Published Online: November 8, 2000
Published in Print: November 8, 2000, as Federal File

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Down in Defeat

Republicans and Democrats like to talk about improving mathematics and science education, but reaching agreement on legislation to do so is another matter.

Republicans and Democrats like to talk about improving mathematics and science education, but reaching agreement on legislation to do so is another matter.

A bill sponsored by Rep. Vernon J. Ehlers, R-Mich., the vice chairman of the House Science Committee, failed last month after Democrats raised questions about a provision in it that would have allowed direct federal grants to private schools to hire master teachers. The grants could also be awarded to states and public school districts.

The vote on the bill—which originally appeared on track for approval—was 215-156, short of the two-thirds required because it was considered under a suspension of the regular House voting rules.

During floor debate, Rep. Robert C. Scott, D-Va., praised many aspects of the bill—which would have provided about $250 million in grants over three years through the National Science Foundation—but criticized the measure in question. He called it "constitutionally suspect."

Currently, private K-12 schools can participate in many federal education programs, such as Title I, but they do not receive direct grants

Several Republicans argued that the bill would not run afoul of the U.S. Constitution, and they expressed dismay that Democrats had not voiced their complaints earlier.


Clinton Campus

Classrooms at President Clinton's former high school in Hot Springs, Ark., were recently converted into loft-style apartments for artists as part of the construction of the William Jefferson Clinton Cultural Campus.

Supporters of the project hope the campus, once completed, will become the South's premier cultural education facility, dedicated to the visual and performing arts.

In addition to the loft apartments, the campus will contain performance spaces, room for art galleries, and a museum honoring Mr. Clinton, with an emphasis on his boyhood experiences in Hot Springs.

—Erik W. Robelen federal @epe.org

Vol. 20, Issue 10, Page 31

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