Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

Senate Education Bill Hung Up over Vouchers

Magazine article Nation's Cities Weekly

Senate Education Bill Hung Up over Vouchers

Article excerpt

The Senate opened the 1992 session by taking up a controversial $850 million comprehensive education reform package last week. Much of the debate has focused on the most contentious issue--the use of federal funds to help parents who want to send their children to private school.

Beyond the public versus private school funding issues, the bill is designed to implement the national education goals announced last year by the President and the nation's Governors. Following the Education 2000 plan, a National Council on Education Goals would be established to track the progress in attaining the goals and make appropriate recommendations. At the end of two years, the Council would issue a "National Report Card."

A successful amendment passed 96-0, was offered by Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), to establish a $100 million block grant demonstration program to fund new schools, new techniques for teaching in communities, and employ innovative technologies to meet the needs of local communities. Communities with high concentrations of educationally disadvantaged children and children from low-income families would be given special consideration in the selection process.

In his remarks during debate over the Cochran amendment, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), ranking Republican on the Labor and Human Resources Committee called the New American Schools proposal "a demonstration program would allow us to look for the pitfalls in the program, to look for the good things in the program, and to see if this idea really does work. …

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