Federal File: Did the President Wave?

February 08, 1984 2 min read

Frederick County, Md., school officials recently fired off a strongly worded letter to the National Park Service after one of its cars--which was leading President Reagan’s motorcade--sailed past a school bus discharging students.

According to press reports, the incident occurred early last month while Mr. Reagan was passing through Thurmont, Md., on his way to his Camp David retreat. School officials said the President’s limousine and the other cars in the motorcade passed the bus only after its driver shut the vehicle’s doors, thus de-activating its red flashing lights.

The letter reminded the park service that its careless driver could face a $250 fine if he once again disregards a state law requiring traffic to stop when school buses flash their warning lights.

Born-Again Politics

Evangelical Christians overwhelmingly support the concept of voluntary prayer in public schools but favor tuition tax credits to a lesser degree. And, perhaps surprisingly, they strongly support the availability of information on birth control in schools supported by tax dollars, according to a recent study.

The report, “Evangelicals, Fundamentalists, and Political Issues in the 1984 Elections,” appeared in the premiere issue of Election Politics, a periodical of the Free Congress Research and Education Foundation, a conservative public-policy group.

The pollsters who conducted the study, Frank M. Newport and V. Lance Tarrance Jr., defined “evangelicals” as people who identify themselves as “born again” or who believe that one must accept Jesus Christ as a real person and the Son of God to attain salvation. They surveyed 1,000 people who fitted this definition.

The survey revealed that evangelicals favor tax credits for parents who send their children to private schools by a 53-percent-to-37-percent margin. Voluntary prayer in public schools had the support of 92 percent of those surveyed.

But in a finding that apparently defies a widely accepted stereotype, 68 percent of the respondents said teen-agers should be allowed to obtain information on birth control in public schools, compared with 28 percent who opposed such services.

Help Wanted

The Administration is requesting in its fiscal 1985 budget a cut in the number of Education Department employees to 4,979, a level 33 percent below that of January 1981.

But if your resume includes experience in such fields as contract negociation, auditing, or even typing, the department will be happy to take a look at it, according to Charles L. Heatherly, deputy undersecretary for management.

It seems the department has gotten itself into a bind. President Reagan imposed a government-wide hiring freeze in early 1981. But the freeze was lifted last October because the department was not able to replace people in certain fields, according to Mr. Heatherly, who added that many positions remain unfilled.--tm & tt

A version of this article appeared in the February 08, 1984 edition of Education Week as Federal File: Did the President Wave?