DEPARTMENTS OF LABOR, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, AND EDUCATION, AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2000
(Senate - October 07, 1999)

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[Pages S12147-S12154]
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  DEPARTMENTS OF LABOR, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES, AND EDUCATION, AND 
               RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2000

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senate will now resume consideration of S. 
1650, which the clerk will report.
  The legislative assistant read as follows:

       A bill (S. 1650) making appropriations for the Departments 
     of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and 
     Related Agencies for the fiscal year ending September 30, 
     2000, and for other purposes.

  Pending:

       Abraham (for Coverdell) amendment No. 1828, to prohibit the 
     use of funds for any program for the distribution of sterile 
     needles or syringes for the hypodermic injection of any 
     illegal drug.

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Pennsylvania.
  Mr. SPECTER. Mr. President, on behalf of the leader, I have been 
asked to announce that we will proceed now to the consideration of the 
bill on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education. The pending 
amendment is one offered by the distinguished Senator from Michigan, 
Mr. Abraham.
  We are culling the list, and we have it now in reasonable shape so 
that I do believe that if we are able to have a

[[Page S12148]]

couple of very contentious amendments not acted upon and proceed 
promptly, we can complete action on this bill today.
  The leader has asked me to announce that following completion of the 
Labor-HHS appropriations bill, it is the intention of the leader to 
consider the Agriculture appropriations conference report, and the 
Senate may also consider any other conference reports available for 
action.
  When we move beyond Senator Abraham's amendment, the next amendment 
to be offered is by Senator Bingaman. It is hoped that we could get 
reasonably short time agreements.
  I would ask if we may proceed now, as we had on so many matters 
yesterday, with a 30-minute time agreement equally divided on this 
pending amendment.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Mr. WELLSTONE. Mr. President, reserving the right to object for just 
a moment, could we look at it for a second, the second degree?
  Mr. ABRAHAM. Here is a copy.
  Mr. SPECTER. While the Senator from Minnesota and the Senator from 
Nevada are taking a look at it, Mr. President, this would be a good 
time for me to say that we hope that anyone who wishes to offer 
amendments will come to the floor promptly so that we can inventory the 
amendments and try to establish time agreements. We are going to have 
to move very expeditiously without quorum calls if we do have any 
realistic chance of finishing the bill today.

  Mr. WELLSTONE. Mr. President, the time agreement is fine on our side.
  Mr. SPECTER. Thirty minutes equally divided, Mr. President.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. WELLSTONE. Thirty minutes equally divided on the second degree.
  Mr. SPECTER. The same agreement we had yesterday with respect to 30 
minutes on second degrees.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, the time on the second-
degree amendment will be 30 minutes equally divided.
  Under the previous order, the Senator from Michigan, Mr. Abraham, is 
recognized to speak on amendment No. 1828.
  Mr. ABRAHAM. Mr. President, before I speak, may I clarify, I believe 
I am speaking on the second-degree amendment?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The second-degree amendment has not been 
offered.


                Amendment No. 2269 To Amendment No. 1828

    (Purpose: To prohibit the use of funds for any program for the 
    distribution of sterile needles or syringes for the hypodermic 
                     injection of any illegal drug)

  Mr. ABRAHAM. Mr. President, I call up amendment No. 2269.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report the amendment.
  The legislative assistant read as follows:

       The Senator from Michigan [Mr. Abraham], for himself, Mr. 
     Coverdell, Mr. Grassley, Mr. Ashcroft, and Mr. Smith of New 
     Hampshire, proposes an amendment numbered 2269 to amendment 
     No. 1828.

  Mr. ABRAHAM. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that reading of 
the amendment be dispensed with.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The amendment is as follows:

       Strike all after the first word and insert the following:
       Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, no funds 
     appropriated under this Act shall be used to carry out any 
     program of distributing sterile needles or syringes for the 
     hypodermic injection of any illegal drug. This provision 
     shall become effective one day after the date of enactment.

  Mr. ABRAHAM. Mr. President, I rise to join Senator Coverdell in 
offering this amendment to the Labor, Health and Human Services 
appropriations bill. Our amendment would prohibit the expenditure of 
taxpayer dollars on programs that provide free hypodermic needles to 
drug addicts.
  In the past, President Clinton, through his Secretary of Health and 
Human Services, Donna Shalala, has tried to lift the ongoing ban on 
federal funds for needle exchange programs. His reasoning? Such 
programs could reduce the rate of HIV infection among intravenous (IV) 
drug users without increasing the use of drugs like heroin.
  Unfortunately, the evidence we have to date suggests that each of 
these suspicions is wrong. We now know beyond a reasonable doubt that 
needle exchange programs actually increase both the rate of HIV 
infection and the use of IV drugs.
  What is more, they send the wrong message to our children. And they 
hurt our communities.
  This administration has claimed a great deal of credit for the recent 
drop in some categories of drug use.
  I don't want to downplay the progress that has been made over the 
last year.
  But we must keep in mind that the improvements were small, and that 
this administration has a lot of work to do before it can bring us back 
to the levels of drug use achieved in 1992, the year before President 
Clinton took office.
  The percentage of 8th, 10th, and 12th graders who had used an illicit 
drug during the previous 30 days dropped between 1997 and 1998, by 0.8 
for 8th graders, 1.5 for 10th graders and 0.6 for 12th graders 
percentage points.
  But levels of drug use remain substantially higher than in 1992--in 
some instances almost twice as high.
  In 1992, 6.8 percent of 8th graders, 11 percent of 10th graders, and 
14.4 percent of 12th graders reported having used an illicit drug 
within the past 30 days.
  By 1998, even with recent dips, those figures ranged from 12.1 
percent for 8th graders to 21.5 percent for 10th graders to 25.6 
percent--more than one in four 12th graders.
  Now is not the time, Mr. President, to let our guard down in the war 
on drugs. As we continue to fight our difficult battle with drug abuse, 
the last thing we need is for Washington to send the message that drug 
use is okay.
  Let me very quickly review some of the overwhelming evidence that has 
made it crystal clear that needle exchange programs are inherently ill-
considered and doomed to failure.
  First, we now know that needle exchange programs encourage drug use: 
Deaths from drug overdoses have increased over five times since 1988.
  In addition, we now have clinical studies, including one conducted in 
Vancouver and published in the Journal of AIDS. That study showed that 
deaths from drug overdoses have increased over five times in that city 
since needle exchanges began in 1988. Vancouver now has the highest 
death rate from heroin in North America.
  Such terrible statistics should not surprise us given the lack of 
basic, commonsense logic in needle exchange programs.
  Mr. President, giving an addict a clean needle is equivalent to 
giving an alcoholic a clean glass.
  And once we lose sight of this logic, we have already lost the war on 
drugs. We have, in effect, handed our streets over to people who do not 
believe that we should win that war.
  Let me cite just one example of the recklessness with which so many 
of these programs are run. The New York Times magazine in 1997 reported 
that one New York City needle exchange program gave out 60 syringes to 
a single person, little pans to ``cook'' the heroin, instructions on 
how to inject the drug, and a card exempting the user from arrest for 
possession of drug paraphernalia.
  But needle exchange programs do not have to be run recklessly in 
order to encourage drug use.
  Dr. Janet Lapey with Drug Watch International recently quoted pro-
needle activist Donald Grove, who pointed out that ``most needle 
exchange programs . . . Serve as sites of informal organizing and 
coming together. A user might be able to do the networking needed to 
find drugs in the half an hour he spends at the street-based needle 
exchange site--networking that might otherwise have taken half a day.''
  It's just common sense, Mr. President. If you give an addict more 
needles, he will use them, drug use will increase, and so will the 
dying.
  And that includes deaths from HIV/AIDS. We now know that needle 
exchange programs actually increase the spread of this dread disease.
  For example, a Montreal study was published in the American Journal 
of Epidemiology. It found that intravenous drug users in a needle 
exchange program were more than twice as likely to become infected with 
HIV as addicts not using such a program.

[[Page S12149]]

  And the figures from the Vancouver study are astounding. When the 
Vancouver needle exchange program started in 1988, 1 to 2 percent of 
drug addicts in that city had HIV. Now 23 percent of drug addicts in 
Vancouver have HIV.
  To put it succinctly, Mr. President, we now know that needle exchange 
programs are bad for drug users. They promote this deadly habit and 
they promote the spread of HIV.
  But we know more, Mr. President. We also know that needle exchange 
programs send the wrong message to our kids:
  Let me quote President Clinton's own drug czar, General Barry 
McCaffrey, who said ``the problem is not dirty needles, the problem is 
heroin addiction. . . . The focus should be on bringing help to this 
suffering population--not giving them more effective means to continue 
their addiction. One doesn't want to facilitate this dreadful scourge 
on mankind.''
  Mr. President, needle exchange programs undermine our drug fighting 
efforts, and they undermine the very rule of law we all depend on for 
our safety and freedom.
  I urge my colleagues to support our amendment to prohibit taxpayer 
dollars from being spent on needle exchange programs.
  Mr. President, I reserve the remainder of my time.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Who yields time?
  Mr. SPECTER. Mr. President, I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative assistant proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. SPECTER. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. SPECTER. Mr. President, in the absence of anyone seeking 
recognition, I ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be charged 
equally.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative assistant proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. SPECTER. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. SPECTER. Mr. President, the Senate bill language, as it currently 
reads, is as follows: Notwithstanding any other provision of this act, 
no funds appropriated under this act shall be used to carry out any 
program of distributing sterile needles or syringes for the hypodermic 
injection of any illegal drug unless the Secretary of Health and Human 
Services determines that such programs are effective in preventing the 
spread of HIV and do not encourage the illegal use of drugs.
  The amendment, which is now pending, would strike the discretion of 
the Secretary to make a determination that such a program would be 
effective in preventing the spread of HIV and would not encourage the 
use of illegal drugs.
  This issue on needle exchange is a highly emotional issue. There is 
no doubt the reuse of needles by drug addicts does result in the 
infection of more people with HIV/AIDS. The Secretary of Health and 
Human Services has never used this waiver language to make a 
determination that such programs are effective in preventing the spread 
of HIV and do not encourage the use of illegal drugs. There is dispute 
on whether clean needles would, in fact, prevent the spread of HIV and 
whether clean needles would--in fact, could--be used without the 
encouragement of the use of illegal drugs.
  It is the view of the subcommittee and the full committee, which 
passed this in its present form, that question ought to be left open to 
the Secretary of Health and Human Services, who has never used this 
exception and is not likely to use it promiscuously but only if there 
was a very sound scientific base for doing so. My own preference is to 
continue the discretion of the Secretary to be able to make this 
waiver, if the facts and figures show that such a needle exchange would 
not encourage the use of illegal drugs, that such a legal exchange 
would prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS.
  There is some concern within the community that is interested in 
having needle exchange that raising this issue again may lead to some 
broader prohibition, which might even reach private groups. I think 
that is highly unlikely. But those are concerns that we are trying to 
resolve in deciding what step to take with response to the Abraham 
amendment.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Who yields time?
  Mr. WELLSTONE. Mr. President, with the support of this side, I yield 
myself 5 minutes.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Minnesota is recognized.
  Mr. WELLSTONE. Mr. President, let me just support the remarks of my 
colleague from Pennsylvania, Senator Specter. I understand all the 
emotion that surrounds this issue, but I think it would be a profound 
mistake on our part to now pass an amendment that would take away an 
important discretion from the Secretary of Health and Human Services as 
to whether or not the needle exchange program is badly needed and would 
be effective in some of our local communities. I think to have an 
across-the-board prohibition without taking a really close look at this 
question could have tragic consequences.
  So I say to my colleagues I think if we no longer enable the 
Secretary of Health and Human Services to have some discretion and to 
know when Federal funds would make a huge difference, and to make sure 
this is all being done in an above-board manner, then I think we are 
passing a prohibition which, in personal terms, will translate into 
more of our citizens--many of them inner city, many poor, and too many 
of them children--becoming HIV infected and dying from AIDS. I rise to 
support the comments of my colleague from Pennsylvania.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Who yields time?
  Mr. SPECTER. Mr. President, after consulting with the distinguished 
ranking member, Senator Harkin, and listening to the comments of the 
Senator from Minnesota, it is the judgment of the managers that 
prudence would warrant accepting the Abraham amendment on a voice vote, 
if that is acceptable to the distinguished Senator from Michigan.
  Mr. ABRAHAM. Mr. President, I appreciate the offer. I think we would 
be prepared to accept a voice vote. My colleague from Georgia is here 
and had planned to speak briefly on the amendment. So I defer to him if 
he wishes to have up to 5 minutes.
  Mr. SPECTER. Mr. President, before the Senator from Georgia speaks, I 
want to propound a unanimous consent request. We have Senator Bingaman 
present now. His amendment will be the next one offered. I ask 
unanimous consent that there be 40 minutes equally divided on the 
Bingaman amendment, subject to the same terms and conditions on the 
other time agreements.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The Senator from Georgia is recognized.
  Mr. COVERDELL. Mr. President, I will just be a moment and yield to 
the Senator from Michigan so he might call for a voice vote on his 
amendment.
  I want to just quote the administration's own drug czar, General 
McCaffrey. He said:

       As public servants, citizens, and parents, we owe our 
     children an unambiguous no use message. And if they should 
     become ensnared in drugs, we must offer them a way out, not a 
     means to continue addictive behavior.
       The problem is not dirty needles, the problem is heroin 
     addiction . . . the focus should be on bringing help to this 
     suffering population--not giving them more effective means to 
     continue their addiction. One doesn't want to facilitate this 
     dreadful scourge on mankind.

  James Curtis, a professor of psychiatry at Columbia University 
Medical School and Director of Psychiatry at Harlem Hospital, said:

       [Needle exchange programs] should be recognized as reckless 
     experimentation on human beings, the unproven hypothesis 
     being that it prevents AIDS.
       Addicts are actively encouraged to continue to inject 
     themselves with illegal drugs, and are exempted from arrest 
     in areas surrounding the needle exchange program.

  I can go on and on with expert people involved in the drug war. This 
is a good amendment. I am pleased that the other side has decided to 
adopt it. I

[[Page S12150]]

compliment the Senator from Michigan for bringing it to the floor.
  I yield the floor.
  Mr. ABRAHAM addressed the Chair.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Michigan is recognized.
  Mr. ABRAHAM. Mr. President, I believe we had a previous 
acknowledgment of moving to a voice vote.
  Before we do, I thank the Senator from Georgia for his leadership on 
this issue. Again, our goal is to send a clear message to the children 
of this country that the Federal Government will not be supporting, in 
any way, programs that would seem to lead to increases in the uses of 
drugs, as well as HIV, as it appears in studies.
  At this point, I am prepared to yield the remainder of our time.
  Mr. REID. The minority yields back our time.
  Mr. COVERDELL. As does the majority.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, the second-degree amendment 
is agreed to.
  The amendment (No. 2269) was agreed to.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, the first-degree amendment, 
as amended, is agreed to.
  The amendment (No. 1828), as amended, was agreed to.
  Mr. ABRAHAM. Mr. President, I move to reconsider the vote.
  Mr. COVERDELL. I move to lay that motion on the table.
  The motion to lay on the table was agreed to.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the Senator from New 
Mexico is recognized.


                           Amendment No. 1861

   (Purpose: To ensure accountability in programs for disadvantaged 
                               students)

  Mr. BINGAMAN. Mr. President, I send an amendment to the desk and ask 
for its immediate consideration.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report.
  The legislative clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from New Mexico [Mr. Bingaman], for himself, 
     Mr. Reed, Mr. Kerry, and Mr. Kennedy, proposes an amendment 
     numbered 1861.

  Mr. BINGAMAN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that reading of 
the amendment be dispensed with.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The amendment is as follows:

       On page 52, line 8, after ``section 1124A'', insert the 
     following: ``Provided further, That $200 million of funds 
     available under section 1124 and 1124A shall be available to 
     carry out the purposes of section 1116(c) of the Elementary 
     and Secondary Education Act of 1965.''

  Mr. BINGAMAN. Mr. President, first let me yield myself 6 minutes off 
of my time at this point.
  I am offering this amendment on behalf of myself, Senator Jack Reed 
from Rhode Island and John Kerry from Massachusetts, and I believe they 
will both be here, I hope, to speak on behalf of the amendment as well.
  This amendment is intended to ensure greater accountability in our 
educational system and in the expenditure of title I funds. Let me make 
it very clear to my colleagues at the very beginning of this debate, 
this amendment does not add money to the bill. Instead, it tries to 
ensure that a small portion of the title I funds that we are going to 
appropriate in this bill are spent to achieve greater accountability 
and improvement in the schools that are failing, about which we are all 
so concerned.
  I think we can all agree that greater accountability in our schools 
is an imperative. It is particularly important to have this 
accountability where high concentrations of disadvantaged students are 
in order to ensure that all students have some semblance of equal 
educational opportunity. Although most States have adopted statewide 
standards, they have not directed adequate resources to schools that 
are failing to meet those new standards. Dedicated funds are necessary 
in order to develop improved strategies in those schools and create 
rewards and penalties that will hold schools accountable for continuous 
improvement in their students.
  The Federal Government directs over $8 billion, nearly $9 billion, in 
Federal funding to provide critical support for disadvantaged students 
under title I. But the accountability provisions in title I have not 
been adequately implemented due to insufficient resources. Title I 
authorizes State school support teams to provide support for schoolwide 
programs and to provide assistance to schools in need of improvement 
through activities such as professional development or identifying 
resources for changing the instruction in the school or the 
organization of the school.
  In 1998, however, only eight States reported that school support 
teams have been able to serve the majority of the schools identified as 
needing improvement. Less than half of the schools identified as being 
in need of improvement in the 1997-1998 school year reported that this 
designation of being a school needing improvement led to additional 
professional development or assistance.
  Schools and school districts need additional support and resources to 
address weaknesses soon after those weaknesses are identified. They 
need that support to promote a progressively intensive range of 
interventions, continuously assess the results of those interventions 
and implement incentives and strategies for improvement.
  The bill before the Senate does not identify specific funds for 
accountability enforcement efforts. I believe we need to ensure that a 
significant funding stream is provided to guarantee these 
accountability provisions are enforced.
  This amendment seeks to ensure that 2.5 percent of the funds 
appropriated to LEAs under title I--that is $200 million in this year's 
bill--is directed toward this objective. This money is to be used to 
ensure that States and local school districts have the necessary 
resources available to implement the corrective action provisions of 
title I by providing immediate and intensive interventions to turn 
around low-performing or failing schools.
  The type of intervention that the State and the school district could 
provide using these funds includes a variety of things. Let me mention 
a few:
  One would be purchasing necessary materials such as updated textbooks 
and curriculum technology.
  The second would be to provide intensive, ongoing teacher training. 
Inadequate training of teachers has been a problem in many of the 
failing schools.
  A third would be providing access to distance learning where they 
don't have the teachers on site who can provide that instruction.
  Fourth, extending the learning time for students through afterschool 
or Saturday programs or summer school programs so students can catch up 
to the grade level at which they should be performing.
  Next, providing rewards to low-performing schools that show 
significant improvements, including cash awards or other incentives 
such as release time for teachers.
  Sixth, intensive technical assistance from teams of experts outside 
the schools to help develop and implement school improvement plans in 
failing schools. The teams would determine the causes of low 
performance--for example, low expectations, an outdated curriculum, 
poorly trained teachers or unsafe conditions--and provide assistance in 
implementing research-based models for improvement.
  One example of the type of research-based school improvement model 
that needs to be introduced in failing schools and can be introduced in 
failing schools with the resources we are earmarking in this amendment 
is the Success for All Program. This program is a proven early grade 
reading program in place now in over 1,500 schools around the country, 
some in my own State of New Mexico. At the end of the first grade, 
Success for All Program schools have average reading scores almost 3 
months ahead of those in matching controlled schools. By the end of the 
fifth grade, students read more than 1 year ahead of their control 
group peers. This program can reduce the need for special education 
placements by more than 50 percent and virtually eliminate retention of 
students in the grade they have just completed.
  This Success for All Program incorporates small classes, regular 
assessments, team learning, and parental involvement into a 
comprehensive reading program based on phonics and contextual learning 
techniques. In order to implement this program, however, schools need 
resources, particularly in the first year. The estimated costs is about 
$62,000 for 500 students in that first year; that decreases 
substantially

[[Page S12151]]

to about $5,000 per year in the third year the program is in place. 
They must provide the initial training for the school's principal, the 
facilitators, the teachers, and 23 days of onsite training and 
curriculum materials.
  This is the kind of program of which we need to see more. It is the 
kind of program for which the funds we would earmark in this amendment 
would be made available. In my view, this is the type of thing the 
American people want to see. Instead of just sending another big check, 
let's try to attract some attention to the strategies we know will work 
so the failing schools can move up and the students who attend these 
schools can get a good education.
  I see my colleague, Senator Reed. I reserve the remainder of my time 
and yield 5 minutes to the Senator from Rhode Island, Mr. Reed.
  Mr. REED. Mr. President, I rise to support the amendment sponsored by 
my colleague from New Mexico. I commend him for his commitment and 
dedication.
  During the 1994 reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary 
Education Act, I was a member of the other body. There I proposed an 
accountability amendment in committee which strengthened our oversight 
and accountability for title I and other elementary and secondary 
school programs. When we came to the conference, it was Senator Jeff 
Bingaman of New Mexico who was leading the fight on the Senate side to 
ensure accountability was part and parcel of the 1994 reauthorization 
of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. I am pleased to work 
with him today on this very important amendment.
  What we propose to do is to provide $200 million so the States can 
move from talking about accountability and intervening in low-
performing schools to actually taking the steps to do just that. There 
are scarce Federal dollars that we provide for elementary and secondary 
education programs, the principal program being title I. Although we 
allocate $8 billion a year for title I, there still appears to be 
insufficient resources to ensure that accountability reforms and 
oversight are effectively taking place in our schools.
  This amendment provides for those resources. It ensures we get the 
best value for the money we invest in title I. It allows schools to not 
only provide piecemeal services to students but to look and seek out 
ways to reform the way they educate the students in their classrooms.
  We will continue as the reauthorization of the Elementary and 
Secondary Education Act approaches to stress this issue of 
accountability. But today we have an opportune moment to invest in 
accountability and school reform. What we find is that the States, 
either through lack of financial resources, lack of focus, or due to 
other commitments and priorities, are not intervening in low-performing 
and failing schools as they should. They are not directing the kind of 
school improvement teams, for example, that have been authorized under 
title I. This amendment gives them not only the incentive but the 
resources to do that. In effect, what we are trying to do is make title 
I not just a way to distribute money to low-income schools but to 
stimulate the reform and improvement of these schools.
  It should be noted that the amendment targets the lowest performing 
schools to try to lift up those schools which are consistently failing 
their students. We all know if the schools are not working, these young 
people are not going to get the education they need and require to be 
productive citizens and workers and to contribute to our community and 
to our country. That is at the heart of all of our efforts on both 
sides of the aisle in the Senate.
  It is vitally important to turn around the lowest performing and 
failing schools. The 1994 reauthorization focused attention in the 
States on accountability, improvement, and reform. The States have 
taken steps to adopt accountability systems. But today we are here to 
give States and school districts the tools to ensure the job of turning 
around failing schools can be done effectively and completely. I urge 
passage of this amendment.

  Once again, I commend the Senator from New Mexico for his leadership 
and look forward to working with him as we undertake the 
reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act in the 
months ahead.
  I yield whatever time I have.
  Mr. BINGAMAN. Mr. President, how much time remains on our side?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Roberts). The Senator has 8 minutes 10 
seconds remaining.
  Mr. BINGAMAN. I yield 3 minutes to the Senator from Massachusetts, 
Mr. Kennedy.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The distinguished Senator from Massachusetts 
is recognized.
  Mr. KENNEDY. Mr. President, I congratulate Senator Bingaman, Senator 
Reed, and Senator Wellstone for this particular proposal. Effectively, 
what they are saying is we want to improve low-performing schools and 
we want to do it now--not wait until next year. It is reasonable to ask 
whether this kind of effort can be productive and whether it can be 
useful. I want to raise my voice and say: Absolutely.
  I had the opportunity to visit the Harriet Tubman Elementary School 
in New York City, one of the lowest-performing schools in the city, 
where 99 percent of the children come from low-income families. After 
being assigned to the Chancellor's District--a special school district 
created for the lowest-performing schools--school leaders, parents, and 
teachers devised a plan for comprehensive change. The school adopted a 
comprehensive reform program including an intensive reading program.
  By 1997-98, it had been removed from the state's list of low-
performing schools and reading scores had improved; the percentage of 
students performing at or above grade level on the citywide assessment 
had risen from 30 percent in 1996, to 46 percent.
  We have instance after instance where that has happened. At Hawthorne 
Elementary school in Texas, 96 percent of the students qualify for free 
lunch and 28 percent of the students have limited English language 
skills.
  In 1992-93, Hawthorne implemented a rigorous curriculum to challenge 
students in the early grades. In 1994 only 24 percent of students in 
the school passed all portions of the Texas Assessment of Academic 
Skills. In 1998, almost 63 percent of students passed this test, with 
the largest gains over the period being made by African American 
students.
  The States themselves have been reluctant to use scarce resources 
when we have not had adequate funding for the Title I program. The 
Bingaman amendment sets aside a specific amount of resources that will 
be out there and available to help those particular schools. This makes 
a great deal of sense.
  I hope our colleagues will support the Bingaman-Reed-Wellstone 
amendment. These students have spent enough time in low-performing 
schools, and deserve much better. The time is now to take action to fix 
these schools. The nation's children deserve no less.
  Mr. BINGAMAN. Mr. President, I reserve the remainder of my time.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Who yields time?
  The Chair will observe if neither side yields time, the time will be 
taken from both sides and equally charged.
  Mr. BINGAMAN. Mr. President, I yield 2 minutes to the Senator from 
Minnesota.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The distinguished Senator from Minnesota is 
recognized.
  Mr. WELLSTONE. Mr. President, I probably will not even take 2 
minutes.
  I rise to support the Bingaman amendment. I appreciate what my 
colleague from New Mexico said earlier in his remarks, which was that 
the focus on accountability is terribly important. We also have to make 
sure we invest the resources that will enable each child to have the 
same opportunity to succeed. I think that is extremely important as 
well. The two go together.
  But I do believe this is very helpful to States. It is very helpful 
to low-income children. I think it is terribly important that States 
devise and put into effect strategies that make sure we have the 
highest quality title I programs, which are, after all, all about 
expanding opportunities for low-income children, dealing with the 
learning gap, enabling a child to do well in school and therefore well 
in his or her life.
  I applaud his emphasis on accountability and rise to indicate my 
support.

[[Page S12152]]

  Mr. KERRY. Mr. President, the amendment before us today provides a 
chance not just to make this spending bill better and stronger, not 
just to move forward by completing another stage of the budget process 
the American people are already unsure we can complete, but to take 
this spending bill and use it as a real vehicle for reform of our 
public schools. Today we can make the single largest investment in 
accountability ever at the Federal level--today we can help serve as a 
catalyst for the innovative and, I think, critical reform efforts 
taking shape around this country. The amendment would reserve $200 
million of title I funds for disadvantaged children to provide 
assistance and support to low-performing schools. This amendment will 
compel school districts to take strong corrective actions to improve 
consistently low-performing schools. Passage of this amendment signals 
our commitment to the public schools. Our commitment to their success. 
And our commitment to ensuring failing schools turn around.
  For too long in this Nation we have tolerated low standards and low 
expectations for our poor children. The standards movement has begun to 
turn the tide on low expectations and we must build on that momentum 
and demand accountability from schools that fail our children. We have 
this opportunity at a time when the American people are telling us 
that--for their families, for their futures--in every poll of public 
opinion, in every survey of national priorities--one issue matters 
most--and it's education. Good news for all of us who care about 
education, who care about our kids. But the bad news is, the American 
people aren't so sure we know how to meet their needs anymore. They 
aren't even so sure we know how to listen.
  Every morning, more and more parents--rich, middle class, and even 
the poor--are driving their sons and daughters to parochial and private 
schools where they believe there will be more discipline, more 
standards, and more opportunity. Families are enrolling their children 
in charter schools, paying for private schools when they can afford 
them, or even resorting to home schooling--the largest growth area in 
American education.
  This amendment comes at an important time for our schools, you might 
say it comes at an even more important time for this Congress. We have 
to break out of the ideological bind we've put ourselves in--we can't 
just talk about education--it's more than an issue for an election--
we've got to do something about it. Parents in this country believe 
that public schools are in crisis and despite a decade of talk about 
reform, they give them no higher grade than a decade ago. 67 percent 
are dissatisfied with the way public education is working; 66 percent 
use the word crisis to describe what's going on in our schools today. 
But the American people--at times more than we seem to be in the 
Senate--are firmly committed to fixing our public schools--fixing our 
schools--not talking about fixing them, not using kids as pawns in a 
political chess game.
  It boils down to one fundamental, overriding concern: Americans want 
accountability for performance and consequences for failure in the 
public school system. Americans support a variety of innovative 
approaches to improving education--it's actually Washington that is 
more afraid of change than the citizens who sent us here. And it is 
time for us to be a catalyst for change--to help facilitate more 
innovation, not less--to improve the state of education in America: to 
address the problem of reading scores that show that of 2.6 million 
graduating high school students, one-third are below basic reading 
level, one-third are at basic, only one-third are proficient and only 
100,000 are at a world class reading level.
  The time to lay down the marker of accountability for student 
performance is now. That's why today's discussion is so important--
because we have the opportunity today to do it--to stop talking past 
each other--and to deliver on the most important principle of real 
education reform--accountability.

  When schools begin to fail, when there is social promotion, when kids 
are being left behind, we need to hold those schools accountable for 
taking those best practices and turning around low performing schools 
not 5 years from now, not some time in the future, not after another 
study, but today--now. And if we can commit ourselves to that kind of 
accountability then we will have taken an incredible leap forward, not 
just building public confidence in public education, but in making all 
our schools better. It is past time that we coalesce around an approach 
to reform grounded in four simple concepts: high standards; teaching to 
those standards; giving every student the opportunity to meet those 
standards; and building strict accountability into the system to make 
those standards meaningful.
  Mr. President, 49 States have embraced or will soon embrace 
meaningful standards; there should be no partisan divide over this 
issue--and now is the time for us all to embrace the policies which 
empower our teachers to teach to standards and give every student the 
real opportunity to meet high standards. Now is the time for us to 
embrace the accountability that has worked so well for real leaders 
like Gov. Tom Carper in Delaware, and Mayor Daley in Chicago--now is 
the time for us to say not just that we hope schools will meet high 
standards, but that we'll work with them--holding them accountable--to 
get them there. It's time for us to say that we're willing--in our 
title I spending--to hold schools accountable for meeting those high 
benchmarks--to reach out to low performing schools and give them the 
intensive help they need to turn things around and help raise student 
performance. It boils down to real accountability--to acknowledging 
that though the Federal role in education, in terms of pure spending, 
has been relatively small, it does provide the leverage--if we are 
willing to embrace it--to empower schools in need of reform to turn 
themselves around rapidly--to cut through layers of bureaucracy--to 
access new resources--to shake up staff--and, if need be, to 
reconstitute itself--to become a new school in a fundamental sense--or 
to turn itself into, essentially, a charter school within the public 
school system. We know that title I itself, with the early 
accountability reforms already in place have raised accountability--but 
I would say that in this amendment we could do so much more--and we 
should.
  Consider the impact more accountability would make--the ability we 
would have to truly adhere to high standards throughout the system: to 
raise teacher quality; reform certification; provide mentoring and 
ongoing education; embrace merit pay; higher salaries; and end teacher 
tenure as we know it.
  Consider the ability to hold schools accountable for our childrens' 
needs--to say that we will not allow schools to be the dumping ground 
for adult problems--and to acknowledge that we need to fill those hours 
after school with meaningful study--curriculum--and mentoring.
  Consider the ability to hold students accountable for discipline and 
violence: to allow schools to write discipline codes and create second 
chance schools: to eliminate the crime that turns too many hallways and 
classrooms into arenas of violence.
  We need to do these things now--to be willing to challenge the status 
quo--to do more for our schools, to help every student achieve, to 
guarantee reform when they don't--and--in no small measure--to renew 
the promise of public education for the 21st century.
  This will not happen overnight, but it will happen. I look forward to 
joining with all of my colleagues in that effort: to pass this 
amendment, to make accountability the foundation of reform, and to face 
the challenge of fixing our public schools together.
  Mr. BINGAMAN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent two letters be 
printed in the Record at this point, one from Michael Davis, who is the 
superintendent of public instruction from my home State of New Mexico, 
and the other from Gordon Ambach, who is the head of the Council of 
Chief State School Officers. The first letter from Mr. Davis is in 
support of the amendment. The second letter supports providing 
additional funds to States to implement the accountability provisions 
of title I. Mr. Ambach had not seen the amendment yet when he wrote 
that letter.
  There being no objection, the letters were ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:


[[Page S12153]]


                                              State of New Mexico,


                                      Department of Education,

                                    Santa Fe, NM, October 6, 1999.
     Hon. Jeff Bingaman,
     U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.
       Dear Senator Bingaman: I write to applaud your efforts to 
     secure a dedicated source of funding for States and local 
     school districts to implement the accountability provisions 
     of Title I. As you know, we have been working hard in New 
     Mexico to raise standards and implement a rigorous 
     accountability system. We will be unable to successfully 
     implement high standards and accountability, however, unless 
     we are able to provide local districts with additional 
     resources to help them address weaknesses in their 
     educational programs and to turn around failing schools. I 
     believe that your amendment seeking to direct $200 million 
     for this purpose will go a long way towards ensuring proper 
     enforcement of the accountability provisions under Title I.
       Thank you for your efforts. Please let me know if I can be 
     of assistance to you.
           Sincerely,
                                                 Michael J. Davis,
     State Superintendent of Public Instruction.
                                  ____



                       Council of Chief State School Officers,

                                    Washington, DC, June 22, 1999.
     Member, House Education and the Workforce Committee,
     U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, DC.

RE: Provisions for Program Improvement in Reauthorization of ESEA Title 
                    I--The need for greater funding

       Dear Representative: Title I of the Elementary and 
     Secondary Education Act (ESEA) now includes very important 
     provisions for the identification in each state of those 
     schools with lowest levels of student achievement and most in 
     need to program improvement. This provision earmarks funds 
     for the state education agency (SEA) to assist local 
     education authorities and these schools with their strategies 
     to improve achievement. This state role is authorized on the 
     assumption that if the district and school had the capacity 
     internally to improve; improvement would have occurred and be 
     reflected by increased achievement scores. Unfortunately, the 
     analysis of Title I school by school test scores reveals that 
     nearly 7,000 schools have continuing low performance over the 
     years and need ``external'' program improvement help. The 
     problem is that the federal appropriation for program 
     improvement is far too small to serve 7,000 schools 
     effectively.
       An increase in the state education agency (SEA) set-aside 
     for program improvement is urgently needed to help the 7,000 
     lowest performing schools in the nation build capacity, 
     improve student achievement and meet new accountability 
     requirements for student progress. As your Committee develops 
     a bill to reauthorize Title I for introduction and markup, we 
     urge a substantial increase in the funds set-aside for 
     improving programs in schools where students are not making 
     adequate progress toward achieving state standards. The 
     current \1/2\ of 1% of each state's total Title I allocation 
     which may be set-aside for program improvement provides only 
     $40 million of the $8 billion program for SEAs to fulfill the 
     required activities for schools identified as needing 
     improvement. An increase to 2.5% by FY2001 and 3.5% by FY 
     2004 as proposed by the Administration is critical to provide 
     $200 million to $300 million to serve the 7,000 schools with 
     support teams, mentors, distinguished educators, additional 
     comprehensive school reform efforts, professional development 
     and other forms of technical assistance called for in the 
     bill.
       Increased program improvement funding is the right strategy 
     for these reasons:
       (1) All program improvement funds are used directly to 
     raise quality in the classrooms of the lowest performing 
     Title I schools. Under the Administration proposal for ESEA 
     reauthorization, 70% of the funds authorized for program 
     improvement must be allocated by the SEA to the LEA to carry 
     out its program improvement activities in failing schools 
     according to its local plan approved by the SEA. The 
     remaining 30% of the program improvement funds will be 
     used by the SEA for direct support and assistance to the 
     classrooms of such schools. This state service assures 
     that both the state and local districts are partners in 
     bringing external resources to help teachers and leaders 
     in those schools. All of the uses of funds for program 
     improvement are defined as the ``Dollars to the 
     Classroom'' bill of the same title. All of these funds 
     support improvement in the classrooms which most need the 
     help.
       (2) The current $40 million which is available under the 
     .5% set-aside is woefully inadequate for SEAs and districts 
     to serve and improve low-performing schools. This amount is 
     grossly insufficient to fulfill the requirements and needs of 
     the almost 7,000 schools already identified as needing 
     improvement. The average amount available now per school is 
     only $5,715 per year. New provisions expected in the 
     reauthorization for school support teams, distinguished 
     educators and mentors, technical assistance to adopt and 
     implement research-based models for improved instruction, and 
     professional development for teachers and school leaders in 
     methods which assure student success require more resources 
     per school. The need will increase substantially for schools 
     identified as needing improvement as states and districts 
     continue to implement challenging standards and assessments 
     for all students. Proposed accountability requirements to 
     assure all students are continually learning the skills 
     necessary to achieve on grade level and comparability of 
     teacher quality in each school will add to the challenges for 
     schools in need of improvement and must be met with increased 
     external support.
       (3) Although Title I is the single largest federal 
     elementary and secondary program, Title I has the smallest 
     proportion of funds devoted to administration, support and 
     assistance, and quality control monitoring of any of the 
     major federal programs. The Individuals with Disabilities 
     Education Act (IDEA) has 25%, and the Perkins Vocational-
     Technical Education Act has 15% with an additional 10% 
     directed by the state to rural and urban areas through 
     competitive grants. Only 1% of the Title I total is 
     authorized for states to operate and support all eligible 
     schools in a program which expends $8 billion in federal 
     taxpayers' funds to serve 11 million students in 45,000 
     schools in 90% of the nation's school districts. The amount 
     of funds devoted to state and locally assisted program 
     improvement in the lowest-performing schools is an additional 
     0.5%. State capacity for helping title I districts and 
     schools is significantly underfunded and therefore underused. 
     Congress should rely on state level assistance for Title I, 
     as it does for IDEA, Perkins Vocational-Technical Education, 
     Technology Challenge Grants, and other federal programs. 
     Leveraging substantial, sustained gains in student 
     achievement in these schools requires a far stronger 
     investment in state assistance than in the current law.
       We hope these comments are helpful as you develop this 
     critical piece of legislation. We urge you to act on them. 
     Please feel free to call us at (202) 336-7009 if you have any 
     questions or find we can be of further assistance.
           Respectfully Submitted,
                                                 Gordon M. Ambach,
                                               Executive Director.

  Mr. BINGAMAN. Mr. President, let me read a few sentences from the 
letter from Michael Davis. He is a very capable, respected, State 
school superintendent from my State. He writes:

       Dear Senator Bingaman: I write to applaud your efforts to 
     secure a dedicated source of funding for States and local 
     school districts to implement the accountability provisions 
     of Title I. As you know, we have been working hard in New 
     Mexico to raise standards and implement a rigorous 
     accountability system. We will be unable to successfully 
     implement high standards and accountability, however, unless 
     we are able to provide local districts with additional 
     resources to help them address weaknesses in their 
     educational programs and to turn around failing schools. I 
     believe that your amendment seeking to direct $200 million 
     for this purpose will go a long way towards ensuring proper 
     enforcement of the accountability provisions under Title I.

  Then, in the letter from the executive director, Mr. Ambach, of the 
Council of Chief State School Officers, the point that is made strongly 
is that the current $40 million that is available under the 0.5-percent 
set-aside for States is woefully inadequate for local school districts 
to serve and improve low-performing schools. I think those two letters 
speak very strongly in favor of what we are trying to do.
  I very much appreciate the support of Senator Kennedy, Senator 
Wellstone, Senator Reed, and Senator Kerrey.
  Let me say a few other things before my time is up. How much time 
remains on my side?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator has 1 minute 50 seconds.
  Mr. BINGAMAN. Mr. President, this amendment, as I have said before, 
should not be a partisan issue. I know many of the amendments that have 
been brought to the Senate floor in recent days and weeks and even 
months have been voted along partisan lines. This amendment should not 
be. The need for accountability is not a partisan issue.
  Just yesterday, Governor Bush from Texas talked about his plan for 
improving accountability in title I schools. Under his plan, school 
districts and schools would have to show improvement in test 
performance. If schools improved, they would be rewarded with 
additional funds. If schools did not improve in 5 years, those funds 
would be taken and given to parents or students in vouchers of $1,500 
each.
  The problem with this proposal is it provides the stick, a very big 
stick with dire consequences for schools that do not perform, but it 
does not provide resources to help those schools avoid that failure. 
This proposal says if you can figure out how to turn your school around 
with the meager resources you have, fine; if you cannot, then we will 
let the clock run out and then take the money away, so your odds 
against succeeding become insurmountable.

[[Page S12154]]

  What this amendment will do is provide that assistance to those 
schools immediately when the failing nature of that school is 
recognized. I think this is an extremely important amendment. It is 
something we ought to do. I hope this is considered by each Senator as 
a good-faith effort to better use the funds we are spending in this 
bill.
  Once again, I remind all my colleagues, this amendment does not add 
money to the bill. This is not a question of whether we are going to 
spend more or less on education. It is a question of how effectively we 
can spend the funds we are going to spend.
  Mr. President, I gather my time is up. I yield the floor at this time 
and wait for the response, if there is any opposition to the amendment, 
which I certainly hope there is not.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Who yields time in opposition?
  Without objection, the Chair, acting in my capacity as an individual 
Senator from Kansas, notes the absence of a quorum, and the clerk will 
call the roll.
  The bill clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. COVERDELL. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. COVERDELL. Mr. President, the Bingaman amendment will provide 
$200 million from the funds the committee provided for basic and 
concentration grants to support State and local accountability efforts 
to identify school failure and provide progressively more interventions 
to turn around the performance of the local school. Under the current 
law, States may now reserve 0.5 percent for such activity. This 
amendment would set aside $200 million, or 2.5 percent, specifically 
for State and local accountability efforts. States would not, 
therefore, be given the choice of whether or not to spend funds for 
accountability purposes which resemble very much a mandate. This 
amendment would take education funds away from States to educate low-
income students. Most States already have adopted statewide 
accountability systems that include State assessments to measure 
whether students are meeting State standards, report cards that 
summarize performance of individual schools, and rating systems that 
determine whether a school's performance is adequate.
  The authorizing committees have not had the opportunity to carefully 
examine the issue of whether to increase the amount set aside for 
accountability. Hearings should be held where States can express their 
views, and this issue should be addressed during the reauthorization of 
the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
  Mr. President. how much time remains on our side?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Georgia has 12 minutes 42 
seconds.
  Mr. BINGAMAN. Mr. President, may I ask if the Senator will yield for 
a question?
  Mr. COVERDELL. I would be glad to yield for a question.
  Mr. BINGAMAN. Mr. President, I was informed that the Governors 
Association supports this amendment, and that the States would want the 
initial ability to use these funds. Does the Senator have information 
to the contrary? I know he raised a concern about requiring States to 
do something different. My information is that this is the authority 
they would want.
  Mr. COVERDELL. I am advised by the committee staff that we don't have 
the same information the Senator has just expressed, so I cannot 
comment one way or the other.
  Mr. BINGAMAN. Mr. President, I might just respond that we will try to 
get that information to the Senator from Georgia before the vote occurs 
at 11:30.
  Mr. COVERDELL. Very good. I appreciate the comment of the Senator.
  Mr. President, I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The bill clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. WELLSTONE. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. WELLSTONE. Would it be in order for me to call up my amendment in 
order to move on? I ask unanimous consent to set aside the pending 
amendment and call up amendment numbered 1842.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there an objection to setting aside the 
amendment?
  Mr. COVERDELL. Mr. President, reserving the right to object----
  Mr. WELLSTONE. Just to be clear to colleagues, I thought we were 
finished and were trying to move along. I am willing to wait, if 
Senator Bingaman wishes to continue.
  Mr. COVERDELL. We may wish to continue.
  Mr. WELLSTONE. Very well.
  Mr. COVERDELL. Mr. President, I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The bill clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. WELLSTONE. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. WELLSTONE. I wonder whether I could ask unanimous consent for 3 
minutes as in morning business to make a statement while we are in 
deliberations. I ask unanimous consent to be able to do that.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Mr. COVERDELL. Mr. President, I do not object to yielding 3 minutes 
of time as in morning business, and that following that we go back to 
this.
  Mr. WELLSTONE. Absolutely. I am trying to make the best use of our 
time, Mr. President.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator is recognized for 3 minutes.

                          ____________________