When Rep. Michael N. Castle, R-Del., and Rep. Bill Goodling, R-Pa., canceled, the Council of Chief State School Officers called Rep. Mark Souder of Indiana to present the GOP's views at the chiefs' legislative conference in Washington last week.
Mr. Souder is a self-described "strong conservative" whose views often contrast with those of the more moderate Messrs. Goodling and Castle, who chair, respectively, the House Education and the Workforce Committee and its subcommittee on K-12 education.
Last week, Mr. Souder reiterated the Republican pitch for sending more federal dollars directly to schools, and he blasted "one-size-fits-all" programs in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
His comments were received politely by the CCSSO, whose members had been reminded by CCSSO Executive Director Gordon M. Ambach to lobby against the GOP's block-grant and school choice initiatives shortly before Mr. Souder arrived.
But to the relief of the chiefs' group, Mr. Souder, a voucher proponent, didn't offer much hope for plans to transform Title I funding into vouchers for poor parents--at least not in this year's ESEA reauthorization.
"It's a difficult time to even consider proposals as far-reaching as" that, he said.
In the Republicans' weekly radio address on March 13, Gov. Edward T. Schafer of North Dakota accused President Clinton and Senate Democrats of trying to "hijack" the bipartisan "Ed-Flex" legislation. He criticized their unsuccessful attempt to amend the Senate Ed-Flex bill to provide funding for the president's plan to help schools hire new teachers.
"The president and his Democrat allies in the Senate should not have tried to hijack this important bill for his poll-driven plan to have the federal government pay for 100,000 new teachers in local schools," Mr. Schafer said.
But the governor congratulated the House and the Senate for approving separate versions of bills that would greatly expand Ed-Flex, which allows states and districts flexibility in applying certain federal regulations.
--Joetta L. Sack & Erik W. Robelen
Vol. 18, Issue 28, Page 20