Letter to the Chairman of the Senate Labor and Public Welfare Committee About Pending Education Legislation.
Dear Senator Williams:
The need for constructive, cooperative action to reform the present system of Federal support for elementary and secondary, vocational and adult education is an urgent priority. It is clear that the Administration and the Congress share this sense of urgency, and, I appreciate the work that you and members of your Committee have devoted to the Nation's education programs. However, the action taken by your Committee on S. 1539 indicates that there are major areas of substantive difference that remain to be resolved.
S. 1539 is a bill that differs so greatly from what I consider to be desirable that, in its present form, I would be forced to veto it.
S. 1539 does not provide the program consolidation needed to simplify the Federal funding process for elementary and secondary education. As you know, the Federal Government has for years funded categorical programs that limit the ability of States and individual communities to set their own priorities. While S. 1539 would move in the direction of returning control to States and communities, I believe bolder action is required in the area of program consolidation and I urge that such action be taken.
Reform of the present system for allocating and distributing funds for the education of disadvantaged children is long overdue. The Department of Health, Education, and Welfare has testified on a formula that would go far toward readjusting and equalizing the distribution of funds for this program. I believe it is a formula that provides the needed reforms in this program and I urge that it be carefully considered by the Senate.
Certain provisions of the bill which you have under consideration would create a bureaucratic nightmare, entwined in its own red tape, making it impossible for the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare to carry out its responsibilities. These provisions are not germane to the bill and would stifle rather than improve our efforts to streamline Federal aid for education. I urge that these provisions be dropped.
I consider reform of the Impact Aid program to be essential. The modest steps taken by the Committee to accomplish this reform are overwhelmed by the forced funding of a new category. I urge the Committee to reopen this question and to endorse the phaseout strategy contained in the FY 1975 Budget request. We cannot permit the Federal Government to continue subsidizing the education of the children of its employees where there is no need for this support.
I know we share the same deep concern to insure that Federal support to elementary, secondary, vocational, and adult education in America is both adequate and qualitatively sound. I know that Secretary Weinberger will continue to provide his fullest cooperation in the preparation of a bill that will assist State and local educational agencies in providing a better education for all of our children.
[The Honorable Harrison A. Williams, Jr., United States Senate, Washington, D.C. 20510]
Richard Nixon, Letter to the Chairman of the Senate Labor and Public Welfare Committee About Pending Education Legislation. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/256447