Capital Digest

June 21, 1989 5 min read

The federal welfare-reform law provides unprecedented opportunities for education and human-service officials to work together, a report released last week by nine national groups suggests.

The report urges educators to familiarize themselves with the new law and to begin to assess the capacity of local and state education systems to serve welfare recipients.

The law directs states to make educational services available to participants in the new Job Opportunities and Basic Skills Training Program, or jobs.
The report outlines opportunities created by the law for the education and human-service sectors to forge connections between school and support services; expand the range and capacity of educational programs for those at risk; match people effectively with the programs and services they need; build a more comprehensive and effective system for all youths and adults at risk.

Copies of “New Partnerships: Education’s Stake in the Family Support Act of 1988" are available for $1.00 each from the William T. Grant Foundation, 1001 Connecticut Ave., N.W., Suite 301, Washington, D.C. 20036-5541.

House Democrats last week elected Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri as majority leader and William H. Gray 3rd of Pennsylvania as majority whip.

Lobbyists described both men, who will fill positions left vacant by turnover in the House leadership resulting from allegations of ethics violations, as staunch supporters of federal education programs.

“They are both truly committed, strong leaders whom we would expect to play a very positive role in the future of American education,” said Michael D. Edwards, director of Congressional relations for the National Education Association.

As a candidate for the Democratic Presidential nomination last year, Mr. Gephardt strongly supported education, Mr. Edwards noted.

Mr. Gray is familiar to many education lobbyists through his role as chairman of the House Budget Committee during President Reagan’s second term.

The Education Department will hold three regional meetings next month to solicit public comment on the missions of its research laboratories.

Contracts for the nine regional laboratories, which are charged with disseminating educational research to practitioners, expire in 1990, and the department expects to open a competition for new contracts in December.

The public is encouraged to comment on which activities and educational issues the laboratories should focus on, and how they can best interact with other organizations.

Presentations must be scheduled in advance. More information on the meetings, which will be held July 19 and 21 in Washington, Kansas City, Mo., and San Francisco, can be obtained by calling Adria White at (202) 357-6161, or writing Laboratory Recompetition, Office of Educational Research and Improvement, Room 502, 555 New Jersey Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20208-5644.

In addition, the department has published a Federal Register notice requesting written comments on its subject-area research centers, which will also be subject to a new competition in 1990.

President Bush is scheduled to reveal his proposals for a national-youth-service program this week.

A White House spokesman said last week that the President and Gregg Petersmeyer, executive director of the White House Office for National Service, would outline plans for the Youth Entering Service program, or yes, before an audience of about 3,000 young volunteers.

President Bush last week vetoed a bill that would have increased the minimum wage.

A House attempt to override the veto fell 34 votes short of the required two-thirds majority.

Mr. Bush said he vetoed the bill because it would have raised the minimum wage to $4.55 over three years, rather than the $4.25 he favors.

Mr. Bush also criticized the training-wage provisions of the bill, which would have allowed employers to pay a subminimum wage to first-time workers during their first two months on the job.

The President favors allowing employers to pay a subminimum wage to workers during their first six months on the job.

The Education Department has released an updated version of its popular handbook on anti-drug-abuse strategies.

The new edition of What Works: Schools Without Drugs includes information about the effects of alcohol, tobacco, and anabolic steroids that was not in the earlier version.

The previous edition only briefly mentioned steroids. But the new work gives detailed descriptions of the side effects of steroid use and reflects a growing awareness of the extent of the steroid-abuse problem, a department spokesman said.

Copies of the new booklet are available without charge by writing Schools Without Drugs, Consumer Information Center, Department510V, Pueblo, Colo. 81009; or the National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information, Box 2345, Rockville, Md. 20552.

Some schools in large districts overreport the number of free or reduced-price meals they serve, an Agriculture Department official told a Senate panel last week.

At a Subcommittee on Nutrition and Investigation hearing on reauthorization of school-nutrition programs, Scott Dunn, acting administrator of the Food and Nutrition Service, said that audits conducted on schools this year reveal that some claim to have served more free meals than the number of eligible students enrolled. These overcounts, if not corrected, could have cost the agency as much as $1.25 million, he said.

In addition, the General Accounting Office reported that 14 of 20 state food-distribution officials surveyed said they would have to raise the price of school lunches to offset an expected decrease in federal donations of dairy commodities.

Some 700,000 fewer young people will enter the work force this summer than last year, according to the U.S. Labor Department.

The decline is due to the continuing fall in the total number of people ages 16 to 24, the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicated.

Of the 24.6 million 16- to 24-year-olds who will have or be seeking jobs by July, approximately 9.8 million will be between the ages of 16 and 19, the agency said. The number in the younger age group represents a decline of 308,000 from 1988, it noted.

During the 1984-85 school year, 38 percent of the nation’s public schools offered at least one teacher-incentive program, according to a new report by the National Center for Education Statistics.

The report, based on data from the 1985 Public School Survey, concedes that programs aimed at encouraging teachers to enter and remain in the field may have changed “substantially” since the survey was conducted.

Copies of “Teacher Incentive Programs in the Public Schools” are available without charge from the Office of Educational Research and Improvement, Information Services/EIB, 555 New Jersey Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20208-5641.

A version of this article appeared in the June 21, 1989 edition of Education Week as Capital Digest