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As my colleague from Nebraska said, for States like Idaho and Nebraska, certainly a priority, Mr. Chairman, is impact aid. It has been and it remains a very necessary part of some school districts' funding, especially in a State like Idaho, where there is such a very large Federal presence. In my State of Idaho, 64 percent of the land base is owned by the Federal Government and is not taxable. Therefore, it is not part of the base that is the traditional funding mechanism for education and educational systems. Impact aid includes about 2,500 “a” students in Idaho, 11,000 "b" students, for a total of about $4.8 million.
We have some school districts in my State, and I would like to site one, the Lapwai School District, inside the Nez Perce Indian Reservation, that in large part would have a phenomenal number of students at risk if it were not for impact aid. But just the reverse is true. A quality educational program exists in that school system today. Native Americans are receiving educational training comparable to any across the Nation, in large part because of impact aid. It must remain a high and constant priority. And I am glad to hear you say, as administrations come and go and attempt to change and zero out this program, the committees of Congress, both the Senate and the House, have seen the necessary priorities to put the funding back in as we have been doing constantly over the years to recognize that kind of impact.
Let me speak briefly to a program that is also of extreme value in my State, and that is the Displaced Homemaker Self-Sufficiency Act and the funding for that. Authorized at a level of $35 million for fiscal year 1991, and such sums as may be necessary, this is a program that now funds six centers for new direction, in my State of Idaho, which have become phenomenally valuable due to separations in homes, divorces, widowhood, and spouses needing assistance to put themselves back on their feet through training and education and to become productive people who view themselves as being of worth once again. A very valuable program, one of those that I see as a priority at the Federal level while our State and local units of government are placing priorities at that level. Another area that has taken its cuts over the years, and because of the decrease in bonus commodities programs has raised the general costs, and that of course, is the National School Lunch Program. Very important. Hungry children deserve to be fed in this country of plenty. I have been a consistent supporter of that and ask once again that that remain the case here in the Senate.
Mr. Chairman, the National Youth Sports Program, another program that I would suggest is one of those that, when you have to pick and choose what are the roles of the State and the Federal Government, here is one that is a Federal role. Some 300 economically disadvantaged children in my State receive programs through an exemplary program that has been recognized nationwide at Lewis-Clark State College. It provides not only nutritional meals and learning, and work in the area of teaching the dangers of drugs, and getting a head start in educational and career opportunities. It is a program that works, and works well in my State. In 1990, Lewis-Clark State College's program was recognized as an exemplary program, and received an award for that.
Finally, Mr. Chairman, the TRIO precollege program, including educational opportunity centers, talent search, and Upward Bound, are successful in Idaho, and need adequate and responsible funding. Fortunately Congress has made an honest attempt to fund these programs in recent years. But there is still much room for improvement in Idaho as there are, I am sure, in all States across this country.
I guess the struggle we have, Mr. Chairman, is, of course, one of limited dollars and high priorities. And it will always be that, I would guess, and it becomes the responsibility of Congress to sort out those things that we at the Federal level think can best be responded to, charging the State and local units of government with their responsibilities in education, also.
And in closing, I must repeat, I am excited by the selection of Lamar Alexander as our new Secretary of Education. The kind of priorities that he has already suggested that have received some national attention, those that I think will challenge this Congress to work cooperatively with the administration to assure that we can recognize where we have failed, work to improve those areas, fund those areas which are now successful, and get on with the obvious and necessary need in this country of continuing to improve our educational systems.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, for the chance to come by and express my concerns and establish some of those priorities that I think are important for my State of Idaho.
[The statement follows:]
STATEMENT OF SENATOR LARRY E. CRAIG
Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to testify before your subcommittee. I ask that my full statement be made a part of the record. As a Member of the House of Representatives for 10 years, I had the privilege of working with and testifying before your counterpart in the House Appropriations subcommittee, Chairman Bill Natcher. I was a regular visitor on the issue of funding for impact_aid. Today, I would like to address that topic and also several programs which have been most successful in my own state of Idaho and should be funded at adequate levels— the displaced homemaker, TRIO, school lunch, and national youth sports programs. Before I do that however, I would like to take a minute to clear up one misperception. As we all know, George Bush wants to become known as the "education President." I have supported his efforts, through such initiatives as the Excellence in Education Act, and believe the addition of Lamar Alexander as Secretary of Education will help President Bush in attaining his goal. Nevertheless, many have been critical of the President, saying he is somehow not worthy of the label. One of their major complaints is that funding for education at the federal level is decreasing. This, Mr. Chairman, is flat wrong.
Just this year, the Department of Education budget was increased to more than $27.4 billion, up from $24.6 billion in 1990 and $22.7 billion in 1989. This is an increase of more than 20 percent for education since President Bush took office in January of 1989.
With this increase in funding, one might wonder why problems still exist. The reason is quite simple. The responsibility for education lies primarily at the state and local levels, not with the federal government. From my days in the Idaho state senate, I have always been a strong advocate of state funding for education. Some substantial progress has been made in the past few years, but there is a lot of work yet to be done. Local school boards, teachers, administrators and parents must continue to put pressure on their state legislators to support quality in education. That must not only include increased funding for education and a greater role for teachers in the decision making process, but public involvement in making education a high priority.
I also believe that a limited federal role is appropriate. This is especially true when the presence of the federal governnment directly affects a local school district's ability to raise revenue. Such is the case with impact aid. When the U.S. Congress passed Public Law 81-874 in 1950, it recognized the need to provide basic quality education to children whose parents live and/or work on federal lands. These federally secured properties are not taxable by local units of government, and this prevents school districts from generating revenue through property taxes. The effect of this tax exemption hits Idaho school districts particularly hard because approximately two-thirds of the state is owned by the federal government. In Idaho, 38 school districts are federally impacted and qualify for impact aid. This includes 2,575 "a" students and 11,203 "b" students, for a total of over $4.8 million in aid. Without the impact aid funds, these students would be deprived of an education equal to that of students in neighboring schools. The local property tax base simply would not be able to provide the necessary funds for a basic education. In the Lapwai School District, located in north central Idaho within the boundaries of the Nez Perce Indian Reservation, more than 50 percent of the students are native Americans, and more than 70 percent of the district's entire enrollment is eligible for free or reduced lunches. Impact aid therefore represents a significant portion of Lapwai's budget.
These students could be referred to as “at risk” children. However, because of impact aid, the Lapwai School District is able to provide them with a quality education. They have shown improvement over their entering first grade scores, and that improvement has continued as they move through higher grades. The dropout rate in the Lapwai schools is one of the lowest in the nation among schools with a significant Indian population (20 percent or more). According to school officials, it is the Public Law 81-874 funds, that account for the Lapwai School District's low dropout rate and high graduation success. Lapwai is only one example of the importance of impact aid and its positive effects in Idaho and throughout the nation.
Mr. Chairman, among my top priorities in Congress has been reducing federal spending and requiring Congress to balance the budget. However, it is essential that Congress understand the fundamental difference between unwarranted spending programs and impact aid. Impact aid funding is not just given to any school district rather, it is given to local educational agencies which are demonstrably affected by a federal presence. Impact aid is compensation for federal use, not another federal give-away program. This is an important distinction.
I have always been a strong advocate of state funding for education, but to the extent that such funding is hampered by federal activities, the federal government must compensate school districts. Failure to fund impact aid at the fullest level possible would result in nothing less than breaking faith with the American people. Destroying this understanding that has existed for decades one that many school districts depend upon for survival—would endanger the adequate education of our youth.
It is for these reasons I urge the subcommittee to continue to fulfill the federal government's obligation to federally impacted school districts.
Turning to another topic, the Displaced Homemakers Self Sufficiency Act was authorized during the 101st Congress (Public Law 101-554) at a level of $35 million for fiscal year 1991 and such sums as may be necessary for each succeeding fiscal year. While President Bush requested $527 million for dislocated workers under the economic dislocation and worker adjustment assistance program, no fiscal year 1992 funding was requested for the Displaced Homemaker Self Sufficiency Act.
In Idaho, six "centers for new direction" use displaced homemaker funds. These centers provide career information, retraining, and, ultimately, take people off welfare and place them in the work force. These services are important to those who are forced out of the home due to separation, divorce, widowhood or the disability of a spouse.
An appropriations level of $25 million would assure that Idaho and every other state received funding from the program. I encourage you to give every consideration to funding this program, provided that the funding level is consistent with a reasonable domestic budget.
The national school lunch program has sustained great losses due to the decrease in the bonus commodities program and a general rise in costs. I request that you carefully consider the importance of this program, as well, and support a reasonable budget appropriation to maintain it. The school lunch program is important not only to the needy, but to all children.
The national youth sports program (NYSP) is another program that deserves adequate funding during fiscal year 1992. In Idaho, Lewis-Clark State College (LCSC) runs an outstanding youth sports program. Each summer, up to 300 economically disadvantaged children are given the opportunity to come to the LCSC campus and
participate in sporting events, receive nutritious meals, learn about the dangers of drugs, get a head start on educational and career opportunities, and make lifetime friends. This is an invaluable community service provided by LCSC and its athletic director, Ken Woody. It is made possible only through funding from NYSP and the generous support of Lewiston area citizens.
During 1990, LCSC's program was recognized by NYSP for an exemplary award, along with several others around the nation, and the program is only improving. Nationwide, the NYSP provides a unique opportunity for more than 65,000 economically disadvantaged youngsters to be exposed to a college environment and receive a variety of important services and opportunities each year, similar to those at LCSC.
The NYSP, which is funded as a community services block grant program, is a joint effort of the federal government, 150 colleges and universities, and the National Collegiate Athletic Association. Because the NYSP generates about twice the amount of the federal appropriation from state, local and private sources, it is a very cost-effective use of federal funds. The NYSP is a low-cost/high yield program with a 23-year record of success.
Finally, TRIO pre-college programs, including educational opportunity centers, Talent Search and Upward Bound, are successful in Idaho and need adequate funding. Fortunately, Congress has made an honest attempt to fund these programs in recent years, but there is still much room for improvement. In Idaho, TRIO programs exist at all of the major four-year universities and assist a number of collegebound students.
Congress established these programs to help disadvantaged students enter college, graduate and move on to participate more fully in America's economic and social life. TRIO programs helps disadvantaged students overcome barriers to higher education by providing information, counseling, academic instruction, tutoring, assistance in applying for financial aid, encouragement and support. The price paid by the federal government for these programs has been a relatively small one and I urge the subcommittee to support them.
Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, I hope you will give these comments due consideration, and I thank you for your time.
Senator HARKIN. Senator Craig, thank you very much for your appearance here. Your statement, I did not say before, will be made a part of the record in its entirety. I just repeat to you what I said to Senator Exon about impact aid. Obviously it is a Federal responsibility, and especially in States like yours where the Federal presence is so heavy in terms of land ownership, displacing the taxing base of the States. So, I am sure that we will do our best to meet our responsibilities in that area.
In some of these other areas, again, it is just a question of competing dollars with other programs. The TRIO Program has had a lot of support from members of this subcommittee on both sides, over a long period of time. There is a slight increase in the budget request for next year. There is no cut in national youth sports. It is left, basically, the same as last year. With displaced homemakers, there was no request for any funding there, but we are going to look at that. It passed last year-very late in the year? Senator CRAIG. Yes.
Senator HARKIN. We could not get anything into it, but we are going to take a look and see if there might be something this year. Senator CRAIG. Good.
Senator HARKIN. But, again, I plead with you as I do everyone else. The budget constraints are almost impossible on this subcommittee in trying to meet health, education, human services, and other requirements, it gets pretty tough.
Senator CRAIG. All important.
Senator HARKIN. Yes; all important. I appreciate your testimony and your support of these programs very much, Larry. Thank you. Senator CRAIG. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Senator HARKIN. Thank you, Senator Craig.
STATEMENT OF AMBASSADOR HARRY G. BARNES, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CRITICAL LANGUAGES AND AREA STUDIES CONSORTIUM Senator HARKIN. The next witness is the Honorable Harry G. Barnes. Ambassador Barnes is executive director of the Critical Language and Area Studies Consortium. And welcome, Ambassador Barnes, to the subcommittee, I appreciate seeing you again, Harry.
Ambassador BARNES. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Those of us who have served in the Foreign Service like to believe that we learn the value of time, and therefore, brevity and precision. Although, as diplomats, we are sometimes accused of not being able to give a straight answer to a straight question. I prefer to say that we try to express ourselves as accurately and clearly as possible, which is what I want to try to do today.
To put it bluntly, we Americans know too little about the rest of the world, and all to often, neither understand others nor, make ourselves understood. There is no doubt now about the importance of Japan, nor certainly for the last 8 months, at least, of the Middle East. Both areas represent languages that are difficult to master and cultures not easy to understand. So the study needs to start much earlier than college. And yet there are not more than a few dozen high schools that teach Arabic, and only about 600 that teach Japanese.
I know from my own experience of learning languages how much difference it makes to be able to communicate in someone else's language, and we will simply fool ourselves if we think the rest of the world will go on learning English indefinitely, or that we cannot sell better in another language, whether it is ideas or goods and services.
There are a number of organizations which have been working to stress the importance of Americans becoming competent in other languages such as the Joint National Committee on Languages. The Critical Languages and Area Studies Consortium, which I represent, for its part, is focusing specifically on four of the most critical: Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, and Russian. We have already undertaken, with foundation support, innovative programs in Arabic and Chinese.
Your committee, Mr. Chairman, recognized the importance of this area in last year's bill by appropriating funds under general existing legislation for critical language training, and urging that funds be made available for programs of the consortium. On both matters, however, the Department of Education has yet to act. This session, bills have been introduced in both Houses with provisions to authorized more targeted attention to critical languages and area studies. Given the need for more young Americans to be able to communicate around the world in areas critical to our country, I ask the committee to continue the consistent support for critical languages training, and also to provide funding for demonstration grants, once they are authorized, hopefully later this year.
Mr. Chairman, I hope that fits within the time limits.
Senator HARKIN. I appreciate it very much, Mr. Ambassador. Just reviewing what we did on this last year, we put in the report