Federal News Roundup
House Panel Votes
For Vocational Act
Members of the House Education and Labor Committee last week approved the vocational-education reauthorization measure but removed its $1.5-billion authorization level to avoid a prolonged debate over funding for the program when it reaches the full House.
The bill, HR 4164, was approved by a 32-to-4 vote of the committee; it was scheduled for consideration by the full House this week.
The Senate Subcommittee on Education, Arts, and Humanities also approved a similar bill, S2341, during its mark-up session last week; the bill is scheduled for action later this month by the Labor and Human Resources Committee. Last week, however, two new vocational-education reauthorization proposals were introduced in the Senate, a move that could affect the final measure when it is considered by the full committee, observers say.
Senator Dan Quayle, Republican of Indiana, is the sponsor of S2348, which would authorize grants for improvement projects in vocational education; and Senator Pete V. Domenici, Republican of New Mexico, is the sponor of S2360, which would fund vocational-education programs through block grants to the states.
In approving HR 4164, the House committee left unchanged the funding set-asides contained in the basic-grant program to the states for the handicapped, disadvantaged, and postsecondary and adult programs. (See Education Week, Feb. 29, 1984.)
The current authorization ceiling for programs funded under the Vocational Education Act of 1963 is about $735 million.
Asked To Increase
The Senate Budget Committee last week held its first hearing on the Reagan Administration's proposed fiscal 1985 budget. The committee and its counterpart in the House are responsible for setting general Congressional authorization levels for federal programs.
The two of the panel's 22 members who were present at the start of the hearing listened as Secretary of Education Terrel H. Bell told them it was "very painful" but important for the Administration to propose increasing its education budget by $100 million--to $15.5 billion--from the fiscal 1984 level.
The Secretary also said the Administration's successful effort to reduce inflation has saved American education $20 billion since 1981.
Senator Lawton Chiles, Democrat of Florida and ranking minority member of the committee, countered that states have been forced to raise taxes to compensate for cuts in federal education programs. He called studies showing that school systems are using their block-grant funds for equipment instead of innovative programs "disappointing."
"Federal monies are meant to trigger innovation, not supplement school-system budgets," he said.
Senator Pete V. Domenici, Republican of New Mexico and chairman of the committee, suggested to Secretary Bell that he drop his proposal for merging vocational programs into a block grant, saying: "You aren't going to get a vocational-education block grant [from Congress]."
Allan Odden, director of the Education Finance Center of the Education Commission of the States, said in his testimony that the cost of paying for reforms in education "has been sidestepped, ignored, or not taken seriously in most education excellence debates."
He said proposals such as increasing the school day and the school year and increasing course requirements will be very expensive and not necessarily productive.
On Civil Rights
The Reagan Admninistration is guilty of a "radical and shameful assault" on civil-rights laws, particularly as they relate to education, according to a new report by the American Civil Liberties Union.
According to the report, the Administration's actions "are at war with the Congress and the courts, and [have] created a dangerous crisis which would plunge the country back into historic patterns of race and sex discrimination."
The group's findings generally parallel those of other civil-rights organizations, such as the Washington Council of Lawyers, that have conducted analyses of the Administration's civil-rights policies. The aclu accused the Administration of attacking voluntary plans to end the effects of employment discrimination, supporting school-desegregation plans that would fail to end segregation, and impeding the efforts of black parents to participate in school-desegregation lawsuits initiated on their behalf.
Spicing Up Lunch: Original Recipes Offered in Contest
Food-service employees in Louisville, Ky., who dish up students' lunches every day got a chance to create their own concoctions in the First Annual Jefferson County Foodservice Bake-a-thon last month.
The bake-a-thon, designed by the Jefferson County School District to uncover new recipes for school lunches and to reward food-service personnel, generated 60 original recipes from the district's food-ser-vice workers, according to Jay Caton, director of the food-service program.
On the morning of Feb. 10, 14 finalists recreated their specialties at General Electric Appliance Park--a local facility made available by General Electric Inc.--while 450 other participants attended inservice programs on food merchandising and appearance and viewed displays by area vendors.
Recipes were entered in four cate-gories: meat (beef, pork, poultry, fish), meat alternate (eggs, cheese, cooked dry beans or peas, peanut butter), breads (whole-grain or enriched bread, biscuits, rolls, muffins), and bread alternate (whole-grain or enriched rice, macaroni, noodles, or other pasta products).
The recipes were judged on the basis of taste, appearance, availability of ingredients, per-serving cost, and adaptability for volume preparation. The judging panel included Elain Corn, food editor for the Louisville Courier-Journal, A. Ray Smith, owner of the Louisville Redbirds, and Milton Metz, a local radio broadcaster.
They awarded first prize to Amelita Kaiser, a food-service assistant at Stone Street Elementary School, for her beef-noodle casserole. Ms. Kaiser won a $275 cash prize donated by the Market Forge Corporation, a food-service-equipment manufacturer in Massachusetts. Three runners-up received $75 prizes for their recipes.
The winning recipes will be distributed to Jefferson County schools, where they will be added to school-lunch menues, Mr. Caton said.