Federal Update

June 07, 1989 3 min read

The National Council of La Raza is lobbying the Bush Administration to issue an executive order calling for greater participation by Hispanics in federal education programs.

Denise De la Rosa, the group’s education analyst, said that though White House officials have reviewed drafts of the order and Secretary of Education Lauro F. Cavazos “has been supportive,” President Bush has not yet agreed to issue it.

The group plans to launch a media campaign for its adoption, she said.

A draft version of the order calls for a federal plan, including goals for each relevant agency, to increase Hispanic participation in federally funded education programs, and for an annual performance report.

The draft specifically calls for recruiting more Hispanics to serve on advisory boards and as “field readers,” who review grant proposals.

It also recommends identifying ways to encourage Hispanic organizations to compete for education grants.

The Committee for Education Funding represents 100 education organizations and is considered to be one of the more organized and effective lobbies on Capitol Hill.

But the cef has sought to solidify its position for the current funding battle by joining forces with two advocacy groups from the health field. They are pushing for a $4.1-billion increase for education and health programs in the 1990 budget.

The action by the cef, the Coalition on Health Funding, and the National Organizations Responding to aids “represents the first time the education and health communities have made a joint statement concerning sufficient appropriations to support vital increases in services,” according to a cef statement.

The joint action is beneficial because both areas are within the jurisdiction of the same appropriations subcommittees, from which they seek an allotment of $45.2 billion.

The subcommittee allocation process, once a formality in which each panel was given enough to ensure general comity, has taken on great importance in an era of dwindling federal resources.

Lobbyists have focused more attention on ensuring that “their” panel gets a large slice of the domestic-spending pie.

Some believe, however, that the new allies could well become enemies once the pie is sliced and the subcommittees begin dividing their shares among specific programs.

Harry M. Singleton, a controversial former chief of the Education Department’s office for civil rights, is reportedly considering a run for mayor of Washington.

Press reports have said that Mr. Singleton, now a consultant, has formed an exploratory committee to gauge his chances for success if he were to seek the Republican nomination for mayor in the 1990 election.

Mr. Singleton served as assistant secretary for o.c.r. from May 1982 until December 1985. During his tenure, he was sharply criticized by some members of the Congress, who accused the office of not adequately enforcing civil-rights laws and settling discrimination cases unfairly.

At a recent House hearing on federal initiatives in science and mathematics education, one agency was notable by its absence: the Education Department.

The Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, which conducted the hearing, had invited testimony from the National Science Foundation, the Agriculture Department, the Energy Department, the Department of Defense, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the National Institutes of Health. All agreed to send high-ranking officials.

But Secretary of Education Lauro F. Cavazos informed the committee that he had a tentative commitment for that date. So he offered instead to send two acting assistant secretaries, who were holdovers from the Reagan Administration.

Committee members rejected that proposal, insisting that they wanted to hear Bush Administration policies.

Unable to reach an agreement, the department sent no one to the hearing, which angered committee members from both parties.

A committee aide said that Mr. Cavazos would be asked to testify later on the same subject.

“That’s too major an agency to totally omit,” the aide pointed out.

The White House has officially announced its intention to retain Charles E.M. Kolb as the Education Department’s deputy undersecretary for planning, budget, and evaluation.

Mr. Kolb was installed as acting deputy undersecretary last September.

He was formally appointed to the post during the closing days of the Reagan Administration, when the Congress was in recess and appointments could thus be made without confirmation.

Such appointments are permitted to last only through the end of the next Congressional session. Therefore, Mr. Kolb must be confirmed by the Senate to keep his job.--jm rr & rrw

A version of this article appeared in the June 07, 1989 edition of Education Week as Federal Update