Capital Digest: Alexander Stands by Plan To Use 1980 Census Data

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Despite the earlier-than-expected availability of 1990 Census data, Secretary of Education Lamar Alexander last week said that he will not change his decision to use 1980 data to calculate 1992-93 grants under several programs.

Census officials said last week that 1990 poverty data needed to calculate awards under the Chapter 1 compensatory-education program and several other programs could be available as soon as this week.

Earlier, they had estimated that work on the Census data would not be completed until early July.

Mr. Alexander had expressed a desire to use the newer figures, but decided in April to use the older data because waiting would have caused budgetary chaos for many school districts. (See Education Week, April 8, 1992.)

That decision disappointed education officials in high-growth states, such as California, Florida, and Texas, that would benefit from a switch to 1990 population data.

Lawmakers and officials from several such states have written to Mr. Alexander, asking him to change his mind.

A spokesman said last week that altering the decision would cause local confusion and budgetary difficulties even greater than those it had sought to prevent.

A new report by a civil-liberties group charges that the federal court appointees of President Reagan and President Bush have undermined constitutional liberties in four key areas--the right to privacy, freedom from discrimination, freedom of expression, and freedom of religion.

"The last decade has witnessed a dramatic sea change in the federal judiciary,'' the report by People for the American Way states. "Where once the courts were the final guarantors of liberty, today they are willing participants in the diminution of liberty.''

The 300-page report cites numerous school-related cases, including opinions upholding restrictions on student speech and publications.

Copies of the report are available from People for the American Way, 2000 M St., N.W., Suite 400, Washington, D.C. 20036.

Vol. 11, Issue 37, Page 25

Published in Print: June 3, 1992, as Federal File: Alexander Stands by Plan To Use 1980 Census Data
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