School Groups Ask Bush To Back Up Goals With Increased Spending
Washington--The Committee for Education Funding last week goaded the Bush Administration to back up national education goals with dollars and called for "another payment on a five-year investment" to raise the federal education budget to $55 billion.
"Without increased resources, we will be setting up our schools for an exercise in failure," said Edward R. Kealy, this year's c.e.f. president and director of federal programs for the National School Boards Association.
"If we do not invest more now but wait instead for a more ideal time," he said, "these goals will become just a mirage that we will still be pursu4ing in the year 2000."
The c.e.f., an umbrella organization representing more than 100 education groups, called on the Congress last year to double the education budget over five years.
C.e.f. officials applauded the $2.6-billion increase awarded to education programs in fiscal 1991. But they noted that 40 percent of the children eligible for Chapter 1 remedial-education services are still not being served, and that it is "extremely difficult" for "working class" students whose families have more than $15,000 in resources to qualify for Pell Grants.
At a press conference here last8week the officials declined to say how much they expected to achieve this year, but several education advocates have said their goal would be to match last year's increase.
The cef asked for a total increase of $26.7 billion for existing programs and $6.5 billion for new initiatives, pointing out the programs' relationship to the national goals adopted last year by President Bush and the National Governors' Association.
The largest requests were an additional $5 billion for Head Start, $4.3 billion for Chapter 1, $4.6 bilel10llion for Pell Grants, and $3 billion for special education.
New initiatives backed by the group include teacher-training programs, dedicated funding for Chapter 1 preschool programs, and a $5-billion allotment for "facility improvement and hazard abatement."
The new education proposals advanced by President Bush in the past session and the school-choice proposals the Administration is expected to push for this year "may be helpful in some places," Mr. Kealy said, but "are not the real shoulder-to-the-wheel programs that are going to make the difference."--j.m.