Federal News Roundup
Two reports released last week reiterate their sponsors' view that urban schools have suffered disproportionately from education budget cuts and policy changes under the Reagan Administration.
At a press conference last Tuesday, the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the Council of Great City Schools criticized the Administration for neglecting American cities and called for "an increased federal investment in urban children," in the words of the mayors' report.
The mayors outlined 12 education recommendations, which were endorsed at the briefing by the president of the National Education Association, Mary Hatwood Futrell. The $49-billion-worth of proposals in the 421-page report, A Plan to Rebuild American Cities, represented the work of a seven-member task force of urban mayors chaired by Mayor Marion S. Barry Jr., of the District of Columbia.
The report calls for increased funding in such federal education programs as compensatory education, special education, and bilingual education, desegregation assistance, and newly authorized mathematics and science programs. It also recommends "a moratorium on budget cuts in federal education programs" and opposes tuition tax credits and education vouchers.
A separate report by the Council of Great City Schools criticizes budget cuts in education but says "the change in distribution" of funds away from big-city schools and the many poor children they serve and towards suburbs and smaller cities "appears to be the most dramatic aspect of the last four years."
The council, composed of 35 of the nation's largest urban school districts, asserted that between fiscal 1980 and fiscal 1984 its member schools' share of federal dollars for elementary and secondary education fell from 14.45 percent of a $7.1 billion total to 14 percent of $7 billion.
The study noted that the federal share of the urban schools' budgets for education and nutrition programs has increased, while its share of job-training and miscellaneous expenditures has decreased.