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105th Congress Report
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
1st Session 105-349
EXPRESSING THE SENSE OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES THAT THE
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, STATES, AND LOCAL EDUCATION AGENCIES SHOULD
SPEND A GREATER PERCENTAGE OF FEDERAL EDUCATION TAX DOLLARS IN OUR
October 28, 1997.--Referred to the House Calendar and ordered to be
Mr. Goodling, from the Committee on Education and the Workforce,
submitted the following
R E P O R T
[To accompany H. Res. 139]
The Committee on Education and the Workforce, to whom was
referred the resolution (H. Res. 139) expressing the sense of
the House of Representatives that the Department of Education,
States, and local education agencies should spend a greater
percentage of Federal education tax dollars in our children's
classrooms, having considered the same, report favorably
thereon with an amendment and recommend that the resolution as
amended be agreed to.
The amendment is as follows:
Strike the preamble and the resolve clause and insert the
Whereas we know that effective teaching takes place when we begin (1)
helping children master basic academics, (2) engaging and involving
parents, (3) creating safe and orderly classrooms, and (4) getting dollars
to the classroom;
Whereas our Nation's children deserve an educational system which will
provide opportunities to excel;
Whereas States and localities must spend a significant amount of Federal
education tax dollars applying for and administering Federal education
Whereas several States have reported that although they receive less than
10 percent of their education funding from the Federal Government, more
than 50 percent of their paperwork is associated with those Federal
Whereas while it is unknown exactly what percentage of Federal education
dollars reaches the classroom, a recent audit of New York City public
schools found that only 43 percent of their local education budget reaches
the classroom. Further, it is thought that only 85 percent of funds
administered by the United States Department of Education for elementary
and secondary education reach the school district level. Even if 65 percent
of Federal education funds presently reach the classroom, it still means
that billions of dollars are not directly spent on children in the
Whereas American students are not performing up to their full academic
potential, despite significant Federal education initiatives, which span
multiple Federal agencies;
Whereas, according to the Digest of Education Statistics, in 1993 only
$141,598,786,000 out of $265,285,370,000 spent on elementary and secondary
education was spent on ``instruction'';
Whereas, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, in 1994
only 52 percent of staff employed in public elementary and secondary school
systems were teachers;
Whereas too much of our Federal education funding is spent on bureaucracy,
and too little is spent on our Nation's youth;
Whereas getting 90 percent of Department of Education elementary and
secondary education funds to the classroom could provide substantial
additional funding per classroom across the United States;
Whereas more education funding should be put in the hands of someone in a
child's classroom who knows the child's name;
Whereas burdensome regulations and mandates should be removed so that
school districts can devote more resources to children in classrooms;
Whereas President Clinton has stated: ``We cannot ask the American people
to spend more on education until we do a better job with the money we've
Whereas President Clinton and Vice President Gore agree that the
reinventing of public education will not begin in Washington but in
communities across America and that we must ask fundamental questions about
how our public school systems' dollars are spent; and
Whereas President Clinton and Vice President Gore agree that in an age of
tight budgets, we should be spending public funds on teachers and children,
not on unnecessary overhead and bloated bureaucracy: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the House of Representatives urges the Congress, the
Department of Education, States, and local educational agencies to--
(1) determine the extent to which Federal elementary and
secondary education dollars are currently reaching the
(2) work together to remove barriers that currently prevent a
greater percentage of funds from reaching the classroom; and
(3) work toward the goal that at least 90 percent of the
United States Department of Education elementary and secondary
education program funds will ultimately reach classrooms, when
feasible and consistent with applicable law.
The purpose of this resolution is to encourage Congress,
the U.S. Department of Education, States and school districts
to work toward the goal of getting 90 percent of U.S.
Department of Education elementary and secondary program funds
Congressman Joseph Pitts (R-PA), Congressman Roy Blunt (R-
MO), Congressman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Congressman Pete
Hoekstra (R-MI) introduced House Resolution 139 on May 1, 1997.
The Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the
Committee on Education and the Workforce held a hearing on how
to ensure more Federal dollars are sent to the classroom on May
8, 1997 in Washington D.C. At that hearing, the Subcommittee
received testimony from the Honorable Joseph Pitts of
Pennsylvania; the Honorable Roy Blunt of Missouri; the
Honorable Lindsey Graham of South Carolina; Christine Olson,
Heritage Foundation Policy Analyst; Dr. Barbara Stock Nielsen,
State Superintendent of Education in South Carolina; Dr.
Charles Garris, Superintendent of Unionville-Chadds Ford School
District in Pennsylvania; and Helen Martin, Unionville High
Testimony regarding the amount of paperwork and bureaucracy
that is associated with participation in Federal education
programs has also been received at the twelve ``Education at a
Crossroads: What Works? What's Wasted?'' field hearings held
around the nation by the Subcommittee on Oversight and
Investigations during 1997. The ``Education at a Crossroads''
project involves getting feedback from Americans around the
country from all walks of life about what they think is working
in education and where funds may be wasted.
The Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Youth and Families
favorably reported the bill, with amendments, to the full
Committee on Education and the Workforce on June 12, 1997 by a
voice vote. Amendments adopted in Subcommittee broadened the
resolved clause by encouraging all parties to determine how
much of the Federal education dollar is reaching classrooms
now, to remove barriers that are preventing more money from
getting into the classroom, and then working toward a goal that
90 percent of funds would reach classrooms when feasible and
consistent with applicable law.
On June 25, 1997, the Committee on Education and the
Workforce favorably reported House Resolution 139, as amended,
by a vote of 20 to 16.
The Committee on Education and the Workforce believes that
there is nothing more important to the future of our country
than all children having the opportunity for a quality
education. The Committee believes that this can be achieved by
supporting strong basic academics, parent involvement, and
getting dollars into the classroom.
There has been no comprehensive study to definitively
answer the question, ``How much of the Federal education dollar
is currently reaching the classroom?'' However, information
from the Congressional Research Service, the General Accounting
Office, the Heritage Foundation, the U.S. Department of
Education, and the work of other school finance experts
indicates that less than 90 cents of every Federal education
dollar may currently be reaching the classroom.
The Committee believes that the paperwork and
administrative costs that exist at every step as Federal
education money makes its way to our nation's classrooms from
the U.S. Department of Education should be examined to
determine how much money is spent on bureaucracy. The Committee
believes that Federal and State costs of administering Federal
programs, as well as local costs for a school district to apply
for, administer and report on Federal programs should be
examined to gain a complete understanding of how funds are
currently being used.
The recommendation that more Federal funds should reach
classrooms directly has resulted from the ``Education at a
Crossroads: What Works? What's Wasted?'' project. During the
field hearings that the Subcommittee on Oversight and
Investigations has held over the past five months, testimony
was received from teachers, principals, and state and local
school administrators recommending that a greater percentage of
Federal education funds need to reach classrooms directly.
A number of findings by the Subcommittee on Oversight and
Investigations also indicate that the administration of Federal
programs can be streamlined. For example, the Subcommittee has
learned that it takes 20 weeks and 216 steps for a
discretionary grant to be processed by the U.S. Department of
Education from the time a decision is made to award a grant
until a school district receives it. Although this is an
improvement over the previous grant-making process which took
over 26 weeks and 487 steps, the Committee believes this could
be further improved. In addition, the Department of Education
recently released a Strategic Plan to describe what they have
done to make the Department more efficient and effective. They
claim to have reduced the paperwork burden by 10 percent--or
5.4 million hours. Even with this improvement, 48.6 million
hours of paperwork is still required by the Department. This
amounts to the equivalent of 24,300 employees, working 40 hours
per week, for an entire year. It is the Committee's desire that
the Department of Education will continue to reinvent its
management processes and regulations to ensure that a greater
percentage of funds reaches teachers and students in classrooms
and less time is spent on non-productive paperwork.
The Committee believes that local educators are the best
people to make resource allocation decisions for their
students. Teachers interact with children directly on a daily
basis and know children by name. They understand their
students' background and educational needs and can respond to
those needs directly. The Committee wants to ensure that every
tax dollar spent in Washington D.C. on education goes toward
helping children learn. The Committee believes that the most
effective use of education funds is to give parents and
classroom teachers the authority to make decisions about how
funds should be spent.
House Resolution 139 sets a standard to reduce bureaucracy
at all levels in the system and get more money into the hands
of someone who knows a child by name. The goal of the
Committee, through this resolution, is to prioritize the way
Federal education dollars are spent by putting children first
and making sure that 90 percent of the Federal education dollar
reaches children in classrooms, wherever possible.
The resolution calls for the Federal government, States and
school districts to take a look at how money is currently being
spent, and how much of the Federal education dollar actually
reaches the classroom. Once we know where the money is going,
we can identify barriers that prevent more money from reaching
the classroom, and we can work together to remove those
House Resolution 139 expresses the sense of the House of
Representatives that the Department of Education, States, and
local educational agencies should spend 90 percent of Federal
education tax dollars in our children's classrooms.
section by section analysis
House Resolution 139 contains only one section which
expresses the sense of the House that the Congress, the
Secretary of Education, States and local educational agencies
should work together to determine the extent to which Federal
elementary and secondary education dollars are currently
reaching the classroom; to remove barriers that currently
prevent a greater percentage of funds from reaching the
classroom; and toward the goal that at least 90 percent of U.S.
Department of Education elementary and secondary education
program funds will reach classrooms, when feasible and
consistent with applicable law.
explanation of amendment
The Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute is explained in
oversight findings of the committee
In compliance with clause 2(l)(3)(A) of rule XI of the
Rules of the House of Representatives and clause 2(b)(1) of
rule X of the Rules of the House of Representatives, the
Committee's oversight findings and recommendations are
reflected in the body of this report.
government reform and oversight
With respect to the requirement of clause 2(l)(3)(D) of
rule XI of the Rules of the House of Representatives, the
Committee has received no report of oversight findings and
recommendations form the Committee on Government Reform and
Oversight on the subject of H. Res. 139.
application of law to legislative branch
Section 102(b)(3) of Public Law 104-1 requires a
description of the application of this bill to the legislative
branch. This resolution encourages Congress, the U.S.
Department of Education, States and school districts to work
toward the goal of getting 90 percent of U.S. Department of
Education elementary and secondary program funds into
classrooms; the bill does not prohibit legislative branch
employees from otherwise being eligible for such services.
congressional budget office cost estimate
Since the Resolution does not provide for any new budget
authority, any new spending authority, any new credit
authority, or an increase or decrease in revenue or tax
expenditure, no Congressional Budget Office cost estimate is
required under clause 2(l)(3)(C) of rule XI of the Rules of the
House of Representatives.
new budget authority
Clause 2(l)(3)(B) of rule XI of the House of
Representatives is inapplicable because this resolution does
not provide for any new budget authority, any new spending
authority, any new credit authority, or an increase or decrease
in revenue or tax expenditure.
We agree with the Republican Majority that there is nothing
more important to the future of our country than that all
children have the opportunity for a quality education. However,
this resolution is steeped in political rhetoric aimed at
undermining the credibility of the U.S. Department of Education
and the programs it operates. Rather than promoting educational
opportunities, this resolution, based upon unproven and dubious
assertions, fosters partisan division.
Among the many questionable premises of H. Res. 139 is the
statement that 3 years ago, less than 60 percent of the funds
spent on elementary and secondary education was spent on
``instruction.'' Evidencing the incredulous nature of such a
bald claim is the fact that the determination of whether an
expense is classified as administrative or instructional varies
from one school district to another. Some schools classify
expenses for teacher aides and professional development as
administrative, while others classify them as instruction. In
this instance, and in many others throughout the resolution,
the claims advocated by the Majority have no proven basis in
The Majority also claims in its committee report that
``less than 90 cents of every Federal education dollar may
currently be reaching the classroom'' (our emphasis). The
authorities they cite as endorsing their view are the
Congressional Research Service, the General Accounting Office,
the Heritage Foundation, and the U.S. Department of Education.
What troubles us most about this statement is the use of the
tepid word ``may.'' Clearly, the Majority is unsure if this
statement has a factual basis. The Committee should not be in
the practice of propounding statements that cannot be proved
and ascribing outside endorsements to such tenuous assertions.
The Majority tries to create the impression that the
Department of Education and the programs it operates are
gobbling up funds for often wasteful administrative purposes,
rather than targeting dollars to the classroom. This conclusion
is misleading and was never proved by the Majority during the
consideration of this legislation. Nearly all major education
programs mandate a 5 percent cap on funds that may be used by
State and local educators for administrative purposes. The
statutory limits contained in our Federal education laws
specifically ensure that the funds we provide are going to
benefit the students.
Finally, passage of this resolution will do little to
respond to the real needs of our nation's schools and students.
We need to adopt a positive approach to educational progress;
one that emphasizes how the Federal government can assist local
school reform or help repair crumbling schools. We should work
together in a bipartisan fashion to address those tangible
issues which affect our nation's children. We hope that future
efforts by the Committee will be directed toward such positive
ends rather than wasted in unnecessary, unconstructive
William L. Clay.
Dale E. Kildee.
Major R. Owens.
Patsy T. Mink.
Harold E. Ford, Jr.
Matthew G. Martinez.
Donald M. Payne.
Robert E. Andrews.
John F. Tierney.
Dennis J. Kucinich.