Paring Federal Bureaucracy Key GOP Goal for Schools, Rep. Gingrich Tells Congress

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Cutting bureaucracy in education and finding model programs that work are part of the GOP agenda for the next two years, House Speaker Newt Gingrich told Congress last week.

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After balancing the federal budget, improving education weighs in as the Republicans' top priority, the Georgian said, and taking control out of Washington is essential.

"Our goal is to help the teacher in the classroom and the student in the classroom rather than to build more and more bureaucracies," Mr. Gingrich said.

He praised Rep. Peter Hoekstra, R-Mich., and other members of the House education committee for their hearings on what works and what is wasted in public education. ("Critics Say Clinton Pitch Misses Political Point," March 12, 1997.)

Speaker Gingrich agreed with President Clinton's goal that every child be able to read by 3rd grade, but he added that the administration's proposal should specify that the child be reading in English.

Every child should master English to be able to fully appreciate American culture and get the best possible job, the speaker said.

Mr. Gingrich also said local control and parental involvement were essential to improving education.

Several House Republicans, meanwhile, have signed on to the new Republican Education Caucus, which was founded earlier this month by five GOP congressmen.

The founders hope the caucus creates a forum for discussion and promotes policies that reflect the need for local control, while allowing the federal government to oversee some programs.

While local interests should control curriculum and instructional methods, Congress should continue to promote educational research and support high-quality teaching, the five Republicans wrote in a recent letter to their colleagues.


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