The House Government Operations Committee is expected early this week to release a report charging that the Education Department has failed to "adequately investigate" misconduct in the handling of civil-rights complaints by its regional offices.
The report, prepared by the panel's subcommittee on intergovernmental relations and human resources, is also expected to cite "deficiencies" in the department's enforcement of higher-education desegregation plans.
The subcommittee's investigation stems from disclosures last spring that officials in the regional branches of the department's office for civil rights backdated responses to civil-rights complaints to make it appear as if they had complied with court-ordered timetables imposed under the 17-year-old Adams v. Bennett civil-rights lawsuit.
It was also revealed that some regional employees improperly suspended the processing of such complaints and pressed the people filing them to withdraw their charges. Although department officials have said they discovered the abuses themselves and have disciplined the employees involved, the House report criticizes the agency's handling of the affair and calls for a broader investigation into its origins, according to a subcommittee aide.
The primary focus of the report, however, will be the department's handling of higher-education desegregation plans ordered in the Adams case.
It concludes that 10 states that signed desegregation agreements with the ocr have not made sufficient progress in remedying civil-rights violations, and it calls on the office to take corrective action now that the plans have expired, the aide said.
Gary Curran, a spokesman for the civil-rights office, said the subcommittee had declined to give him a copy of the report prior to its official release. But he said that "from the limited information we've been able to obtain, it appears to be an exaggerated, inaccurate rehash of old news."
The Government Operations Committee adopted the subcommittee's report last week, but delayed its release for at least three days to incorporate the views of dissenting committee members.
The federal government should provide some of the $40 million to $50 million needed by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards for a "one shot" research effort to establish certification standards for teachers, former Gov. James B. Hunt of North Carolina told a Congressional panel last week.
"We are plowing completely new ground and hope to telescope into a few short years development of the kind of certification assessments that the medical profession has done over 60 years," said Mr. Hunt, who is chairman of the newly established board.
He called on the federal government to provide funds--to be matched by private corporations, foundations, and state and local governments--for the design and validation of assessments for teacher certification.
The former Governor emphasized, however, that it would be inappropriate for the government to suggest the standards the board will set.
The hearing by the Joint Economic Committee, chaired by Representative James H. Scheuer, Democrat of New York, was the second in a series of eight that will focus on the links between education, competitiveness, and the economy. Mr. Scheuer was the only committee member present at the session.
Other witnesses also addressed the subject of teacher standards, and such issues as school restructuring and early-childhood intervention.
Those testifying included: John Cole, vice president of the American Federation of Teachers; Owen B. Butler, retired chairman of the Procter & Gamble Company; and Alan K. Campbell, vice chairman of the board of ara Services Inc.
A Senate committee appears likely to turn back a proposal by the Bureau of Indian Affairs to transfer the agency's schools to tribes or public school districts.
The Select Committee on Indian Affairs is scheduled to mark up a bill this week that would block the bia's plan, unveiled late last year, to offer tribes first-refusal rights to take over federal schools on their reservations. If a tribe were not interested in bidding, the bureau would contract with the local school district to run the school.
At a hearing last week, Indian leaders criticized the bia for not consulting with them on the plan, and charged that the agency had not adequately addressed the educational problems of the Indian community.
Senate aides said they would attempt to insert the measure, if passed by the committee, into the Senate's omnibus education bill. There is a similar provision in HR 5, the omnibus legislation passed by the House in May.
Legislation to create a $200- million revolving loan fund for school asbestos-removal projects is slated to be introduced in the House this week.
The measure, sponsored by Representative James Florio, Democrat of New Jersey, would allow some school districts to borrow money at low interest to finance asbestos removal and abatement. The Environmental Protection Agency has granted or lent $42.2 million for similar projects this year.
Ray Fields, an aide to Assistant Secretary of Education Chester E. Finn Jr., has been named director of information services in the Education Department's office of educational research and improvement.
Mr. Fields, a 14-year veteran of the federal education bureaucracy and Mr. Finn's executive assistant since 1985, replaces Edwin Darrell, who resigned recently to become a lawyer for American Airlines.
An as-yet-undefined leadership role in the information-services office has been created for another new appointee, Mitchell B. Pearlstein, a columnist and editorial writer for the St. Paul Pioneer Press-Dispatch. Mr. Pearlstein has served as an assistant to the president of the University of Minnesota and to that state's former Governor, Albert H. Quie.
Vol. 07, Issue 05