News in Brief: A Washington Roundup
Bill Would Forbid All States To Allow Bets on School Sports
All 50 states would be prohibited from legalizing gambling on high school athletics under a bipartisan bill introduced in the Senate last week. The measure, sponsored by Sens. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., and Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., also would outlaw all gambling on collegiate and Olympic sports.
A 1992 law prohibited gambling on high school and collegiate sports in 46 states, but exempted four states—Delaware, Montana, Nevada, and Oregon—that already allowed, or were considering measures to allow, such betting. The new legislation would revoke those exemptions.
Though there is no evidence that betting on high school games is commonplace or even occurring at all, the National Collegiate Athletic Association and other education groups lobbying for the bill want to make the point that such gambling is not allowed, said Doris Dixon, the director of government relations for the NCAA.
The National Federation of State High School Associations, an Indianapolis-based group that monitors high school sports, asked the senators to include high school athletics in the measure because it is concerned that such gambling could occur in Nevada, Ms. Dixon said.
"Youth gambling behavior is a growing concern," she said. "We asked to include [the high school language] so it wouldn't leave the door open."
The bill, S 2021, has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee. (Read the High School and College Sports Gambling Prohibition Act. Requires Adobe's Acrobat Reader.)
--Joetta L. Sack
Budget Plan To Address 'Digital Divide'
President Clinton last week proposed spending more money on education technology programs as part of efforts to close the "digital divide" between poor and better-off households.
Federal funding for community technology centers, which are designed to give students and adults in low-income areas access to computers and the Internet, would increase from $30 million this fiscal year to $100 million next year, under Mr. Clinton's plan.
The program's goal is to help create 1,000 centers in low-income urban and rural communities.
The administration's proposed fiscal 2001 budget, which was scheduled for release Feb. 7, will also include $50 million for a public-private partnership to expand poor families' home access to computers and the Internet.
In addition, the White House has proposed doubling federal funding for teacher training, to $150 million, to help new teachers use technology in the classroom.
"We'll make a very significant impact," said Linda Roberts, the director of the Department of Education's office of educational technology.
--Joetta L. Sack
NSBA Recommends Changes to Title I
Congress should help districts come up with better ways to evaluate and improve Title I programs as it revamps the program in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act reauthorization this year, a report by the National School Boards Association recommends.
The report also maintains that Title I should place a greater focus on teacher quality and school climate, and that the federal government should continue to use the program to promote comprehensive improvement in schools and increase accountability.
The NSBA released its report, an analysis of existing research, during its annual federal-relations conference in Washington last week.
"Setting standards without giving schools and districts the resources to increase their productivity is an exercise in futility," said Darrel Drury, the NSBA's research director.
The report argues that Title I has been largely successful in its mission to serve disadvantaged children, even though it has not reached all eligible children.
The House passed its Title I reauthorization bill last fall. The Senate is expected to debate an omnibus Elementary and Secondary Education Act this spring.
Read the report, "Exploring New Directions: Title I in the Year 2000," from the National School Boards Association.
--Joetta L. Sack
Vol. 19, Issue 22, Page 28