Federal News in Brief
Conferees Plan To Revive Immigration Debate
After being stalled for months, lawmakers are expected to begin work this week to reconcile House and Senate versions of a broad immigration-reform bill.
House and Senate conferees are expected to include in HR 2202 a fiercely debated provision that would allow states to deny certain illegal-immigrant children a free public education. The House's version of the bill includes the provision; the Senate's does not. ("Pressure Builds To Nix School Ban for Illegal Immigrants," June 19, 1996.)
Going into the House-Senate conference committee, Republicans crafted a compromise that would allow illegal-immigrant students already enrolled in public schools as of Sept. 30 of this year to continue to receive a free public education until they reached the highest grade at their current school level, elementary or secondary. States could exclude any illegal-immigrant children who enroll after Sept. 30. Schools would still have to check all students' immigration status and could report illegal-immigrant students to federal immigration officials under the compromise.
President Clinton has vowed to veto the immigration bill if it includes the House language.
Welfare Officials Quit in Protest of Reform Law
Two senior appointees of the Department of Health and Human Services resigned last week to protest the welfare-reform law that President Clinton signed last month.
Peter Edelman, a longtime friend of President and Mrs. Clinton, will leave his post as the counselor to Secretary of Health and Human Services Donna E. Shalala, effective Sept. 28.
"I have devoted the last 30-plus years to doing whatever I could to help in reducing poverty in America. I believe the recently enacted welfare bill goes in the opposite direction," Mr. Edelman wrote in a letter to his staff. He is the husband of Marian Wright Edelman, the president of the Children's Defense Fund, which was among the sharpest critics of the bill.
Mary Jo Bane's resignation as the assistant secretary in charge of the Administration for Children and Families will also be effective Sept. 28.
In a message to staff members, she said that she had "deep concerns" about the bill.
Peer-Sexual-Harassment Policies Published
The Department of Education is circulating copies of a draft report on standards for cases involving sexual harassment by students.
"Sexual Harassment Guidance: Peer Sexual Harassment" explains the standards that the department's office for civil rights uses to investigate and resolve claims that peer harassment has created a hostile environment in schools.
Officials are accepting comments on the draft through Sept. 30. In the weeks ahead, the OCR will release draft policy guidelines on sexual harassment of students by teachers and other school workers. For more information, call the Education Department at (202) 205-9641. The guidelines are available on-line at http://www.ed.gov/offices/OCR/peers.txt.
Scholarships Tied to National Service Planned
The Corporation for National and Community Service is seeking a nonprofit organization to administer and publicize a new national scholarship program for high school juniors and seniors who do exemplary volunteer work.
The agency, which oversees the federal AmeriCorps national-service program, is offering up to $250,000 to the winning applicant.
Under the envisioned scholarship program, awards of at least $500, generated by private sources, would be given to high school students who have done volunteer work for at least one year with a significant impact on the local community. The corporation will accept applications through Oct. 15.
The scholarships will be one of the topics at a meeting of the corporation this week in Washington.
Board To Consider Research Aims of ED
Did someone say meetings? The National Educational Research and Policy Priorities Board will gather Sept. 26-27 in Washington. The group will consider the long-term research aims for the Education Department, ponder the fiscal 1997 federal budget, and tend to other matters.