Washington--Education advocates, often accused by Education Department officials of voicing unrealistic expectations, are really thinking big this year.
At separate news conferences last week, both the Committee for Education Funding, an umbrella group in the field, and Representative Augustus F. Hawkins, the California Democrat who chairs the House Education and Labor Committee, unveiled proposals that would double the department’s budget in fiscal 1991.
The c.e.f. called for $54.5 billion in education spending, most of it for Education Department programs, which received about $24.1 billion in 1990. Mr. Hawkins’s similar plan calls for $21 billion in new spending.
Both plans make their largest requests for Head Start and the Chapter 1 compensatory-education program. Head Start, funded at $1.4 billion in 1990, would receive $7 billion under the Hawkins plan and $6.4 billion under the committee’s. The c.e.f. would boost Chapter 1 from $5.4 billion to $10.4 billion, while Mr. Hawkins would increase it to $10.8 billion.
The proposals also call for increased spending on special education, student aid, vocational education, adult education, bilingual education, mathematics and science education, and other school-improvement programs.
In contrast to this year, the c.e.f. asked for a $2.5-billion4"down payment” on an eventual $10-billion increase when planning began for the 1990 budget a year ago.
‘Politics of Incrementalism’
“We are obligated to help the President be the ‘education President,’ and we were less than helpful last year by engaging in the politics of incrementalism,” said the c.e.f.'s president, Becky Timmons, director of Congressional liaison for the American Council on Education.
A $10-billion increase would not be nearly enough to serve all the children eligible for federal aid, Ms. Timmons added.
“To talk about less than full services is a disservice to those students,” she said. “We lose kids every year that we don’t deliver services.”
Both the committee and Mr. Hawkins proposed about $2 billion in spending for initiatives the Congress is scheduled to take up this session, including child-care and literacy programs and a bill designed to improve teacher training and recruitment.
The c.e.f. added $5 billion for construction and renovation of school and college facilities, arguing that there is a “documented” need for $25 billion at the precollegiate level alone.
Neither plan includes funding for any of the new programs advocated by President Bush, such as Merit Schools.--j.m.
A version of this article appeared in the January 31, 1990 edition of Education Week as C.E.F. and Hawkins Urge Doubling of Education Aid