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At this time we oppose the bill as presented for a number of reasons I

shall discuss.

I'd like to emphasize that the NEA is not opposed to the concept of block

grants, grant consolidation, or simplification of the administration of federal

grants per se.

Our objection to the proposals in the bill is based largely on

several factors: (a) the inadequate amounts of money requested; (b) extension

of the coverage of all programs to include private school pupils; (c) the creation

of new state agencies for overseeing federal funds; (d) the dilution of aid to

federally connected pupils; (e) the lessening of the surveillance of federal programs

to insure that funds are indeed directed to top educational priorities--school

integration, education of the handicapped, education of the educationally disadvantaged.

Level of Funding.

As you are no doubt aware, the schools are in financial crisis.

This year many school systems across the nation are cutting back staff and programs

with the net effect of a decrease in the educational services pupils are receiving.

The administration's proposal does not provide any increase in funds for existing

programs.

It simply tosses in an additional $200 million to cover the difference

between the total of the state allotments under the existing grants and the formulas

in this proposal.

We cannot help but conclude that the major purposes of H.R. 7796 are unrelated

to its stated

purpose.

It seems that the thrust of this bill is to provide

administrative convenience and perhaps to bring political relief from the pressures

for full funding of existing grant programs.

This is not to deny that the administrative process could benefit from simpli

fication--but much of this simplification could be achieved by hacking away at the

administrative rules and regulations which accompany each title and by more coordination

among the federal administrators of the several federal grant programs.

True, some consolidation of federal grant programs is no

doubt feasible, but

not without a careful analysis of whether the national interest these programs are

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designed to serve has been met.

Indeed, we feel it would be a disaster to eliminate

some specific programs--for example, those which provide milk and lunch subsidies

for the nation's school pupils. This proposal provides that the states may transfer

up to 30% of the funds from one block grant to another, except that transfers cannot

be made from formula funds for a A category of federally connected pupils or from

the Title I pupils.

Because this proposal does not provide for a substantial increase

in federal funds or even an increase to meet inflation, the national interest would

not be served if the states elected to transfer, for example, 30 percent of the

vocational funds to the education of the handicapped or vice versa.

We do not

believe that this proposal is feasible at the existing levels of funding and without

a substantial increase in general aid-type funding.

Private School Pupils--We object to the inclusion of private school pupils

in those programs which are now limited to operation within the puplic schools.

While the bill provides no more funds, approximately 5 million additional pupils

would be sharing the programs.

The loss to public school pupils will be acute in

those states where the percentage of private school pupils is highest.

Vocational

programs in public schools will be especially hard hit.

New State Agency--Forty-nine of the fifty states already have state school

boards elected or appointed to oversee the states' schools.

It is our belief that

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the appointment of the state advisory council provided in Section 9 would do

nothing but create

confusion.

We also object to the fact that this proposal

permits the state's chief executive to by-pass the chief state school officer in

appointing the advisory council and even in administering the special educational

revenue sharing.

It makes no sense whatsoever to set the stage for two agencies-

for the state education agency to administer state funds and programs and the

governor's appointed council and agency to administer federal funds and programs.

Federally connected children--We note that the federal impact aid is not weaken

ed for category A pupils--those whose parents live and work on federal property.

But

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the aid does not follow the category B pupil with a parent merely working on federal

property or in the uniformed services.

The proposal that not more than 30 percent

of the entitlement for category B children can go to districts without any such

pupils is slight protection indeed.

We believe that the funds appropriated by

Congress to relieve the local burden of excessive numbers of pupils whose parents

are not employed by a taxable employer should be directed toward the school system

so impacted.

We also note that this proposal does not provide impact aid for children

living in public housing.

This was authorized in the last Congress but has never

been funded.

We stress the need to fully fund this authorization.

These pupils

do not have a local taxpayer or, in many instances, a taxable emp

behind them.

These are concentrations of children who need special educational services if the

chain of poverty is to be broken.

Weakening of Surveillance--Finally, at this point we are reluctant to weaken

the rate of progress in getting a fair share of educational opportunity for those

pupils who need it most--the minorities, the poor, and the handicapped. We view

this proposal--the no strings, no red tape approach--as an abdication of federal

responsibility for these pupils.

The Commissioner of Education, Sidney Marland,

has announced his intention of skewing all possible federal programs to the low

income, minority, and handicapped students.

We applaud him for this effort this

year.

We find H.R. 7796 which, in general, would weaken his ability to direct

federal funds inconsistent with his stated goals.

In summary, we urge the Congress to fully fund the grant programs which are

now law and to enact a substantial general aid program before considering consolida

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Senator PELL. The subcommittee will stand in recess until 10 o'clock tomorrow morning in this same room.

(Whereupon, at 11:55 a.m., the subcommittee was recessed to reconvene at 10 a.m., Thursday, October 28, 1971.)

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