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I realize you should share that credit with the other members of the task force but I have to note it was John Phillips and not the task force who received the laurels from our earlier witnesses that I am passing on this morning.
This is the third session this subcommittee has held on the Department's refusal to carry out section 1202 and the implications arising therefrom for other sections of the Higher Education Act of 1965, notably title X.
Our first witnesses have been either expert witnesses testifying as to the background and history of section 1202 or spokesmen for education associations, spokesmen with various attitudes toward how section 1202 should be carried out.
The American Association of Junior and Community Colleges to the surprise of no one has urged that title X be carried out expeditiously and that the 1202 commissions be established promptly as a step in that direction.
Yesterday the Association of State Colleges and Universities and the Land-Grant organization testifying together in the person of Darrell Holmes urged that the Congress refrain for the time being from funding title X.
So, our hearings have demonstrated a healthy and understandable divergence among education groups as to what should be in the 1202 guidelines and regulations and what the Congress should do about other parts of the act.
I did not notice any "confusion" on their part but I did notice differences of opinion. But on one point-and I call this to the attention of our distinguished witnesses today-there was no difference of opinion. Witnesses speaking for most of the higher education community spoke with one voice.
They urged, they pleaded for, they demanded that the issues paper which has been kept under wraps by the Office of Education should be relased so that further public discussion could ensue.
I am therefore delighted to say that the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare has provided me as chairman of this subcommittee with a copy of the issues paper without condition, although he makes a very strong recommendation against its publication at this time on the ground that it would cause "confusion."
Having weighed the issues very carefully, I believe the paper should be printed as a part of this record with the clear and unmistakeable warning that it is only a draft, that it does not represent the thinking of the Office of Education and that no one should look upon it as a basis for compliance with section 1202 and that it may or may not represent the regulations that will eventually be issued with respect
to 1202 commissions.
I am directing the staff to see to it that in printing these hearings some such caveat be printed on each such page of the issue paper so that no confusion shall arise.
I feel very strongly that on an issue as important as the creation of 1202 commissions that having the issues paper available to the educational community, to the legislatures who deal with higher education laws and to others involved and interested in higher education, is useful, not harmful and that giving them an opportunity to see the
issues delineated and to discuss those issues will be an advantage when the time has come to issue the regulations. In short, I believe we are. less endangered by error than by ignorance.
Let me say that I appreciate the willingness of the Secretary to permit this paper to be discussed. There was one other aspect of the testimony we have taken thus far on which there is unanimity.
All witnesses praised the Department for its policy of providing for the widest possible distribution of the first draft and for its willingness to discuss ideas from the community and to alter its own views where those other suggestions were deemed to have merit.
Secretary Weinberger and I will probably differ on many items in the future but in his decision to provide this second draft to the subcommittee he is following the path marked out by his predecessor with regard to the first draft.
It is a good road and I hope we can all stay on it.
Mr. Ottina, we would be very pleased to hear your statement. I am sure that Mr. Dellenback and Mr. Huber and I are going to be anxious to discuss the problem with you and Mr. Phillips and Mr. Muirhead. Please give us your thoughts on this subject.
STATEMENT OF HON. JOHN R. OTTINA, COMMISSIONER-DESIGNATE, UNITED STATES OFFICE OF EDUCATION; ACCOMPANIED BY PETER P. MUIRHEAD, ACTING DEPUTY COMMISSIONER FOR HIGHER EDUCATION, AND JOHN D. PHILLIPS, CHAIRMAN, TASK FORCE ON STATE POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION COMMISSIONS
Mr. OTTINA. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee.
Before I begin with my prepared testimony, let me add publicly my thanks to John Phillips and the task force as well.
We think they have done a splendid job and I would only add a parenthetical note to your statement about the publishing of the second draft issue paper in the record which I am sure, Mr. O'Hara, you are very much aware of, and that is before any regulation itself became effective it would be required to be published in the Federal Register and be open for public comment for 30 days.
Mr. O'HARA. I think that ought to be made clear. The staff is directed to make that clear with respect to the publication of the issues paper.
As you know, there is already wide discussion of the issues involved and to have this additional material, I think, will help refine and direct the discussion. That is my view. I know there are other views.
Mr. OTTINA. We, too, found the wide discussion very comfortable. As I am sure you are aware the diversions of opinion was to start with even wider perhaps than you have heard recently and the wide discussion that was held which lasted 4 months has helped not only crystalize some of the conditions but helped converge workable solutions to all points of view.
Again, I appreciate the opportunity to appear before you today to share our thinking on the State postsecondary education commissions authorized by section 1202 of the Higher Education Act of 1965,
as amended by the Education Amendments of 1972, Public Law 92-318. Provision for these new postsecondary education commissions was included in the legislation signed by the President last June.
Upon enactment, the Office of Education established a number of task forces to plan for the implementation of each of the new and amended programs included in the law.
The task forces, composed of staff from the Office of Education and other appropriate offices within the Department, were charged with the responsibility of preparing issue papers, reports, and program regulations necessary to put the Office in a position to administer any program for which funding might be requested. This procedure is typical of the approach used by the Office to implement any new program. However, because of the broad scope of the amendments which related to postsecondary education, we attempted to broaden our base of participation in the policy development process by involving, at an early stage in the development of our plans, persons in the postsecondary education community who would be affected by the programs.
In the case of the State postsecondary education commissions, the task force remained an internal working group. However, it chose to seek the involvement of interested persons by distributing a series of working papers to institutions, students, State governing bodies, and associations potentially affected by the section 1202 State commissions, to seek their input in the preparation of a final report and rules and regulations for the program.
A preliminary report of the task force was distributed on December 4, 1972. The Office received almost 500 substantive responses commenting on various provisions of the report. These comments were analyzed by the task force during the period of December 18-January 20. A revised report, based on the comments of the field, including preliminary draft regulations, was transmitted from the task force to me on February 1, 1973.
It is that report that you referred to earlier, Mr. Chairman.
The Education Amendments of 1972 had envisioned major functions and responsibilities for the State postsecondary education commissions in connection with the new authorizations for comprehensive statewide planning, community college education, occupational education, and improvement of postsecondary education. In addition, the law atuhorized the section 1202 State commissions to serve as State administrative/planning commissions for existing programs in community services and continuing education-title I-equipment for undergraduate instruction-title VI-and grants for construction of undergraduate academic facilities-title VII, transferred from the Higher Education Facilities Act by Public Law 92-318.
However, by the time the task force completed its work, the President's budget for fiscal year 1974 had been submitted to the Congress. The budget recommends that the community service, instructional equipment, and academic facilities grant programs be terminated, in accordance with our general shift away from narrow categorical programs. In addition, no funding is requested to implement any of the community college or occupational education authorities.
Furthermore, while the President's budget does request $15 million to support projects and programs for improvement of postsecondary
education under section 404 of the General Education Provisions Act, it is the opinion of our Office of General Counsel that the establishment of the section 1202 State commission is not a necessary prerequisite to the award of assistance.
The law provides only that where a section 1202 State commission is properly established in a State, no award may be made under section 404 of the GEPA to an institution of postsecondary education in the State unless the program proposal has been submitted to that section 1202 commission and it has been afforded an opportunity to comment and make recommendations to the responsible Federal program office. In the absence of a section 1202 commission in a State, the guidelines for Section 404 encourage applicants to consult with such appropriate State agencies or commissions that do exist and have responsibility for postsecondary education. Therefore, it did not seem that the commissions would be required for the operation of this program.
Under the circumstances, we determined that we should indefinitely defer our plans for distribution of the revised report of the task force. Simultaneously, since we proposed no duties for the commissions to perform, we suspended all activity relative to the establishment of the section 1202 commissions.
This decision was based on our feeling that it would be unwise and unfair to encourage States to alter established systems for the planning and coordination of postsecondary education without the promise of some Federal financial support for their activities.
The decisions seemed especially prudent since many States have indicated that it will require a considerable realignment of agencies and responsibilities in order for them to meet the requirements of section 1202.
Of course, a State may, on its own, establish or designate a commission to plan comprehensibly for the State's postsecondary education system, supported by State funds. However, since the budget requests funds only for the improvement of postsecondary education under section 404 of the General Education Provisions Act, we felt it inadvisable to encourage States to take such steps under the Federal law at their own expense. We did not want to hold out the false promise of additional money as a result of compliance with Federal guidelines.
We appreciate your interest in the whole question concerning the section 1202 commissions. I hope you understand our reasons for deciding it would be unwise, and unnecessarily confusing to States, to distribute the revised report concerning their establishment. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have. Mr. O'HARA. Thank you very much, Mr. Commissioner.
You mentioned you received some 500 responses from those to whom you had sent copies of the earlier issues paper on this subject and that you analyzed the responses.
I wonder if you could summarize for us your analysis of those responses. What in general in fairly broad terms were the responses about and from whom?
Mr. OTTINA. We received responses from a very broad set of people including the Governors of States, State legislators, institutions of
private, public. postsecondary education, departments of education, many, many, many sets of people.
We have a set of responses that point out in some cases difficulties with their present structure. We have responses that point out that there are fears that the strict interpretation of these guidelines would impose a set of Federal requirements that would overlay State and other responsibilities.
We have responses that support the commissions. We have a whole set and perhaps Mr. Phillips who is sitting here beside me and who has analyzed those would add a few sentences.
Mr. PHILLIPS. I would say the criticisms generally fell into three major categories. No. 1 would be the concern Mr. Ottina has mentioned and that is the concern on the part of a number of persons in the States, major institutions within the States, State agencies, Governors' offices about the potentiality of the 1202 commission disrupting ongoing efforts to secure effective plans for postsecondary education at the State level.
A second kind of concern would revolve around the exact role of these commissions. I think there was a considerable amount of anxiety about some statements that appeared in the preliminary report that perhaps stated the role of the commission too broadly in terms of coordinating as opposed to strictly planning functions.
The third came to be regarded as the $64.000 question, which was what constitutes "broadly and equitably representative." That had a number of variations.
That general theme prompted perhaps 200 or 300 of the different letters coming in concerned about one particular issue within that general question.
Mr. OTTINA. Typical of that issue was concern not only in terms of the institutions that are to be represented in numbers but also concerns about the composition in terms of ethic and representation as well as I recall.
Mr. PHILLIPS. And the balance between public and private members and so on.
That language was obviously subject to a lot of different interpretations. We got a lot of mail on it.
Mr. O'HARA. Inasmuch as the Chair has already made perhaps a wrongheaded decision to put this second issues paper in the record of this hearing, I wonder if you felt it would be appropriate to comment on what some of the major differences between the first and second issues paper might be, or would you rather avoid that?
Mr. OTTINA. Since you have already made that decision, I think it would be useful to try to do that for the sake of clarification and I would ask Mr. Phillips to briefly summarize the differences.
Mr. PHILLIPS. Mr. Chairman, I have done a written summary that I can refer to.
Mr. OTTINA. Perhaps we can give you the highlights at this time and submit it for the record.
Mr. O'HARA. Without objection, the summary will be submitted for the record and we will be pleased to hear your comments. [Summary appears on pp. 179–182.]