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Local Program Administrators Lobby Against Further Cuts

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Washington--In an effort "to save politicians from themselves" in an election year, local administrators of state and federal education programs came here last week to persuade their elected officials to reject the Reagan Administration's call for substantial fiscal 1983 budget reductions in federal education programs.

Specifically, members of the National Association of Administrators of State and Federal Education Programs (naasfep) lobbied their Congressional delegations to vote against the consolidation of existing categorical education programs into new block grants to the states, to maintain those programs at their current levels of funding, and to work actively against the passage of President Reagan's tuition tax-credit proposal.

Christian H. Cherau, chairman of naasfep's policy-development task force, said that many of the organization's members had never lobbied their elected officials prior to last week.

"All too often in the past we rolled over and played dead as advocates for education," Mr. Cherau explained. "We allowed parents to carry that ball for us."

But President Reagan's success in winning Congressional support to cut federal spending for education programs last year changed that situation, he said.

Urges Action

"We had been coming here to Washington for this in-service conference for the past several years without doing much more than talking," Mr. Cherau explained. "I think that the current budget situation forced us to come to the conclusion that if we really believed in public education, we would have to start doing more than that."

The result, he continued, was the creation of a conference this year that placed heavy emphasis on training the organization's members in effective lobbying techniques.

"A lot of these people aren't comfortable going to Capitol Hill, and yet the nature of their jobs helps them describe the effects of the Reagan budget cuts on local school districts better than anyone else possibly can," Mr. Chereau said.

"Last year taught us a valuable lesson," he said. "We knew the cuts were coming, but we didn't take immediate action. Now we have to deal with the budget that we got. I guess you can say that we don't want to see history repeat itself this year."

--T.M.

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