News in Brief: A Washington Roundup

March 22, 2000 2 min read

Clinton Signs Bill on Child-Abuse Prevention

President Clinton has signed into law a measure to help increase awareness of and crack down on child abuse, earning praise from a conservative Republican leader.

The Child Abuse Prevention and Enforcement Act expands federal law- enforcement grants to allow states and local agencies to use the money for child-abuse prevention. It also gives law-enforcement officials better and faster access to criminal and custody-related records.

Rep. Tom DeLay, the House majority whip, was a chief proponent of the legislation and praised its provisions to cut red tape.

“I am pleased that this new law will be an important step in giving states and local entities more flexibility and more resources for their child-abuse-prevention efforts,” Mr. Delay, R-Texas, said in a statement promoting the March 10 White House event.

The legislation was also supported by a wide range of child-advocacy and religious groups.

— Joetta L. Sack

GOP Moderates Outline Federal Role in Education

A coalition of centrist Republicans is seeking to articulate its vision for the federal government’s role in education, arguing that discussion of the topic is absent from most policy debates.

“We have been so consumed by the fights over programs and funding allocations that we have forgotten to define the basic [federal] roles and responsibilities,” the Republican Main Street Partnership argues in a monograph released last month.

Founded in 1998, the partnership includes leaders in government, business, and other sectors. Among the 60 congressional members are Rep. Michael N. Castle of Delaware, who heads the House Subcommittee on Children, Youth, and Families, and Sen. James M. Jeffords of Vermont, who chairs the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee.

The partnership outlined six principles for federal involvement: focusing primarily on supporting public schools, with the aim of providing equal opportunity for all students; dramatically increasing funding for educational research; providing strong leadership in advocating quality and standards; recognizing a need to improve school safety; encouraging the “best and brightest” to become teachers; and recognizing a national responsibility for promoting a skilled workforce.

The group of GOP moderates sought to distance its approach from that championed in the past by some conservative members of the party. "[A]t times it has been difficult to determine the difference between those advocating real reform of the federal role and those advocating elimination of any federal role,” the partnership says.

—Erik W. Robelen

A version of this article appeared in the March 22, 2000 edition of Education Week as News in Brief: A Washington Roundup