News in Brief: Clinton Vetoes Measure On Welfare, School Meals

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As expected, President Clinton last week vetoed a welfare-reform bill that sought to end decades of guaranteed federal benefits for poor children and their families. It also would have allowed seven states to run school-meals programs under a block-grant plan.

HR 4, the welfare-reform measure that passed the House and Senate last month after months of intense negotiations, would have transferred dozens of federal welfare programs to the states and consolidated federal child-care programs into block grants. (See Education Week, Jan. 10, 1995.)

Mr. Clinton said in a statement that the bill did "too little to move people from welfare to work" and was too tough on children.

He appealed to congressional Republicans to work with him "in good faith" to adopt a welfare measure that guarantees health coverage for poor families and provides child care for welfare recipients required to enter the job market.

The ultimate fate of the welfare provisions is tied to long-term balanced-budget plans being negotiated by the White House and Republican leaders in Congress. (See related story, page 16.)

Asian Bias Cases

The Department of Education's office for civil rights followed established procedures in investigating bias complaints involving Asian-American students, although those cases took longer to resolve, on average, than other cases handled by the agency, the General Accounting Office concludes in a recent report.

The report was requested by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., who originated some of the complaints it discusses. He has contended that the OCR has dragged its feet in investigating alleged discrimination against Asian-Americans in college admissions.

The GAO noted that a disproportionate number of cases involving Asians concerned admissions, a type of case that is especially difficult to resolve, and that the agency took no longer to resolve non-admissions complaints filed by Asians than those filed by others. In commenting on the report, OCR officials added that several of the cases in question were stalled for years when former Secretary of Education Lamar Alexander agreed to congressional requests to hold off on issuing guidelines on race-based student aid.

The report also concludes that the OCR found more violations in cases involving Asian-Americans than in other comparable cases, resulting in more remedial action.

But in the high-profile cases the GAO was asked to study in depth, several of which involved admissions at California's state universities, the OCR found few violations and generally upheld the institutions' affirmative-action policies.

Vol. 15, Issue 17

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