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Statement on Signing the Office of Education and Related Agencies Appropriation Act, 1972.

July 11, 1971

I AM SIGNING today H.R. 7016, which appropriates funds for fiscal 1972 for the Office of Education and several related Federal programs.

This will make Federal funds available to schools and colleges earlier than at any other time in recent years, thus permitting careful planning for the fall term by our educational institutions. In the past, such planning has too frequently been made impossible as a result of late enactment of education appropriations. The early passage and signing of this year's measure is an accomplishment of which both the Congress and the executive branch .can be proud.

H.R. 7016 provides spending authority of $5.1 billion, and is the largest appropriation in the history of the Office of Education. These appropriations will permit the continuation of Federal programs in thousands of classrooms to improve the educational achievement and personal development of our Nation's children.

While H.R. 7016 contains the same level of spending authority as I requested in my January budget for these programs, the distribution of funds differs from my proposals in several areas. The result of these differences will be an increase in Federal expenditures in fiscal year 1972 of $375 million over the amounts estimated in my January budget. This increase will require offsetting reductions elsewhere in the budget to maintain fiscal stability.

With the completion of action on this bill, I also urge the Congress to turn its attention now to other important proposals which the Administration has made in the field of education. These proposals would focus Federal resources on several significant problem areas and would also provide increased funds for education in 1972.

--The emergency school assistance act would provide sorely needed aid to school districts throughout the Nation which are dealing with the complex and difficult problems of desegregation. I have asked that $1.5 billion be made available over a 2-year period for this purpose. Prompt action on this proposal is imperative so that the first installment of these funds can be used by our schools during the next school year, which begins in 2 months.

--My proposal for education revenue sharing would allow States and localities to make their own decisions about how to use $3 billion in Federal funds in ways that would best serve the educational needs of their own children. This proposal would overcome the many problems of present Federal aid to elementary and secondary education, which provides funds in too narrowly defined and rigid categories. Enactment of this proposal would better enable States and local schools to meet their education responsibilities.

--The Administration's proposed reform and expansion of higher education student aid programs is based on the principle that "no qualified student who wants to go to college should be barred by lack of money." More than 2 1/2 million students would benefit from these proposals.

--Two new educational agencies--the National Institute of Education and the National Foundation for Higher Education have been proposed by this Administration to promote and assist innovations and reform at all levels of education. Our children will learn most effectively if education is a self-renewing enterprise; these new organizations will contribute to that end by supporting the development and dissemination of new approaches to learning.

These legislative proposals constitute an unfinished educational agenda of major importance to the country. Congress should address itself to that agenda with the same dispatch it demonstrated on the education appropriations.

Note: The statement was released at San Clemente, Calif.

As enacted, H.R. 7016, approved July 9, 1971, is Public Law 92-48 (85 Stat. 103).

Richard Nixon, Statement on Signing the Office of Education and Related Agencies Appropriation Act, 1972. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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