellor of the New York City schools, last week became a deputy assistant secretary at the U.S. Department of Education, filling what is slated to be a temporary position.

Mr. Cortines will help the department's research office create the voluntary tests President Clinton has proposed in reading for 4th graders and mathematics for 8th graders.

Mr. Cortines will "stay on as long as it takes" to get the tests ready, said Rick Miller, the press secretary for Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley. That stay is almost certain to be less than a year, Mr. Miller said.

Mr. Cortines also will be the acting assistant secretary for research and improvement until Mr. Clinton nominates a permanent candidate for that post, which has been vacant since January.

No. 2 Post in K-12 Office Filled

The Department of Education has hired a school administrator from a New York City suburb to fill the No. 2 job in its K-12 office.

Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley last week announced the appointment of Judith Johnson to be the deputy assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education.

Ms. Johnson, the assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction for the White Plains, N.Y., schools, will help administer Title I, the Dwight D. Eisenhower professional-development program, and other federal precollegiate programs. She will report to Gerald Tirozzi, the assistant secretary in charge of the K-12 office.

The post does not require Senate confirmation.

Literacy Campaign Is Launched

With one in five Americans lacking the reading and mathematics skills to find and keep good jobs, literacy advocates are calling for a renewed effort to combat the problem.

The National Institute for Literacy last month kicked off a yearlong campaign to raise awareness of the impact of adult illiteracy and how literacy programs can help solve social problems.

"Without literacy, the books collect dust, the information superhighway has no entrance ramp, and our economy and democratic values are threatened," Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley said at a ceremony announcing the initiative.

For more information, call the National Literacy Hotline at (800) 228-8813.

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