Federal News Roundup
The Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources has unanimously passed legislatation calling for a national summit meeting on education.
Sponsored by Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts, the legislation calls for up to 200 education leaders to meet and establish national educational priorities.
Similar legislation, sponsored by Representative Pat Williams, Democrat of Montana, was approved by the House of Representatives in October.
According to S. Gray Garwood, an aide to Mr. Williams, the summit, tentatively scheduled to be held in mid-1985, would bring educators, parents, legislators, representatives of the business community and others together to review education policy at all levels of government.
The participants, he said, would produce a set of specific recommendations for improving the nation's schools; in particular, they would attempt to reach a consensus on the issue of the proper role of the federal government in promoting excellence in education.
The Administration's Office of Management and Budget has opposed the legislation, which would appropriate $500,000 for the summit.
Secretary of Education Terrel H. Bell also opposed the legislation last fall on the grounds that 1985 was too late for a national summit. His department sponsored a national forum on education in December.
But Mr. Bell has supported the Williams/Kennedy proposal in more recent testimony before Congressional appropriations committees.
The Senate panel approved the Kennedy legislation as an amendment to S2341, a bill reauthorizing the federal vocational-education program. The full Senate is expected to take up that bill in the coming months.
The Senate Labor and Human Re-sources committee last week approved a three-year Head Start reauthorization bill that would set funding at $1.075 billion in fiscal 1985, $1.141 billion in fiscal 1986, and $1.213 billion in fiscal 1987.
The committee added a package of amendments to the bill, HR 2565, that was introduced by Senator Jeremiah Denton, Republican of Alabama and chairman of the Senate Family and Human Services Subcommittee.
The amendments include provisions from another bill, S 2374, which was introduced by Senators Robert Stafford, Republican of Vermont, Lowell Weicker, Republican of Connecticut, and Thomas Eagleton, Democrat of Missouri.
The committee retained requirements that the Department of Health and Human Services, which administers the Head Start program, set fixed amounts for training and technical assistance, but it added a paragraph saying that the training provisions will not apply if appropriations for the program are not at 1984 levels.
Late last month, the House Education and Labor Committee approved HR 5145, a Head Start measure that would authorize $1.1 billion for the program in fiscal 1985 and annual increases up to $1.35 billion in fiscal 1989.