Precollegiate Activities Of N.S.F. Get a Boost

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Washington--President Reagan last week requested a 21 percent increase in funding for the National Science Foundation's precollegiate-education programs.

The increase would bring total spending for K-12 programs to $108.5 million.

That represents about two-thirds of the proposed $156-million budget for the science- and engineering-education directorate, which was abolished for budgetary reasons in the first year of the Reagan Administration. The directorate was reinstated in 1983.

The fiscal 1989 budget would nearly double funding for the Young Scholars Program, which provides enrichment activities for talented junior- and senior-high-school students who show an interest in science and mathematics.

It would also provide an additional $6 million for materials development, with a special emphasis on curriculum development in math at the middle-school level.

For teacher preparation, the budget requests $53.5 million, or $8 million more than the amount appropriated in fiscal 1988. Included in the increase is $2.5 million to train teachers in urban areas.

Overall 19% Hike Asked

The budget also seeks $49 million--a 30 percent increase--for activities to encourage blacks, women, and other underrepresented groups to study science and engineering at more advanced levels. As part of these efforts, it proposes a new program to identify minority students with potential for graduate study.

Overall, the agency requests a 19 percent funding increase, which would bring total spending to $2.05- billion. Erich Bloch, the nsf's director, called the proposal a "major step toward significantly affecting our lead in science and engineering research and education."

Mr. Bloch noted that the foundation had planned to propose such a boost in fiscal 1988, but the Congress curtailed its efforts. Lawmakers provided $1.7 billion for the nsf last year, less than the $1.9- billion President Reagan had requested. The President last year pledged to double the foundation's budget by 1992.

However, despite the cut, the Congress added $24 million to Mr. Rea-4gan's 1988 request for the science- and engineering-education directorate.

Other Proposals

The Administration's other education-related budget proposals falling outside the Education Department, include:

Youth jtpa programs. Funding for the youth employment and training programs administered by the Labor Department and authorized by the Job Training Partnership Act would be cut by $32 million--from $750 million to $718- million.

The Job Corps, also administered by the Labor Department, is slated for a $40-million increase, from $649 million in 1988 to $690 million.

The program is a national network of residential centers designed to provide training in literacy, arithmetic, and vocational skills for disadvantaged youths between the ages of 14 and 21. The increase will maintain the number of youths served through the program at 40,544.

Child Nutrition. The Administration's request would marginally increase the Agriculture Department's school-meals programs, but would cut funding for the special milk program. The combined increases in the school-lunch and school-breakfast programs would total $224 million, bringing overall funding for the programs to $3.7 million. The milk program is slated to lose $1.5 million, falling from $21.5- million to about $20 million.

Asbestos Program. The Administration has repeated its request to eliminate the school asbestos-abatement program. The Congress denied the request in the fiscal 1988 budget and funded the program at $40 million.

Bureau of Indian Affairs. The bureau, part of the Department of the Interior, administers educational services for about 10 percent of all Native American children. It would lose $8.3 million in funding under the budget request, falling from $272.9 million in 1988 to $264.6 million in 1989.

Head Start. The Department of Health and Human Services would receive level funding for the Head Start program, maintaining the 1988 appropriation level of $1.2 billion.--rr & rrw

Vol. 07, Issue 22

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