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For those of you who like to follow goings on in DC......

Phil


COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION AND THE WORKFORCE
U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT:  David Schnittger
January 10, 2003
or Heather Valentine

202/225-4527




House Education Committee Republicans Preview ' 03 Education Policy
Agenda




WASHINGTON, D.C. - Republicans on the U.S. House Committee on Education
and the Workforce today previewed an ambitious education policy agenda
for the upcoming year focused on improving accountability and results
for students of all ages, helping public schools recruit and retain
highly qualified teachers, increasing education choices for low-income
families, and providing responsible spending increases for education
amid the twin challenges of war and economic uncertainty.

The committee's education efforts will again be led by Rep. John Boehner
(R-OH), the committee's chairman; Rep. Mike Castle (R-DE), chairman of
the Subcommittee on Education Reform; Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI),
chairman of the Subcommittee on Select Education; and Rep. Buck McKeon
(R-CA), chairman of the Subcommittee on 21st Century Competitiveness.
Among the priorities committee Republicans outlined today:



   o       Improving Special Education.  Republicans hope to work with
   Democrats to reauthorize and reform the Individuals with Disabilities
   Education Act (IDEA) in 2003 by insisting on results for children
with
   special needs and reducing the burden of paperwork for special
education
   teachers.  Republicans believe these reforms must be made as Congress
   works to provide the significant increase in IDEA spending for states
   ($1 billion) requested by President Bush.  The budget resolution
passed
   by House Republicans for FY 2003 calls for full funding of the
federal
   government's commitment to IDEA within 10 years - linked to reform
and
   results.

   o       Improving Quality & Accountability in Higher Education.
   Republicans hope to work with Democrats to reauthorize the Higher
   Education Act in 2003, with a strong emphasis on accountability and
   quality in higher education.  With college prices soaring to all-time
   highs, parents and students are paying far more for higher education
   than at any other time in U.S. history.  What are they getting for
their
   money?  Republicans are particularly concerned about the poor quality
of
   some of America's teacher colleges - a major impediment to public
   schools as they work to put a highly qualified teacher in every
   classroom by 2005, as called for in the bipartisan No Child Left
Behind
   Act.

   o       Reducing Red Tape in Higher Education.  Republicans and some
   Democrats on the Education and the Workforce Committee are already
   working together in 2003 to improve access to higher education and
   address soaring college prices by enacting bipartisan legislation to
   reduce red tape in federal student aid programs.  The "FED UP"
   legislation (H.R. 12), re-introduced this week with bipartisan
support,
   would make technical corrections to the Higher Education Act that
would
   make it easier for Hispanic-Serving Institutions to receive federal
aid,
   help college students avoid defaulting on their student loans,
clarify
   that federal scholarship aid can go to low-income and minority
students
   for law school, and improve higher education access in other ways
   recommended by the higher education community.

   o       Increasing Support for America's Minority-Serving
Institutions.
   Minority serving institutions of higher learning, such as
Historically
   Black Colleges and Universities and Hispanic Serving Institutions,
have
   received unprecedented federal support under President George W. Bush
-
   support committee Republicans will work to expand in the 108th
Congress
   while continuing with efforts to reach out to these schools, which
   President Bush has called "a vital part of our Nation's higher
education
   system."

   o       Strengthening Early Childhood Education.  Strengthening the
   academic focus of the federal Head Start early childhood education
   program while preserving its current health and nutrition services
for
   children is an important goal for Republicans in the 108th Congress.
   Republicans' objective will be improved school readiness for Head
Start
   children through an emphasis on proven early childhood education
methods
   and practices.  A similar emphasis is at the core of President Bush's
   popular Reading First initiative, included in the No Child Left
Behind
   Act.  Enhancing academic preparedness and strengthening teacher
quality
   for instructors must be priorities as Congress reauthorizes Head
Start.

   o       Successfully Implementing the No Child Left Behind Act.
   Republicans have pledged to continue to work with Education Secretary
   Rod Paige, governors, parents, principals, and teachers across
America
   to implement the bipartisan No Child Left Behind education reforms
   signed by President Bush in 2002, bringing accountability and high
   standards to federal K-12 spending to close the achievement gap
between
   disadvantaged students and their more fortunate peers.  A new
national
   survey shows support for the President's reforms is stronger than
ever
   before, and that a significant majority of Americans believe high
   standards and accountability will do more to improve schools than
   increasing education funding.  President Bush and Republicans will
seek
   to provide more of both.

   o       Supporting America's Teachers.  Republicans will resume
efforts
   to pass legislation proposed by President Bush and First Lady Laura
Bush
   to support America's teachers and support public schools in their
   attempts to recruit, train, and retain highly qualified teachers.
   Legislation is expected to be introduced that would provide up to
   $17,500 in federal student loan forgiveness for teachers who agree to
   serve in low-income schools.  Committee Republicans also hope to work
   with members of the House Ways & Means Committee to expand the
"Crayola
   credit" - the tax deduction proposed by President Bush and enacted in
   February 2002 that provides a tax deduction of up to $250 a year for
   teachers who pay money out of their own pockets for classroom
materials
   such as books, crayons, and other supplies.

   o       Preventing Child Abuse and Family Violence.  Committee
   Republicans will work to help prevent child abuse, neglect, and
family
   violence by reauthorizing the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment
Act
   (CAPTA), last reauthorized in 1996.  The reauthorizing legislation,
the
   Keeping Children and Families Safe Act (H.R. 14), builds upon changes
   made during the last CAPTA reauthorization to ensure states have the
   necessary resources and flexibility for identifying and addressing
the
   issues of child abuse and neglect and family violence, and for
   supporting effective methods of prevention and treatment.  H.R. 14
will
   also expand adoption opportunities to help build families between
   prospective parents and needy children.

   o       Improving Results in Vocational Education.  The Carl D.
Perkins
   Vocational and Technical Education Act, which provides federal
   assistance for secondary and postsecondary vocational education
programs
   at the high school level and at technical postsecondary and community
   colleges, will be reauthorized in 2003.  Committee Republicans will
   emphasize improving academic achievement for vocational-technical
   students and accountability for vocational-technical education at the
   secondary level.  Supporting innovative initiatives that promote
   seamless transitions from secondary to postsecondary education will
also
   be a focus.

   o       Supporting America's Libraries and Museums.  Libraries and
   museums play a vital role in educating children and promoting
   communities.  The bipartisan Museum and Library Services Act (H.R.
13)
   was introduced this week to maintain the modest but essential federal
   support for museum and library contributions to public education
   services, in partnership with local sources, and to promote our
nation's
   heritage.  Enactment of H.R. 13 is an important goal for Republicans
in
   the 108th Congress.




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