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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 
                         CHILDREN'S CLASSROOMS

                                _______
                                

  October 28, 1997.--Referred to the House Calendar and ordered to be 
                                printed

_______________________________________________________________________


   Mr. Goodling, from the Committee on Education and the Workforce, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                             together with

                             MINORITY VIEWS

                       [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 
following:

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 
dollars;

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 
dollars;

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 
classroom;

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 
got now.'';

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 
        classroom;
          (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.

                                PURPOSE

    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 
into classrooms.

                            COMMITTEE ACTION

    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 
School Teacher.
    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.

                            COMMITTEE VIEWS

    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 
barriers.

                                summary

    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 
this report.

                  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.
                             rollcall votes



                             MINORITY VIEWS

    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 
fact.
    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 
rhetorical exercises.

                                   William L. Clay.
                                   Dale E. Kildee.
                                   Major R. Owens.
                                   Patsy T. Mink.
                                   Tim Roemer.
                                   Lynn Woolsey.
                                   Chaka Fattah.
                                   Carolyn McCarthy.
                                   Ron Kind.
                                   Harold E. Ford, Jr.
                                   George Miller.
                                   Matthew G. Martinez.
                                   Donald M. Payne.
                                   Robert E. Andrews.
                                   Bobby Scott.
                                   Carlos Romero-Barcelo.
                                   Ruben Hinojosa.
                                   John F. Tierney.
                                   Loretta Sanchez.
                                   Dennis J. Kucinich.