Education Groups Draft Legislation To Curb Hatch Amendment Rules
Washington--A coalition of education groups opposed to the Hatch Amendment regulations has drafted legislation to curb the federal government's authority to review school policies under those rules.
The 1978 amendment and the 1984 regulations give parents the right to limit their children's involvement in some types of federally financed school programs--particularly testing that elicits information about a student's beliefs or values.
The opponents claim that the regulations allow the federal government to interfere in classroom affairs and could lead to censorship. But Secretary of Education William J. Bennett and other proponents of the rules say that they encourage parental participation in the schools.
The draft legislative language would essentially eliminate the federal role in enforcing the law's provisions, according to Claudia A. Mansfield, governmental-relations specialist with the American Associ-ation of School Administrators and chairman of the coalition of about 30 groups opposed to the rules.
Under the language, which is to be floated on Capitol Hill in the next few days and announced publicly next month, a school district would only have to assure the federal government that there is a process in place for dealing with parents' complaints about testing of students and other pertinent policies, according to Ms. Mansfield.
Now, the federal government can investigate a parent's complaint if the parent shows evidence that an effort was made to resolve it at the state and local level.
The intent, she said, "is to put the protection of students' rights at the local level."
Another coalition member, Laurie Garduque, director of governmental relations for the American Educational Research Association, said the organizations' aim is to have the Congress pass a measure in this session. Otherwise, the 1985-86 school year will pass with the regulation in place.--jh