A Decade of Federal
Laws that Enacted National
Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act
Subsidized health care payments became available to minors under this Act. They now qualify for Medicaid between ages 11 and 20. Payments may be provided to students through schools, including transportation to health clinics where family planning services and contraception devices can be included without parental consent or notification.
Carl D. Perkins Vocational
Revised Title One for disadvantaged children. Expanded "At Risk" list for students to qualify for Medicaid services, including both physical and mental examinations and treatment. This makes possible school-based clinics to facilitate national health care.
Goals 2000: Educate America Act
There are eight vague goals included in Goals 2000. The law also established the National Education Goals Panel to set new goals for schools and the National Education Standards and Improvement Council (NESIC) to develop and certify that standards presented by states meet national standards. The new standards are based on bringing about changes in behavior and attitudes. Parent training centers and school based social services are provided through federal funding. INESIC was removed from the Act in 1996, but the basic requirements of Goals 2000 remained intact.
School-to-Work Opportunities Act (STW)
In the early 1990s, the U.S. Departments of Labor and Education along with big business produced a series of reports called SCANS, standing for the Secretarys Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills. The report refers to students as human resources to be developed by government and business. STW was based on the SCANS report. The STW law is meant to create a "world-class" workforce development system through our schools. A labor market information system will predict what jobs will be available in the future and students will be trained to fill those jobs.
STW establishes a National Workforce Development Board made up of government officials, labor organizations and business organizations. One member must be from the National Skill Standards Board (NSSB). The National Board will assess the performance of the work force development system of the United States, based on the earnings and employment gains and other nonemployment-related outcomes of individuals.
The National Board is responsible for funding to states through federal grants. State councils appointed by governors will plan for an integrated workforce development system, including the development of a financial and management information system, a quality assurance system, and an integrated labor market information system. The state council also oversees the unified service delivery areas for the purpose of providing community-wide workforce development assistance in onestop career centers. At the local level workforce development boards will administer the workforce development assistance. There is a SCANS manual for micro-managing the labor workforce.
Improving Americas Schools Act (IASA)
Parents and the government are recognized equally as being responsible for raising children. IASA gives the state the authority to take over local schools that do not meet the criteria of the Secretary of Education. IASA also established a rule that for schools to receive federal funds they have to submit a plan that meets national standards, to the satisfaction of the Secretary of Education.
Workforce and Career Development Act of 1996 (H.R. 1617)
Defeated in the 104th Congress because it was too controversial with groups representing both sides of the issue. This legislation would have amended the Wagner-Peyser Act to bypass individual state legislatures and give governors authority to establish plans to implement mandates in this Act.
Fiscal Year 1997 Omnibus
Funding for education and labor was included, along with the defense conference report H.R. 3610 in this omnibus appropriations act because of opposition to the H.R. 1617 "Careers" legislation (above).
H.R. 1385 Employment, Training, and Literacy Enhancement Act of 1997 (Passed 343-60)
H.R. 1853 To Amend the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Applied Technology Education Act (Passed 414-12)
Places mandates on states and individuals to perform certain functions in the area of education, an area where congress has no constitutional authority. It forces federal taxpayers to underwrite the wages of students working part-time in the name of cooperative education, a form of corporate welfare. Parental authority is undermined by the government which makes parents partners in training their children according to government specifications. Opponents argued that congress should eliminate all federal vocational education programs in order to restore authority for those programs to the states, localities, and individual citizens.
Senate Versions of H.R. 1385 and H.R. 1853:
S. 1186 Workforce Investment Partnership Act of 1997 (Currently referred to the Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources)
To consolidate state job training for low income people, high school dropouts and displaced workers.
President Clintons top educational priority, announced in his State of the Union address, was to develop voluntary national tests in reading and math. The Department of Education awarded an unauthorized $13 million contract to the American Institutes for Research (AIR) to oversee a multi-year effort to develop so called voluntary national tests in 4th grade reading and 8th grade mathematics. Proponents say the tests are likely to mask the lowering of academic standards.
S. 1061 FY 1998 Labor, Health & Human Services, and Education Appropriations Act Coats Amendment (Passed 87-13)
Compromise amendment to national testing. Establishes a National Test but places it under the authority of an "independent" board called the National Assessment Governing Board. The members of this 26-member board have to be confirmed by the Secretary of Education.
Gorton Amendment (Passed 51-49)
Would completely defund Goals 2000, the School-to-Work Opportunities Act, the National Education Goals Panel, National Skill Standards Board, Vocational Education, and over $4 billion worth of other federal education programs. Instead, the amount of money for these programs would be given straight to local education agencies to spend as they deem appropriate. The president threatened a veto if this amendment were allowed; therefore, Congressman Porter recommended that this amendment be dropped.
H.R. 2264 FY 1998 Labor, Health & Human Services, and Education
Requires federally funded Title X health clinics to give written notice to a parent or guardian at least five business days before giving a minor contraceptive drugs or devices. This amendment was amended by Congressman Porter to change notification requirements.
A substitute for the Istook/Manzullo Amendment to require that health centers receiving federal family planning funds encourage family involvement and counsel minors on methods to resist coercive sexual activity.
To prohibit federal funds from being used to develop national reading tests for 4th graders and national math tests for 8th graders. At the end of September, the House and the Senate both passed their versions of the fiscal 1998 spending measures for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education. The senate bill would distribute at least $11 billion directly to local school districts, bypassing the Education Department and state agencies. These actions caused President Clinton to issue a veto threat.
The Senate bill includes a compromise version of the Presidents national education testing program. The House bill prohibits federal money from being used for such tests. This dispute caused Education Secretary Richard Riley to halt development of the tests until it is settled.
An attempt to regain parental authority was presented through the Istook/Manzullo Amendment. This amendment passed but unfortunately it was first modified by the Porter Amendment which took out the written notification to a parent or guardian portion and replaced it with encouragement of family involvement.
Senator Coverdell introduced the Coverdell Education IRA Amendment to the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997. This amendment, which was approved by a wide margin (60-40) in the Senate, would have provided families with savings incentives and would have empowered parents to prioritize their childrens educational needs. When this legislation went to conference committee it was dropped because President Clinton threatened to veto the entire bill.
Senator Coverdell has now introduced this legislation as a separate bill, S. 1133, the Parent and Student Savings Account PLUS Act. In the House, Speaker Newt Gingrich and Congressman Bill Archer were the sponsors of Senator Coverdells bill. On October 23, 1997, the House version passed by a vote of 230-198. This legislation should be passed in order to give parents the greatest choices and the most flexibility as they seek the educational opportunities that will help their child achieve their fullest potential.
H.R. 2746 Help Scholarship Act
This legislation would have authorized states to use Title VI block grants under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to provide scholarships to low-income families to send their children to private schools, including religious schools.
H.R. 2616 Charter School Amendment Act
Authorizes $100 million for charter schools for FY 1998 and amends the Public Charter Schools Act (P.L. 103-382) to provide financial assistance to start new public charter schools, increase the total number of charter schools, and evaluate their success.
Charter schools are public schools that must meet federal statutes, receive federal funds and do not charge tuition. However they differ from traditional public schools in two major ways.
First, a charter school is exempt from several state and local rules governing public schools. The degree of flexibility charter schools have over operation and finances varies from state to state. Second, charter schools are accountable for specific goals and objectives. If the charter goals are not met, the school will be closed.
The Charter Schools Amendment Act directs the Secretary and the states to level the playing field and ensure that charter schools receive their fair share of federal categorical aid, such as Title I and special education funding. In some cases local education agencies have been hostile to some charter schools, and those charter schools have not been receiving their fair share of federal education dollars.
The bill also directs the Secretary to assist charter schools in gaining access to private capital. In his 1997 State of the Union Address, President Clinton vowed to expand the number of charters to 3,000 by the year 2000. The only Republican criticism of this particular point was that 3,000 charters are not enough.
Even teachers unions and school board associations, some of which spent thousands of dollars to fight charter legislation, are signing on to the concept of publicly funded schools that operate outside most state and district regulations. In early 1996 the National Education Association promised $1.5 million to help its affiliates start charter schools in five states and to study their progress.
H.R. 2614 Reading Excellence Act
This legislation is meant to improve literacy rates across the country. It authorizes state grants up to $260 million annually over three years to provide training programs for teachers along with support programs for young children who fail to establish their reading skills early in life.
FY 1998 Labor, Health & Human Services, and Education Appropriations Act
A compromise was reached between Clintons proposal to offer national reading tests for 4th graders and math tests for 8th graders and Goodlings amendment to prohibit national testing. The agreement gives the National Assessment Governing Board authority over the tests (Coats Amendment) but prohibits trial runs during the entire fiscal year which lasts until September 30, 1998.
The hold on field testing represents a victory for Chairman Bill Goodling who insisted that no money should be spent on field testing during the period covered by the spending bill.
The agreement also directs the National Academy of Sciences to study the tests while they are being developed and to recommend by September 1, 1998 whether national tests should be substituted for commercially available tests and state tests. This essentially postpones the White House plan to fully administer testing until the spring of 1999.
The Gorton Amendment, which would have completely defunded Goals 2000, the School to Work Opportunities Act, the National Education Goals Panel, National Skill Standards Board, Vocational Education, and over $4 billion worth of other federal education programs, was dropped.u