Excerpts from the Heritage 'Report Card'
Foundation Says 'Action taken on 17 out of 29' Recommendations
"The Department of Education has made a commendable change in direction," writes Heritage Foundation analyst Onalee McGraw. "Block grants, deregulation, and an advocacy of non-federally funded solutions all meet the spirit of the Mandate recommendations," according to her evaluation of the department's first year under the Reagan Administration. Below is an excerpt from that report, listing the foundation's 29 recommendations for changes in federal education policy and the Administration's response.
Legislation and Budget
Eliminate Cabinet Department of Education
Re-focus federal role in education on information gathering, consultation, and technical assistance, and research.
These are priorities of Administration.
Revise the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (esea) and appropriate bills.
Block grants proposed; partially adopted.
Review the administration of the Higher Education Act, including comprehensive review of appropriate bills.
Recommend an incremental reprogramming of money authority back to the states.
Accomplished through block grants.
Maintain the basic skills division at its current level of support.
Included in block grants.
Reorganize the office of school improvement so that career executives will be concerned primarily with improving basic skills.
osi abolished. Skills functions transferred to office of elementary and secondary education.
Continue policy of withholding funding from divisions in the office of school improvement which do not now make grants, including energy action, citizen education, health education, and environmental education.
Included in block grants.
Review immediately the Women's Educational Equity Act (weea) program and drastically reduce its budget.
Proposed, but blocked by Congress.
Continue to support teacher corps.
Accomplished in block grants.
Cut support for teacher centers.
Not done; included in block grants.
Reduce funding for grants and conferences for the following divisions: consumer education, alcohol and drug abuse education, arts in education, metric education, ethnic heritage studies, and law-related education.
Personnel and Accountability
Fill positions within the department with individuals strongly committed to the attainment and improvement of basic academic skills, and who oppose further federal support for "humanistic" or psycho-social education activities, projects or programs.
Appointments generally reflect proper orientation.
Form blue-ribbon panels of distinguished citizens and educators to review all ongoing curriculum development and implementation activities being administered or supported by the federal government.
Spirit of recommendation accomplished.
Phase out or terminate promptly curricula not consistent with the objectives and policies of the new administration.
Accomplished through block grants; generally supported.
Establish procedures within the first 30 days to interview all program managers and other department personnel involved in solicitation or approval of grant applications and disbursal of federal funds.
Not implemented, but many grant programs now in block grants.
Transfer personnel who advocate "humanistic" or psycho-social programs in the schools to other agencies or move them to positions where they will have no authority over policy decisions, project approval, funding, or other administrative actions involving federal financial support.
Require that all participants/recipients of department-sponsored grants be provided with a suitable and practicable means of evaluating the quality of usefulness of the service provided.
Direct evaluation comments to an independent office within the department, and not to the office administering the grant.
Not done, but accomplished in part through block grants.
Establish clear objective against which all education programs will be evaluated; specifically their contribution to the basic skills of reading, writing and calculation, as measured by standardized tests.
New priorities established.
Encourage contractor evaluation chiefs to make their conclusions in forthright, non-technical terms by guaranteeing that they will not be harrassed for reporting bad news.
Not done, but spirit of proposal accomplished.
Cut programs which cannot prove effectiveness.
Taxes and Finance
Devise a new system of financing measures that relieves education's dependence on direct government financing and the resulting government controls.
. Support legislation to extend charitable deductions to all taxpayers, regardless of whether or not they itemize deductions.
. Reform government student aid programs to place maximum emphasis on direct payments to students or their families, rather than to educational entities.
Proposal sent to Justice Department.
. Remodel research support programs to maximize emphasis on and incentives for achievement of mutually agreed upon research objectives.
Not done directly, but research is governed by new guidelines.
. Coordinate activities, including financial incentives, to foster self-regulation in education as a workable alternative to government regulation.
Adopted as departmental policy.
Limit the government's role in higher education to recognizing tax-deductible contributions, processing payments to students, families and educational entities, and obtaining proper accountings for the use of public funds.
Civil Rights and Special Programs
Prevent the [department's] office [for] civil rights from using Title VI to force bilingual instruction in local schools.
Presume that a school has complied with the "social justice" directives in Section 504, Title IX and eo[Executive Order]11246, unless the ocr receives convincing evidence to the contrary.
Tailor a school's compliance with Section 504 (access for the handicapped) to its financial capacity to comply.
Priority placed on Section 504 deregulation; legislation needed.
Review affirmative action regulations implementing eo 11246.
Regulations proposed; under review at Justice.
Apply Title IX regulations only to education programs receiving federal assistance.
Action proposed; under review at Justice.
Overhaul the administration of the bureau of student financial assistance. Eliminate the waste and delays in processing student financial assistance applications.
Revision proposed; under review at Justice.