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Senate Panel Backs Education-Technology Bill

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Washington--The Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee last week approved an education-technology bill that would authorize $338 million for several new programs.

The bill, S 1040, was passed on a voice vote.

"Technology is an essential tool of education reform,'' said Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., the chairman of the committee.

It was unclear last week whether the bill would go to the floor on its own or be attached to pending legislation reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

Marjorie Steinberg, an aide to Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., the chief sponsor of S 1040, said a final decision on how to move the bill has not been made.

She said the first two titles of the bill have already passed the Senate as part of S 1150, the Administration's proposed "goals 2000: educate America act.'' One provision would create an office of educational technology in the Education Department to be run by an assistant secretary; the second would authorize $155 million for grants to states and districts.

Should those provisions remain after a conference commitee reconciles the House and Senate versions of Goals 2000, they would be dropped from S 1040, Ms. Steinberg said.

The grant program is also similar to a technology-education provision added at the committee level to HR 6, the House version of the E.S.E.A. reauthorization bill. But the aide to Mr. Bingaman said senators feel S 1040 is "more comprehensive'' than the language in HR 6.

The Senate bill would also create programs targeting libraries, information dissemination and technical assistance, the production and distribution of educational technology, and technology research.

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