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defines program goals, dollar limits, requires state plans, provides for com
pliance to federal guidelines and regulations,
The Secretary's fund is
not subject to any such conditions or accountability.
Authorization of Appropriations
Section 3 of the bill provides that Congress shall provide "such sums as
may be necessary for carrying out this Act."
We have generally been opposed
to authorizing language which does not specify a dollar amount.
And such is
the case now.
We believe that a bill of this scope, nearly the whole federal
commitment to elementary and secondary education, should define both the
financial needs of education and the federal objective or target in response
By excluding such figures, the bill, in effect, shifts to the
Appropriations Committee, a function which we prefer to have performed under
the expertise of this Subcommittee.
Mr. Chariman, we fully applaud the President for recognizing administra
tive problems which confront school boards in the management of Federal pro
But, as desirous as we are to seek the enactment of a special revenue shar
ing plan, we will not embrace any proposal until all questions pertaining to
the distribution formula are resolved.
However, even should the formula contained
in S.1669 prove to be acceptable, we are absolutely opposed to the enactment of
this bill because of 1) its treatment of the Impact Aid including Public Housing
Programs, 2) its inclusion of non public school representation on the State Advisory
Council and its failure to provide for local school board representation thereon
3) its failure to provide local school boards with a procedure to challenge state
plans and financial distributions made thereunder 4) and its failure to state a Senator PELL. Our final witnesses today are Dr. Jean Hebler, president, Council for Exceptional Children, and Mr. William Geer, executive secretary, Council for Exceptional Children. STATEMENT OF WILLIAM C. GEER, EXECUTIVE SECRETARY, COUN
financial goal in the authorization of appropriations.
Furthermore, while we recognize the need for a discretionary fund, we urge
that controls thereon be written into the legislation.
CIL FOR EXCEPTIONAL CHILDREN; ACCOMPANIED BY DAVID BRADDOCK, COUNCIL FOR EXCEPTIONAL CHILDREN Mr. GEER. Mr. Chairman, I am William Geer. I regret Dr. Jean Hebler could not be here today, due to a previous engagement with another organization which was impossible for her to cancel.
I am pleased to bring with me today Mr. David Braddock. I want to tell you of one of our interests in State legislation first.
The Council for Exceptional Children is quite often called upon, and we respond to the fullest extent of our ability, to assist States in their planning for the education of exceptional children. We are currently engaged in an effort funded by the Office of Education, Bureau for the Education of the Handicapped, through six workshops across the country in acquainting the education commission of the States with needs of handicapped children and dramatizing a model law for each of the States if they would like to adopt part or all of it in their own legislative structure.
In preparation for that, the Council prepared a digest of State and Federal legislation for the handicapped, and a book which outlines issues and recommendations on this.
At this time, Senator, I would like to present your committee with a copy of this for your research needs.
Senator PELL. Thank you very much, indeed. Mr. GEER. I think it will come in handy when you consider what the efforts of the State governments are, and they are clearly set forth in those books.
Senator PELL. Thank you, it will be very useful.
Mr. GEER. One reason for bringing Mr. Braddock with me today is that he has been working with us as an intern from the University of Texas, since August, and he is the coauthor of one of the books. Mr. Braddock is a very capable young man, and I am sure you will take justifiable pride that your committee and the similar committee in the House made possible the legislation for training personnel, under which he has been trained.
I think he is a product that speaks well for legislation for the handicapped which the Congress has initiated.
I would like, with your permission, sir, to ask Mr. Braddock to read our statement today.
Senator PELL. With delight.
The Council for Exceptional Children, representing over 40,000 professionals involved in the education of the handicapped, is delighted to have this opportunity to present our statement regarding the Education Revenue-Sharing Act of 1971.
We are, however, saddened by the recent death of your esteemed colleague and long-time advocate of programs for the handicapped the late Senator Winston Prouty. We share this feeling with millio
of handicapped children and their families. We shall miss his leadership.
The sponsors of Senate bill 1669 and the administration are to be commended for including specific provisions for the handicapped in the proposed legislation. Such inclusion is in consonance with the call of Commissioner Sidney Marland of the Office of Education for full educational opportunity for the handicapped by 1980. Approaches which simplify administration and enhance the stimulative role of the Federal Government are to be applauded.
The Federal role in the education of the handicapped is severely restricted by insufficient funding. Present support is $115 million, of which $37.5 million goes to the States for model programs. Additional support is earmarked under specific subparts of title I and title III of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and under the Vocational Education Act. Combined Federal support comes to about $215 million, which compares to $3 to $4 billion in State costs and amounts to only $26 per child for 7 million handicapped children. And still, 60 percent of these children do not receive the educational services need.
The bill S. 1669 repeals and consolidates this legislation, and, while it simplifies the administration of funds, it increases the likelihood that an inequitably small share of education moneys will serve the handicapped. This should be of particular concern to this committee since it initiated the earmarks in the aforementioned legislation.
Using the proposed formula in the bill and applying it to a $3 billion total appropriation figure, only $171 million is provided for the education of handicapped children. This figure, could further be reduced by 30 percent. Consequently, many of our members in leadership positions in State agencies have expressed anxiety that removing these earmarkings would jeopardize the movement of the handicapped child into the mainstream of education. Fewer children would be afforded fewer services.
In a poll conducted by our organization among our members, most respondents felt that the handicapped would lose the 30 percent discretionary allotment. Yet 70 percent of the State directors of special education polled indicated they could effectively spend increments from double to nine times present expenditures under the aid to States provision, title VI(B),
of the Education of the Handicapped Act. Title VI (B) of the Education of the Handicapped Act is basically an education revenue sharing provision. Its level of funding, although it has gradually increased to $35 million, indicates the unwillingness of this administration and previous administrations to adequately fund it. Yet, education of the handicapped is cost beneficial. Costs of institutionalization often exceed $4,000 per year and, like welfare costs, can be avoided for the vast majority of the handicapped by providing appropriate education.
The States use Federal funds to stimulate local and State support by demonstrating the effectiveness of new educational programs and initiating programs with Federal funds that are subsequently continued under State funding. Even with the limited level of Federal funding, title VI(B) has achieved admirable results. Unfortunately, all we envision Senate bill 1669 doing is reducing the level of Federal support through a title VI(B) approach.
We are not opposed to the concept of education revenue sharing. We are opposed to any Federal posture which provides illusory program growth for the education of handicapped children.
Although we express no general disapproval of the concept embodied in Senate bill 1669, we implore recognition of two facts:
Handicapped children are a mínority in education, and programs of substance have not emerged until legislative statutes specified their existence.
Secondly, existing legislation, with accelerated funding, provides the authority with which to pursue full educational opportunity for the handicapped.
Therefore, if Senate bill 1669 is to be enacted into law, we suggest the following amendment:
The formula for determining the handicapped share should be reconstituted to provide a guarantee of at least a $300 million level of funding or present earmarkings under title I, title III, and the Vocational Education Act are to be steadfastly maintained.
The definition of handicapped children must be broadened to include the child with specific learning disability. Public Law 91–230 set up a model program for these children, and it is our hope that Senate bill 1669 would extend this spirit.
Mr. Chairman, the Council for Exceptional Children is pleased to have had the opportunity to assist the subcommittee in its endeavors.
Senator PELL. As I read your testimony, you would vote, if you had to make a choice, no, rather than yes on this bill. Is that an oversimplification of that?
Mr. GEER. Personally, I would introduce amendments to it, and if they were not successful, I would vote no to it.
Senator PELL. But in the present form, you would vote no?
Mr. GEER. Since it reduces the amount of money to the handicapped and since there is a further hazard of a 30-percent reduction further, we would find it hard to support the legislation in its present form, although some of the provisions are very admirable.
Senator PELL. Just to be sure I got the message, in its present form you would vote how?
Mr. GEER. I would vote no.
Mr. GEER. This is my personal view, however, not the Council's because we do not have a position at this time.
Senator PELL, I understand.
Would the handicapped be likely to get attention through competition for State-distributed Federal funds ?
In other words, how would they come out in competition?
Mr. GEER. In some States they would, where they are already going good. In other States, I must confess that in my 25 years of experience in this field, I am led to believe that it is entirely dependent upon administrative factors as to which educational program receives the greatest attention.
Why don't you give him the figures you have here?
Mr. BRADDOCK. This was a question that we polled 16 States regarding, and I will read the question first:
If revenue sharing or block grant procedures for education were instituted a described by Secretary Richardson, to what degree would handicapped childr be able to receive an equitable percentage of funds in your State?