(PDF provides a complete and accurate display of this text.)
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
[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.
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
V. EXPLANATION OF THE BILL
Section. 1--The short title is the ``Census in the Schools
Sec. 2--Subsection (a) lists the following Congressional
(1) The project is an effective way to educate the
Nation's youth about the importance of the census to a
(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
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
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
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
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
Barry B. Anderson
(For Dan L. Crippen, Director).
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
Major R. Owens.
Paul E. Kanjorski.
Patsy T. Mink.
Carolyn B. Maloney.
Eleanor Holmes Norton.
Elijah E. Cummings.
Dennis J. Kucinich.
Rod R. Blagojevich.
Danny K. Davis.
John F. Tierney.
Harold E. Ford, Jr.