July 24, 2001

Education Conference Committee Complete

Last week, the House completed its delegation to the Education Conference Committee, and the committee met for the first time on July 19 to discuss President George W. Bush's education plan.

The president's "No Child Left Behind" plan focuses on fundamental reforms in education-specifically in the areas of state accountability, local control of education, and increased parental options. Although both houses of Congress earlier this summer passed their own versions of Bush's plan-House Resolution 1 and Senate bill1-respectively, the two measures differ in several key amendments. The Education Conference Committee, made up of both Senate and House members, must reconcile the two bills into one.

"We have some differences to address, but I believe we have the will to resolve them, and resolve them quickly," said House-Senate Education Conference Committee Chairman Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) in a press release.

Home School Legal Defense Association's National Center for Home Education is pleased with the results of its lobbying efforts on behalf of several key family-friendly conference committee candidates. "We recommended four members of Congress to House Leadership. Two were chosen: Rep. Van Hilleary (R-TN) and Rep. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)," said Caleb Kershner, the center's acting director.

House conferees are as follows: (Republican) Reps. John Boehner (OH), Thomas Petri (WI), Marge Roukema (NJ), Howard "Buck" McKeon (CA), Michael Castle (DE), Van Hilleary (TN), Lindsey Graham (SC), Johnny Isakson (GA). (Democrat) Rep. George Miller (CA), Dale Kildee (MI), Major Owens (NY), Rob Andrews (IN), Patsy Mink (HI), and Tim Roemer (IN). Senate members were chosen last week. (Senate Selection Advances Education Proposal)

The National Center is continuing its lobbying efforts by meeting with Senate and House members and White House staff to discuss areas of education reform that are important to home schooling families across the nation. "We want to ensure that the provisions that benefit home schoolers are included in the final version of the bill," said Kershner.

A final version of the bill is not expected to be complete until after Labor Day, when Congress returns from its August recess. During the break, congressional staffers will continue to work on merging the two bills.