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House GOP Push Voucher Plan

October 21, 1999

WASHINGTON (AP) _ House conservatives sought support Wednesday for a plan to give poor students $3,500 private school vouchers. Democrats battled to save a program aimed at ensuring equality for girls in America’s classrooms.

The developments came as the House debated the renewal of an $8.3 billion federal education bill that governs programs for nearly 11 million of the nation’s impoverished and failing students.

2. Oct. 30, 1863, William Griffith, no age available.

3. Dec. 29, 1865, John Hendley, no age available.

4. Jan. 19, 1866, Ernest Wa-tee-cha, 26.

5. Aug. 10, 1866, Ben Lewis, 26.

6. Feb. 20, 1867, Martin W. Bates, 19.

7. Nov. 15, 1867, Scott Holderman, 25.

8. Sept. 18, 1868, Melvin E. Baughn, no age available.

9. Aug. 9, 1870, William Dickson, 40.

10. March 10, 1944, Ernest L. Hoefgen, 31.

11. April 15, 1944, Fred L. Brady, 46.

12. April 15, 1944, Clark B. Knox, 26.

13. July 29, 1947, Cecil Tate, 22.

14. July 29, 1947, George F. Gumtow, 21.

15. May 6, 1950, George Miller, 60.

16. April 6, 1951, Preston McBride, 25.

17. Jan. 5, 1952, James Lammers, 27.

18. May 21, 1954, Nathaniel Germany, 29.

19. July 16, 1954, Merle William Martin, 44.

20. Nov. 30, 1962, Lowell Lee Andrews, 22.

21. April 14, 1965, Richard E. Hickock, 33.

22. April 14, 1965, Perry E. Smith, 36.

23. June 22, 1965, James D. Latham, 23.

24. June 22, 1965, George R. York, 22.

____

Source: Kansas Department of Corrections.

Congress is considering modest changes to Title I, the 34-year-old law designed to raise the historically low achievement of poor children. After Title I’s last overhaul in 1994, it became a high standards program, shifting from its remedial focus.

The House ended the first day of debate without passing the entire bill, but voting to retain the girls’ program.

After speeches by several female lawmakers, more than 100 Republicans joined the Democrats in restoring the $3 million program, which provides teachers and others information on ways to encourage girls to participate in science and math classes usually dominated by boys. The program had been eliminated by Republican critics on the House Education and the Workforce committee who said girls often do better than boys in their studies and therefore don’t need special attention.

``This reaffirms our nation’s commitment to offer girls an equal educational opportunity from the day they start school,″ said Rep. David Bonior of Michigan, the House’s second-ranking Democrat. ``That’s where the difference has to be made.″

The Title I debate, which continues Thursday, will include consideration of a voucher plan by the House’s second-ranking Republican, Rep. Dick Armey of Texas. The proposal would provide elementary students in low-performing schools with vouchers of up to $3,500 to help pay for tuition at other schools _ public, private or parochial.

``We are shifting the focus off the school and onto the student,″ Armey said.

Students in any grade who are victims of a violent criminal act at school also can apply for the vouchers.

``What do you tell a parent when their child comes home injured?″ he said. ``Do you say to a child that you have to go back to a school, even if the governor has said it is an academic disaster?″

Moderate Republicans appeared to offer little support while Democrats said the voucher plan could jeopardize the legislation.

The chairman of the House Education and Workforce Committee planned to oppose the provision.

``The main focus of this program is to improve Title I,″ said Rep. William Goodling, R-Pa., a former school superintendent.

In the larger debate over Title I, Democrats sought to further target funding so it goes to the poorest of the nation’s 50,000 schools. Republicans want more flexibility for schools complaining of cumbersome federal rules and paperwork associated with a program that accounts for less than 10 percent of their total budgets.

A recent series of reports from civil rights groups and conservatives has criticized the program, citing remaining gaps in the test scores and college attendance of poor and rich children.

Among the proposed changes lawmakers were considering Wednesday:

_Requiring parents of children in bilingual education to sign consent forms for the instruction.

_Allowing students with limited proficiency in English to be taught completely in their native languages instead of partially in English.

_Making it more difficult to hire teacher’s aides, in an effort to increase the number of teachers.

A separate Republican-backed bill would allow states more freedom in complying with Title I and other federal school programs.

Critics contend the Academic Achievement for All Act would turn federal education programs into a lump sum that states could invest in children who are neither poor nor low-achieving.

The GOP was struggling to win votes for the proposal.

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