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1990 NAEP Budget Is Sufficient, Head of E.D. Research Unit Says

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Washington--An Education Department official insisted last week that the $12 million the department has requested for 1990 for the National Assessment of Educational Progress would be enough to finance the expanded study mandated by law.

"We feel confident" that it is sufficient, Patricia M. Hines, assistant secretary for educational research and improvement, told the House Appropriations subcommittee that oversees education programs.

But the National Assessment Governing Board, an advisory panel that helps set naep policy, earlier this year called the proposed level of funding "disastrous." In January, the board's leaders said in a letter to Secretary of Education Lauro F. Cavazos that at least $15 million would be needed.

"At the $12-million level," the letter said, "radical reductions must be made, probably the elimination of part or all of the state-by-state trial assessment, one or more entire grade levels, one or more subjects, or some combination of such reductions."

The letter was signed by the panel's chairman, Chester E. Finn Jr., who was Ms. Hines's predecessor at the Education Department, and its vice chairman, Patricia C. Frank, a Florida state legislator.

"What if [Mr. Finn] is right?" Representative William H. Natcher of Kentucky, who chairs the appropriations panel, asked last week.

The assessment is "a priority" for President Bush, Ms. Hines replied, adding that the department would request more money if it turned out to be necessary.

The $12-million figure was included in the budget submitted in January by President Reagan. It is one of many such requests the current Administration maintains should "be treated as" Mr. Bush's own. Naep received $9.4 million for the 1989 fiscal year.

Last year's Hawkins-Stafford education amendments expanded the subject areas to be included in naep, and called for a controversial mathematics assessment that could be used to provide state-by-state data.

--jm

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