Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Conference report filed in Senate (09/21/1979)

(Conference report filed in Senate, S. Rept. 96-326)

Department of Education Organization Act - =Title I: General Provisions= - Declares the purpose of this Act to be: (1) to strengthen the Federal commitment to ensuring access to equal educational opportunity for every individual; (2) to support more effectively States, localities and public and private institutions in carrying out their responsibilities for education; (3) to promote improvements in the quality and usefulness of education through federally supported research, evaluation, and the sharing of information; (4) to improve the management and efficiency of Federal education activities; (5) to increase the accountability of Federal education programs to the President, the Congress, and the public; (6) to encourage the involvement of the public, parents, and students in Federal education programs; (7) to improve the coordination of Federal education programs.

Prohibits the withholding of funds from schools on the basis of any requirement imposed by the Secretary or the Department with which a State fails to comply.

=Title II: Establishment of the Department= - Establishes an executive department to be known as the Department of Education to be headed by a Secretary of Education. Creates within the Department an Under Secretary of Education who shall be responsible for the conduct of intergovernmental relations by the Department.

Authorizes local education authorities to inform the Under Secretary of conflicts between Federal regulations. Directs the Under Secretary to consider such conflicts and make recommendations for resolving them, including appropriate relief for such local education authorities.

Establishes within such Department an Assistant Secretary for each of the following: (1) Elementary and Secondary Education; (2) Postsecondary Education; (3) Vocational and Adult Education; (4) Special Education and Rehabilitative services; (5) Educational Research and Improvement; and (6) Civil Rights. Provides for a General Counsel, an Inspector General, four additional officers with specified functions, and an Administrator of Education for Overseas Dependents. Includes as functions of such four additional officers: (1) congressional relations; (2) public information; (3) parental and public participation; (4) management and budget; (5) planning, evaluation, and policy development; and (6) encouraging and promoting the study of foreign languages and cultures at the elementary, secondary, and postsecondary levels.

Establishes, within such Department, Offices of: (1) Civil Rights; (2) Elementary and Secondary Education; (3) Postsecondary Education; (4) Vocational Adult Education; (5) Special Education and Rehabilitative Services; (6) Education for Overseas Dependents; (7) Educational Research and Improvement; (8) Bilingual Education and Minority Affairs; (9) Inspector General; and (10) General Counsel.

Establishes within such department a presidentially appointed Intergovernmental Advisory Council on Education, representing a diversity of geographic areas and demographic characteristics, to assure the effective coordination of Federal programs.

Establishes a Federal Interagency Committee on Education to assist the Secretary in coordinating the procedures and actions of the Department with other Federal agencies.

=Title III: Transfers of Agencies and Functions= - Transfers from the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW) to the Secretary of Education all functions of: (1) the Assistant Secretary for Education and of the Commissioner of Education; (2) the Office of such Assistant Secretary and of the Education Division; (3) the Office for Civil Rights; (4) the Secretary of HEW through the Commissioner of Rehabilitation Services under the Act of June 20, 1936; (5) the Commissioner of Rehabilitation and the Director of the National Institute of Handicapped Research under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; (6) the Institute of Museum Services and its Director; (7) the Advisory Council on Education Statistics; and (8) the Federal Education Data Acquisition Council.

Transfers educational functions vested in the Secretary of HEW under: (1) the General Education Provisions Act; (2) the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965; (3) the Higher Education Act of 1965; (4) the Education Amendments of 1978; (5) the Act of August 30, 1890; (6) the National Defense Education Act of 1958; (7) the Education of the Handicapped Act; (8) certain provisions of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964; (9) the National Commission on Libraries and Information Science Act; (10) the Vocational Education Act of 1963; (11) the Model Secondary School for the Deaf Act; (12) certain provisions of the Communications Act of 1934; (13) certain provisions of the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949; (14) the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Education Act; (15) the International Education Act of 1966; and (16) the Career Education Incentive Act.

Transfers from HEW educational functions relating to Gallaudet College, Howard University, the American Printing House for the Blind, and the National Technical Institute for the Deaf.

Transfers from HEW to the Department of Education: (1) all offices of the Assistant Secretary for Education or in the Education Division; (2) all offices established under the Acts listed above; (3) all offices established under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; (4) the Institute of Museum Services; (5) the Advisory Council on Education Statistics; (6) the Federal Education Data Acquisition Council; and (7) any advisory committee giving advice or making recommendations that primarily concern education functions transferred by this Act.

Transfers from the Department of HEW to the Secretary of Education all functions of the Secretary of Education, or the Commissioner of Education with respect to: (1) the Education Division; (2) the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Education, including the National Center for Education Statistics; and (3) any advisory committee giving advice or making recommendations principally concerning education functions transferred by this Act.

Stipulates that the provisions of this Act shall not authorize the transfer of certain provisions of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964, relating to Project Head Start from the Secretary of HEW.

Transfers to the Department of Education from the Departments of: (1) Defense, the administration and operation of overseas dependents schools under the Defense Dependents' Education Act of 1978; (2) Labor, certain functions regarding migrant and seasonal farmworker employment and training programs under the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act of 1973, upon the establishment of a single component in the new Department responsible for such programs; (3) National Science Foundation, science education programs; (4) Justice, the student loan and grant programs known as the law enforcement education program and the law enforcement intern program under the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968; and (5) Housing and Urban Development, the administration of college housing loans under the Housing Act of 1950.

=Title IV: Administrative Provisions= - Authorizes the Secretary to appoint and fix the salaries for the Department's employees in accordance with the Civil Service laws. Allows certain higher level appointments to be made by the Director of the Office of Personnel Management, at the request of the Secretary, if the individual so appointed is transferred to the Department in connection with a transfer of functions under this Act.

Permits the establishment of 15 Senior Executive Service positions by the Office of Personnel Management.

Requires that the total number of full-time positions in the Department of Education be reduced by 500 by the end of the first fiscal year after enactment of this Act, including consultants and experts. Exempts personnel employed under special programs for students and disadvantaged youth (including temporary summer employment) from such reduction requirement.

Grants rulemaking authority to the Secretary. Requires such rules to be in accordance with the Administrative Procedures Act and specified provisions of the General Education Provisions Act.

Authorizes the Secretary to: (1) employ experts and consultants; (2) enter into contracts with public agencies and private persons and organizations as limited by appropriation Acts; (3) provide technical advice to participants or potential participants in Departmental programs; (4) establish, maintain, alter, or discontinue field offices; (5) acquire and maintain schools, laboratories, and related facilities; (6) provide and maintain various facilities for employees and their dependents at remote locations; (7) utilize, with their consent, Federal, State, or foreign facilities; (8) acquire necessary copyrights and patents; (9) accept and utilize gifts and bequests of real and personal property; (10) establish a working capital fund for administrative expenses; (11) transfer funds within the Department; and (12) establish regional and field offices.

Directs the Secretary to submit an annual report to the Congress concerning the Department's activities. Stipulates that such report include: (1) a statement of goals and priorities; (2) an assessment of progress made toward the reduction of excessive or burdensome regulation and duplication in Federal programs; and (3) an estimate of the non-Federal personnel employed pursuant to contracts, the number of such contracts, and the total cost.

Authorizes appropriations necessary to carry out the provisions of this Act. Provides that, except where inconsistent with provisions of this Act, the General Education Provisions Act shall apply to functions transferred by this Act.

=Title V: Transitional, Savings, and Conforming Provisions= - Stipulates that, except as otherwise provided in this Act, no full-time personnel (except special Government employees) and part-time personnel holding permanent positions shall be separated or reduced in grade or compensation because of their transfer under this Act for one year after such transfer to the Department. States that any person holding an executive schedule position who is appointed in the Department to a position having duties comparable to those performed in such prior position shall continue to be compensated in the new position at not less than the rate in the previous position for the duration of such person's service in the new position.

Terminates specified offices upon the transfer of functions to the Department as follows: (1) the Education Division of HEW, including the Office of Education; (2) the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Education of HEW; and (3) the Bureau of Occupational and Adult Education. Declares that whenever the President exercises the authority granted in this Act, the Office of Dependents' Education of the Department of Defense shall terminate. Allows each position which was expressly authorized by law, including executive level positions, and which is in an office terminated pursuant to this Act to be terminated.

Authorizes the Director of the Office of Management and Budget to: (1) make necessary determinations about the transfers of functions and offices under this Act; (2) make necessary additional dispositions of personnel, assets, and funds; (3) provide for terminating the affairs of agencies or components terminated under this Act; and (4) take such further measures and dispositions as necessary to effectuate the purposes of this Act.

Provides for the continuation of all effective orders, determination, rules, regulations, permits, grants, contracts, certificates, and privileges made before the effective date of this Act. Stipulates that the provisions of this Act shall not affect any proceedings pending at the time this Act takes effect before any department, agency, or commission, the functions or offices of which are transferred to the Department.

Redesignates the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare as the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare as the Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Requires the Director of Office of Personnel Management, within one year after enactment of this Act, to report to the Congress on the personnel effects of creating the Department of Education.

=Title VI: Effective Date and Interim Appointment= - Directs that this Act shall take effect 180 days after the Secretary of Education takes office or anytime after October 1, 1979, as the President may prescribe. Authorizes the President to make initial interim appointments to the Department of Education under specified conditions.