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Immigrant-Ed. Law Supported

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WASHINGTON--The Education Department was criticized by members of a House subcommittee last week for proposing that a program aimed at teaching immigrants English be killed.

Members of the Education and Labor panel on elementary, secondary, and vocational education took turns chastising Bruce M. Carnes, deputy undersecretary for planning, budget, and evaluation, for the department's decision not to seek funds for the Emergency Immigrant Assistance Act in its fiscal 1988 budget.

The program authorized under the 1984 act received $30 million in the current fiscal year. Some observers have predicted that the Congress will increase the appropriation to help implement the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. That measure requires illegal aliens seeking amnesty to demonstrate proficiency in English and a knowledge of American civics.

The department, however, believes that the immigrant-assistance program duplicates many services aimed at disadvantaged children that are provided by Chapter 1 grants, Mr. Carnes said. He argued that the additional $200 million the department is requesting for Chapter 1 compensatory-education funding should cover the needs of immigrants who want to learn English.

But Representative Matthew G. Martinez, Democrat of California, contended that Chapter 1 grants would not be enough.

"I don't know how you can determine that a program is overlapping,'' he said. "I think the people who cannot see are not nearly as blind as the people who can see but refuse to look at the facts.''

Subcommittee members also criticized the department for its handling of a teacher-scholarship program named after the late teacher-astronaut Sharon Christa McAuliffe. The Congress authorized $2-million for the program last year, but President Reagan later ordered its rescission. The department then decided to pay for the program out its discretionary funds.

"I think there's been an enormous amount of confusion on the part of people who are so enthusiastic'' about the program, said Representative Chester G. Atkins, Democrat of Massachusetts.--E.F.

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