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106th Congress                                                   Report
  1st Session           HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES                106-105

=======================================================================



 
                  CENSUS IN THE SCHOOLS PROMOTION ACT

                                _______
                                

 April 26, 1999.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______


    Mr. Burton of Indiana, from the Committee on Government Reform, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                             together with

                             MINORITY VIEWS

                        [To accompany H.R. 1058]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Government Reform, to whom was referred 
the bill (H.R. 1058) to promote greater public participation in 
decennial censuses by providing for the expansion of the 
educational program commonly referred to as the ``Census in 
Schools Project'', having considered the same, report favorably 
thereon without amendment and recommend that the bill do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
   I. Summary of Legislation........................................   2
  II. Background and Need for the Legislation.......................   2
 III. Legislative Hearings and Committee Actions....................   2
  IV. Committee Hearings and Written Testimony......................   2
   V. Explanation of the Bill.......................................   3
  VI. Compliance with Rule XIII.....................................   3
 VII. Budget Analysis and Projections...............................   3
VIII. Cost Estimate of the Congressional Budget Office..............   4
  IX. Specific Constitutional Authority for This Legislation........   4
   X. Committee Recommendation......................................   5
  XI. Congressional Accountability Act; Public Law 104-1............   5
 XII. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act; Public Law 104-4, Section 423...   5
XIII. Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. App.) Section 5(b)...   5


                       I. SUMMARY OF LEGISLATION

    H.R. 1058, the ``Census in the Schools Promotion Act,'' 
promotes greater participation in the decennial census by 
providing for the expansion of the Census Bureau's ``Census in 
the Schools Project.'' Under the current program design, the 
Bureau will send invitations to all principals, but to teachers 
in only 40 percent of the schools. H.R. 1058 would simply 
require that the Census Bureau send an invitation-to-
participate to elementary teachers and secondary math and 
social studies teachers in all communities, rather than only in 
the targeted areas.

                II. BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR LEGISLATION

    Children were one of the most severely undercounted groups 
in the 1990 Census. It is the goal of Congress to reduce this 
undercount for the 2000 Census. The Census in the Schools 
Project, developed by Scholastic, Inc., aims to increase 
participation in the 2000 Census by engaging parents through 
schools and through the involvement of children and teens.
    A teaching guide and in-class and take-home student 
materials have been developed. The project helps students learn 
about the census and why it is important to them. Schools may 
be the only institutions that maintain a relationship with a 
broad cross-section of families with children. Furthermore, 
educating our children about the importance of the census is an 
investment in response rates for future censuses.
    The Census in the Schools project is also a promising 
instrument for reaching many hard-to-count or special 
populations. The Census Bureau has realized the benefit of 
sendinginvitations directly to teachers and has expanded the 
program from its original design. The benefits of sending invitations 
to all teachers will outweigh the marginal costs of doing so. 
Congressional involvement is needed to expand the program so that all 
teachers receive an invitation to participate directly.

            III. LEGISLATIVE HEARINGS AND COMMITTEE ACTIONS

    H.R. 1058 was introduced on March 10, 1999, by the 
Honorable Dan Miller (R-FL). The bill was referred to the 
Committee on Government Reform on March 10, 1999. On March 17, 
1999, the Committee on Government Reform met to consider the 
bill. Mrs. Norton (D-DC) offered an amendment to require the 
Secretary of Commerce to provide a written invitation to 
participate in the program to the head of each elementary 
school and secondary school. The amendment offered by Mrs. 
Norton (D-DC) failed by recorded vote, 20 ayes, 21 nays. The 
committee approved the bill by voice vote. The committee then 
favorably reported the bill to the House by voice vote.

              IV. COMMITTEE HEARINGS AND WRITTEN TESTIMONY

    The committee held no hearings and received no written 
testimony on H.R. 1058. The Subcommittee on the Census held a 
hearing on March 2, 1999, entitled ``Examining the America 
Counts Today (ACT) Initiatives to Enhance Traditional 
Enumeration Methods,'' where Dr. Kenneth Prewitt, Director of 
the Census Bureau, supported an effort to reach 100 percent of 
schools.

                       V. EXPLANATION OF THE BILL

    Section. 1--The short title is the ``Census in the Schools 
Promotion Act.'
    Sec. 2--Subsection (a) lists the following Congressional 
findings:
          (1) The project is an effective way to educate the 
        Nation's youth about the importance of the census to a 
        democratic society.
          (2) Our schools may be the only institution that 
        maintains a continuing relationship with a broad cross-
        section of this Nation's families with children.
          (3) Educating the children is an investment that will 
        promote greater levels of public participation, 
        especially in the hardest-to-count communities, not 
        only in the 2000 census, but censuses thereafter.
          (4) The Bureau has indicated it will not be able to 
        implement the program more broadly without additional 
        funding.
Subsection (b) designates the purpose of the Act is to promote 
greater participation in decennial censuses by expanding the 
Census in the Schools Project.
    Sec. 3--This section requires the Secretary of Commerce to 
expand the existing program. The Secretary is instructed to 
ensure that a written invitation is provided to the head of 
each elementary school and each secondary school, to each 
elementary school teacher, and to each secondary school teacher 
of mathematics, geography, or social studies. This section also 
requires the Secretary to make available, upon acceptance of 
such invitation, grade-appropriate teaching guides, student 
materials, or other information or materials determined by the 
Secretary.
    Sec. 4--This section permits the Secretary of Commerce to 
prescribe any regulations necessary to carry out this Act.

                     VI. COMPLIANCE WITH RULE XIII

    Pursuant to rule XIII, clause 3(c)(1) of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, under the authority of rule X, clause 
2(b)(1) and clause 3(e), the results and findings from 
committee oversight activities are incorporated in the bill and 
this report.

                  VII. BUDGET ANALYSIS AND PROJECTIONS

    The budget analysis and projections required by section 
308(a) of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 are contained in 
the estimate of the Congressional Budget Office.

         VIII. COST ESTIMATE OF THE CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                    Washington, DC, April 12, 1999.
Hon. Dan Burton,
Chairman, Committee on Government Reform,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 1058, the Census 
in the Schools Promotion Act.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Megan 
Carroll.
            Sincerely,
                                          Barry B. Anderson
                                    (For Dan L. Crippen, Director).
    Enclosure.

H.R. 1058--Census in the Schools Promotion Act

    The Census in the Schools Promotion Act, implemented by the 
Bureau of the Census within the Department of Commerce, is 
designed to promote participation in decennial censuses by 
offering federally funded educational materials about the 
census to certain educators. According to Scholastic Inc., the 
publishing firm under contract to develop teaching materials 
for the project, the Bureau of the Census invites about 40 
percent of all elementary and secondary school administrators, 
elementary school teachers, and secondary school teachers of 
math, geography, and social studies to participate in the 
project. H.R. 1058 would require the Secretary of Commerce to 
provide written invitations to all such educators.
    According to the Department of Commerce, $18.5 million of 
its appropriation for fiscal year 1999 was allocated to the 
Census in Schools Project. Based on information provided by the 
department and Scholastic Inc., CBO estimates that implementing 
H.R. 1058 would increase discretionary spending by $6 million 
in fiscal year 2000, assuming appropriation of the amount 
necessary to cover the cost of the additional invitations and 
subsequent mailings of the educational materials.
    H.R. 1058 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act. Any 
costs incurred by state, local or tribal governments as a 
result of participation in this program would be voluntary.
    The CBO staff contact is Megan Carroll. This estimate was 
approved by Paul N. Van de Water, Assistant Director for Budget 
Analysis.

       ix. specific constitutional authority for this legislation

     Clause 3 of Article 1, section 2 and clauses 1 and 18 of 
Article 1, section 8 of the Constitution grant Congress the 
power to enact this law.

                      x. committee recommendation

    On March 17, 1999, a quorum being present, the Committee on 
Government Reform ordered the bill favorably reported.

         xi. congressional accountability act; public law 104-1

    The original Act does not apply to the House of 
Representatives or to the Senate, thus H.R. 1058 does not apply 
to Congress.

    xii. unfunded mandates reform act; public law 104-4, section 423

    The committee finds that the legislation does not impose 
any Federal mandates within the meaning of section 423 of the 
Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (PL 104-4).

   xiii. federal advisory committee act (5 U.S.C. app.) section 5(b)

    The committee finds that section 5(b) of Title 5 App., 
United States Code, is not applicable because this legislation 
does not authorize the establishment of any advisory committee.

                             MINORITY VIEWS

    H.R. 1058, the ``Census in the Schools Promotion Act,'' 
requires a written invitation to participate in the ``Census in 
the Schools Project'' to be sent to the head of every 
elementary and secondary school in the nation, to every 
elementary school teacher, and to every secondary school 
teacher whose primary duties involve mathematics, geography, or 
social studies. Upon acceptance of the invitation, the Census 
Bureau is required to provide a set of instructional materials 
without charge.
    The idea behind this bill is a good one. Encouraging the 
participation of our nation's children and educators in the 
civic ritual of the census is a sound goal. It is, therefore, 
disappointing that the majority has held no hearings or a 
subcommittee markup of this legislation. Indeed, it was 
introduced on March 10, 1999, just one week before the full 
Committee markup. There has also apparently been no discussion 
with the contractor which must carry out the provisions of this 
bill to ensure that the contractor has the needed resources to 
meet this 150% increase in the program. We would not want to 
duplicate the experience of 1990, when many of the materials 
for schools arrived well after the census and were just thrown 
away.
    The ``Census in the Schools Project'' as originally 
designed by the Census Bureau targeted 20% of the schools with 
the highest net undercounts, was later expanded to 40%, and the 
Bureau plans further expansion. Congress should not be micro-
managing this program. This bill requires the Census Bureau to 
send out well over 2 million letters to teachers across the 
country, then wait for a positive response before sending 
census information to that teacher. As a result, the Bureau may 
well have to make dozens of individual mailings to the same 
school district when one mailing would do. This may not be the 
most sound approach, but it is impossible to determine the best 
approach without the benefit of hearings.
    There are other serious problems with H.R. 1058. It 
requires a 150% increase in printing costs for the ``Census in 
the Schools Project.'' There is no money in the 1999 budget to 
pay for that. During the full Committee markup, Rep. Miller 
assured the Committee that the money would be forthcoming. We 
are not aware, however, of any concrete step taken to address 
this budget concern.
    Once the money is there to pay for the printing, the Census 
Bureau must negotiate a new printing contract with GPO. When 
the Census Bureau increased the school coverage from 20% to 
40%, renegotiating the printing contract took six weeks. If the 
majority is serious about this program, there should be 
specific instructions in the bill to use the existing 
contracting authority. Writing legislation on contracting is 
complicated, and should not be done haphazardly.
    Rep. Maloney offered an amendment to H.R. 1058 which called 
for the Census Bureau to contact all schools, but left it to 
the professionals at the Census Bureau to determine the best 
way to do that. The amendment also authorized such sums as 
necessary to pay for the bills requirements. Unfortunately, the 
amendment was defeated on a party-line vote.

                                    Henry A. Waxman.
                                    Tom Lantos.
                                    Bob Wise.
                                    Major R. Owens.
                                    Edolphus Towns.
                                    Paul E. Kanjorski.
                                    Patsy T. Mink.
                                    Bernard Sanders.
                                    Carolyn B. Maloney.
                                    Eleanor Holmes Norton.
                                    Chaka Fattah.
                                    Elijah E. Cummings.
                                    Dennis J. Kucinich.
                                    Rod R. Blagojevich.
                                    Danny K. Davis.
                                    John F. Tierney.
                                    Jim Turner.
                                    Thomas Allen.
                                    Harold E. Ford, Jr.
                                    Jan Schakowsky.