Reagan Directs E.D. To Develop Model Voucher Bill for States
Washington--In his annual legislative message to the Congress last week, President Reagan said the Administration would continue to promote parental choice in education by offering states model legislation on Chapter 1 vouchers and seeking a funding hike for the federal magnet-schools program.
According to the document, released the same evening as the State of the Union Message, Mr. Reagan has instructed the Education Department to draft the model legislation, which would allow parents of Chapter 1 students to use vouchers issued by states to purchase compensatory services at public or private schools.
The Administration has been repeatedly defeated in its attempts to initiate such a plan at the federal level.
"We just want a plan to be available and to let states know we are here for guidance on this issue," said William Kristol, chief of staff to Sec4retary of Education William J. Bennett.
In the portion of the document devoted to expanding the magnet-schools program, the President repeated the pledge he made last month in a speech at a Maryland high school. He will ask, he said, for $115 million in funding for the program for fiscal 1989--an amount that would match the ceiling set by pending reauthorization legislation.
Current law authorizes $75 million in magnet-schools assistance; the appropriation for fiscal 1988 is $72 million.
The President also said he would appoint a working group within the Domestic Policy Council to study parents' role in education and make recommendations for strengthening parental involvement.
Gary L. Bauer, domestic policy adviser to the President, said last week that details on the group's makeup and procedures had not yet been worked out.--rrw