Federal News Roundup
The policy-making arm of the National Conference of State Legislatures has gone on record as opposing the Reagan Administration's plan to disperse federal education programs among several federal agencies.
"Such an act would create undue administrative burdens for the states, local school districts, and individual educational institutions," reads a resolution passed by the conference's 900-member State-Federal Assembly.
The statement "urges the President and the Congress to retain an administrative structure which will allow the development, funding, implementation, and evaluation of federal education programs to remain in one agency." The resolution does not, however, specifically ask for the preservation of the Cabinet-level Department of Education.
Under the Administration's plan to abolish the department, most education programs would devolve to the states, but several would be moved to other federal agencies--for example, Indian education to the Department of the Interior, and impact aid to the Department of the Treasury.
The legislators' policy-making body endorsed a second resolution asking the President and Congress to maintain federal programs of student financial assistance for higher education.
Congress has already passed legislation to phase out college students' Social Security benefits, and other forms of federal student financial aid, such as Pell Grants, have been cut substantially.
Both resolutions are subject to ratification by the full 7,500-member legislators' association at its annual meeting in July.
The influence of homosexual teachers on their students was debated in a recent Congressional hearing on a bill to prohibit employment discrimination against homosexuals.
Students will not become homosexuals because they are exposed to a homosexual teacher or a teacher who believes that homosexuality is an acceptable lifestyle, Martin S. Weinberg, a sociologist and director of the Sex Research Center in Bloomington, Ind., told the subcommittee on employment opportunities of the House Committee on Education and Labor.
People do not become homosexual "due to 'role models' or 'recruitment'," he added. Homosexuality is "deep-seated," and "social influences do not seem to have any effect on whether a person will become a homosexual or a heterosexual." Withdrawing jobs, services, and benefits from homosexuals may create economic and emotional suffering but it will "never result in fewer homosexuals in America," he reported.
In written testimony opposing the measure, Gary L. Jarmin, legislative director for the Christian Voice Moral Government Fund, an organization representing fundamentalist Christians, said: "There is no question that public- school teachers are role models for their students. By forcing schools to hire homosexuals as teachers, society is endorsing the sexual preference of these people, and, subsequently, sending a message that homosexuality is a legitimate alternative lifestyle, i.e., 'gay is okay."'
"Young impressionable minds will undoubtedly be greatly confused in trying to determine what is moral versus what is immoral" when public institutions endorse avowed homosexuality, he added.
Mr. Jarmin said that homosexuality was "a total affrontery to the vast majority of the American people."
The proposed law, which was introduced by Representative Ted S. Weiss, Democrat of New York, is also opposed by the National Pro-Family Coalition, among other organizations.
The National Organization for Women and the United Church of Christ testified in support of the legislation.