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The National Citizens Commission on African-American Education has called for an infusion of more than $3 billion in federal funds annually for education.

The commission proposed last week that the money be available to school districts in which at least 10 percent of the students are eligible for the federal free-lunch program.

The commission also called for the creation on an Institute for At-Risk Students to provide technical assistance to the nation's 100 poorest districts, for the establishment of experimental schools in those districts, as well as a one-time appropriation of $1 billion in fiscal 1992 to help them meet non-recurring expenses such as building repairs.

The commission was launched on Sept. 13 by Representative Major Owens, Democrat of New York.

Early-Intervention Bill Reaches President's Desk

The Senate last week gave final, unanimous approval to legislation that would reauthorize for three years the federal early-intervention program for infants and toddlers with disabilities.

That action cleared the measure for President Bush, who is expected to sign it.

H R 3053, which was passed unanimously by the House Sept. 11, represents a fine tuning of the five-year-old program, in which all but two states have signalled they will participate.

It authorizes $220 million for the program next year.

Last week's Senate vote ratified changes made by the House to the Senate bill first approved in June.

Those amendments added two new grant programs to fund state efforts to serve or track infants who are "at risk" of being disabled, and one for projects offering training in early intervention to entry-level or paraprofessional special-education workers.

They also strengthened efforts to ensure that American Indian children and the children of military employees receive special-education services.

The most contentious issue surrounding the reauthorization of the program was settled months ago when an amendment extending deadlines for implementation of early-intervention initiatives was included in a one-year reathorization of the Rehabilitation Act. (See Education Week, May 29, 1991 .)

Secretary of Education Lamar Alexander last week named John Florez, a Labor Department official, as the new executive director of the Bush Administration's Hispanic education initiative.

Mr. Florez has been deputy assistant secretary for employment and training since 1989, overseeing the Job Training Partnership Act among other programs.

He will coordinate the White House initiative, announced by President Bush last year, and the President's Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans.

The Senate has passed a bill that would create a national high-speed computer network linking research institutions, colleges and universities, and corporations.

The bill provides more than $1 billion over five years to develop the network and to increase research on high-performance computing.

Few elementary and secondary schools, however, are currently capable of accessing such a network.

Vol. 11, Issue 04, Page 2

Published in Print: September 25, 1991, as Capital Digest
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