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Statement of Administration Policy: H.R. 5115 - Equity and Excellence in Education Act

July 10, 1990


(House Rules)
(Hawkins (D) CA and 23 others)

The Administration strongly opposes the enactment of H.R. 5115. The bill is a complex and costly amalgam of new program authorities and duplicative and burdensome amendments to existing programs. Its authorizations and student aid increases for FY 1991 alone are nearly $900 million above the President's Budget for comparable activities. H.R. 5115 makes undesirable changes to important provisions of the President's proposed Educational Excellence Act. The bill also would establish Federal funding goals for existing programs that call for increases of tens of billions of dollars, which is totally unrealistic in the current fiscal environment. If H.R. 5115 were presented to the President in its current form, the Secretary of Education would recommend its disapproval.

The Administration has the following specific concerns.

H.R. 5115 would:

—  Fail to authorize the President's Magnet Schools of Excellence proposal, a successful way to improve the quality of education and increase parental choice.

—  Authorize a Presidential Schools of Distinction program (in place of the Administration's Merit Schools) that restricts participation to schools participating in Chapter 1 programs. This would exclude thousands of schools that could benefit from these initiatives.

—  Establish a number of new, cumbersome and unjustified requirements for adult literacy programs. Some of these new requirements — establishment of an Interagency Task Force on Adult Literacy and a National Institute for Literacy — raise constitutional concerns. They also duplicate existing activities or authorized programs. The requirements for "Gateway Grants" and State advisory boards on literacy are totally unnecessary for the improvement of literacy. The creation of a new grant program solely for commercial driver adult education is unnecessary.

—  Authorize a number of poorly designed mechanisms to- recruit and retain teachers. The proposal to provide a separate Perkins loan cancellation program for students who clan to teach is objectionable. Evidence from similar programs indicates that loan cancellation programs do not have a significant impact on students' career decisions.

—  Make major changes to the Higher Education Act. Consideration of these changes should await the upcoming reauthorization of the Act. The bill would restrict the Secretary's authority to address Pell grant funding- shortfalls. It also would change the calculation of financial need for most student assistance programs to increase the cost of the Pell grant program alone by at least $166 million in the first year.

George Bush, Statement of Administration Policy: H.R. 5115 - Equity and Excellence in Education Act Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project