Foreign-Language Instruction Gains Support of House Panel
Washington--The House Education and Labor Committee last week approved a measure to give states and school systems up to $150 million during the next three years to improve foreign-language instruction.
The bill, HR 2708, would provide grants to states in order to fund model programs sponsored by local school districts and community and junior colleges.
In addition, the measure, which is sponsored by Representative Paul Simon, Democrat of Illinois, would offer grants to colleges and universities for the establishment of "summer training institutes" for exceptional high-school students and for professional-development seminars for high-school teachers.
Colleges could also apply for grants to help offset the cost of providing foreign-language instruction to students.
The committee also took the following actions last week:
Over the objections of the Reagan Administration, the panel approved a bill that would provide school districts with up to $100 million next year to help them pay the cost of desegregation programs.
The measure, sponsored by Representative Dale E. Kildee, Democrat of Michigan, would reauthorize the Emergency School Aid Act (esaa), which was folded into the education block-grants program by the Congress in 1981.
The Administration sent letters to the committee leadership noting its opposition to the bill.
The committee voted 19-to-0 to order a former New Jersey education official to testify before it as part of an investigation of alleged spending irregularities in the state's Title III and Title IV-C programs.
Arthur Winkler, the former official whom the committee agreed to subpoena, is the only one of 15 witnesses who has refused to testify before the panel. Mr. Winkler, who was a special assistant to former New Jersey Commissioner of Education Fred Burke, is the alleged author of a report on the funding irregularities in the state agency.
The committee approved HR 2751, which would boost the fiscal 1984 spending ceilings for the National Endowments for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute of Museum Services. The authorization for the arts panel would increase from $143 million to $166.5 million; the humanities panel's authorization, from $130 million to $158.5 million; and the authorization for the museum-services institute, from $11.5 million to $13.5 million.
The committee approved a nonbinding measure that calls upon states to establish commissions to study the quality of their teaching forces.
The bill, HJ Res 203, now would also request that the states inform the Secretary of Education about the costs they would incur if they chose to adopt the recommendations of the National Commission on Excellence in Education.
The committee approved a measure, sponsored by Representative Raymond P. Kogovsek, Democrat of Colorado, providing a "one-time-only" $10,000 special appropriation to Close-Up, a non-profit organization that provides high-school students from across the country with the opportunity to observe the federal government in action during one-week seminars.
The committee approved a measure reauthorizing the Library Services and Construction Act program for an additional five years.