Federal News Roundup
Undersecretary of Education Gary L. Bauer has reversed a decision by an Education Department review panel that barred federally supported research laboratories from publishing numerous papers reporting the results of work contracted for by the department.
The Publication and Audiovisual Advisory Council (pavac), a five-member panel of political appointees established by a 1981 executive order aimed at cutting federal costs, must clear virtually all department publications and audiovisual projects.
The panel in May rejected 98 of 439 proposed publications by the labs supported by the National Institute of Education; it approved only 131 outright. The labs, suggest-ing that pavac was censoring their work, appealed to the panel but pavac last month affirmed many of its previous rulings. The final decisions were up to Mr. Bauer.
In an interview, Mr. Bauer said the "controversy had gotten out of hand" and that he thought it would be "better to clear the slate and start clean"; he said pavac's policies are now under review.
9 Researchers commended Mr. Bauer's decision to end what Laurie Garduque, director of governmental and professional liaison with the American Educational Research Association, called "one incredible bureaucratic snarl."
The Democratic-controlled House, by a vote of 367 to 59, last week approved a three-year reauthorization of federal school-lunch and child-nutrition programs.
The bill, HR 7, provides $5.76 billion in the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1, a $121-million increase above current levels.
The legislation reauthorizes: the school-lunch and breakfast programs; supplemental food for women, infants, and children (wic); the summer-food program; the commodity-distribution program; and the programs to cover states' administrative costs and nutrition education and training.
Voting generally along party lines, members defeated amendments sponsored by Representative Steve Bartlett, Republican of Texas, to freeze fiscal 1986 spending at the current ceiling and to eliminate the 12-cent cash subsidy for middle-income students.
New provisions of the bill would add funds for the school-breakfast program and for participating kindergartens and private schools, and would allow schools to purchase new food-services equipment.
There is no companion legislation in the Senate, where a child-nutrition bill stalled last year. The programs remain unauthorized and are being funded by a stop-gap measure called a continuing resolution.