Statement on Signing the Education Amendments of 1984

October 19, 1984

I am today signing S. 2496, the Education Amendments of 1984, which extends various education programs assisting groups such as students with limited English proficiency, Indian students, women, and adults in need of acquiring basic literacy skills.

My administration is committed to helping assure that educational opportunities are available to these groups and proposed to the Congress legislation to continue the Adult Education Act, the Bilingual Education Act, and the Indian Education Act. S. 2496 does reauthorize these laws.

I am especially pleased that the amendments to the Bilingual Education Act allow some flexibility for local school districts to use Federal funds for the many proven alternatives to the traditional methods in bilingual education that they believe are better suited to helping their limited English speaking students learn English. In the future I hope to work with the Congress to further expand this much needed flexibility.

I must note that this bill contains some undesirable provisions affecting the Department of the Interior's management responsibilities for education programs in the Bureau of Indian Affairs. These provisions would establish cumbersome and inflexible administrative procedures, initiate wasteful and duplicative practices, allow the Federal Government to intrude needlessly into tribal government processes, and undermine the management authority of the Secretary of the Interior. They are contrary to sound management principles and would not promote the delivery of quality education to Indian children. Fortunately, their implementation is being delayed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs 1985 appropriations language, and we will therefore have an opportunity to seek corrective amendments next year.

I greatly regret the bill would also revive, for 4 more years, Impact Aid ``b'' payments to school districts for children whose parents either work or live on Federal property, reversing the decision by the Congress in 1981 to end such payments after 1984. These children impose virtually no financial burden on most local school districts; yet the potential cost of the payments for them over the next 4 years would be nearly $2 billion. The congressional decision in 1981 to discontinue these payments was correct and should stand. If item veto authority were available to me, I would eliminate this portion of the bill. On the whole, however, I have determined that the bill's positive aspects warrant my approval.

Note: As enacted, S. 2496 is Public Law 98 - 511, approved October 19.