Two years after issuing their "Education at a Crossroads" report, Republicans on a House subcommittee have returned to level further criticism at the current state of federal education policy and the Department of Education itself.
The new report also highlights innovative state and local educational practices.
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"States continue to be the hotbed for innovation despite the Washington bureaucracy that opposes them at every turn," Rep. Peter Hoekstra, R-Mich, said at an Oct. 11 press conference held to unveil the report.
Mr. Hoekstra, who chairs the House Education and the Workforce Committee's Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, was joined by the full committee's chairman, Rep. Bill Goodling of Pennsylvania, House Majority Leader Dick Armey of Texas, and other GOP lawmakers.
The report, "Education at a Crossroads 2000: The Road to Excellence," offers an overview of testimony before the subcommittee, as well as other recent reports and research. Among other points, it emphasizes what the authors see as a need to streamline current federal requirements and increase flexibility in federal education aid programs.
Its also cites financial-management issues at the Education Department that Rep. Hoekstra has taken the lead in scrutinizing in recent months. ("GAO Prepares for Education Department Audit," Sept. 27, 2000.)
"Add all of this waste, fraud, and abuse on top of a department that stifles any sort of innovation," he said, "and you have a bureaucracy that does not serve the American people."
Secretary of Education Richard W. Riley criticized the findings last week.
"It is disheartening to see some of the same people who worked to abolish the Department of Education using these kinds of desperate, last-minute attacks to undermine our work to build effective strategies for improving student achievement," he said in a statement.
Vol. 20, Issue 7, Page 21