News in Brief: A Washington Roundup
Education Tax Break Shelved Without Vote
The House Republican leadership, seemingly lacking the votes to prevail, abruptly pulled from floor consideration last week a bill that would have provided tax breaks to low-income families for K-12 expenses.
Critics, mostly Democrats, have called the bill another way of legislating federal school vouchers into existence. They also said that with a hefty price tag—an estimated $5 billion in lost federal revenue over five years—the money would be better used instead on other education priorities.
The bill would allow qualifying families to take an annual tax deduction of $3,000 for a range of public and private education costs, such as tuition, tutoring, and books.
Most Democrats were rallying around a substitute measure—a school construction bill backed by Reps. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., and Nancy L. Johnson, R-Conn.—that would subsidize $25 billion in no-interest school modernization bonds.
The substitute, a Democratic House aide said, had enough votes to pass in the tax break's stead. At that point, GOP leaders called off the vote.
—Erik W. Robelen
Paige Picks Seven For NAEP Board
Secretary of Education Rod Paige has appointed six new members to the National Assessment Governing Board and has reappointed one current member.
The 26-member board oversees the National Assessment of Education Progress. Last month, Mr. Paige announced that he had chosen Darvin M. Winick, a senior research fellow in the college of education at the University of Texas at Austin, as the new chairman of the board. ("Secretary Picks Fellow Texan to Head Assessment Board," Sept. 4, 2002.)
The new board members were all appointed to four-year terms and will begin serving Oct. 1. The new members are:
Dwight Evans, a Democratic member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives; Sheila Ford, the principal of Horace Mann Elementary School in Washington; Katy Harvey, the principal of Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School in Bethesda, Md.; Kim Kovial-Hess, a 4th grade teacher at Fell-Meyer Elementary School in Toledo, Ohio; Amanda Avalone, an 8th grade teacher at Summit Middle School in Boulder, Colo.; and Raymond Simon, the director of the Arkansas Department of Education.
Mr. Paige also reappointed John Stevens, the executive director of the Texas Business and Education Coalition.
— Michelle R. Davis
Vol. 22, Issue 3, Page 24