Federal File

March 21, 2001 1 min read


House Democrats negotiated a truce with Republican leaders last week in their month-long standoff over which education subcommittee has jurisdiction over issues related to minority colleges.

Rep. John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, who took over the chairmanship of the House Education and the Workforce Committee in January, initially put historically black, Hispanic, and tribally controlled institutions under the purview of the Select Education Subcommittee, which oversees student aid and juvenile justice, among other matters, as part of a committee restructuring. He assigned most higher education issues to the 21st Century Competitiveness Subcommittee.

Committee Democrats asserted that it smacked of racism to address issues involving minority institutions separately from those involving higher education institutions in general. They responded by declining to assign members to the subcommittees and boycotting the panels’ meetings.

Under the new arrangement, the 21st Century Competitiveness panel will have legislative jurisdiction over issues involving minority institutions. But the Select Education panel will retain oversight duties involving those institutions.

Democrats are expected to assign subcommittee members this week.

Congress Hosts Class

While it’s become customary for members of Congress to visit schools, they didn’t have to leave Capitol Hill to tour a real classroom last week.

During “Head Start on the Hill Day,” sponsored by the National Head Start Association, 17 preschoolers enrolled in an Arlington, Va., program held a class in the Rayburn House Office Building. Members of Congress and their staffs were invited to drop in to view how the early-education program for disadvantaged youngsters works.

The event was co-hosted by eight Republican and Democratic leaders from the House and Senate education committees.

Joetta L. Sack

A version of this article appeared in the March 21, 2001 edition of Education Week