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Carnes Says 'Competitiveness' Legislation Is Not Necessary

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WASHINGTON--Education Department officials last week declined to endorse legislation that would authorize nearly $500 million in federal aid to instructional programs "that would strengthen the competitiveness'' of American industry.

HR 90, sponsored by Representative Augustus F. Hawkins of California, is part of a Democratic package of trade legislation now on an expedited schedule in the Congress.

The measure would authorize $98 million in new grant programs for improving postsecondary instruction in mathematics, science, and foreign languages. An additional $390 million would go toward literacy and vocational training for adults.

Testifying on the bill before the House Education and Labor Committee, Bruce M. Carnes, the department's deputy undersecretary for planning, budget, and evaluation, said the Reagan Administration supported the bill's objectives, but opposed it for budgetary reasons and because of "overlap with other programs.''

On a related issue, Representative Dale Kildee, Democrat of Michigan, criticized as "akin to unilateral disarmament'' the Administration's proposal to eliminate all federal aid for vocational education next year. At a time American automakers face intense competition with Japan, he said, "Japan isn't cutting back on voc-ed.''

Secretary of Education William J. Bennett said the United States still outspends all other nations on education, adding that "Japan's success lies deeper than in any special program.''--J.C.

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