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Reform Bill Eyed

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Washington--A multibillion-dollar school-reform bill got a boost on Capitol Hill last week, when it was introduced in the Senate and was the subject of a House hearing.

Senator Christopher J. Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut, introduced the school-reform and excellence act on the Senate floor last Thursday. The bill is a scaled-down version of the American defense education act, which died in the Congress last year because of its high price tag despite strong support from the National Education Association.

The new version authorizes $2 billion in fiscal 1987 and "such sums as necessary" the next four years. The allocation would be distributed to states based upon their proportion of Chapter 1 students. Each state would then devise a formula to distribute the money to school districts based on a formula that included a district's Chapter 1-eligible and low-achieving students and local graduation and absentee rates.

Representative Augustus F. Hawkins, Democrat of California and chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, introduced a similar bill, HR 2840, in the House this summer.

Last week, the subcommittee on elementary, secondary, and vocational education--which Representative Hawkins chairs--held a hearing on the bill, at which Senator Gary Hart, Democrat of Colorado, and representatives of the nea, the National Congress of Parents and Teachers, and the U.S. Conference of Mayors expressed their support.

The Reagan Administration opposes such high-cost school-reform measures, contending that they usurp state and local responsibilities.--jh

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