Capital Digest

September 16, 1992 4 min read
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Sen. Orrin G. Hatch of Utah announced last week that he will give up the position of ranking minority member on the Labor and Human Resources Committee to assume the top Republican post on the Judiciary Committee.

Mr. Hatch, who has been a leading conservative voice on education policy, will remain a member of the Labor and Human Resources panel.

Sen. Nancy L. Kassebaum of Kansas is next in line for the panel’s top Republican post. She is already ranking Republican on the panel’s Subcommittee on Education, Arts and Humanities.

The Judiciary panel’s current ranking Republican, Sen. Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, had announced earlier this year that he would assume the top post on the Armed Services Committee.

A Senator can serve as chairman or ranking minority member of only one full committee.

A coalition of more than 40 business and nonprofit service organizations last week announced a coordinated effort in support of the Bush Administration’s America 2000 education strategy.

The mission of the “America 2000 Coalition’’ is to “help communities achieve the six national education goals by implementing their America 2000 strategies locally,’' according to a news release.

Members of the coalition will adopt the goals “as part of their institutional mission,’' choose one or more goals to promote nationally, and encourage their members or employees to volunteer in local America 2000 efforts.

Founding members include the Salvation Army, Girl Scouts of the U.S.A., the National Urban League, and Cities in Schools. The list also includes business organizations and individual corporations.

Also last week, the Education Department announced an initiative to include libraries in America 2000 efforts. (See story, page 20.)

The National Park Service has endorsed a plan to turn a vacant Topeka elementary school into a monument to the civil-rights movement.

A lawsuit challenging segregation in Topeka’s schools led to the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Brown v. Board of Education, which declared segregated schools unconstitutional. The children on whose behalf the suit was filed were denied admission to an all-white school and were assigned to all-black Monroe Elementary School.

Today the school sits unused, and Kansas lawmakers have introduced legislation that would allow the Park Service to purchase it and turn it into a tourist attraction commemorating the Brown case. The bill would authorize as much as $1.25 million in appropriations.

The Park Service endorsed the idea at a hearing last month before the Senate subcommittee on public lands.

Federal education spending dropped by $10.2 billion in constant dollars from 1982 to 1991, the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees asserts in a report.

In a report titled “The Republican Record: A 10-Year Analysis of State Losses of Federal Funding,’' the union contends that total federal domestic spending, measured in 1982 dollars, was cut by $231 billion between fiscal years 1982 and 1991.

The report, released last month, found that states received more federal money for special education, Head Start, and library programs. It also notes, that the Republican administrations initiated new spending for drug education and math and science education.

But losses in other areas, such as bilingual education, school-improvement programs, impact aid, and vocational and adult education, far outweigh the gains, the report said.

The union contends that spending cuts in these and other areas have put pressure on state budgets.

As many as 1,200 higher-education institutions may lose eligibility to participate in some or all federal financial-aid programs because of high student-loan default rates, the Education Department has announced.

In fiscal years 1988, 1989, and 1990, 121 institutions had default rates of 35 percent or more. Under the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990, those schools are no longer eligible to participate in the Federal Family Education Loan Program, formerly known as the Guaranteed Student Loan Program. They may appeal the decision.

Another 558 institutions may lose eligibility to participate in all federal aid programs, including the Pell Grant Program. Under the department’s 1989 default-reduction initiative, those schools had fiscal year 1990 default rates of 55 percent or more, or had rates of 40 percent or greater and did not reduce their rates by 5 percent over the previous year, as they are required to do.

In addition, 1,200 schools--which probably include most institutions in the two previous categories--are ineligible for the Federal Supplemental Loans for Students Program for one year because their fiscal year 1990 default rates are 30 percent or greater.

The department estimates that borrowers will default on $2.9 billion in loans in fiscal 1992, $700 million less than in fiscal 1991.

A version of this article appeared in the September 16, 1992 edition of Education Week as Capital Digest


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