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Published in Print: May 20, 1998, as News in Brief: A Washington Roundup

News in Brief: A Washington Roundup

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Administration Pushes Class-Size Reduction

Armed with a report reiterating its argument that smaller is better, the White House sent legislation to Congress last week for President Clinton's class-size-reduction initiative.

The Department of Education report summarizes existing research on class-size reduction and concludes that smaller classes result in better student achievement in the early grades. Mr. Clinton's $12 billion initiative aims to reduce class sizes in grades 1-3 to a national average of 18 students. The proposal would give districts federal funding to hire a total of 100,000 new teachers.

The initiative was expected to be introduced late last week in the Senate by Sens. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., and Patty Murray, D-Wash., and in the House by Rep. William L. Clay, D-Mo.

House Budget To Forgo School Policy Issues

A long-awaited House budget plan will only include recommended spending levels for broad categories, and will skip the kinds of nonbinding policy recommendations often inserted into the document, according to a spokeswoman for the House Budget Committee.

Early last week, Rep. John R. Kasich, R-Ohio, the committee's chairman, circulated a draft that would have suggested turning Title I into a school choice program, block-granting several other K-12 programs, and phasing out school technology programs.

But by the end of the week, Mr. Kasich decided the budget blueprint would include only numbers for broad line items and no guidance to other committees on appropriations and policy decisions on individual programs, according to Adrien McGillivray, the committee spokeswoman. Still, the budget will offer painful news for education. It will call for a 1 percent cut in overall government spending to offset tax cuts, Ms. McGillivray said.

The House Appropriations Committee will decide on spending levels for specific programs after the House budget blueprint is passed and a compromise is reached with the Senate.

Vol. 17, Issue 36, Page 28

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