[Congressional Record Volume 146, Number 22 (Thursday, March 2, 2000)]
[Senate]
[Pages S1045-S1087]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]




                    AFFORDABLE EDUCATION ACT OF 1999

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senate will now resume consideration of S. 
1134 which the clerk will report.
  The bill clerk read as follows:

       A bill (S. 1134) to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 
     to allow tax-free expenditures from education individual 
     retirement accounts for elementary and secondary school 
     expenses, to increase the maximum annual amount of 
     contributions to such accounts, and for other purposes.

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, there will now be 30 
minutes of debate equally divided on amendment No. 2827.
  Pending:

       Coverdell (for Mack/Hatch) amendment No. 2827, to eliminate 
     the marriage penalty in the reduction in permitted 
     contributions to education individual retirement accounts.

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Nevada.
  Mr. REID. Mr. President, we are making progress on this legislation. 
On our side, we have approximately seven or eight amendments remaining. 
Of course, there could be others offered, but we think we have been 
moving well on this legislation. I alert my colleagues, Senators Boxer, 
Feinstein, Schumer, Kennedy, Dorgan, Graham, Kerry, Harkin, and 
Wellstone, that they should be ready to offer their amendments in the 
approximate order I have read off their names, and we will try to alert 
their offices to give them adequate notice to get over here.
  I ask unanimous consent that the time until 10 o'clock be scored 
equally against both sides.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. COVERDELL. I think it is already in the order, but I would 
certainly agree.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. That is correct. The time is equally divided.
  Mr. REID. 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. HATCH. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.


                           Amendment No. 2827

  Mr. HATCH. Mr. President, I rise today in strong support of the Mack-
Hatch amendment that is currently before the Senate. This is an 
important issue both as a matter of educational policy and as a matter 
of fairness in tax policy. I congratulate the Senator from Florida for 
joining me in bringing it up as a part of the debate on this bill.
  There has been a lot of discussion in recent months about the problem 
of the so-called marriage tax penalty. Actually, if we were to be 
totally accurate, we would talk about the marriage penalties. The 
American Institute of CPAs has found that the Internal Revenue Code 
contains at least 66 separate

[[Page S1046]]

provisions that can cause a marriage penalty--66. Think about it. Many 
of our colleagues may not realize this, but at the same time we were 
supporting legislation to eliminate marriage penalties, we were busy 
creating new ones.
  This brings me to the purpose of our amendment. The bill we are 
debating today would expand the education savings account Congress 
created in the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997. This is a great idea, and I 
fully support it. However, the provision creating the education savings 
account in 1997 contained a flaw--a marriage penalty. This penalty is 
found in the fact that the phaseout threshold for married couples found 
in joint returns is less than twice as high as the threshold for single 
taxpayers.
  The amendment before us would correct this problem by raising the 
threshold for married couples from the current level of $150,000 to 
$190,000, which is twice the $95,000 threshold for individuals. It is 
that simple.
  Some may argue that this is a trivial matter. Why are we taking up 
the Senate's valuable time on such a minor change. While to some this 
may not be the important tax change we should consider if this one 
problem is viewed by itself, this issue is much larger than that.
  First, let's start with the obvious. We are debating S. 1134 to 
provide incentives for American families to save for their children's 
education: tuition payments, books, tutoring, computers, and other 
things. The idea, of course, is to benefit children. The goal is to 
further their educational opportunities. But without the Mack-Hatch 
amendment, we discriminate against some two-parent families who wish to 
take advantage of an education savings account. In some cases, the 
allowable resources in the account available for their children's 
education would be greater if mom and dad merely divorced and set up 
separate accounts. That is not what we want in this country.
  Second, it is time we raise the consciousness of the Senate about how 
seemingly minor boilerplate provisions in tax bills can eventually harm 
taxpayers in big ways. I would venture a guess that one of the reasons 
we have 66 separate marriage penalties built into the Tax Code is that 
Congress simply copied over and over, year after year, the faulty 
language referring to returns filed by single taxpayers and married 
couples. Once enacted, of course, they spread like a computer virus.

  Later today, I plan to offer another amendment that would correct yet 
another marriage penalty we created in 1997, this time in the student 
loan interest deduction. I hope my colleagues will support Senator Mack 
and I on behalf of these amendments.
  These amendments represent a good start on finding and correcting 
some of these tax inequities that riddle the Internal Revenue Code. I 
am looking forward to working more on this issue when the Finance 
Committee takes up marriage penalty legislation in the next few weeks. 
I congratulate Senator Roth, chairman of the Finance Committee, for 
making meaningful relief in this area a high priority.
  In listening to my constituents talk about the issue of taxes, I 
continue to hear one thing over and over again. The No. 1 complaint I 
hear from Utahans even more than that of taxes being too high is that 
of the Internal Revenue Code's complexity and unfairness. In my view, 
few things in our jumbled up Tax Code are more unfair than the 
provisions that make taxpayers pay more just because they are married.
  Let's take this simple first step and eliminate this one marriage 
penalty by adopting this amendment. Then later, when I bring up my 
amendment on the student loan interest deduction marriage penalty, 
let's take on that one as well. Later this spring, we can do even more 
with the larger marriage penalty bill. We should fix all 66 of these 
marriage penalties, even if we have to do it one by one.
  Let's strike a blow for tax fairness. I urge the adoption of this 
amendment.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Georgia.
  Mr. COVERDELL. I appreciate the remarks of Senator Hatch of Utah. I 
believe Senator Brownback is here. How much time is remaining on our 
side?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Nine and one-half minutes.
  Mr. COVERDELL. I yield 3 minutes to Senator Brownback and the 
remainder of the time then to the cosponsor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Kansas.
  Mr. BROWNBACK. I thank Senator Coverdell and add my voice in support 
of the amendment by Senator Mack and Senator Hatch.
  The marriage penalty appears in the Tax Code 66 different places. 
That is a situation where we have a married couple who do not get the 
same advantages as two people filing individually. Here is another case 
where the marriage penalty occurs, and here is another case where we 
are trying to pull it out of the Tax Code. That is why I add my voice 
of support to this amendment by Senator Hatch and by Senator Mack to 
eliminate this portion of the marriage penalty that appears in the 
education IRAs.
  Annually, there are about 22 million married couples who pay a 
penalty of some sort or another in the Tax Code, for being married. 
They pay an average of $1,480 more in Federal income taxes than they 
would if they were single living together. I think it is a bad signal 
that we send across the country. It is a bad signal in the Tax Code. It 
is one we ought to ferret out wherever we possibly can.
  This is a good place for us to address this particular issue. Our Tax 
Code is riddled with provisions that penalize America's families. The 
House has passed a bill to provide marriage tax penalty relief that is 
separate and distinct from this particular area of the marriage 
penalty. What they would do is provide marginal rate brackets that are 
fair for the families. They would eliminate the marriage penalty that 
exists in the standard deduction as well. However, even with those 
changes, which I am hopeful we can pass this year, we still will have 
more to do to ensure married people are not discriminated against in 
our Tax Code.
  In fact, our Tax Code penalizes marriage in over 60 different ways, 
according to the American Association of Certified Public Accountants. 
This is unacceptable. We must continually work to make our Tax Code 
better, to make it fairer for America's families.

  This amendment being offered by my colleagues, Senator Mack and 
Senator Hatch, takes an important step in our Tax Code to end a bias 
against marriage. I am hopeful we will pass this amendment on a strong 
bipartisan basis. We will pass more substantive marriage tax penalty 
relief later this year.
  As my colleagues have already described, the Hatch-Mack amendment 
eliminates the marriage penalty and the reduction in contributions to 
education and individual retirement accounts. This important provision 
will remove one of the marriage tax penalties that exists in our Tax 
Code. I believe we must pass this important amendment.
  I thank my colleagues who are introducing the amendment for allowing 
me this time to speak on the bill and yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Florida.
  Mr. MACK. Mr. President, I rise in support of amendment 2827. This 
amendment, cosponsored by Senators Hatch and Murkowski, is very simple 
and straightforward. It eliminates the marriage penalty in the 
education savings accounts.
  Married couples should not suffer a tax increase just because they 
are married. The so-called marriage penalties in the Tax Code do just 
that. Married couples often have to pay higher taxes than the couple 
would owe if they were single filers. The House has recently addressed 
this issue in the broader Tax Code, and we will soon do the same. But 
it makes no sense to have marriage penalties built into newer programs 
we have created, such as the tax-free education savings accounts.
  Under this amendment, as under the administration's HOPE scholarship 
tax credit and Lifetime Learning credit, the income eligibility for 
joint filers would be double the amount for single filers. People who 
qualify for these accounts when they are single should not lose this 
valuable opportunity to provide for their children's education just 
because they got married.
  When the Senate first passed education savings accounts in the 1997 
Taxpayer Relief Act, all Americans

[[Page S1047]]

were eligible to use these vehicles to save for their children's 
education. While that bill was in conference, however, income limits 
were added to this tax benefit, but these limits injected a marriage 
penalty into this provision. There is absolutely no policy 
justification for a marriage penalty in education tax benefits. This 
should not be a partisan issue.
  As I mentioned earlier, the administration's education proposal did 
not contain a marriage penalty, but the income limits the 
administration negotiated when the 1997 bill was in conference created 
a marriage penalty in the education savings accounts. Now is the time 
for us to eliminate this marriage penalty.
  According to my Joint Economic Committee staff, this amendment will 
allow over 2 million households to establish education savings accounts 
for their children.
  We should be looking to remove marriage penalties in the Tax Code 
instead of making them worse. Our amendment will ensure that married 
couples can save for their children's education on an equal basis, as 
single individuals can.
  I urge my colleagues to support this amendment and yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Nevada.
  Mr. REID. Mr. President, it is interesting that on a bill pertaining 
to education, we are talking about how we can help 4 or 5 percent of 
the people in this country. First of all, I have nothing against people 
making $150,000 a year. I think that is wonderful, and I hope they make 
even more money. But the Hatch amendment will allow married couples 
earning between $150,000 and $190,000 to make full contributions to 
ESAs and will allow couples with incomes up to $220,000 to make partial 
contributions.
  Under current law, the maximum income a married couple can earn for 
an ESA contribution is $150,000. The proponents of this amendment 
describe this amendment as a marriage penalty relief. Well, I guess 
from one perspective they are right. The ability of the single tax 
payer to make ESA contributions phases out between $95,000 and 
$110,000. For married couples filing jointly, the phaseout range is 
$150,000 to $165,000.
  The Hatch amendment would make the phaseout range for married couples 
twice that of single individuals; that is, $190,000, twice $95,000, to 
$220,000, twice the $110,000 previously spoken of.
  Accordingly, the only beneficiaries of this amendment are married 
couples filing joint returns earning more than $150,000 but less than 
$220,000 in a year. As I have said before, people making up to $220,000 
a year can make partial contributions.
  We have yet to obtain an estimate from the Joint Tax Committee. 
Notice, no one has talked about how much this is going to cost. It will 
cost plenty. We do know that families earning $150,000 in income are in 
the top 5 percent of all American families. For 1997, the top 5 percent 
was $137,080 and has likely increased since then. In other words, 95 or 
96 percent of American families would not benefit from this amendment.
  I ask unanimous consent to print in the Record tabular matter from 
the Department of Commerce setting this forth.
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

                                             NO. 751.--SHARE OF AGGREGATE INCOME RECEIVED BY EACH FIFTH AND TOP 5 PERCENT OF FAMILIES: 1970 TO 1997
                                                 [Families as of March of the following year. Income in constant 1997 CPI-U-X1 adjusted dollars]
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                          Income at selected positions (dollars)                          Percent distribution of aggregate income
                                                               ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                       Year                           Number               Upper limit of each fifth
                                                      (1,000)  ------------------------------------------------   Top 5    Lowest 5th  Second 5th   Third 5th  Fourth 5th    Highest     Top 5
                                                                  Lowest      Second       Third      Fourth     percent                                                       5th      percent
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
1970..............................................     52,227      19,820      32,333      43,910      60,357      94,240        5.4        12.2        17.6        23.8        40.9        15.6
1975..............................................     56,245      19,954      32,857      45,694      63,266      99,099        5.6        11.9        17.7        24.2        40.7        14.9
1980..............................................     60,309      20,282      34,148      48,365      67,866     107,260        5.3        11.6        17.6        24.4        41.1        14.6
1985..............................................     63,558      19,816      34,138      49,451      71,940     117,787        4.8        11.0        16.9        24.3        43.1        16.1
1990..............................................     66,322      20,687      35,666      51,625      75,510     125,696        4.6        10.8        16.6        23.8        44.3        17.4
1991..............................................     67,173      20,033      34,305      50,672      74,229     121,169        4.5        10.7        16.6        24.1        44.2        17.1
1992 \1\..........................................     68,216      19,119      33,946      50,335      73,272     121,275        4.3        10.5        16.5        24.0        44.7        17.6
1993 \2\..........................................     68,506      18,849      33,322      50,016      74,190     125,714        4.1         9.9        15.7        23.3        47.0        20.3
1994 \3\..........................................     69,313      19,429      33,898      50,901      75,808     130,006        4.2        10.0        15.7        23.3        46.9        20.1
1995..............................................     69,597      20,084      34,738      51,589      76,101     130,228        4.4        10.1        15.8        23.2        46.5        20.0
1996..............................................     70,241      20,132      35,102      52,258      77,044     130,937        4.2        10.0        15.8        23.1        46.8        20.3
1997..............................................     70,884      20,586      36,000      53,616      80,000     137,080        4.2         9.9        15.7        23.0        47.2        20.7
  White...........................................     59,515      22,576      38,258      55,783      82,442     142,400        4.6        10.2        15.7        22.8        46.8        20.7
  Black...........................................      8,408      11,396      21,875      36,052      57,000      95,684        3.4         9.1        15.6        25.1        46.8        17.6
  Hispanic origin \4\.............................      6,961      12,642      22,200      34,963      53,548      96,460        3.9         9.2        14.9        22.8        49.3        21.6
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Based on 1990 census population controls.    \2\ See text, this section, for explanation of changes in data collection method.    \3\ Introduction of new 1990 census sample design.    \4\
  Persons of Hispanic origin may be of any race.
 
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Reports, P60-200; and <http://www.census.gov/hhes/income/histinc/index.html> (accessed 23 March 1999).


                                               NO. 752.--MONEY INCOME OF FAMILIES--DISTRIBUTION, BY FAMILY CHARACTERISTICS AND INCOME LEVEL: 1997
                                                        [See headnote, Table 749. For composition of regions, see map inside front cover]
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                                         Income level (1,000)
                                                                       Number of  --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------    Median
                           Characteristic                              families        Under      $10,000 to    $15,000 to    $25,000 to    $35,000 to    $50,000 to    $75,000 and     income
                                                                        (1,000)       $10,000       $14,999       $24,999       $34,999       $49,999       $74,999        over       (dollars)
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
      All families.................................................       70,884         4,816         4,054         9,250         9,079        12,357        15,112        16,217        44,568
Age of householder:
    15 to 24 years old.............................................        3,018           720           361           659           456           443           264           114        20,820
    25 to 34 years old.............................................       13,639         1,363           922         1,814         1,846         2,637         3,080         1,977        39,979
    35 to 44 years old.............................................       18,872         1,151           826         1,934         2,120         3,285         4,734         4,820        50,424
    45 to 54 years old.............................................       14,695           530           500         1,112         1,420         2,303         3,640         5,189        59,959
    55 to 64 years old.............................................        9,391           484           407           991         1,081         1,700         1,997         2,731        50,241
    65 years old and over..........................................       11,270           567         1,037         2,739         2,156         1,989         1,398         1,385        30,660
White..............................................................       59,515         3,185         3,047         7,454         7,552        10,527        13,172        14,578        46,754
Black..............................................................        8,408         1,428           824         1,486         1,193         1,302         1,344           832        28,602
Hispanic origin \1\................................................        6,961           956           759         1,397         1,066         1,199           887           697        28,142
Northeast..........................................................       13,338           904           608         1,570         1,596         2,158         2,853         3,648        48,328
Midwest............................................................       16,594           898           797         1,993         2,122         3,093         3,862         3,829        46,734
South..............................................................       25,682         2,008         1,689         3,718         3,492         4,565         5,230         4,981        41,001
West...............................................................       15,270         1,006           959         1,968         1,869         2,542         3,167         3,760        45,590
Type of family:
    Married-couple families........................................       54,321         1,488         2,100         5,899         6,497         9,978        13,200        15,159        51,591
    Male householder, wife absent..................................        3,911           358           292           703           707           694           716           440        32,960
    Female householder, husband absent.............................       12,652         2,971         1,661         2,647         1,875         1,685         1,195           618        21,023
Unrelated subfamilies..............................................          575           219            86           133            69            51            14             3        13,692
Education attainment of householder: \2\
      Total........................................................       67,866         4,096         3,693         8,590         8,622        11,913        14,848        16,103        45,874
Less than 9th grade................................................        4,667           690           799         1,267           728           624           341           219        21,208
9th to 12th grade (no diploma).....................................        6,604         1,027           753         1,465         1,085         1,101           778           395        25,465
High school graduate (includes equivalency)........................       21,991         1,439         1,152         3,261         3,517         4,610         4,991         3,021        40,040
Some college, no degree............................................       12,107           559           562         1,358         1,666         2,338         2,964         2,661        46,936
Associate degree...................................................        5,226           162           174           506           556         1,005         1,468         1,355        52,393
Bachelor's degree or more..........................................       17,272           221           253           733         1,071         2,235         4,306         8,454        73,578
    Bachelor's degree..............................................       11,201           156           185           581           797         1,616         3,079         4,788        67,230

[[Page S1048]]

 
    Master's degree................................................        3,903            46            46           109           194           451           868         2,188        81,734
    Professional degree............................................        1,249            10            12            25            50           111           203           839       106,942
    Doctorate degree...............................................          919             8            10            18            30            58           156           638      103,203
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Persons of Hispanic origin may be of any race.    \2\ Persons 25 years old and over.
 
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Reports, P60-200.

  Mr. REID. Mr. President, as I have said, this is the time that we are 
debating public education, I hope. And we are talking about taking 
taxpayer money--that is what this is about--and giving tax relief to 
the top 4 or 5 percent of people in America. I am not too sure that is 
a proper allocation of income.
  We have limited resources. We can talk about all the surpluses we 
want, but, as we know, when it comes time to allocating moneys in the 
appropriations process, there are very scarce dollars. There are very 
scarce dollars for public education. As has been established in this 
debate, the Federal Government contributes 2 percent of its resources 
to public education in America. The Governors were in town from all 50 
States crying for more money for all kinds of things, especially 
education. Of course, we don't want to take the control of education 
away from the local schools, but local schools, as Senator Murray from 
Washington talked about yesterday, a former school board member, need 
to get some financial relief. We should be spending these limited 
resources not on trying to help somebody who makes up to $220,000 a 
year; we should be getting resources to these schools with tight 
budgets. We must focus on what we know works, what is going to help 
children in school more. Is it this tax relief to 4 or 5 percent of the 
American people or to do something about getting teachers who are 
better trained? We need to recruit and monitor high-quality teachers 
and principals. We need to do something about creating smaller classes.
  With all due respect to the majority, they talk about smaller class 
size--the Senator from New Hampshire talked about that yesterday. 
Common sense dictates that if a teacher has 25 or 30 children as 
compared to 15 children, where is that teacher going to do the better 
job? Of course, it would be with 15 children. We need to have smaller 
classes and we need to work on having smaller schools because we know 
that works, too. We need to hold schools accountable for results. This 
takes resources that local school districts don't have. We need to 
ensure that children learn in modern, safe classrooms.
  Some schools are badly in need of repair. It has been established in 
the debate we have had over the last few days that the average school 
in America is 42 years old. Well, I am sure those schools need some 
renovation and repair. We need to expand access to technology. We rush 
down--Democrats and Republicans--sponsoring and voting for a bill to 
give these big corporations tax credits for donating computers to 
schools. I think that is wonderful, but we should also be concerned 
about the many schools that aren't properly equipped to use these 
computers. They are not wired properly. They can't be wired properly a 
lot of times because the schools are simply too old. We need to spend 
money to ensure universal access to high-quality preschool programs and 
to make college affordable.
  I hope we all understand what we are here talking about. We are 
talking about helping kids become better citizens of this country, and 
the best way is through education. I respectfully submit that helping 
people making up to $220,000, that is, 4 to 5 percent of the American 
people, is not the best way to expend our very limited resources.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Florida is recognized.
  Mr. MACK. Mr. President, I wanted to put some information in the 
Record. It is unfortunate that all Members did not have the information 
as to what the cost of this amendment would be. It is nowhere near what 
was implied by my friend who just concluded his comments.
  The Joint Tax Committee has estimated the amendment will reduce taxes 
by only $7 million over 10 years. That is point one. Point two, the 
reason that is the case is because the individuals who would be 
affected by this already have the option to use prepaid tuition plans.
  Now, there seems to be agreement with respect to tuition tax plans of 
people of high income, as Senator Reid indicated a moment ago. We have 
all agreed it was fair to them. Why is it not fair to allow the same 
benefits to derive to them under the education savings accounts as 
under the prepaid tuition plan?
  So, again, the cost is $7 million over 10 years. Roughly 2 million 
families would be affected, not 20 percent of potential families. It is 
narrowly focused and it is addressing the issue of a marriage penalty; 
there is no place in our proposal, the education savings plan, for 
discriminating against those who are married.
  I thank the Chair for the time.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Georgia is recognized.
  Mr. COVERDELL. How much time remains on both sides?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The majority has 1\1/2\. The minority has 8\1/
2\.
  Mr. COVERDELL. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the 
Senator from Kansas, Mr. Brownback, be added as a cosponsor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  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. 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. The hour of 10 a.m. has arrived. By prior order, the 
vote is to begin. I am prepared to yield back our time so we can 
commence with the vote. I hope the Senator from Nevada will do the 
same.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. There still remains 4 minutes under the 
control of the minority.
  Mr. REID. We yield back that time.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. All time has expired.
  Mr. COVERDELL. Mr. President, I ask for the yeas and nays.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there a sufficient second?
  There is a sufficient second.
  The question is on agreeing to amendment No. 2827. The clerk will 
call the roll.
  The assistant legislative clerk called the roll.
  Mr. NICKLES. I announce that the Senator from Arizona (Mr. McCain) 
and the Senator from Missouri (Mr. Bond) are necessarily absent.
  Mr. REID. I announce that the Senator from New York (Mr. Moynihan) is 
necessarily absent.
  The result was announced--yeas 54, nays 43, as follows:

                       [Rollcall Vote No. 22 Leg.]

                                YEAS--54

     Abraham
     Allard
     Ashcroft
     Bennett
     Brownback
     Bunning
     Burns
     Campbell
     Chafee, L.
     Cochran
     Collins
     Coverdell
     Craig
     Crapo
     DeWine
     Domenici
     Enzi
     Fitzgerald
     Frist
     Gorton
     Gramm
     Grams
     Grassley
     Gregg
     Hagel
     Hatch
     Helms
     Hutchinson
     Hutchison
     Inhofe
     Jeffords
     Kyl
     Lott
     Lugar
     Mack
     McConnell
     Murkowski
     Nickles
     Roberts
     Roth
     Santorum
     Sessions
     Shelby
     Smith (NH)
     Smith (OR)
     Snowe
     Specter
     Stevens
     Thomas
     Thompson
     Thurmond
     Torricelli
     Voinovich
     Warner

[[Page S1049]]



                                NAYS--43

     Akaka
     Baucus
     Bayh
     Biden
     Bingaman
     Boxer
     Breaux
     Bryan
     Byrd
     Cleland
     Conrad
     Daschle
     Dodd
     Dorgan
     Durbin
     Edwards
     Feingold
     Feinstein
     Graham
     Harkin
     Hollings
     Inouye
     Johnson
     Kennedy
     Kerrey
     Kerry
     Kohl
     Landrieu
     Lautenberg
     Leahy
     Levin
     Lieberman
     Lincoln
     Mikulski
     Murray
     Reed
     Reid
     Robb
     Rockefeller
     Sarbanes
     Schumer
     Wellstone
     Wyden

                             NOT VOTING--3

     Bond
     McCain
     Moynihan
  The amendment (No. 2827) was agreed to.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Bunning). Under the previous order, the 
Senator from Delaware, Mr. Roth, is recognized to offer an amendment 
which the clerk will report.


                           Amendment No. 2869

(Purpose: To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to allow tax-free 
    expenditures from education individual retirement accounts for 
   elementary and secondary school expenses, to increase the maximum 
    annual amount of contributions to such accounts, and for other 
                               purposes)

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

       The Senator from Delaware [Mr. Roth], for himself, Mr. 
     Ashcroft, and Mr. Voinovich, proposes an amendment numbered 
     2869.

  Mr. ROTH. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that reading of the 
amendment be dispensed with.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  (The text of the amendment is printed in today's Record under 
``Amendments Submitted.'')
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the Senator from 
Florida, Mr. Graham, is recognized to offer a second-degree amendment 
which the clerk will report.


                Amendment No. 2870 to Amendment No. 2869

            (Purpose: To reinstate certain revenue raisers)

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

       The Senator from Florida [Mr. Graham] proposes an amendment 
     numbered 2870 to amendment No. 2869.

  Mr. GRAHAM. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that reading of 
the amendment be dispensed with.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  (The text of the amendment is printed in today's Record under 
``Amendments Submitted.'')
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Delaware.
  Mr. ROTH. Mr. President, I rise in support of my amendment to S. 
1134, the Affordable Education Act.
  First, my amendment makes this legislation a true tax cut bill for 
education. My amendment removes all the bill's tax increases. We should 
not be taxing away with one hand what we return with another in a time 
of Federal budget surplus. Americans should not be taxed again to pay 
for a national priority.
  Second, my amendment makes permanent the increase from $500 to $2,000 
in the annual contribution amount for a kindergarten-to-college 
education IRA. Without these permanent increases in contribution limits 
and spending flexibility, both would end after the year 2003. My 
amendment removes that sunset because I believe that we should not be 
sunsetting our Nation's future, which is the education of our children.
  Education IRAs are extremely important. Not only does the increase to 
$2,000 I propose make these accounts more attractive to families who 
want to use them, but to institutions who want to offer them. And even 
more important than these additional incentives to adults is the one 
they give to children. As experts have testified, there is something 
special about knowing that money is being put away for your future 
education. It is an incentive to excellence for both today and 
tomorrow.
  Third, my amendment fixes a trap for the unwary. Currently, a student 
who takes money from an education IRA is not able to use the HOPE or 
Lifetime Learning Credit--even if they are for different education 
expenses. That is wrong, and it is downright deceptive to families who 
need both. My amendment allows parents to use both and to use both 
permanently.
  Finally, my amendment makes the tax-free treatment of employer-
provided educational assistance permanent--both undergraduate and 
graduate. Something as important and necessary as continuing education 
should not be wrapped up in the uncertainty of frequently needed 
legislative action.
  Why is the permanency of my amendment's provisions so important? 
Because they would allow parents to contribute up to $2,000 annually 
toward their child's education--from the day of birth to the first day 
of college.
  Even that may not seem like a lot but, like a train, it may start 
slowly but it is very powerful. It will gain speed. It is a savings 
express to college.
  By putting their child on the savings express, after 18 years when 
that child is ready to go to college, the parents will have over 
$65,000. And that just assumes a 6-percent rate of interest--the rate 
on a government security. Of course, other investments could yield even 
more. Parents would have at least $65,000 toward their child's 
education. Twenty-nine thousand dollars of that would be solely due to 
the power of compounding interest. And every cent of that $29,000 would 
be tax-free--it would go straight into education.
  Maybe that still does not seem like a lot to some folks, but it sure 
seems like a lot to parents who are struggling today to insure college 
for their children tomorrow.
  The national average annual cost of college--tuition, room, and 
fees--is roughly $10,000 per year or $40,000 for the cost of college 
education.
  My amendment before us today will cover this. It will give parents 
and students peace of mind and a piece of the American dream.
  My amendment is a powerful incentive to save. It is an engine. It is 
the engine that can pull a long train of savings--and dreams.
  Like the ``Little Engine that Could,'' my amendment makes this 
legislation the ``Education Savings Plan that Will.'' Parents and 
children getting on this savings train, will get off at college to a 
better future.
  America has waited for this education savings plan for three long 
years. This legislation brings it home today. My amendment makes sure 
it stays there for families--not just for today, but for tomorrow and 
all the days that follow. It is time that the President got on board.
  I urge my colleagues to join with me in a bipartisan effort to make 
education affordable for America's families.
  Mr. President, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Florida.
  Mr. GRAHAM. Mr. President, I could not agree more with the comments 
that were made by the distinguished chairman of the Finance Committee 
relative to the importance of America investing in its future, and 
education is one of the most fundamental ways in which we are able to 
shape our future, by assuring that our young people are fully prepared 
to meet the challenges of this exciting new century.
  It was for that reason that I supported this legislation when it was 
reported with a bipartisan vote from the Senate Finance Committee. I 
also supported it because it recognized another aspect of our 
responsibility to the future, and that is to act in a fiscally prudent 
manner, particularly at this rare moment of opportunity we have before 
us today.
  The U.S. Government had its last surplus in 1969. We then had 30 
years of deficit financing. Our national debt went from 1979's little 
better than $900 billion to 1999's national debt of almost $5.5 
trillion. That is trillion with a T.
  That is the extent of the profligate fiscal policy in which this 
country has engaged for the better part of three decades. But in the 
last few years, we have started to get seriously committed to not 
asking our children and grandchildren to pay our debts, and the result 
of that has been a dramatic reduction in our annual deficits to the 
point that now we are, for the first time in over three decades, in a 
surplus position.
  We have made a decision--and I hope we will stay faithful to that 
decision--that we will commit all of the surplus

[[Page S1050]]

which is generated from Social Security to the reduction in the 
national debt as the means by which we can make our greatest 
contribution to the long-term solvency of the Social Security system.
  Second, we would husband the non-Social Security surplus to use 
against a set of yet-to-be-determined national priorities.
  My concern is that the pattern we are now following--and I am going 
to give a little history of what has happened in the past few months--
is that we are dissipating that opportunity to use the non-Social 
Security surplus against a set of national priorities by an incremental 
approach. A good idea or an appealing idea is presented, and we say: We 
will buy that, and we will pay for it out of the non-Social Security 
surplus.
  Then a few days later another good idea comes along and we say: We 
would like to buy that, too; we'll pay for it from the non-Social 
Security surplus.
  Do you know what is going to happen? It will not be long before there 
isn't any credit line left in that non-Social Security surplus. We will 
awaken and say: There were some really big things we needed to do. We 
have a contract out here--a contract between the Federal Government and 
the people of America for their Social Security.
  Right now, our ability to meet that contract, even with the 
investment we are going to make in reducing the national debt, is very 
uncertain. We should be using some of this non-Social Security surplus 
to help shore up our long-term ability to meet that contractual 
obligation. But because we spent all the non-Social Security surplus on 
these incremental piece-by-piece, toy-by-toy ideas, we will not have 
any money when we want to give America a big gift, the security of the 
Social Security system.
  We also are not going to have any money to do other important things 
for which we have a contract with the American people, such as to 
assure there will be a health care system for our older citizens. We 
know the Medicare system, as Social Security, has some very daunting 
challenges facing it in the next few decades, as the number of eligible 
Americans for Medicare and Social Security will double. Yet we will not 
have the resources to make that kind of a commitment.
  To focus on this specific issue, as I indicated earlier, I voted for 
this bill when it was reported from the Finance Committee because I 
thought it made good education policy but also because it was paid for. 
We were not asking future generations to sacrifice the non-Social 
Security surplus to pay for this program. We found some means within 
our current spending and taxing policy to generate the resources to pay 
for this program. We thought this program was important enough to pay 
for it, not ask our grandchildren to pay for it. I think that is not a 
failure; that is a statement of the seriousness of our intention.
  It is a lot easier to buy something somebody else has to pay for than 
to buy something you have to go into your own bank account and write 
that check to pay for. That is a statement of an important and serious 
commitment to the objective. We had made that statement of the 
seriousness of this goal by our willingness to pay for it.
  We are proposing to do two things: One, make it substantially more 
expensive; and, two, not pay for it.
  My amendment does a simple thing; that is, it says we should at 
least, at a minimum, keep in this bill those items that would help to 
pay for it, which the Senate Finance Committee, just a matter of a few 
weeks ago, found to be an appropriate method of financing this program.
  Let me put that simple principle into the context of what we are 
doing.
  First, we are making a series of significant fiscal decisions before 
we have adopted the budget resolution. For those who are new or 
unfamiliar with this process, the Congress, as one of its earliest 
efforts to get a handle on the 30 years of deficits, adopted a complex 
budget process which has, as its linchpin, a congressionally adopted 
budget resolution.
  That resolution would be analogous to an architect's set of plans for 
constructing a building. It gives the general direction, framework, and 
prioritization of Federal fiscal policy each year. Those priorities 
then drive the individual appropriations and tax measures which will 
support that architectural plan.
  We have not yet seen the architectural plan for fiscal year 2001 
which will be affected by this measure, and, therefore, we do not know 
what within that plan is going to be the provision for tax-and-spending 
measures that would support this educational proposal. We do not know 
what will be the scale of the non-Social Security surplus.
  We do know this: The scale of the non-Social Security surplus could 
be as much as $1 trillion from the high to the low estimate. That 
depends largely on what is going to be our spending appetite.
  In the next 10 years, if we spend at the same rate we did in the last 
year, for the year 2000 fiscal budget, according to CBO, we are going 
to end up with a budget surplus of approximately $838 billion over the 
next 10 years for the non-Social Security account.
  If we go back to the budget caps we adopted in 1997--which I 
supported last year, and for that reason I voted against the omnibus 
appropriations bill--we would have a surplus over the next 10 years of 
about $1.9 trillion. Those are the two extremes of the resources we 
will have. Yet before deciding that fundamental question: Are we going 
to be dealing with a surplus of $838 billion or are we going to be 
dealing with a surplus of $1.9 trillion? we are making decisions as to 
how to distribute the surplus.
  Second, this is not the first example of that spending.
  Let me catalog what we have already done.
  In the Patients' Bill of Rights bill--and today is the start of its 
conference--we have proposed to spend $30 billion over 10 years of non-
Social Security surplus in various tax reductions. The bankruptcy 
bill--which has passed both Houses, and which is or soon will be in 
conference--proposes to have tax cuts of $103 billion. The educational 
savings bill--the bill before us today--with the amendment the Senator 
from Delaware has proposed, would have a cost of approximately $13 
billion. I use the word ``approximately'' because several of the 
measures that are in this bill or may be proposed to the bill have not 
been scored by the Congressional Budget Office. The marriage penalty 
bill, which passed the House, has a cost of $182 billion over the next 
10 years.
  If we were to reject the House approach and adopt the legislation 
which has been introduced in the Senate Finance Committee, and which 
was contained in last year's Taxpayers Refund Act of 1999, that would 
increase the cost of the marriage penalty to $311 billion over 10 
years.
  The consequence of what we have already done, using the conservative 
level on the marriage penalty, is we have already spent approximately 
$328 billion of our $838 billion, 10-year, non-Social Security 
surplus--before we have adopted a budget resolution, before we have 
decided how much of the non-Social Security surplus should be used for 
priorities such as strengthening Social Security and assuring its 
solvency for three generations, before we have made a decision as to 
how much should be spent on strengthening Medicare and modernizing 
Medicare so it represents the kind of health care program our older 
Americans deserve, before we have made decisions on what our defense 
budget should be in order to protect the security of America.
  All of those things have gone undecided. Yet we have decided to spend 
$328 billion on this collection of tax-and-spending measures before we 
have an architectural plan. It would be similar to the family who wants 
to build a house, and before they have the architect draw the plans for 
the house, they decide, ``We will go ahead and put in an attic family 
room,'' without any context of how that is going to relate to the rest 
of the house. It is always fun to be able to spend your money on those 
things that are joyful and happy without having to put your mind to the 
task of deciding what is of greatest importance.
  My amendment is a very modest one. It proposes to put back into the 
bill exactly the same items which were in the bill when it left the 
Senate Finance Committee. Let me briefly mention what those items are.
  First is a modification of the foreign tax credit carryover rules. 
This has a

[[Page S1051]]

financial impact of $3.6 billion over 10 years. I point out that this 
is not a new idea for the Senate to consider. In fact, the Senate has 
already passed this bill, first in 1997, as part of the Taxpayer Relief 
Act; in 1998, as part of the IRS restructuring program; in 1998, as 
part of the Parent and Student Savings Act; in 1999, as part of the 
Taxpayer Refund and Relief Act; and in 1999, as part of work 
incentives. It appears from that record that the Senate has studied, is 
aware of, knowledgeable of this tax issue and has decided this would be 
an appropriate measure to use as a partial offset for the educational 
savings account.
  The second measure is to limit use of the nonaccrual experience 
method of accounting. This would contribute $300 million over the next 
10 years. That proposal was first adopted in 1999 as part of the 
Taxpayer Refund and Relief Act, passed in 1999 as part of the trade 
bill offset, and passed in 1999 as part of the Work Incentives Act--
again, not a novel idea, an idea that the Senate has had repeated 
exposure to and repeatedly has found to be worthy.
  The third item is the extension of IRS user fees. This would produce 
$278 million over 10 years. This was passed as part of the 1999 
Taxpayer Refund and Relief Act and the 1999 work incentives.
  The fourth item is to allow employers to transfer excess defined 
benefit assets. That would make a contribution of $156 million. That 
was included in the 1999 Taxpayer Refund and Relief Act.
  Finally, with a contribution of $1.2 billion over 10 years, is to 
impose a limitation on the prefunding of certain employee benefits. 
This passed the Senate in 1999 as part of the Taxpayer Refund and 
Relief Act and in 1999 as part of the Trade Act offset.
  These five items aggregate to $5.5 billion over 10 years. These items 
were part of the package that had the objective of fully funding the 
educational savings account so it would not contribute to any reduction 
in the non-Social Security surplus when this bill passed the Senate 
Finance Committee.
  I do not represent that these items will fund the bill in its current 
form, because the bill has ballooned in cost since it has been on the 
Senate floor. I suggest we ought to first take this modest step of at 
least retaining the offsets that have already been voted by the Finance 
Committee and which are in the bill and then, before we take a final 
vote on this legislation, assess what the cost of this total program is 
as amended by the full Senate, and then find an offset to pay for those 
additional amounts.
  Failing to do so is to make a statement that we are prepared to spend 
the non-Social Security surplus without any frame of reference, without 
any budget resolution, without any architectural plan as to what we 
want to do. That is a prescription to return to the three decades of 
deficit spending which threatened the fiscal solvency and the economic 
future of this Nation. I believe it would be reckless for this 
Congress, having worked so hard to get to a surplus, not to now use 
this opportunity to make the hard decisions as to what is the priority 
for the use of this surplus and then to have the discipline to follow 
that set of priorities.
  Mr. President, I urge adoption of this amendment which will be a 
symbolic statement that we are prepared to exercise fiscal discipline 
in times of potential prosperity and plenty, just as we had to exercise 
fiscal discipline during the 1990s in order to remove ourselves from 
the quagmire of deficits and exploding national debt.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Delaware.
  Mr. ROTH. Mr. President, my colleague from Florida has offered an 
amendment he claims will offset the cost of this bill by keeping in 
place its current tax increases. It will not and what's more it should 
not, even if it did.
  Senator Graham claims this education savings bill must be paid for. 
Let me say the bill is already paid for. It has been paid for by a 
surplus in income tax revenues from America's families.
  According to the Senate Budget Committee, federal revenues, not 
counting a cent of Social Security's surplus, will be $1.9 trillion 
higher over the next ten years than this year's level of federal 
spending. That means a $1.9 trillion overpayment by America's income 
taxpayers. Are we saying that despite a $1.9 trillion overpayment that 
we cannot afford to let families keep less than one percent of it for 
their children's education?
  Second, leaving these tax increases in this bill will still not pay 
for it fully. They are simply tax increases then--not offsets.
  Finally, when Senate Democrats offered their tax relief package last 
July, it amounted to $290 billion over ten years. None of this was 
offset. Why now, when the issue is education and the tax relief is just 
a fraction of the amount that Senate Democrats supported last year, 
must we now raise taxes to pay for it? This is simply inconsistent.
  Perhaps an even better question is: Why must we raise taxes to 
constitute this offset? Why could those wishing to pay for this, not 
find the small amount of money necessary from a $1.8 trillion budget? 
To pay for this from Washington's budget rather than the American 
taxpayer's?
  I am sympathetic to the argument of fiscal responsibility. However at 
a time of substantial tax overpayment, why should it be so hard to 
allow families to keep some of their own tax overpayment for their 
children's education?
  If we cannot say that when the federal government is running federal 
surpluses worth, according to our Budget Committee, almost $2 trillion 
over the next ten years; and we are seeking to return less than half a 
percent for education, when can we ever have a reason to cut taxes?
  The federal tax burden as a percentage of the economy is the largest 
that it has been since World War II. The federal income tax burden as a 
percentage of the economy is the largest in history. Those are not my 
estimates but the President's. Once again I ask: if we cannot cut taxes 
when they are at historically high levels, when can we cut them?

  The tax overpayment is huge, the tax burden is historically high, and 
the cost of this education provision is small, if we cannot cut taxes 
now and for education--when and for what can we ever cut them?
  Sadly, I cannot help but believe that there are some Senators who 
must think that we can never cut taxes. That taxpayers' money is always 
better spent in Washington than by the people who earned it. I am one 
Senator who does not believe this is true.
  I intend to vote against this amendment to raise taxes. Furthermore, 
I intend to bring more legislation to the floor that will cut taxes--
not raise them.
  I believe that this education legislation is precisely what America's 
income tax surplus should be used for: America's families.
  I urge my colleagues to join with me and reject the Graham amendment 
and keep my proposed permanent tax relief for education.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Florida is recognized.
  Mr. GRAHAM. Mr. President, the issue is not whether we believe 
investment in education is an important part of America's future; we 
all agree with that. It is not even whether we believe there should be 
some tax reductions to encourage people to invest in their children's 
education as well as other desirable goals. Most of us believe in that. 
I certainly do. The question is, How do we have a rational process of 
deciding how we are going to use the opportunities that are presented 
to us here today?
  It is interesting to me that as we start the third full century of 
America's national history we might reflect back on what happened at 
the beginning of the 19th century and the 20th century--the two other 
full centuries of this Nation's existence. In both of those periods, 
there seemed to be an energy that came from a new century and the new 
beginnings that it represented--an energy that was channeled into areas 
that have had a lasting, positive impact on our Nation.
  In the beginning of the 19th century, the President of the United 
States was one of the gentlemen whose bust appears above our Presiding 
Officer--Thomas Jefferson. Thomas Jefferson had the vision to see that 
America's future was not in being a scattering of States along the 
Atlantic but, rather, as a continental empire. And at a time

[[Page S1052]]

when our country was small and struggling, and in some areas of Europe 
derided as a false dream of a democracy, Thomas Jefferson had the 
boldness to commit us to purchase from France the Louisiana Territory 
and fundamentally reshaped America and created the possibility of the 
great Nation we are today. That was the vision Thomas Jefferson and his 
colleagues had for America at the beginning of the 19th century.
  In the beginning of the 20th century, another man whose bust is close 
to this Chamber, Theodore Roosevelt, was our President. He had a vision 
of an America that would begin to achieve its international goals. The 
Panama Canal was a statement not only of America's great technological 
capacity but also America's understanding of its role in the world. 
Theodore Roosevelt also understood the importance of investing in this 
country. During his Presidency, we added to our national land trust an 
amount of land that would be the equivalent of every acre from the 
State of Maine to my State of Florida along the Atlantic coast of 
America. Those were bold visions of the generation of Thomas Jefferson 
and the generation of Theodore Roosevelt.
  We have the opportunity now, both because of the start of a new 
century and a new millennium and because we have paid the price to get 
our national financial house in order, to begin to think boldly of what 
we want to have history write about what America did at the beginning 
of the 21st century. The concern I express today is that we are 
dissipating that opportunity through a series of incremental, 
uncoordinated, nonprioritized decisions that are going to have the 
effect of continuing to dissipate the resources that could be used to 
do something as bold as purchasing Louisiana or building the Panama 
Canal.
  The chairman of the Finance Committee said that the Budget Committee 
has indicated we will have a budget surplus over the next 10 years from 
non-Social Security funds of almost $2 trillion. Well, I say, let's 
wait until we pass a budget resolution that indicates that is going to 
be the amount of our budget surplus. As you will recall, we made a 
commitment in 1997 that we were going to exercise budget discipline and 
abide by budget caps. Those decisions would have caused us, last year, 
to have had a discretionary spending account of approximately $575 
billion. In fact, we ended up spending over $620 billion. We crushed 
and we pulverized the budget ceilings that were supposed to be the 
hallmark of fiscal discipline.

  I want to be sure that we are going to declare that our 1999 actions 
were an aberration rather than the path of future lack of fiscal 
discipline before I conclude that we are going to have a nonbudget 
surplus of $1.9 trillion. We are being asked to take a leap of faith 
that runs directly counter to what we did a matter of a few weeks ago 
when we passed that bloated final appropriations bill--that that was a 
mistake, and that we asked for the repentance of the American people, 
and we are going to go back to the fiscal discipline that would be 
required to have a $1.9 trillion non-Social Security surplus, which is 
the discipline of returning to those 1997 budget caps. I want to see us 
make that commitment and live up to that commitment before we start 
spending the money. Let's eat our spinach before we start having our 
ice cream party.
  Second, in addition to not having set a budget resolution, which is 
the architecture of our fiscal policy, we haven't even had a serious 
debate on what our strategic priorities should be at the beginning of 
this century, that capability which fiscal discipline would give us. We 
haven't decided what we are going to do about the fact that, whereas 
today there are approximately 40 million Americans on Social Security 
and Medicare, at the end of the next generation we are going to have 80 
million Americans looking to Social Security and Medicare--looking to 
the solemn contract that exists between the Government of the United 
States of America and the people of the United States of America to 
provide them financial and medical security in retirement. I think we 
ought to be figuring out how we are going to meet that solemn 
obligation before we do any of these other items--as attractive, 
desirable, and important as we might think they are. I believe those 
are our first two priorities.
  I am seriously concerned that the course we are on, which is 
following exactly what we did in 1999, is going to lead us to a 
dissipation of our capacity to set rational priorities, that we will 
become the first political leadership of America at the beginning of a 
new century, and instead of being the giants of Jefferson and Theodore 
Roosevelt, we will be the Pygmies in the toy store trying to fulfill 
our immediate desires and needs without focusing on what is in the best 
interests of America in this 21st century.

  This vote today is not a giant vote of fiscal policy. I said in my 
concluding remarks that this does not even purport to fund the bill 
that is before us, in large part because the bill before us has been 
growing almost hourly since it has been on the floor. This amendment 
the Senator from Delaware offered would be the most gargantuan growth 
of this bill we have experienced since it has been on the floor, an 
addition of approximately $10 billion over 10 years.
  I do not purport that this amendment will fund fully this bill. I say 
this amendment is a critical statement of whether we are serious about 
fiscal discipline, whether we are serious about setting a plan for the 
fiscal future of this Nation--at least a plan for the next fiscal year 
before we start spending our non-Social Security surplus--and whether 
we are serious about setting some longer range priorities to meet these 
very significant legal and moral obligations the American Government 
has to the American people. That is what this vote is about.
  Are we willing to take the very minor step of saying that we are 
willing to strip out of this bill five relatively small tax changes, 
all of which have been passed by this Senate, in most cases on multiple 
occasions, and ask our grandchildren to pay out of the non-Social 
Security surplus they will be contributing to over the next 10 years, 
or are we going to step up and say this is the time we will make a 
statement, a commitment, a pledge for fiscal discipline?
  It is my strongest wish we in the Senate do not see this as some kind 
of a partisan divide. We were able to contain the deficits and get to 
the point that we are because we worked together as Americans, not as 
members of any particular party or representatives of any region or 
interest of this country. It is in America's interest that we exercise 
this fiscal discipline.
  Today is the day we can make an important statement that we are 
prepared to do so. I urge us not to let this opportunity pass.
  Thank you.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Delaware.
  Mr. ROTH. Mr. President, it is somewhat fascinating to me that this 
week and today we are being accused of spending too much on education; 
that we cannot afford to dedicate something close to one-half of 1 
percent to assure our American families the kind of education they need 
these days. Yet a few days ago, the legislation was belittled for not 
spending enough. We can't have it both ways.
  What I think is particularly important to understand is that No. 1, 
no matter is more important to the American family or to this Nation 
than a well-educated citizenry.
  I believe what is remarkable about this legislation as modified by my 
amendment is it takes a very little amount to accomplish so much.
  The continuing education of Americans is obviously critically 
important because of the continuing technological revolution we are 
enjoying. The new generation is going to be facing the need to continue 
their education to meet the challenges and opportunities of the future.
  I find it very puzzling when we recognize--and the administration, as 
well, recognizes--that over the next 10 years we will have nearly a $2 
trillion surplus, and we cannot take a very small part of that to help 
assure American families of all backgrounds the opportunity to be well-
educated citizens.
  I urge my friends and my colleagues to vote against the Graham 
amendment, the Senator for whom I have the highest respect.
  I think this is something for which we should use the surplus. I 
think there is nothing more important than American education.

[[Page S1053]]

  Let me point out once more that American families are paying higher 
taxes than any time since the end of World War II. Close to 20 or 21 
percent of gross domestic product is going to Federal taxes. It is my 
solid belief that it is important we return part of that to the 
American family. One of the most important reasons for returning it is 
to assure they have the resources and are able to send their children 
not only to the schools of their choice but to college and graduate 
education as well.
  For those reasons, I urge my colleagues to reject the second-degree 
amendment and to support my amendment which would make permanent many 
of the benefits contained in this legislation.
  I yield the floor.
  Mr. REID. Mr. President, the Senator from New Jersey, Senator 
Lautenberg, wishes to speak on this amendment. It is my understanding 
he is on his way over.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. GRAHAM. 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. GRAHAM. Mr. President, I ask that the yeas and nays be ordered on 
the second-degree amendment, No. 2870.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there a sufficient second?
  There is a sufficient second.
  The yeas and nays were ordered.
  Mr. ROTH. I ask for the yeas and nays on the first-degree amendment, 
No. 2869.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there a sufficient second?
  There is a sufficient second.
  The yeas and nays were ordered.
  Mr. GRAHAM. I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. LAUTENBERG. 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. LAUTENBERG. Mr. President, how is the time managed?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The time is equally divided.
  Mr. LAUTENBERG. Mr. President, I will begin by talking about the 
underlying bill which is entitled the Affordable Education Act. I stand 
in opposition to the bill as it is presented because I don't know who 
can afford it. Can the citizens of this country afford to have 
resources diverted from the public school system? With all of its 
deficiencies, it is the underlying educational system that exists 
throughout the country. The bill will shortchange our public schools 
and provide more than 70 percent of the tax breaks to families in the 
top 20 percent of the income brackets.
  I come from the State of New Jersey. As everyone knows, New Jersey is 
the most densely populated State in the country. We are essentially an 
urbanized State. We do have some suburbs; we have very little by way of 
rural population.
  When we say we are going to provide our citizens with an ``option,'' 
the option is more or less to abandon the public school systems, 
particularly in our urban centers which are struggling to make ends 
meet and struggling to educate our children.
  I was born in the city of Paterson, NJ. It is highly industrialized. 
Initially its growth was from textile production, textile 
manufacturing. My father and grandfather worked in those mills. I visit 
the city of my birth quite often. It is a very low-income city, as is 
Newark, our largest city in New Jersey, as is Jersey City, another of 
our large cities in New Jersey--small in comparison with other States, 
where one city can be 10 or 20 percent of the population. We don't have 
that. We have lots of cities.
  They struggle, and we are often disappointed in the SAT scores. We 
look beyond the SAT scores and we see young people who can learn and 
accomplish things and get through the maze and make something of their 
lives despite the inconveniences that often come with insufficient 
physical structure in the schools, schools with instructors who do not 
have the appropriate teacher training, and schools that do not have 
sufficient revenues to make the needed investments.
  I, personally, since I come out of the computer business, have been 
involved with some of our schools. I picked Patterson, NJ, in 
particular and tried to make a financial as well as a physical 
contribution, pulling wires into some of the schools so they could have 
some connection to the Internet--not fully, not sufficient for all the 
students, but we are living almost on spare change in cities such as 
that. We have to figure out a way to improve those educational 
standards.
  By permitting people to avoid going to those schools, those few who 
have enough income to go elsewhere, we are not going to help the basic 
educational system that has done so well in this country. Before 
private schools became as interesting as they are now, public schools 
produced the talent and the brilliance and the leadership this country 
has seen. We put up a sign that says: Abandon the schools if you can 
afford it, abandon the public school system; get out of town if you 
can.
  We made mistakes in our planning over the years. One of the most 
obvious is, although we did something very positive by building our 
National Highway System--it was begun in the 1950s--it had an 
unanticipated consequence and that was to encourage abandonment of the 
cities. Move out of town, get some nice space--and I don't blame people 
for wanting to do that--and leave the problems behind. As a 
consequence, the average income of the people who inhabit the cities 
has gone down substantially; the tax base has gone down substantially, 
and the revenues are just not there.
  So, as that happened, as people had less loyalty to the cities, they 
also wanted different school options. Now what we are seeing is, with 
these tax breaks for people who can afford to send their kids to 
private schools, that they, too, will abandon their interest. It will 
also cost the country, by my calculation, somewhere close to $15 
billion over the next 10 years, possibly even more. That is significant 
when we are trying to pay down the debt, trying to find ways to provide 
prescription drugs for people who need them, when we are trying to find 
other ways to improve the educational system altogether. Now we are 
saying the plan in this act is to have the revenue losses offset by 
other opportunities. Adding insult to injury, our distinguished friend, 
Senator Roth, has offered an amendment that would eliminate the 
revenue-raising portions of the bill and seek to spend surplus funds 
for the tax breaks in the legislation.
  To use an expression: That compounds the problem. Before we start 
spending projected surpluses that may or may not exist, we ought at 
least understand how large those surpluses are likely to be and have an 
overall plan for using them. Otherwise, before we know it, we will have 
frittered away the surpluses and used up funds that will be needed for 
higher priorities.

  In particular, I am concerned we reserve enough of the surpluses to 
ensure we can protect Social Security, extend the life of Medicare, 
make sure we consider the prescription drug program, give targeted tax 
breaks, and pay down the debt. The American people salute that. They 
know when you are in debt it is never easy to plan ahead. Boy, we would 
set one incredible example if we could get our debt paid down by 2013, 
which is the objective of the President's plan. I also think we ought 
to make sure we protect those surpluses for other needs that will be 
discussed in our upcoming budget debate, which I hope will commence 
very shortly.
  In my view, those priorities I discussed are more important than 
subsidizing private schools for a relatively small number of families. 
But even if you support the goals of this bill, I hope my colleagues 
will agree that, at a minimum, we ought to have in front of us a plan 
for using the surpluses before we start spending them. That makes 
sense. Not many people make expenditures without knowing what their 
paycheck is going to be. That is why we have a budget resolution. That 
is why we have a budget process.
  I am the ranking Democrat on the Budget Committee and the chairman of 
the committee, someone widely respected, is Senator Domenici. While we

[[Page S1054]]

have our differences, there is a process at play, and we want to see it 
worked out before we start making expenditures from surpluses we are 
not even sure of arriving or what the amount of those surpluses is 
going to be.
  The Budget Committee has not begun to mark up the budget resolution. 
We still have some time to meet our deadline, so it is premature to be 
considering a bill such as this. Before we start handing out scarce 
private resources to public-subsidized private schools for a few 
families, let's adopt a plan to protect Social Security, protect 
Medicare. Let's provide prescription drugs for our seniors. Let's make 
sure we are on a path toward eliminating our publicly held debt.
  I also point out there is a technical flaw in this amendment. By 
eliminating the revenue-raising provisions of the bill, this amendment 
would trigger an across-the-board cut that we know as a sequester. Such 
a cut would be required under the Budget Act. The end result is it 
would force a cut in Medicare, veterans' benefits, farm aid, child 
support enforcement and foster care, among other programs. I do not 
think that is the intent of the sponsors. I think the point of this 
amendment is to spend future projected surpluses. But its actual 
effect, unless corrected, would be to cut programs such as Medicare and 
others. Either way, I think it would be a mistake to support this 
amendment.
  I urge my colleagues to reject the amendment. Let's adopt a budget 
resolution before we start squandering projected budget surpluses. 
Let's make sure we can protect Social Security and Medicare before we 
start raising these funds. And let's not adopt an amendment that 
perhaps would unintentionally require real and immediate cuts in 
Medicare, veterans' benefits, and other programs.
  While I urge defeat for this amendment, I do not want it 
misunderstood. I do not want it to ensure the passage of the underlying 
bill, which is to give those tax benefits to people at the upper end of 
the income scale and help abandon our schools, as opposed to facing up 
to our problems and working on the public school system; just help 
people walk away from it. I don't think that is a good way to solve 
problems.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from North Dakota.
  Mr. DORGAN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent the pending 
amendment be set aside.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Mr. REID. If the Senator will withhold for a second, I think on the 
pending amendment, the second-degree amendment, we should yield back 
the time on that?
  Mr. ROTH. Yes. We are pleased to yield back the remainder of time on 
both the first- and second-degree amendments.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. All time is yielded back.
  Mr. REID. I also say the two leaders want to schedule a vote at some 
later time. So with the permission of the majority, we will go to 
another amendment.
  I would say the order of business is to go to the Boxer amendment.
  We have submitted to the majority the Boxer amendment. They indicated 
they want some time to look at it. It deals with a very important 
subject, and that is the safety of our children in schools.
  We hope we can get to that debate as soon as possible. While they are 
looking at that amendment, the Senator from North Dakota has an 
amendment he desires to offer at this time.
  I ask unanimous consent that the pending amendment be set aside to 
allow the Senator from North Dakota to offer his amendment.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered. The 
Senator from North Dakota.


                           Amendment No. 2871

  (Purpose: To provide parents, taxpayers, and educators with useful, 
                  understandable school report cards)

  Mr. DORGAN. Mr. President, I send an amendment to the desk. It is an 
amendment that has been duly noticed under the unanimous consent 
agreement.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report.
  The legislative clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from North Dakota [Mr. Dorgan] proposes an 
     amendment numbered 2871.

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

       On page 2 between lines 2 and 3, add the following:

              TITLE ____--STANDARDIZED SCHOOL REPORT CARDS

     SEC. ____01. SHORT TITLE.

       This title may be cited as the ``Standardized School Report 
     Card Act''.

     SEC. ____02. FINDINGS.

       Congress makes the following findings:
       (1) According to the report ``Quality Counts 99'', by 
     Education Week, 36 States require the publishing of annual 
     report cards on individual schools, but the content of the 
     report cards varies widely.
       (2) The content of most of the report cards described in 
     paragraph (1) does not provide parents with the information 
     the parents need to measure how their school or State is 
     doing compared with other schools and States.
       (3) Ninety percent of taxpayers believe that published 
     information about individual schools would motivate educators 
     to work harder to improve the schools' performance.
       (4) More than 60 percent of parents and 70 percent of 
     taxpayers have not seen an individual report card for their 
     area school.
       (5) Dissemination of understandable information about 
     schools can be an important tool for parents and taxpayers to 
     measure the quality of the schools and to hold the schools 
     accountable for improving performance.

     SEC. ____03. PURPOSE.

       The purpose of this title is to provide parents, taxpayers, 
     and educators with useful, understandable school report 
     cards.

     SEC. ____04. REPORT CARDS.

       (a) State Report Cards.--Each State educational agency 
     receiving assistance under the Elementary and Secondary 
     Education Act of 1965 shall produce and widely disseminate an 
     annual report card for parents, the general public, teachers 
     and the Secretary of Education, in easily understandable 
     language, with respect to elementary and secondary education 
     in the State. The report card shall contain information 
     regarding--
       (1) student performance in language arts and mathematics, 
     plus any other subject areas in which the State requires 
     assessments, including comparisons with students from 
     different school districts within the State, and, to the 
     extent possible, comparisons with students throughout the 
     Nation;
       (2) attendance and graduation rates;
       (3) professional qualifications of teachers in the State, 
     the number of teachers teaching out of field, and the number 
     of teachers with emergency certification;
       (4) average class size in the State;
       (5) school safety, including the safety of school 
     facilities, incidents of school violence and drug and alcohol 
     abuse, and the number of instances in which a student was 
     determined to have brought a firearm to school under the 
     State law described in the Gun-Free Schools Act of 1994;
       (6) to the extent practicable, parental involvement, as 
     measured by the extent of parental participation in school 
     parental involvement policies described in section 1118(b) of 
     the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965;
       (7) the annual school dropout rate, as calculated by 
     procedures conforming with the National Center for Education 
     Statistics Common Core of Data;
       (8) student access to technology, including the number of 
     computers for educational purposes, the number of computers 
     per classroom, and the number of computers connected to the 
     Internet; and
       (9) other indicators of school performance and quality.
       (b) School Report Cards.--Each school receiving assistance 
     under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, or 
     the local educational agency serving that school, shall 
     produce and widely disseminate an annual report card for 
     parents, the general public, teachers and the State 
     educational agency, in easily understandable language, with 
     respect to elementary or secondary education, as appropriate, 
     in the school. The report card shall contain information 
     regarding--
       (1) student performance in the school in language arts and 
     mathematics, plus any other subject areas in which the State 
     requires assessments, including comparisons with other 
     students within the school district, in the State, and, to 
     the extent possible, in the Nation;
       (2) attendance and graduation rates;
       (3) professional qualifications of the school's teachers, 
     the number of teachers teaching out of field, and the number 
     of teachers with emergency certification;
       (4) average class size in the school;
       (5) school safety, including the safety of the school 
     facility, incidents of school violence and drug and alcohol 
     abuse, and the number of instances in which a student was 
     determined to have brought a firearm to school under the 
     State law described in the Gun-Free Schools Act of 1994;
       (6) parental involvement, as measured by the extent of 
     parental participation in school parental involvement 
     policies described in section 1118(b) of the Elementary and 
     Secondary Education Act of 1965;
       (7) the annual school dropout rate, as calculated by 
     procedures conforming with the National Center for Education 
     Statistics Common Core of Data;

[[Page S1055]]

       (8) student access to technology, including the number of 
     computers for educational purposes, the number of computers 
     per classroom, and the number of computers connected to the 
     Internet; and
       (9) other indicators of school performance and quality.
       (c) Model School Report Cards.--The Secretary of Education 
     shall use funds made available to the Office of Educational 
     Research and Improvement to develop a model school report 
     card for dissemination, upon request, to a school, local 
     educational agency, or State educational agency.
       (d) Disaggregation of Data.--Each State educational agency 
     or school producing an annual report card under this section 
     shall disaggregate the student performance data reported 
     under section ____4(a)(1) or ____4(b)(1), as appropriate, in 
     the same manner as results are disaggregated under section 
     1111(b)(3)(I) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act 
     of 1965.

  Mr. DORGAN. Mr. President, the amendment I offer today deals with a 
standardized school report card. I want to describe that, but first, I 
will talk generally about this issue of education and about the debates 
we have had in recent hours and days in this Chamber.
  I talked about the schools I have visited recently in North Dakota. I 
had a meeting yesterday in Washington, DC, with some people from the 
Ojibwa School on the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation in North 
Dakota.
  I want to describe it because we are talking today about how to spend 
money to improve this country's education system. Some say: Let's 
provide it in the form of tax credits for education savings accounts 
that will allow parents to accrue money to send their kids to this 
school or that school.
  There is another way to handle it, and that is to make investments in 
our schools so children are walking into school buildings that are 
well-equipped and in good condition, repaired and renovated, and they 
are going into school classrooms where they have quality teachers and 
the classrooms are not crowded. That is another way to improve our 
country's schools.
  Because I just had a meeting yesterday with the folks from the Turtle 
Mountain Indian Reservation about the Ojibwa School, a school I have 
visited many times, I will read a couple of comments from eighth grade 
students so Members of the Senate, as they discuss these issues, will 
understand what eighth graders are saying about their school. I can 
verify everything they say in these letters is true, and in some cases, 
worse.
  This is Cathy Renault. Cathy says:

       In the 2 * * * short years I've been at Ojibwa, I have had 
     to go home during the day very often.

  This is an eighth grader.

       It isn't because of sickness or being checked out or 
     because a teacher or substitute weren't available. No, it's 
     because of very threatening subjects, things you wouldn't 
     find at other schools: Sewer backup, mold growing in 
     buildings, heat that's too hot in the summer and too cold in 
     the winter; harsh weather and having to walk from building to 
     building just to go to lunch.

  This is an eighth grade kid. The Ojibwa School is in mobile 
buildings, small buildings on a hill where young children are moving 
back and forth. By the way, the fire escapes are made of wood. Figure 
that one out. There are all kinds of problems with this school.
  Does this eighth grade child get the same education as another child 
where they have less crowding and better facilities? The answer is no.
  Leslie Champagne is another eighth grade student. This is what she 
says:

       Last year our seventh grade teacher slipped and broke a 
     part of her foot and at the same time the other seventh grade 
     teacher had a cast on and had to step in all of the mold and 
     dirty water on the floor. There has been a lot of elders--

  Again, this is on an Indian reservation--

       There has been a lot of elders and children falling down 
     outside and getting seriously hurt walking to another 
     building.

  Again, they are mobile buildings, like a double-wide trailer, sitting 
on the side of a hill on the Indian reservation at Turtle Mountain.

       There are even roofs caving in and leaking because of heavy 
     rain or snow. I haven't seen anything new in this school 
     for a long time. The only time I've seen something new is 
     just this year when we got a more decent gymnasium.

  From Belcourt, ND, Shelly Selina Davis:

       . . . we don't have shower systems that work properly. 
     After physical education class, we are not able to take a 
     shower and are forced to go through the rest of the school 
     day feeling our hygiene is unhealthy.
       Last year and one time this year, the whole school had to 
     eat lunch in their classrooms or office, because there was a 
     sewage problem in the kitchen and it made the whole cafeteria 
     smell very badly.
       Each year, during the winter, there are many students who 
     become ill and miss many school days because of their 
     sickness. The students became ill from having to walk from 
     building to building in the very cold winter weather.

  These are grade-school students saying kids do not get to make the 
decision if they want to be poisoned by a poor sewer system or mold. 
Kids should be worrying about how they are going to do on a big test, 
not whether the building is going to collapse. A new school is 
something we need and have wanted for a long time. This is an eighth 
grade kid imploring that they need help.
  Yesterday, I talked about the Cannonball School. It is no different 
than this school. Part of the Cannonball School is 90 years old and has 
been condemned as a fire hazard. The second level of the school is 
unusable because the stairs leading up to it are unsafe and the school 
cannot afford to replace the steps. The sewer and the water systems are 
old, and they back up regularly, sending the smell of sewage gas 
throughout the school. Classes routinely have to be moved because of 
the smell of sewage gas becoming so bad in classrooms. One wing of the 
school does not have running water. There are 150, 160 kids and two 
bathrooms, one water fountain. They are packed in 8-foot-by-12-foot 
classrooms with desks so close they almost bump each other. They do not 
have to worry about whether or not they have computers; they would not 
have a place to put them. Of course, they could not hook them up anyway 
in a school in that condition because they do not have the capability 
to wire the computers.
  I have said before that when Little Rosy Two Bears asked me the day I 
visited that school--and I have done it a couple of times--``Mr. 
Senator, are you going to build me a new school?'' the answer is I 
cannot build her a new school. This is a public school with a public 
school district and no tax base. We have mice running around, mold 
growing, sewer gas coming up, kids crowded into classrooms, and that 
little third grader walking through that classroom door is not getting 
the same kind of education other kids are getting, and we ought to do 
something about that.
  We know about the value of education. This is not rocket science. The 
way to solve this is not to give tax breaks to folks. The way to solve 
this is to decide we are going to renovate, improve, and rebuild these 
schools that are falling down. The Ojibwa folks need a new school, and 
they need it now. Cannonball School needs to be replaced and replaced 
now. If we care about kids all across this country who are going to 
school under those conditions, we will do something about it. We will 
not talk about it, we will do something about it.
  My father left school at age 9. His mother died giving birth to a 
younger sibling. His father was institutionalized for tuberculosis. My 
father quit school in order to go to work and raise money. My father 
worked all through his youth, so he had almost no education. Then my 
father, in his fifties, one day came home and announced to us, when all 
the family was together, with a smile, that he had just passed his GED. 
He never even told us he was studying for it. He did not tell us he was 
going to take it, but in his fifties, he decided he wanted to become a 
high school graduate because he never had the opportunity. He had to 
quit school when his mother died, and he had to help provide for his 
brothers and sisters. Then at age 50, with a smile on his face, he told 
us he was now a high school graduate.
  We understand how much people care about education. I guess it is one 
of the reasons my father and mother always impressed upon us that 
education was paramount, you must invest in yourself.
  Ben Franklin once said: Anyone who empties their purse in their head 
will never be without riches.
  Thomas Jefferson once said: Anyone who believes a country can be both 
ignorant and free believes in something that never was and never can 
be. We understand the value of education. That is why we are debating 
it now.

[[Page S1056]]

 But we are debating it in circumstances where I fear we will come out 
with a wrong result.

  One piece of a series of steps that makes sense to me is to provide 
for a standardized school report card so parents will understand what 
they are getting out of that school system. All parents get a report 
card on how their child is doing every 6 weeks, every 9 weeks. They get 
a report card on how their child is doing. But no parents get a report 
on how their school is doing. How is their school doing in educating 
children as compared to other schools in other school districts, in 
other States, in other communities?
  It seems to me, there ought to be some standardized way for parents 
to understand: How is this school doing? We spend $350 billion a year 
on elementary and secondary education and have no earthly idea how our 
individual schools are doing for our children. Could we do that? We 
could have a basis for a comparison of our schools with other schools--
our schools with other schools in the school district, between school 
districts, between communities, and between States.
  Some will say there already is a school report card. Most parents 
have never seen it. Thirty-some States have some version of a school 
report card, but most of them provide very little information, if any 
at all.
  I believe there are about eight standard things we ought to require 
the State education authorities to provide on this school report card. 
If we did that, every parent in this country--as a taxpayer and a proud 
parent--would understand what the school is producing for their 
children.
  I say this, if we get to this kind of approach of providing a 
standardized school report card on how the school is doing--not only 
how the kids are doing but how the school is doing--we will only be 
able to say, as parents, this school is doing fine if we are willing to 
accept our responsibility to schools, such as the Ojibwa School and the 
Cannonball School, and to rebuild, renovate, and repair schools that we 
are sending children to that are not up to standards for educational 
purposes.
  In conclusion, there are two principal issues we have fought for on 
the floor of this Senate--so far unsuccessfully. One issue is having a 
smaller class size, because we know that with 15 or 18 kids in a 
classroom there is a better relationship between teacher and students, 
and education is much more effective than if a teacher is teaching in a 
classroom with 30 or 35 students. We need more teachers to reduce class 
sizes.
  The second issue is that we also want to improve and renovate schools 
that are in the condition I have just described that exist in 
Cannonball and Ojibwa that ought not to exist. It is not going to be 
solved by some scheme of giving tax cuts.
  For every national ache or pain, we have someone who trots to the 
floor of the Senate and says: I have a new idea. Let's provide a tax 
cut. That is not a new idea. That is a substitute for what we ought to 
do to fix real problems in education. Every time someone suggests 
anything that describes some kind of national aspiration or goal, 
someone else pops up and says: Oh, so you want some Federal bureaucrat 
to run the education system? The answer to that is no, of course not. 
But let's not brag about having no national goals or no aspirations 
nationally as a country for our education system. Let's stop bragging 
about that. That ought to be a source of despair.
  We, as a country, ought to have national goals of what we want to 
produce in our education system. If we develop those goals, then we 
will also accept our responsibility to improve our schools, invest in 
our schools, renovate, repair, and rebuild our schools, and reduce 
class size. We know that works. We know how to do it, if we have enough 
people who will stand up in the Senate and cast the right votes.
  I will not seek a vote at this point. My understanding is that my 
amendment will be set aside and dealt with at a later time.
  Mr. President, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Georgia.
  Mr. COVERDELL. Mr. President, the managers have been working to try 
to get some parameters on these amendments. Let me propound a unanimous 
consent request.
  I ask unanimous consent the following amendments be the only 
remaining first-degree amendments in order, limited to 30 minutes 
equally divided, except where noted differently, to be equally divided, 
and all amendments subject to relevant second degrees, under a 20-
minute time constraint, and following the disposition of these 
amendments the bill be immediately advanced to third reading, and 
passage occur, all without any intervening action or debate.
  Those amendments are: a Schumer amendment; a Feinstein amendment on 
standards, 1 hour, equally divided; a Kennedy amendment, 90 minutes, 
equally divided, on teacher quality; a Kerry amendment on quality; a 
Boxer amendment on safety and protection in schools, 90 minutes, 
equally divided; a Wellstone amendment regarding school counselors, 90 
minutes, equally divided; a Dorgan amendment regarding school report 
cards--which we have just considered--a Coverdell amendment; a Reid 
amendment; a Kennedy amendment regarding Pell grants; a managers' 
amendment; a Gramm amendment regarding the Federal Home Loan Board; a 
Hatch amendment regarding student loan interest; a Graham of Florida 
amendment, No. 2848, regarding school construction; and a Graham 
amendment regarding offsets.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Mr. REID. Mr. President, we want to make sure if, in fact, there are 
relevant second-degree amendments, that will be fine--it is under a 20-
minute unanimous consent agreement.
  I also note that under the unanimous consent request dealing with the 
Wellstone amendment, he would have 45 minutes of the hour.
  Mr. COVERDELL. We changed it. It is 90 minutes, equally divided.
  Mr. REID. Yes. Furthermore, the Harkin amendment has been deleted. 
Did you note that?
  Mr. COVERDELL. I do not have it.
  Mr. REID. It was deleted. The only addition would be another Boxer 
amendment dealing with pesticides. She asks for 20 minutes on that.
  Mrs. BOXER. Equally divided.
  Mr. REID. Equally divided.
  Mr. COVERDELL. Did you add a Harkin amendment?
  Mr. REID. No.
  Mr. COVERDELL. We have eliminated the Harkin amendment.
  Mr. REID. But as a result of a note handed to me, we add a Senator 
Bingaman amendment dealing with teachers, for 30 minutes.
  Mr. COVERDELL. Thirty minutes?
  Mr. REID. For him.
  Mr. COVERDELL. That would be an hour equally divided.
  I assume the one on pesticides is education related?
  Mrs. BOXER. Absolutely.
  Mr. REID. Yes.
  Mr. COVERDELL. All right.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Mrs. BOXER. Reserving the right to object--and I will not object--I 
simply want to understand. I have been waiting since last night to 
offer an amendment on safety in schools related to gun violence. 
Originally, I was told I would have the first Democratic amendment up 
today. There was some objection on the other side. I wonder if I could 
get some idea from the other side of the aisle, if not from my own 
side--Senator Reid has been trying to give me assurances of time--when 
I could finally get to offer that amendment.

  Mr. REID. I say to the Senator from California, who has been here 
since yesterday, Senator Kennedy has been doing many things today. With 
the permission of the majority--which we have already obtained--Senator 
Kennedy is going to offer his amendment next. We would hope, following 
that, we would be able to go to the Boxer amendment.
  Mrs. BOXER. Thank you very much, I say to my friends.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Who seeks recognition?
  Mr. KENNEDY addressed the Chair.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Grams). The Senator from Massachusetts.
  Mr. KENNEDY. I send an amendment to the desk.
  Mr. REID. Mr. President, if the Senator will withhold.
  I ask unanimous consent that the pending amendment be set aside.

[[Page S1057]]

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Will the Senator from Massachusetts renew his amendment request?
  Mr. KENNEDY. Yes.
  Has the pending amendment been temporarily set aside?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. That is correct.


                           Amendment No. 2872

(Purpose: To establish programs to enable States and local educational 
       agencies to place a qualified teacher in every classroom)

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

       The Senator from Massachusetts [Mr. Kennedy] proposes an 
     amendment numbered 2872.

  Mr. KENNEDY. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent reading of the 
amendment be dispensed with.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered. (The text 
of the amendment is printed in today's Record under ``Amendments 
Submitted.'')
  Mr. KENNEDY. Mr. President, I understand we have a time limitation on 
this of 45 minutes a side.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. There are 90 minutes equally divided.
  Mr. KENNEDY. Mr. President, I yield myself 10 minutes.
  The Teacher Quality amendment would strike the underlying Coverdell 
K-through-12 tax breaks and authorize $2 billion for the Qualified 
Teacher in Every Classroom Act. The amendment would direct the $1.2 
billion from the Coverdell bill to the teacher quality program, and the 
other would consist of an authorization for appropriations at a later 
time.
  We have had a debate about the Coverdell tax bill over the last few 
days. One of the things we are asking the Senate to consider is whether 
we ought to be putting the $1.2 billion equally between the public and 
private schools, even though 90 percent of the children in this country 
go to public schools, or whether we can use those resources more 
effectively.
  I believe they can be used more effectively. That is what this 
amendment is about. As an alternative to the Coverdell tax bill, I 
offer this amendment on behalf of my colleagues to say let us move our 
Nation forward to insist that we are going to have a well-qualified 
teacher in every classroom--that the key to enhancing academic 
achievement and accomplishment is not going to be subject to just any 
one single or simple solution but certainly among a handful of 
solutions. I suggest perhaps the most important one is to make sure 
that a teacher, who is before the 50 million children who are going 
through K through 12, is going to be well qualified to teach 
effectively with regard to the academic subject in which the teacher 
teaches. That is the purpose of this amendment.
  It is reasonable to ask, where did you come up with these various 
proposals that you have in this qualified teacher amendment? I refer my 
colleagues to a very important study from 1996, the National Commission 
on Teaching and America's Future in Education. The board itself is made 
up of some of the most distinguished educators and is bipartisan in 
nature.
  We have effectively incorporated in our amendment the series of 
recommendations this panel virtually unanimously recommended including: 
how to recruit individuals who will be the best for the students in 
this country; how we will maintain them by the development of mentoring 
programs; how we will ensure professional development and; how to 
utilize and expand some of the imaginative and creative efforts to 
develop teachers, including hometown teachers, which are developed 
within various constituencies, and expanding Troops to Teachers, which 
currently has 3,600 teachers nationwide.
  What did this panel, made up of some of our best educators and most 
thoughtful teachers in the country, conclude virtually unanimously? 
This commission starts with three simple premises: First, what teachers 
know and can do is the most important influence on what students learn; 
second, recruiting, preparing and retaining good teachers is the 
central strategy for improving our schools; and, third, school reform 
cannot succeed unless it focuses on creating the conditions in which 
teachers can teach--and teach well.
  Those are the principles. I wonder how anyone in this body could 
question those rather basic, common sense principles, a well-qualified 
teacher in every classroom. This study has indicated how that best can 
be done, and we have followed these various recommendations.
  First of all, they talk about some problems. They are talking about 
education generally. Some problems are national in scope and require 
special attention. Critical areas such as math and science have long 
had shortages of qualified teachers that were only temporarily solved 
by Federal recruitment centers during the post-Sputnik years. 
Currently, more than 40 percent of math teachers and 30 percent of 
science teachers are not fully qualified. They recognize there has to 
be a particular focus on math and science teachers, and we incorporate 
that in our legislation.

  Secondly, it talks about, how we distributed the funds, basically the 
same formula that was used by our Republican colleagues when they had a 
proposal to try to deal with the teacher shortage. That falls short for 
many different reasons. We had hoped to be able to get into that if we 
had continued our markup in our Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions 
Committee yesterday. Nonetheless, what we are basically doing is saying 
we will have a program in terms of recruitment, we will have a program 
in terms of mentoring.
  We find there is a very important and significant contrast with the 
results of maintaining teachers with a mentoring program; we have 23% 
of teachers leave within their first three years of teaching, and 30-
50% leave within the first three to five years. Yet 93% of teachers 
taking part in mentoring programs stayed on the job--far above the rate 
for new teachers.
  Let's take what we know works. Let's make sure that when we are going 
out and recruiting the teachers, they are going to be recruited in the 
areas of most critical need; that is, in math and science. Let's make 
sure that when they go into the classroom, they are going to be well 
prepared in their courses.
  This amendment will insist that these teachers are going to qualify 
according to the State requirements in the course they have selected. 
No other legislation is going to do that. It is going to make sure they 
have a mentoring program. We will also make sure that there is going to 
be professional development, that very important third factor this 
study has pointed out. They mention in this study that most U.S. 
teachers have no regular time to consult together or learn about new 
teaching strategies, unlike their peers in many of the European nation 
countries, which teach at a substantial time plan and at a higher 
level.
  What this amendment is about is very simple and fundamental. We are 
saying it is a wiser use of taxpayer funds to move us to an effective 
program in terms of ensuring we will have a well-trained teacher in 
every classroom, rather than having the tax credits, only half of which 
will even be available to parents whose children will be going to 
public schools, the other half to the parents of children who will be 
going to the private schools.
  Having well-qualified teachers is absolutely essential. Now, we can 
argue--and we have colleagues on our Health, Education, Labor, and 
Pensions Committee who say this really isn't a role for the Federal 
Government. We know we provide only 7 cents out of every dollar that 
comes from the Federal Government and goes into the local communities. 
It comes through the States--about 98 cents of the dollars that come 
through the Federal Government actually go into the classrooms 
themselves, according to the General Accounting Office.
  What we are saying is, with a very limited amount of resources, we 
ought to target areas where there are very important needs and where 
there is a very sound and compelling case to be made in support of it. 
Certainly, I think that of all of the areas we are talking about in 
terms of classrooms today, we are all reminded by recent tragedies 
about the importance of safety and security in the classroom--we are 
reminded constantly about that issue.
  Secondly, we are reminded that there is nothing more important than 
having

[[Page S1058]]

well-trained teachers. That is why we think this amendment is so 
important and so compelling.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator has used 10 minutes.
  Mr. KENNEDY. I reserve the remainder of my time.
  Mr. COVERDELL. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the votes 
be postponed to occur in a back-to-back series at 2:15 today in the 
following order: No second-degree amendments in order prior to the 
vote, and 2 minutes prior to each vote for explanation. They are: 
Graham, No. 2870; Roth, No. 2869; Dorgan, No. 2871; Kennedy, No. 2872.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. COVERDELL. For the information of all Senators, Senator Dorgan's 
will be a voice vote. Therefore, we expect 3 back-to-back votes at 2:15 
today.
  Mr. President, I yield the floor.
  Mr. KENNEDY. Mr. President, I yield myself an additional 7 minutes.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator is recognized for 7 minutes.
  Mr. KENNEDY. Mr. President, let me review specifically exactly how 
this amendment works. Our amendment provides the States with $1.7 
billion by a formula--50 percent poverty, 50 percent population--to 
improve the teacher quality. States can keep up to 10 percent for State 
activities, including strategies to raise teacher salaries, reduce the 
number of teachers placed out of field, and reduce the number of 
emergency certified teachers.
  Second, this guarantees that 56 percent of the funds that go to the 
States--$960 million--is for professional development and mentoring, 
which provides for 200,000 new teachers a year. We know we need 2 
million teachers over the next 10 years, or 200,000 a year. This will 
provide the mentoring for those 200,000 teachers each year. Funds go by 
formula to the districts on the basis of 75 percent poverty, 25 percent 
population. That allocation, in terms of poverty population, is 
basically noncontroversial. It is basically the formula we have used in 
the past and is the formula being used even under the current 
legislation being considered.
  This guarantees that 30 percent of the funds that would go to the 
States for competitive local recruitment programs in high-need 
districts, to recruit and train highly qualified candidates.
  Next, it guarantees that teachers are trained to address the needs of 
children with disabilities. None of the other teacher programs or 
teacher training programs ensures that we are going to have teachers 
who will be able to teach children with disabilities--it is enormously 
important.
  It holds the States accountable for having a qualified teacher in 
every classroom within 4 years of enactment of the law.
  It requires that the first $300 million of the State grants go toward 
professional development, the mentoring and recruitment in the math and 
science area. There is an incredible need there. Ninety-five percent of 
urban districts report a critical need for math teachers; 98 percent 
report the need in science; 97 percent report a need for special 
education teachers. That is what the current reports are. That is why 
we have given focus in terms of the recruitment in math and science.
  It also holds districts accountable for results. They must show 
progress in: improved student performance; increased participation in 
sustained professional development and mentoring; reduced beginning 
teacher attrition rate for the district and; reduced number of teachers 
who aren't certified or licensed and the number who are out-of-field 
teachers for the district.
  Listen to what the Wall Street Journal reported on February 29:

       Schools turn to temp agencies for substitute teachers. Most 
     school districts begin each day with a nerve-racking hunt for 
     substitutes to fill in for absent teachers. With the tight 
     labor market making the task especially tough, a few are 
     starting to outsource the job. Kelly Services, Inc. unveiled 
     the first nationwide substitute teacher program four months 
     ago and now handles screening and scheduling for 20 schools 
     in 10 States.
       A school official in Edinburg, Indiana, says the contract 
     the system signed this month with Kelly simply acknowledges 
     ``they're more proficient than we are'' in the temporary help 
     arena. Temp outfits generally charge schools a premium while 
     paying subs at the same rate as before.
  That is what is happening in the United States of America. That is 
what is happening. Last year, 50,000 unqualified teachers were hired 
across the country and are appearing before classrooms of children 
today--50,000 hired last year appearing before them today. We ought to 
be able to say, OK, we only have a limited amount of resources; how are 
we going to be able to expend those resources effectively?
  I believe the case has been made about having a well-qualified 
teacher in every classroom, having smaller class sizes, having 
afterschool programs that do so much in terms of helping and assisting 
children in doing homework and keeping the children out of trouble--a 
program, I might point out, that still has a broad opportunity to reach 
hundreds of thousands more children.
  It is important to make sure we have the new technology, so children 
are able to learn with new computers. Various studies show that it 
takes time for teachers to get up to speed--not just in using the 
computers, but in training the teachers to use computers in ways that 
are going to be consistent with the curriculum they are trained to 
teach. We are not doing that.
  And then we know there is obviously the pathway in continuing in 
higher education. These are the components and the elements that are 
being offered out here. The bottom line on the issue of accountability 
has been to make sure the scarce resources that we have are actually 
going to be utilized in an effective way with effective results.
  I recognize that starting in 1965 when we started the ESEA program, 
we expended a good deal of resources and we didn't have the kind of 
accountability we should have had. But what we have seen is that over 
the period, particularly since the last reauthorization, where we are 
beginning to make some progress--measurable progress--we will hear 
speeches that, oh, no, we are not making progress, we are falling 
further behind. Certainly, there are some schools where progress still 
hasn't been made. But if you are looking across the board, we are 
making measurable progress. I think we should find out what is 
happening, and what is best to continue that measured progress.
  When we look over the range of different activities that are out 
there today, how can we measure the activities? One of the important 
ways we measure it is by the various programs such as Project STAR in 
the State of Tennessee, where students in smaller class sizes performed 
better than student in large classes in each grade from kindergarten 
throughout third grade.
  The second one, which I think should be self-evident and obvious, is 
having teachers in front of classes who are qualified to teach in the 
subject matter.
  The third is the afterschool programs that assist children with their 
homework, and offer availability and accessibility of computers to make 
sure they are going to keep up to speed with technology.
  When we have limited resources and have an opportunity to focus some 
of these scarce resources on a needed national problem, we ought to be 
willing to consider what the overwhelming majority of thoughtful 
educators, Presidents, practitioners, and individuals who have studied 
education over the course of a lifetime have virtually unanimously 
recommended: Increasing teachers' knowledge of academic content and 
effective teaching skills through sustained, intensive professional 
development; mentoring programs to keep new teachers in the job; and 
recruitment programs to draw talented individuals into the teaching 
profession. That is really what our proposal does.
  I see my colleague and friend, the Senator from New Mexico, Mr. 
Bingaman. I have stated many times, with the progress made in the 
various programs, that Senator Bingaman has been the leader in the 
Senate in making sure that whatever resources are going to be accounted 
for, are accounted for effectively in every one of these educational 
programs. He has done that in other programs as well but particularly 
in the education. We have incorporated his recommendations into this 
legislation. We know that at the end of the day we are going to have 
improved school performance, we are going to have teachers who are 
going to be able to teach and pass the State exams, and we know we are 
going to hold the States and local communities accountable.

[[Page S1059]]

  I see him now. I would be glad to yield.
  Mr. President, how much time do I have?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Massachusetts has 25 minutes.
  Mr. KENNEDY. I yield whatever time the Senator wishes.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from New Mexico is recognized.
  Mr. BINGAMAN. Mr. President, I thank Senator Kennedy for his 
leadership on this and all of the issues that relate to education that 
we deal with in the Senate. I commend him particularly for this 
amendment that deals with teacher quality and recruiting and training 
the people who go into the teaching profession.
  I think it is clear from the experience in my State--that is the 
experience that I come from and understand a little bit, at least--that 
we have too few funds available for the training of teachers, people 
who are already in the workforce who need additional training, and 
people who are going into teaching. Clearly the Federal funds made 
available for that purpose meet a real need. Despite the fact a lot of 
money is spent on education nationally--I certainly concede a lot is--
there are other pressures on local school boards. There are other 
pressures on States that tend to result in too little of the money 
going to train the teachers and going to upgrade their skill levels.
  This amendment would ensure that at least a portion of the Federal 
funds we are providing to States for education go to this vital 
activity.
  I think the amendment is absolutely crucial. I hope every Senator 
will vote for it.
  When you look at all the factors that affect education, I think there 
are many studies which have concluded correctly that the factor, if you 
have to pick one, that is most significant in determining the quality 
of a child's education is the quality of the teacher and the training 
of that teacher to provide that instruction. This amendment goes 
directly to that. It says we need to keep our priorities straight when 
we spend public money. We need to be sure the funds go to what is most 
important in terms of improving the education of the children involved. 
That means training the teachers.
  I compliment Senator Kennedy very much for this amendment. I am very 
pleased to speak for it, and am very pleased to support it. I think 
this goes to the heart of what we are trying to do. It goes to the 
heart of the concern I hear all over my State from a lot of people 
about the inadequacies of our educational system.
  We have a sad circumstance in my State. I have encountered something 
which we call a ``permanent substitute.'' I go to school districts and 
they say: OK, you are trying to ensure that more of the accredited 
teachers are actually accredited to teach in the subjects they are 
teaching. That is not our problem. Our problem is we have people 
teaching on a semipermanent basis in our classrooms, and we call them 
``permanent substitutes.'' They not only are not qualified in the 
subject area they are being asked to teach, but they are not really 
qualified to be teaching. They haven't been accredited.
  This is a sad commentary. You have to go through licensing procedures 
to be a hairdresser in our State. You have to go through licensing 
procedures to pursue virtually any career. We need to be sure we impose 
accountability on the teaching of professionals as well.
  Teachers themselves want to see this happen. This is not an 
antiteacher proposal. This is something teachers themselves want to see 
more funds available for in training and upgrading their skills.
  This is an amendment I strongly support. I commend Senator Kennedy 
for proposing this amendment. I hope all Senators will review it 
carefully and will determine to support the amendment when it comes up 
for a vote.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Chair recognizes the Senator from 
Massachusetts.
  Mr. KENNEDY. Mr. President, I thank the Senator from New Mexico for 
his statement. He has, as I mentioned, enormously contributed in terms 
of these accountability provisions.
  Professional development, mentoring, and the recruitment have been 
found to be important and significant in communities across the 
country. Let me mention some of the examples.
  Since the late 1980s, New York City's District 2 has invested in 
sustained, intensive, professional development and made it the central 
component for improving schools. The district believes student learning 
will increase as the knowledge of educators grows--and it is working. 
The investment has contributed to steady increases in student 
achievement and in 1996, student math scores were second in the city.
  According to a recent study, the longer California math teachers 
engaged in ongoing, curriculum-centered and professional development, 
that supported a reform-oriented teaching practice, the better their 
students did on the State math assessments.
  This demonstrates what is happening out there. It is happening in too 
few districts. Let's make sure we are going to do it in other places 
across the country.
  In the area of mentoring and recruitment, in Illinois, the Golden 
Apple Scholars Program recruits promising young men and women for 
teaching professions by selecting them during their junior year in high 
school, then mentoring them through the rest of high school, college, 
and 5 years of actual teaching. Sixty of the Golden Apple scholars 
enter the teaching field each year; 90 percent of them are staying in 
the classroom compared to 50 percent of others dropping out within 
their first five years.
  These are young people, recruited locally, involved through high 
school, attending various kinds of meetings and conferences on 
education, furthering their efforts through college, coming back to 
their communities.
  I have visited programs similar to this in Dade County, FL. They have 
had extraordinary success locally. That is what we are talking about.
  Project Promise at Colorado State University recruits prospective 
teachers from fields such as law, geology, chemistry, stock trading, 
and medicine. Current teachers mentor these new recruits in the first 2 
years of teaching. More than 90 percent of the recruits enter the field 
and 80 percent stay in the teaching for at least 5 years.
  There are some very creative ways of recruiting. A North Carolina 
Teaching Fellows Program recruits talented high school students in the 
teaching profession with a minimum 1,100 SAT score, higher that 3.6 
GPA, and in the top 10 percent of the class. The program provides 
$5,000 per year for 4 years to 400 outstanding North Carolina high 
school seniors who agree to teach for 4 years, following graduation in 
one of the North Carolina public schools or U.S. Government schools. 
They find they are retaining some 90 percent of these teachers.
  There is a similar program called Teach Boston, a collaborative 
effort between Boston Public Schools, Boston Private Industry Council, 
and Boston Teachers Union. They created model future teacher academies 
in two Boston high schools.
  There are different ways of doing this. We give local communities the 
flexibility in the development of the programs. We say to those who 
want to do this kind of a program in their local community that there 
will be some resources that will be available to them.
  The Hometown Program provides $25 million to support the efforts of 
high-poverty school districts to recruit teachers as early as the high 
school to meet long-term teacher shortages. Currently, 20 districts--
including Wichita, Milwaukee, Wayne County, North Carolina, and States, 
including South Carolina, Ohio, and Washington--have pipeline systems 
for long-term programs for teacher recruitment.
  In South Carolina, between 35 and 40 percent of students who complete 
the State Teacher Cadet Corps either become or plan to become teachers. 
Currently, there are approximately 5,000 graduates of the Teacher Cadet 
Corps serving as teachers in South Carolina. Independent evaluators of 
the South Carolina program have found one former cadet entered college 
with a jump-start on the teacher education program, and two reported a 
higher rating than other teachers. They have raised standards for 
classmates in college.

[[Page S1060]]

  In Wichita, KS, 70 participate in the Grow Your Own Teacher projects 
and completed their college education; 58 are currently employed as 
teachers in the Wichita public schools.
  These programs are around the country but in too few places. We are 
saying we will provide some $25 million to support those programs that 
have worked.
  Finally, the success of the Troops to Teachers. They have hired over 
3,600 teachers nationwide. These teachers are likely to be in math and 
science, and more likely to be minorities than the general recruitment 
of high school teachers. There are more than 85 percent male, compared 
to 25 percent nationally--from the Troops to Teachers program. They are 
teaching in over 900 rural counties, 25 percent; 40 percent are in 
suburban areas; 40 percent in urban. They have an 82-percent retention 
rate, returning each year to teaching.

  We have a significant expansion of that program. The opportunities 
are out there. California has hired nearly 300 teachers from the Troops 
to Teachers, including a former Navy pilot who used to hunt submarines 
and now faces two dozen kindergarten students. He says it does not pay 
as much but the job satisfaction is incredible. Florida hired 200 
Troops to Teachers, including a former Navy instructor who now teachers 
honors algebra to high school students. The students say he gets 
excited and he definitely knows what he is talking about. The teacher 
took a pay cut but he enjoys the kids and enjoys the school.
  Today, we are talking about Kelly Girls--or Kelly Men--as substitute 
teachers advertised in the Wall Street Journal this week. We are 
talking about limited resources.
  We have recommended smaller class sizes, which are key and have 
demonstrated effectiveness; well-trained teachers, with the support of 
mentoring; professional development; afterschool programs; computer 
programs so children will not be left out or left behind; and strong 
accountability measures. We believe these are the ways we can make 
important difference in terms of enhancing the academic opportunities 
for children in this country.
  My friend and colleague from the State of Washington has been our 
leader in moving this Nation toward smaller class sizes. Having visited 
a number of the schools in my own State of Massachusetts, it is making 
a major difference. We want to make sure that effort is going to be 
continued.
  I yield such time as the Senator desires.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Washington is recognized.
  Mrs. MURRAY. Mr. President, I am delighted to be on the floor with my 
colleague, Senator Kennedy, to talk about an issue that many think is 
the most important issue facing America today. That is the issue of 
education. We are finally in the Senate talking about issues that are 
relevant to families. As they sit at the kitchen table in the evening, 
they, too, understand education is absolutely critical to the future of 
this country.
  We are finally today with this amendment talking about a measure 
which will ensure that every teacher in this country is fully qualified 
and has the tools and the support to help our children reach their full 
potential. For years, parents and teachers have been asking for support 
on teacher quality.
  Last year, I came to the Senate floor to introduce a bill to help 
recruit, retain, and reward America's best educators. I am thrilled 
today to discuss many of the items in that bill. I hope we will have an 
up-or-down vote on this amendment so families across our country can 
see whether or not this Senate supports quality teaching.
  I thank the Senator from Massachusetts for helping this day become 
possible and by leading to make education a front and center issue in 
this Congress, as it is in the classrooms and homes across America.
  Before I discuss the specifics of the amendment, I wish to make 
another point loudly and clearly: Today there are thousands of world-
class, high-quality teachers in our schools. They are professionals. 
They care deeply about the quality of our children's education. Any 
Member would be lucky to have our children in those classrooms.
  However, the current system makes it harder and harder for teachers 
to do their best. Instead of offering them the support they need to 
make a difference--smaller classes, classrooms that are safe, 
afterschool care--this current system puts too maybe roadblocks in 
front of too many teachers.
  We are here today to discuss teacher quality. I want my colleagues to 
keep in mind that we are not criticizing teachers. They are overworked 
and underpaid and not given enough respect. They are, indeed, heroes. 
We are trying to change the system to allow more teachers to become 
master teachers.
  I hope throughout this debate my colleagues will refrain from 
attacking the very people who try their hardest day in and day out to 
help our children and do the right thing for our country. As I said 
many times before, teachers do one of the most important jobs in 
America, and we should make it easier, not harder, for them to do their 
best.
  The amendment from the Senator from Massachusetts could not come at a 
better time because there are so many challenges to quality teaching, 
and those challenges just keep growing.
  Teachers and parents have told me the main challenges are the three 
Rs: Recruiting great teachers, retaining great teachers, and rewarding 
great teachers. Statistics today show we need more educators to meet 
our growing student population. In fact, in the United States, we are 
expecting to face an unprecedented teacher shortage in the next few 
years. The National Center for Educational Statistics estimates we will 
need between 1.7 to 2.7 million new teachers by the year 2008.
  One reason not many people want to go into the teaching profession is 
there are not enough incentives for recent college graduates to become 
teachers. With the wide range of employment opportunities available to 
young people today, to our college graduates, teaching is not the most 
attractive option. The teaching profession, as we all know, is just not 
a lucrative place to be. In the USA Today Teacher Survey, 69 percent of 
teachers said most people do not consider teaching to be an attractive 
career choice. So we are not attracting enough talented people into the 
teaching profession.
  As I am sure has happened to many of my colleagues, I have gone into 
a classroom and asked: How many of you young people intend to be a 
teacher? Very few hands go up. But if you ask those young people: How 
many of you would become teachers if you knew you would get the 
training, the support, the money, and the respect that other 
professionals get? A lot more hands in those classrooms go up. So our 
first challenge is recruiting young people into the teaching 
profession. That is what this amendment does.
  Next, we need to retain great teachers. When you think about it, 
there really is nowhere for a great teacher to go. If they move up, 
they move out of the classroom into administration or into another 
profession. While we need great administrators, we should do everything 
we can to keep our really great teachers in the classrooms. We need to 
give our teachers options such as becoming master teachers, so they can 
continue to grow while helping our kids in their classrooms.
  There are a lot of reasons for this retention problem. Unlike any 
other profession, teachers do not have adequate access to continuous 
high-quality professional development, so we need effective, ongoing 
professional development programs that are aligned with local standards 
and curricula.
  Finally, we need to reward our good teachers.
  Mr. President, I have come to the floor to thank Senator Kennedy for 
his leadership on the most critical issue we see facing our students 
today--making sure every teacher in every classroom is a quality 
teacher. I thank my colleague from Massachusetts, and I urge my 
colleagues to support this critical amendment.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Enzi). Who yields time?
  The Senator from Massachusetts.
  Mr. KENNEDY. Mr. President, I yield the remaining time to the Senator 
from Rhode Island.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Chair recognizes the Senator from Rhode 
Island.
  Mr. KENNEDY. Mr. President, I see the Senator from Minnesota. How 
much time do we have?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator has 5 minutes remaining.

[[Page S1061]]

  Mr. KENNEDY. I have 5 minutes remaining.
  Mr. WELLSTONE. I say to my colleague from Rhode Island, if he will 
give me 1 minute, I will be pleased for him to have the last 4 minutes.
  Mr. REED. Surely. I yield 1 minute, or Senator Kennedy does.
  Mr. KENNEDY. Yes.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Minnesota.
  Mr. WELLSTONE. Mr. President, I thank Senator Kennedy for this 
amendment. I want to mention the part of this amendment I have had a 
chance to work on. I thank the Senator for letting me do this with him. 
It is the Teacher Corps part, where we basically put together a 
marriage of school districts that need teachers in certain areas along 
with schools of education. It is actually after students have already 
graduated, but they may want to go back and get certification, or they 
may be in their forties or fifties and go into teaching.
  During that 2-year certification period, it will be tuition free if 
they agree to teach in these areas for 3 years. It is allocated to 
local needs, it puts everything together in a promising way, and it is 
good for inner-city and suburban schools. It puts the schools together 
with good teachers. Everybody agrees this is the key.
  I yield.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Rhode Island.
  Mr. REED. Mr. President, I rise in strong support of the Kennedy 
amendment. Senator Kennedy has focused on one of the critical aspects 
of education reform in the United States; that is, improving the 
quality of teachers in this country. Teachers want this kind of 
assistance. If you ask them, they are universally disappointed in their 
opportunities to improve their skills as teachers.
  Just a few days ago, in this debate we supported, in large part, 
Senator Collins' amendment to allow increased tax preferences for 
educational courses teachers might take. But that is just the surface. 
The way to reinvigorate and reform schools in this country is to 
improve the professional development in the classroom--not in graduate 
schools, not in taking correspondence courses, but getting those 
teachers in classrooms watching other qualified teachers, giving them 
the opportunity to participate with their principals in developing 
curricula, developing their own skills and their own attributes.
  That is what the Kennedy legislation does. It calls for the 
incorporation in our schools of professional development that is 
embedded within the curriculum. It is consistent, sustained, long-term, 
throughout the academic year--indeed, throughout the entire year.
  What is happening today? The reality is, teachers spend between 1 
hour and 8 hours during the academic year on professional development. 
Most times, it is gathering in a big hall listening to a lecturer who 
the superintendent of the system thinks makes sense, but in some cases 
the teachers are wondering why they are at that location.
  We can change that. Indeed, we must change that. Unless we improve 
the quality of teaching--and I agree wholeheartedly with Senator 
Murray; we have excellent teachers in America--we will not respond to 
the challenges of this new century to prepare, in public schools, the 
best educated citizens of this country. Indeed, our first obligation 
has to be this effort to reform and reinvigorate and reignite the 
quality of excellence in our public education system throughout the 
country.

  The underlying proposal does not do that. It essentially siphons off 
dollars to those, principally wealthy, Americans who choose to send 
their children to private schools. Our obligation, I believe very 
fervently, is to ensure there is a real choice so that, indeed, there 
are excellent public schools and an American family can choose those 
excellent public schools or a private, independent or parochial school. 
But until we have excellent public education throughout this country, 
we are failing in a fundamental obligation we have to our country and 
to our citizens.
  One of the best ways to assure excellent public education is the way 
that has been suggested by the amendment of the Senator from 
Massachusetts, and that is to provide professional development that is 
sustained, embedded in a classroom, that calls upon mentoring, that 
calls upon all the things we are learning from the real world.
  We are learning from observing places such as district II in New York 
City, which is committed to this type of professional development. I 
had a chance to visit with a school in that district and listen and 
watch the teachers as they discussed among themselves the issues that 
were critical as they developed new curricula, as they talked about new 
strategies. This is what is going to improve the quality of our 
teaching. When we do this, we will improve the quality of education 
throughout the entire country.
  This is also what we heard at hearings during consideration of the 
ESEA. We heard experts from around the country, teachers from around 
the country, coming to tell us they need more support for this type of 
professional development. If we are really, fundamentally asking 
ourselves how we can improve education in this country, it is not 
through a tax credit device that will essentially subsidize, on 
average, wealthy Americans to send their children to private schools; 
it is investing in teachers in our public schools so they will be able 
to educate this generation of Americans to continue the leadership role 
of this Nation in the world in this new century.
  I emphatically and fervently support the Kennedy amendment. I urge 
its adoption.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. All time now is controlled by the Senator from 
Georgia.
  Mr. COVERDELL. Mr. President, I am glad the Senator from Rhode Island 
is here. I did not have a chance to respond to his remarks the other 
day on the education savings account, and we do have a fairly 
significant disagreement, beyond the philosophy, over some of the data. 
I think we are making headway on this.
  The implication that the education savings account is a vehicle for 
people who drive around in limousines is inaccurate. The Joint Tax 
Committee has found the education savings accounts would be used 14 
million times over, it would be used by 14 million families, 70 percent 
of whom have incomes of $75,000 or less.
  More importantly, though, the point I want to make--and I am not 
going to dwell on this because I know we have our differences--is that 
several years ago the President and the Congress passed the higher 
education savings account. It was for $500. The criteria for the 
families who could use those accounts are the identical criteria being 
used for these education savings accounts. There is no difference.
  I take some issue with the fact we in Congress and the President are 
applauding this wonderful account we have set up for higher education 
for $500, and yet on an identical scope of use for this savings 
account, it somehow gets into class warfare.
  All that has happened is we have taken a $500 account we all passed 
and applauded and said it could be expanded to $2,000 or four times. If 
a family chooses to, they can use it in kindergarten through high 
school. The odds are the majority of them will use it just as the 
higher education savings account does, for college.
  I did want to make that point. It has come up several times.
  I am the only one who has time, but I yield a few minutes to my 
colleague from Rhode Island to respond.
  Mr. REED. Mr. President, I respect the Senator's efforts to try to 
improve education. We may very well disagree on the philosophy.
  In specific response to his question about the Joint Tax Committee 
studies, I think there is a difference between coverage and effect. The 
coverage might include a broad range of American families, from the 
very wealthiest to low-income families, but the effects--who gets the 
benefits--are decisively skewed toward very wealthy Americans.
  That same tax analysis in 1998 showed that 7 percent of families who 
have children in private schools who use this provision will receive 52 
percent of the tax benefit and the other 93 percent of the families 
will receive 48 percent.
  Frankly, the way, as we all realize, the tax structure is 
established, tax credits and tax benefits are more beneficial to the 
higher income level, unless

[[Page S1062]]

they are particularly targeted to low-income citizens. These are not.
  Essentially, what we have is, yes, low-income families and medium-
income families will, in fact, be able to get some benefits. It has 
been estimated that over 4 years, this benefit to the average family is 
about $20. The benefit for very wealthy Americans will be significantly 
more.
  Again, this might be more anecdotal than analytical. If you look at 
the population of students going to private schools, they generally 
come from upper-middle-income to upper-income families because of the 
nature of funding.
  I know the Senator wants his time. Let me make a quick point. When we 
start making these comparisons between higher education and elementary 
and secondary education, not only do we have a principle difference, 
i.e., we have a fundamental obligation to elementary and secondary 
education, do we have the same to higher education? We can disagree 
about that.
  The other thing we have to do is put it in context. The tax benefits 
in higher education are on top of Pell grants which are specifically 
directed at low-income parents. They are really, if you will, icing on 
the cake, and the cake is really Pell grants, Stafford loans--a whole 
panoply of higher education benefits which we supported for years and 
years. To make the transfer or analogy of it is just like what we do 
for higher education, it is not only philosophically questionable but 
also, in terms of the context, questionable. I thank the Senator for 
his time.
  Mr. COVERDELL. Mr. President, I will respond briefly because the 
clock is running. The demographics in parochial schools and private 
schools--and we studied this very closely--are within 10 percent, the 
same as demographics in public schools. Parochial schools, for example, 
in New York, have identical demographics as the public schools. Sixty 
percent in parochial schools make $50,000 or less. The idea that people 
in these parochial or private schools are somehow a class of wealth is, 
I believe, not correct and cannot be substantiated, No. 1.
  No. 2, 70 percent of the families who use this education savings 
account are going to be in public schools; 30 percent in private. The 
funds the Senator from Rhode Island describes are pretty much evenly 
divided. I suspect because people in private schools are still paying 
local property taxes for public schools, they have a higher hurdle, and 
it does make them save more. This is a debate we can continue at 
another time. I appreciate the Senator's response. I give him 1 minute.
  Mr. REED. Mr. President, I am not familiar with the data about New 
York parochial schools, but I am very eager to look at it, if the 
Senator will provide it.
  Mr. COVERDELL. I will be glad to.
  Mr. REED. Second, it is one of those things: What do you measure? Do 
you measure parochial schools in New York City or are you measuring all 
the private schools, very exclusive schools? All I can speak to with 
great compulsion and experience is in my home State of Rhode Island, 
generally speaking, the parochial schools mirror some of the public 
school systems. But when you go to some of the private schools, that is 
not quite the case. I suggest if it is not limited to parochial 
schools, it is going to be taken advantage of.
  Mr. COVERDELL. I will show the Senator the data. We all see private 
schools that stand out. That is what forms the image. I am saying when 
you look at all the private schools across the country, you come up 
with a lot of people who do not have many resources.
  We will discuss this at a further time. To explain to my good friend 
from Nevada, I am going to talk for 5 minutes and then yield back our 
time. It would then be appropriate, in the queue of events, that we 
move to Senator Boxer.
  Mr. President, with regard to the Kennedy amendment, which I have 
here, this amendment was laid down yesterday in the Health, Education, 
Labor, and Pensions Committee. It is the first amendment that was 
offered in the committee, and it is in the process of being discussed.
  There are controversies in it. Folks on our side think, once again, 
it is a story of mandates and regulations and instructions to local 
schools about how to manage the affairs at the local level. The 
appropriate place for this amendment to be decided is in the committee 
of jurisdiction.
  The other point I want to make, and I have made it repeatedly, is 
that this is about the fifth or sixth attempt by the other side to come 
to the Senate floor with what are very laudable ideas, but they are all 
constructed in a way that is either/or. If we adopt the Kennedy 
amendment or any one of these other five amendments we have been 
dealing with for the last several days, the main effect is to cancel 
the education savings account.
  If we do that, we are saying to 14 million American families: Sorry, 
we are not going to let you create an education savings account. These 
happen to be the parents of 20 million children, which is almost half 
the school population. No deal; we are not interested in letting your 
families create education savings accounts that will direct money to 
your specific needs and, most important of all, they blow away, they 
open the safe and run off with $12 billion of savings that would occur 
with these education savings accounts for families to use for 
educational purposes anywhere from kindergarten through college and 
beyond college, frankly, if there was a disability incurred.
  The amendment, while it may be laudable--maybe it will be adopted in 
committee--the way it is designed is to destroy the opportunity to 
empower 14 million families and parents who are raising 20 million 
children and their attempts to save money to help them get that job 
done.
  Obviously, we will, once again, when the appropriate time for voting 
comes, oppose this amendment, not necessarily on its merits--the 
committee will decide that--but because its main purpose is to destroy 
the education savings account.
  Mr. President, I yield back the remainder of our time on the Kennedy 
amendment. I believe the other side has chosen to go ahead with the 
Boxer amendment at this time.
  Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to set the Kennedy amendment 
aside, which was envisioned in the unanimous consent request we 
propounded a few minutes ago.
  Mr. REID. Mr. President, I ask for the yeas and nays on the Kennedy 
amendment prior to it being set aside.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Bunning). Is there a sufficient second?
  There appears to be a sufficient second.
  The yeas and nays were ordered.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, the amendment is set aside.
  The Senator from California.
  Mrs. BOXER. Mr. President, I thank the managers for accommodating me. 
I have been waiting for a while.


                           Amendment No. 2873

(Purpose: To express the sense of the Senate on improving the learning 
                 environment by ensuring safe schools)

  Mrs. BOXER. Mr. President, I send an amendment to the desk and ask 
that it be read.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report the amendment.
  The senior assistant bill clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from California [Mrs. Boxer], for herself, Mr. 
     Schumer, Mr. Levin, Mr. Johnson, and Mr. Robb, proposes an 
     amendment numbered 2873:
       At the appropriate place, add the following:

     SEC.  . SENSE OF THE SENATE REGARDING A SAFE LEARNING 
                   ENVIRONMENT.

       (a) Findings.--Congress finds that--
       (1) Every school child in America has a right to a safe 
     learning environment free from guns and violence.
       (2) Any education measure passed by Congress is undermined 
     by violence in the schools.
       (3) The February 29, 2000 shooting at Buell Elementary 
     School in Mount Morris Township, Michigan, is evidence that 
     the tragic gun violence in America's schools continues.
       (4) In the last 12 months, there have been at least 50 
     people killed or injured in school shootings in America.
       (5) Every day in America, on average, between 12 and 13 
     children under the age of 18 die of gunshots from homicides, 
     accidental shootings, and suicides.
       (6) In the 10\1/2\ months since the shooting at Columbine 
     High School in Littleton, Colorado, the United States 
     Congress has failed to pass reasonable, common-sense gun 
     control measures that would help to make schools safer, 
     improve the learning environment, and stem the tide of gun 
     violence in America.
       (b) Sense of the Senate.--It is the sense of the Senate 
     that before April 20, 2000, Congress shall make schools safe 
     for learning by

[[Page S1063]]

     implementing policies that will reduce the threat of gun 
     violence in schools.

  Mrs. BOXER. I thank the clerk for reading the amendment.
  Mr. President, I ask for the yeas and nays on my amendment.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there a sufficient second?
  There appears to be a sufficient second.
  The yeas and nays were ordered.
  Mrs. BOXER. Mr. President, this is a very simple amendment. It is a 
commonsense amendment. It is an opportunity for the Senate to be heard 
on the issue of gun violence.
  I thought we were making progress after Littleton when we passed--a 
month after Littleton--a number of very important, commonsense gun 
control measures. We have yet to see those measures come back to us for 
final passage. We have yet to see those measures come back to us from 
conference. We have yet to see an interest on the part of the majority 
to move these important, commonsense gun control measures.
  I am hopeful that this sense of the Senate, which calls on the 
Congress to act by the year anniversary of Littleton, will have some 
meaning to people. I trust this will pass 100-0.
  Children in schools have a right to be safe. It is very fundamental 
that they be safe, almost as fundamental as their right to a free 
public education.
  A safe school is essential to ensuring an environment where children 
can learn. We can stand here, from morning until night, with great 
ideas on education. Governors can come up with their own proposals on 
education. Local school districts can do the same. But if there is a 
shooting in a school, no one learns. The only thing they learn is 
tragedy, at an age way too young to deal with it.
  We have an unacceptable situation in our country. If children sit in 
a classroom wondering if they are going to hear gunshots in the 
schoolyard or in the hallway, they cannot concentrate on a math problem 
in their classroom.
  Again, I know the Senator from Georgia believes very strongly in his 
education savings account legislation. I know that we all have issues 
we want to put forward: smaller class sizes, rebuilding our broken-down 
schools. We all have a tremendous interest in improving education. But 
it means nothing when violence invades our schools and children are 
hurt or they die--schools are closed; education is disrupted. None of 
it means much if we cannot at least ensure safety.
  As we said in the resolution, in the last 12 months, at least 50 
people have been killed or injured in school shootings. This week it 
was a little 6-year-old girl who was killed in an elementary school in 
Michigan. My God, what is it going to take for this Senate to act? A 6-
year-old child gets a gun and kills a classmate. He got the gun because 
an adult left it lying around. There was no trigger lock.
  We have a bill dealing with that; it has been tied up. I do not think 
that is a very radical proposal. I do not think it is a dangerous 
proposal to put a child safety lock on a gun. That child would have 
brought the gun to school, it would not have gone off, and a child 
would not be dead. We would not have to see these children, at a tender 
age--a tender, tender age--I have a 4\1/2\-year-old grandchild, and I 
just think about the horror of a child at that age, 5\1/2\ or 6 or 7 
dealing with this kind of violence. It is wrong. It is unacceptable.
  Last December, it was four middle school students who were injured by 
gunfire in a middle school in Oklahoma.
  Last November, it was a 13-year-old girl who was shot in the head in 
a New Mexico school.
  Last May, six students were injured at a high school in Georgia.
  Of course, last April, 15 people died and 23 more were injured in 
Columbine High School in Littleton, CO. Anyone who has watched the 
followup stories in that community knows that the injuries done then 
are not fading. They have torn that community apart.
  What are we waiting for? Sensible gun control legislation was passed 
by this Senate. The Vice President, Al Gore, cast a tie-breaking vote 
on closing the gun show loophole so people who should not have a gun 
would not be able to get a gun. I do not know what it will take for 
this Senate to act.
  I see a couple of my friends who have come to the floor to discuss 
this issue with me.
  Yesterday, there was a multiple shooting outside Pittsburgh.
  There was a shooting in September in a Baptist church in Texas.
  Last September, there was a shooting in the West Anaheim Medical 
Center in California.
  Last August, there was a shooting at the North Valley Jewish 
Community Center's day-care center in Los Angeles. Will we ever forget 
those children, holding the hands of the police officers --babies 
trying to cope with what was going on.
  Last April, there was a shooting at the Mormon Family History Library 
in Salt Lake City.
  These bullets are randomly shot. It does not matter how old you are. 
If you are there, you are in trouble.
  This is chaos, my friends. What did we do after Littleton? We came 
together. We passed gun control measures that are very sound. They are 
reasonable, they are moderate, and they will keep guns out of the hands 
of children. They will keep guns out of the hands of criminals. They 
will keep guns out of the hands of people who are mentally ill. They 
will not take guns out of the hands of people who need to have a gun to 
protect themselves, who are upstanding citizens.
  So what are we waiting for? More and more of these deaths?
  I ask my friends from California, Illinois, and Michigan how much 
time they would like to take on this? I am delighted to yield to them. 
Why don't they give me that information, and then we will set up an 
order.
  Mrs. FEINSTEIN. If it is convenient, 10 minutes.
  Mr. DURBIN. Five minutes.
  Mr. LEVIN. Three minutes.
  Mrs. BOXER. Done. Why don't we start with Senator Levin. I yield him 
3 minutes of my time. We will then go to Senator Durbin and then 
Senator Feinstein. Then I will take it back and close the debate.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Michigan.
  Mr. LEVIN. Mr. President, I thank the Senator from California for 
raising the question of the proliferation of guns and gun violence in 
our schools as we debate education on the Senate floor. We should not 
be debating education without addressing the question of the gun 
violence which strikes so many of our schools.
  It has now been almost a year since the deadly shooting at Columbine. 
The images of Columbine's teenagers clinging for life and screaming in 
terror are forever printed in our minds. Not many of us could forget 
the horror of those scenes as they unfolded before us on national 
television. Yet somehow it seems that Congress has forgotten the 
unforgettable.
  Now, in yet another school shooting, the tragic, senseless death of 
another child--this time in my home State of Michigan --has reminded us 
of the terror of gun violence and the toll it takes on young people.
  According to a press report, the shooting stunned even gun control 
advocates immersed in the details of school violence. If a 6-year-old 
can get a gun, they said, the problem is worse than anyone thought. The 
first grade shooting that occurred this week in Mount Morris Township 
near Flint, MI, is surely shocking because of the nature of the 
circumstances: An alleged 6-year-old gunman living in a house with easy 
accessibility to guns and little comprehension of the consequences of 
his actions. No one can really any longer claim shock or surprise that 
another young life was lost to gun violence. No one can any longer 
claim shock or surprise that another one of our children did not make 
it home from school.
  We have known, long before Columbine, that gun violence claims the 
lives of 12 children, on average, each day. We know gun violence 
results in injury and death, destroys families, and causes lasting 
psychological and emotional harm. Buell Elementary's counselors will 
now try to cope with the trauma that comes when schoolchildren shoot 
schoolchildren. Too many other districts now know that violence and the 
fear of violence is not only devastating to the children and the 
families involved, it can also infect the learning environment. We 
cannot allow ourselves to become desensitized to the tragedies of gun 
violence. As a Detroit Free Press writer put it:


[[Page S1064]]


       [At Buell] the first-grade classroom, so vibrant with the 
     piping voices of children early Tuesday morning, had been 
     commandeered by police detectives, searching for the meaning 
     behind the unthinkable.

  Congress must pass gun safety legislation before more children's 
voices are silenced by the sounds of gunfire and sirens.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator's time has expired.
  Mr. LEVIN. I thank my good friend from California for her leadership. 
It is critically important that this issue be raised at this time.
  Mrs. BOXER. I thank my friend from Michigan.
  My friend from Illinois wanted 5 minutes.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Illinois.
  Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, I totally support this resolution.
  Could one imagine the Senate today debating education and ignoring 
the obvious? When the front-page headlines, news story after news 
story, remind us that mere infants now have access to handguns, that a 
6-year-old can take a handgun to school and kill your son, your 
daughter, grandson, and granddaughter, is this America? Is this the 
best we can do? I think we can do a lot better.
  Senator Boxer challenges this Senate to go on record when it comes to 
school safety. I support her completely. It is important to talk about 
how you pay for schools. It is important to talk about the 
qualifications of teachers and how many kids are in a classroom and 
whether you have access to the Internet. But the most important 
question is whether you can send that little child you love to school 
in the morning and expect them to come home safely at night. That is 
why this resolution is important. Before we start talking about the 
finer points of improving education, let us first dedicate ourselves to 
safety in classrooms across America.
  I will support her resolution. It should receive a unanimous vote. 
Who in the world can stand here and say we should not be on record 
against the school violence we find taking place more and more every 
single day? A little later on in this debate, I will offer a specific 
grant program through the Department of Education to deal with school 
violence and gun violence.
  Make no mistake about it, that 6-year-old didn't go out and purchase 
that handgun. Some adult failed in their responsibility. I don't know 
the circumstances; maybe we will never know the circumstances. But time 
and again, children are getting access to guns with tragic results. 
Many times, they take them down from the top shelf in the closet and 
play with them, either harming themselves or another classmate or 
another one of their friends who ordinarily visits the home. Then the 
sad stories when they take them to school. What we saw in Michigan is 
not an exception; it is happening more and more.
  My wife and I decided early on never to have a firearm in the house 
as long as our kids were small. We just thought it was too dangerous. 
That was our family decision. But even though we made that decision, it 
didn't cross my mind until much later to really wonder what the parents 
of my kids' friends had decided. That happens, too. Your little boy or 
girl goes to the house next door to play, and you don't know what those 
kids are doing. How many times do you pick up the newspaper and read 
about kids playing with guns and one kid being injured? It happens too 
often.
  In this case, we are finding more and more that kids are picking up 
these guns and carrying them to school, where they find victims in 
their classmates and teachers. This isn't an isolated situation. Those 
who want to dismiss it and say, come on, you are just responding to a 
single headline, ignore the obvious.
  The U.S. Department of Education, in the 1997-98 school year, found 
that 3,930 children in schools across America were expelled for 
bringing guns to school. Almost 4,000 kids in that school year brought 
guns to school across America. I am glad to say that very few of them 
resulted in death, but think about the potential for disaster and 
tragedy.
  I sincerely hope--and I mean this, though I fought the gun lobby and 
the National Rifle Association every step of the way--that for once 
they will have a heart and the good sense to support this resolution 
that says, as a matter of policy, before we talk about education and 
its future, we will talk about the safety of kids in the classroom.

  Take a look at the language in this resolution. In the last 12 
months, 50 people killed or injured in school shootings in America. 
Every day, on average, between 12 and 13 children under the age of 18 
die from gunshots, from homicides, drive-by shootings, accidental 
shootings, and suicides.
  America has made a decision. We have decided as a nation that people 
can own guns, legally, constitutionally; they have the right to do so. 
But make no mistake, an obligation comes with the ownership of those 
guns, not just to buy them, not just to buy the ammunition, not just to 
own them and use them for sport or hunting, but to store them safely.
  I have introduced legislation called the child access prevention law. 
It says that, as with 17 States across America, the whole Nation should 
be held to a standard where gun owners keep their guns away from kids. 
It is not enough to put it on the top shelf in the closet or to put it 
in a drawer by the night stand because, mark my words, kids are always 
going to find Christmas gifts and guns no matter where we put them.
  And any adult owner who believes they have hidden them and the kids 
will never find them ignores reality.
  Mrs. BOXER. I yield the Senator 1 more minute. I hope he will leave 
time for me to ask him a question.
  Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, I hope the Senate goes on record 
unanimously, on a bipartisan basis. If it doesn't, I hope families 
across America who are worried about the safety of their kids ask each 
and every Senator how we can vote against a resolution saying we are 
going to make it a national priority in the sense of the Senate to make 
schools safe and implement policies that reduce the threat of gun 
violence.
  I yield for a question.
  Mrs. BOXER. I just want to share with the Senator two numbers because 
he had a lot of important statistics. This is from Time magazine: Fifty 
percent of children ages 9 to 17 are worried about dying young, and 31 
percent of children ages 12 to 17 know someone their age who carries a 
gun. I ask my friend to respond to that, and take as much time as he 
needs, and then we will yield 10 minutes to Senator Feinstein.
  Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, it is a sad reality that with the 
proliferation of over 200 million guns in America, more and more 
children who, in my generation, would be the schoolyard bullies are now 
the kids bringing guns to school, and other children know it. They know 
about the easy access to these weapons. The kid who used to go out in 
the schoolyard and punch somebody in the nose now turns out to be the 
kid who brings the gun to school. It is a sad reality, one that every 
family in America faces.
  I don't care if you live in California, Illinois, or Michigan; there 
is not a school district or a child we can be sure is safe today until 
we take measures to restore sanity to the classrooms across America, to 
protect not only the kids but the teachers and all of the parents who 
share, as we do, the love for these children.
  I thank the Senator from California for her leadership.
  Mrs. BOXER. I thank the Senator from Illinois for his leadership.
  I yield to my colleague, the senior Senator from California, who, I 
think it is important to note, brought us our first victory on 
commonsense gun control several years ago with her assault weapons ban. 
She has kept on this issue continuously, and I am very honored that she 
is here to speak in connection with this sense of the Senate.
  I yield to Senator Feinstein for 10 minutes.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The senior Senator from California is 
recognized.
  Mrs. FEINSTEIN. Mr. President, I thank my colleague, Senator Boxer 
from California, for her leadership and for this sense-of-the-Senate 
resolution, which I am very happy to support fully.
  Today, I received a packet of letters. They are from fourth and fifth 
grade children. I want to read just a few parts of these letters:


[[Page S1065]]


       My name is Nikki. * * * I am 11 years old. * * * No one in 
     my household has a gun, not one of them. * * * One day, I saw 
     a neighbor of mine get shot on her way to the candy house. 
     She got shot 4 times. She got shot 3 times in her side and 
     once in her leg. Now she's paralyzed for life. That really 
     hurt me and a lot of other people. She was only 12 years old 
     and she was a nice girl.

  Here is another one:

       I am Talia and I am 11 years of age. And when I'm coming 
     home from school, I see little 13 year old teenagers playing 
     with guns like it's a thing to do. I walk across the street 
     to go get some ketchup for my cousin's house and I see people 
     dragged into the * * * park.
       * * * We're little kids. We need to live in a safer 
     community and this is not safe. So write to all the gun 
     stores and let them know what kids think about guns.

  Here is another one:

       My opinion is no people should have guns, because one day 
     in the summer that passed this girl was in her house. Then a 
     man dragged her out of her house up the stairs. After he 
     punched her and shot her in the leg, she had a hole in her 
     leg. The police and ambulance had to come and wrapped her leg 
     up.
       * * * I want the Senator to make guns no more. No more guns 
     in this world.

  Here is another one:

       I am a fifth grader. And mainly every year I hear at least 
     20 gunshots. I am scared at night because I think it's going 
     to be a drive-by. I even sometimes can't go outside to recess 
     because gunshots are heard.

  Here is another one:

       My name is Justin. I am in the fifth grade.
       * * * At night in my neighborhood there are gunshots and 
     sometimes it keeps me awake. When I walk home from school, 
     there is gangs in one spot and another gang in another spot.
       Could you please help and make guns illegal? All the kids 
     in my class want you to help. If you help, then I thank you 
     very much.

  Here is another one:

       What I know about guns and gun control is to not let guns 
     get into the wrong hands.
       * * * What I want is to not let guns get in the wrong 
     hands. To let it not go to people that just came out of 
     prison to get payback. That is what I want and I hope you can 
     do something about this and I want support of gun control 
     laws.

  Here is another one:

       * * * When I was 3 years old, I saw a black and silver gun. 
     When I saw it, I ran in my house and saw the person get shot 
     by it. I was so scared I cried my eyes out. So please support 
     us.

  Another one:

       * * * I think you should stop people from shooting other 
     people. People should have to get a license and people should 
     have to have a background check for getting guns. 
     Please support gun control laws.

  Another one:

       * * * My experiences are hearing guns, like one day when it 
     was my Aunt's birthday, we were all in the house looking out 
     the window. We had seen this man on top of the hill. He had a 
     gun. Then he just started to point it and then he started to 
     shoot. We all had to drop to the floor. It was scary.
       What I want is only the police to have guns because they're 
     the only ones who's using them right. I want you to vote to 
     have only police have guns, it's just right. And if police 
     are not using them right, please take them away. I want gun 
     control over guns.

  Another one:

       * * * I am 10 years old. And I have seen people shoot 
     another person. One night I had heard gunshots. I looked out 
     the window and saw a man running, and another man lying on 
     the street. He was shot about fifty times. My uncle was shot 
     on Christmas night on his way home from work.

  Ladies and gentlemen of the Senate, this is the real world. This is 
what is happening out there. How can we stand by and not do anything?
  I speak as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. I have been on 
this committee for as long as I have been in the Senate. I am a 
supporter of the juvenile justice bill. That day when we debated four 
commonsense, targeted gun measures--all of them, I thought, no-
brainers--I was so proud to be a Member of this body. I remember that 
Senator John Ashcroft moved an amendment to say that youngsters, 
children, could not buy assault weapons. That was a no-brainer. It went 
through this body. The second amendment was on trigger locks. My 
colleague from California and others in this body have championed 
that--that is, that guns should have trigger locks. That way, a 6-year-
old can't use the gun.
  A 5-year-old from Memphis, TN, took a gun to school to kill his 
kindergarten teacher because the teacher gave him a ``time-out'' the 
day before. A simple $15 gun lock, or trigger lock, would have stopped 
that from happening. That was the second measure. Plugging the gun show 
loophole so that children from a school can't go to a gun show and buy 
a gun, no questions asked, was the third one.
  The fourth one was mine, to prohibit the importation of these big 
clips that are coming in from all over the world by the tens of 
millions. Some of them are as big as 250 rounds.
  Those are four simple, commonsense, targeted gun regulations. And 
what has happened? Nothing. The children from Columbine came here and 
they begged for help, as did the children in these letters, and what 
happens? Nothing. I talk to Members of the Senate and I ask, ``Why is 
nothing happening?'' They tell me that the Gun Owners of America are 
really resolved that they don't want any legislation.
  We say the time has come to recognize that the majority of our people 
have certain basic rights--that our children have the right to go to 
school without fear, that our children have the right to sleep without 
hearing gunshots, that you have the right to walk down the street and 
not fear getting killed by a drive-by shooter.
  In Los Angeles, in the last 16 years, over 7,000 people have been 
killed by drive-by shooters. That is what the plethora, the abundance, 
the avalanche of guns in this country is doing to the real world 
outside of this beltway.
  I say to those who yield to this special, unrelenting interest that 
says, ``You either vote our way or we will defeat you at the polls,'' 
that the American people have had enough, and the time has come to pass 
some targeted, commonsense regulations.
  The resolution of my colleague from California is a beginning. It at 
least puts us on record. Hopefully, if it should pass, it will send a 
message to the Judiciary Conference Committee of both these noble 
Houses. That message is: Pass the juvenile justice bill, and pass these 
four targeted measures.
  I defy any Member of this House or the other House to tell me that 
the second amendment of the Constitution of the United States prohibits 
the regulation of firearms.
  Let me add one thing. Today in gun shops all around this great 
country they are selling .50 caliber weapons, a military weapon, a 
weapon capable of sending a bullet 4 miles, a weapon capable of 
producing a shot that can go through a concrete wall. Tell me that we 
need weapons such as this in a civilized society. Tell me that the 
second amendment of the Constitution prevents us from regulating 
firearms. Tell me that these children begging to be safe and to not 
hear gunshots at night, to not get shot in the car, and not to stand in 
a living room and have a bullet come through their wall are wrong.
  I thank the Senator from California for her good work. I add my 
support.
  I yield the floor.*****- -Name: -Payroll No. -Folios: -Date: -
Subformat:
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from California.
  Mrs. BOXER. Mr. President, how much time remains?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Fifteen minutes.
  Mrs. BOXER. Thank you, Mr. President.
  I say to my friend from California how proud I am to have her 
support. She brought to the floor of the Senate today the voices of the 
children. How can we possibly have a bill dealing with education that 
doesn't address these voices begging us to act?
  I am so pleased she took the time because I know she has another 
amendment which she has to get ready for. I appreciate the Senator 
coming over to the floor.
  Thirteen children every single day are killed by gun violence--13 
innocent lives. There is not one Senator who doesn't agree with the 
statement that our children are our future. How many times do we put 
that in our speeches?
  I am saddened that I don't see Members from the other side of the 
aisle on the floor. I don't understand why we don't have unanimity in 
this. In April, it is going to be a year since the tragedy of 
Columbine. The vision of that tragedy is on everyone's mind--the young 
man, not even 18 years old, trying to get out of the window of a school 
library with his limbs dangling from the injuries he received, the 
faces of the parents, and the tearing apart of that community, which 
has been happening ever since that tragedy. If we don't act by that 
date, we don't deserve to be here.
  I agree with Senator Feinstein. This is harsh talk, yes. But what are 
we

[[Page S1066]]

here for if we are not protecting our citizens and our children? What 
could be more important? An education savings account that gives people 
$7 a year? That is lovely. Great. But what does it mean if they lose 
the child for whom they are saving this money?
  This is in many ways, yes, an emotional issue. It is frustrating for 
so many of us.
  Senator Feinstein told you about the four commonsense gun control 
measures that were voted out of the Judiciary Committee and that passed 
on this floor. There was one more that requires the Federal Trade 
Commission and the Attorney General to study the gun industry's 
marketing practices for children. I think the American people would be 
stunned to know these manufacturers are now producing shocking pink 
guns and green guns and guns that look like camouflage. They are making 
real guns now look like toy guns. We used to have a problem with toy 
guns looking like real guns. Now they are making real guns look like 
toy guns. That needs to be studied, too.
  This is an amazing place. I offered the simplest amendment to an 
appropriations bill that passed unanimously. All it said was, if you 
are obviously inebriated--in other words, drunk--you cannot walk into a 
gun store and buy a weapon. Talk about a no-brainer.
  We already have a law that says if the vendor thinks you are high on 
drugs, you can't buy a gun. So we said: Gee, this must have been an 
oversight. And after a little bit of debate, the other side said: Oh, 
OK. That is fine. They asked if I thought there ought to be a 
breathalyzer test. No. Of course not; this is just common sense. If you 
walk in and you are, obviously, inebriated such that it is obvious to 
the vendor, he or she cannot sell you a gun. It passed unanimously. But 
something happened on the way out of the conference. When the bill came 
back--the appropriations bill for Commerce-State-Justice--guess what 
was missing? This amendment. A simple amendment such as that was 
dropped because the NRA didn't like it.
  Let us not be vague about this. This is what it was.
  We have to start thinking about the welfare of the people of this 
country, the welfare of the children of this country, the well-being of 
the families of this country, and the well-being of the students of 
this country ahead of some special interest group that has it in its 
head that because you would enact a few sensible gun control measures 
you are threatening the country. No one is threatening the country.
  Our European friends look at us; they cannot believe it. Our Japanese 
friends look at us; they cannot believe it because of these rates of 
death.
  To me it is not even common sense to argue with them that we are 
right and they are wrong. This is from 1996: New Zealand, 2 people were 
murdered by guns; in Australia, 13; in Japan, 15; in Great Britain, 30; 
Canada, 106 in that year; Germany, 213; and, in the United States, in 
that same year, 9,390 of us died by gunshot wounds.
  What are we doing? Nothing is the answer. We are doing nothing 
because of a special interest that gives a lot of money.
  This is a war that is going on in this country. In 11 years of the 
Vietnam war, which was a tragedy, 58,168 of our citizens were killed. 
Their families will never be the same and they have never been the 
same.
  Mr. President, 58,168 of our brave men and women were killed in 11 
years of the Vietnam war where this country came to its knees. Do you 
know how many gun deaths there were in America in 11 years? 396,572. 
Let me say that again: In 11 years of the Vietnam war, roughly 58,000 
deaths; in 11 years of gun violence rampant in our country, 396,000-
plus deaths.
  Does it make any sense that our country would come to its knees over 
the Vietnam war--as we all did, whatever side one was on--and have the 
biggest debate we have ever had in the history of our country over a 
war--many Members got into politics because of that situation--and yet 
with 396,572 gun deaths in America over the same period of time we 
cannot get out of the conference committee five commonsense gun control 
measures?
  It is not to be believed.
  In 49 days it will be the 1-year anniversary of Columbine. In this 
sensible measure before the Senate, we are calling for the President, 
the Senate, and the House to work together and get these commonsense 
proposals into law. That must be the finish line. Mr. President, 49 
days; that is a long time. It is enough time to do this job. After all, 
these proposals have gone through rigorous debate and they have passed.

       It is the sense of the Senate that before April 20, 2000, 
     Congress shall make schools safe for learning by implementing 
     policies that will reduce the threat of gun violence in the 
     schools.

  Pretty simple.
  I ask unanimous consent to have printed in the Record a listing of 
the recent school shootings in our Nation and, in addition, a list of 
the multiple shootings in general, in public places such as McDonald's.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

                                             RECENT SCHOOL SHOOTINGS
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                 Date                           Location                 Deaths                  Injuries
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
February 2, 1996......................  Moses Lake, Washington.  3 (2 students; 1        1 (student).
                                                                  faculty).
February 19, 1997.....................  Bethel, Alaska.........  2 (1 student; 1         2 (students).
                                                                  faculty).
October 1, 1997.......................  Pearl, Mississippi.....  2 (students) (also      7 (students).
                                                                  killed mother at
                                                                  home).
December 1, 1997......................  West Paducah, Kentucky.  3 (students)..........  5 (students).
March 24, 1998........................  Jonesboro, Arkansas....  5 (4 students; 1        10 (students).
                                                                  faculty).
April 24, 1998........................  Edinboro, Pennsylvania.  1 (faculty)...........  .......................
April 28, 1998........................  Pomona, California.....  2 (students)..........  1 (student).
May 19, 1998..........................  Fayetteville, Tennessee  1 (student)...........  .......................
May 21, 1998..........................  Houston, Texas.........  ......................  1 (student).
May 21, 1998..........................  Springfield, Oregon....  2 (students) (also      .......................
                                                                  killed parents at
                                                                  home).
June 15, 1998.........................  Richmond, Virginia.....  ......................  2 (faculty).
April 20, 1999........................  Littleton, Colorado....  15 (14 students; 1      23 (students).
                                                                  faculty) (includes
                                                                  the shooters).
May 20, 1999..........................  Conyers, Georgia.......  ......................  6 (students).
November 19, 1999.....................  Deming, New Mexico.....  1 (student)...........  .......................
December 6, 1999......................  Fort Gibson, Oklahoma..  ......................  4 (students).
February 29, 2000.....................  Mt. Morris Township,     1 (student)...........  .......................
                                         Michigan.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

                        1999 Multiple Shootings

       January 14, office building, Salt Lake City, Utah: 1 dead; 
     1 injured.
       March 18, law office, Johnson City, Tennessee: 2 dead.
       April 15, Mormon Family History Library, Salt Lake City, 
     Utah: 3 dead, including gunman (who was shot by police); 4 
     injured.
       April 20, Columbine High School, Littleton, Colorado: 15 
     dead, including the two teenage gunmen; 23 injured.
       May 20, Heritage High School, Conyers, Georgia: 6 injured.
       June 3, grocery story, Las Vegas, Nevada: 4 dead.
       June 11, psychiatrist's clinic, Southfield, Michigan: 3 
     dead, including the gunman; 4 injured.
       July 12, private home, Atlanta, Georgia: 7 dead, including 
     the gunman.
       July 29, two brokerage firms, Atlanta, Georgia: 10 dead, 
     including the gunman; 13 injured.
       August 5, two office buildings, Pelham, Alabama: 3 dead.
       August 10, North Valley Jewish Community Center, Los 
     Angeles, California: 5 injured (postal worker killed later).
       September 14, West Anaheim Medical Center, Anaheim, 
     California: 3 dead.
       September 15, Wedgwood Baptist Church, Fort Worth, Texas: 7 
     dead, including gunman; 7 injured.
       November 2, office building, Honolulu, Hawaii: 7 dead.
       November 3, office building, Seattle, Washington: 2 dead; 2 
     injured.
       December 6, Fort Gibson Middle School, Fort Gibson, 
     Oklahoma: 4 injured.

  Mrs. BOXER. I am very proud that Senators came to the floor, with 
their

[[Page S1067]]

very busy schedules, on behalf of this amendment.
  Again, I don't know whether the Republican side of the aisle will 
support this amendment. I hope they will. I cannot imagine why they 
would fail to support it. I want to have a vote on this. I want 
everyone to be on record. If they vote for this, they are saying that 
by April 20 we should have these proposals back before the Senate on 
the way to the President's desk.
  How many more shootings is it going to take? How many more people 
have to write condolence notes or call parents and families? I trust, 
my friends, that we will not take any more time. We have done the heavy 
lifting. We have had the debate. We have had the Vice President in the 
Chair. He has cast the tie-breaking vote so that we can close the gun 
show loophole. God bless him for that. Without him in that Chair, that 
would not have happened. Closing that gun show loophole means people 
who are mentally imbalanced, people with a criminal record, people who 
are underage, will not get guns.
  I could spend a long time on this floor reading more into the record 
about these instances that have occurred in our Nation, but I think I 
have said what I have to say. I trust the other side will not offer a 
second-degree amendment to this. I trust the other side will reach over 
and take the hand of those on this side of the aisle who believe it is 
important to work on this in a bipartisan fashion.
  How much time remains of the 45 minutes?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Two minutes and 40 seconds.
  Mrs. BOXER. I reserve the remainder of my time.
  Mr. COVERDELL. Mr. President, I suggest the absence of a quorum with 
the time being counted equally.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. DASCHLE. 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. DASCHLE. Mr. President, I will use my leader time in discussing 
the Boxer amendment for a moment.
  First, I came to the floor to commend Senator Boxer for her amendment 
and applaud her for her leadership in drawing attention once again to 
this very important matter. This amendment simply highlights the fact 
that students can't learn when they are afraid.
  Why are they afraid? They are afraid because too many communities and 
too many children live worried that today's playground will be 
tomorrow's crime scene. This week's tragedy in Michigan is just one 
more bloody reminder of this phenomena.
  As the President stated today, now is the time for us--for the 
Administration, for the Congress--to do its part to respond. So, I say 
with as much heartfelt emphasis as I can, now is the time for Congress 
to stop stalling.
  It was on May 20 of 1999 that the Senate passed the juvenile justice 
bill. That was over 9 months ago. It was on June 17 of 1999 that the 
House passed the juvenile justice bill. That was over 8 months ago. 
After waiting weeks, on August 5 of 1999, almost 7 months ago, the 
juvenile justice conference had its first, and regrettably, only 
meeting.
  We are still stalled, with a phantom conference, today. Stalled in 
that conference are measures that will help keep guns out of the hands 
of criminals and children, help keep schools safe, and provide some 
balance, some degree of confidence that children can go to school more 
safe and more secure than they are today.
  What are we talking about? We are talking about handgun safety locks, 
something that could have easily helped this week. We are talking about 
a measure to close the gun show loophole. We are talking about a 
juvenile Brady bill. And we are talking about the banning of the 
importation of high-capacity ammunition clips, once and for all. That 
is what we are talking about.
  On virtually every one of these issues, the overwhelming majority of 
the American people said: Why didn't you do this last year or years 
before? Why is it now, the year 2000, 9 months after the Senate began 
this debate, and we still have yet to act? How many more children must 
die? How much more must we and the American people endure? We need to 
stop listening to narrow special interests and pass these commonsense 
gun safety measures now.
  The tragedy in Michigan should shock us all into action; although 
Columbine and Jonesboro, and countless other shootings have not seemed 
to prompt Congress into action. Just think, a 6-year-old girl lost her 
life, lost her life, because a young boy, who probably still doesn't 
understand the consequences of his act, had access to a deadly weapon. 
The truly sad fact is these tragedies happen every day in this country 
and do not generate the news attention this particular incident did. If 
they did, we would all be in the Chamber today. If we had a daily 
rollcall of those who no longer are living as a result of our inaction, 
we would all be called to action. Thirteen children under the age of 19 
are killed with guns every single day, and other children suffer from 
witnessing those deaths and fearing for their own lives.
  I just listened to the letters by children read by Senator Feinstein. 
All you have to do is listen to one of them. All you have to do is 
imagine a child sitting down writing that letter. A child should be 
writing about baseball and soccer and all the good things that happen 
in school. But they are writing about fear. They are writing about 
guns. They are writing about violence. They are writing about death. I 
do not know how much more tragedy this country has to endure before 
Congress wakes up.
  This amendment simply asks us to recognize we need to act now. This 
amendment should be more than just a sense-of-the-Senate resolution. It 
should be a call to action. Today, we lay down a marker that if by 
April 20, the anniversary of the Columbine tragedy, the Congress has 
not sent the President a juvenile justice bill that includes 
commonsense gun safety measures, we have failed. We have failed. That 
is what this amendment is all about. That is the endeavor in which I 
hope all my colleagues will join.
  This does not have to be, and is not, a partisan issue. This is an 
education issue. It is a family issue. It is a life or death issue. I 
hope we all realize its consequences.
  I yield the floor.
  Mr. KENNEDY. Mr. President, it has been almost a year since the 
tragic shooting at Columbine High School. In literally dozens of cases 
since then, youths have brought guns to schools, and there have been at 
least four school shootings since Columbine. Yet in spit of wake-up 
call after wake-up call after wake-up call, Congress has failed to act.
  It is time for Congress to finish the job we began last year and pass 
the gun control provisions in the juvenile justice legislation. 
Students, parents, and teachers across America are waiting for our 
answer.
  We need to help teachers and school officials recognize the early 
warning signals and act before violence occurs.
  We need to assist law enforcement officers in keeping guns away from 
criminals and children.
  We need to close the gun show loophole.
  Above all, we need to require child safety locks on firearms, so that 
we can do all we can to prevent the senseless shocking first grade 
shooting that occurred two days ago in an elementary school in 
Michigan.
  The Senate passed such legislation with overwhelming support last 
year. The House of Representatives also passed its own version of this 
legislation. It is time for House and Senate conferees to write the 
final bill and send it to the President, so that effective legislation 
is in place as soon as possible.
  Every day we delay, this critical problem of gun violence affecting 
schools and children continues to fester. This is not a new problem, 
but as this week's events have shown, it is an increasingly serious 
problem, and Congress cannot look the other way and continue to ignore 
it.
  The public overwhelmingly supports more effective steps to keep guns 
out of the hands of criminals and juveniles. We cannot accept ``NO'' 
for an answer from the National Rifle Association. It is long past time 
for Congress to face up to this challenge. The continuing

[[Page S1068]]

school shootings are an urgent call to action to every Member of 
Congress. Will we finally do what it takes to keep children safe? Or 
will we continue to sleepwalk through this worsening crisis of gun 
violence in our schools and our society?
  The lack of action is appalling and inexcusable. Each new tragedy is 
a fresh indictment of our failure to act responsibly.
  We have a national crisis, and common sense approaches are urgently 
needed. If we are serious about dealing with youth violence, the time 
to act is now. There is no reason why this Congress cannot enact this 
needed legislation now. This month the citizens of this country deserve 
better than what this do-nothing Congress has given them so far.
  Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, I support Senator Boxer's sense-of-the-
senate amendment that Congress pass effective juvenile justice 
legislation by the one year anniversary of the Columbine High School 
tragedy--April 20, 2000. Unfortunately, the Senate-passed Juvenile 
Justice legislation has been languishing in a House-Senate conference 
for months.
  Sadly, another school shooting is in the news. In Mount Morris 
Township in the State of Michigan, a six-year-old boy fatally shot a 
six-year-old girl at an elementary school. As a father and grandfather, 
it breaks my heart to hear about a first grader shooting one of his 
fellow classmates. And yesterday a deranged man shot five people in a 
McDonalds in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
  I have owned firearms for many years and often enjoy target shooting 
with my friends and family in Vermont. I understand that the vast 
majority of gun owners in Vermont and around the country use and enjoy 
their firearms in a responsible and safe way.
  I am, however, deeply disturbed by the rash of recent incidents of 
school violence throughout the country. The growing list of schoolyard 
shootings by children in Arkansas, Washington, Oregon, Tennessee, 
California, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Mississippi, Colorado, and Georgia 
is simply unacceptable and intolerable.
  It pains me even more to now add the Michigan elementary school 
shooting to this growing list of schoolyard shootings. This tragic 
incident of school violence took the life of a 6-year-old, Kayla 
Rolland.
  What we should be doing is redoubling our efforts to enact the Hatch-
Leahy juvenile crime legislation and its sensible public safety 
provisions that passed the Senate last May with 73 votes. I do not 
fault Senator Hatch. I know that he is doing what he can on this and 
that he shares my frustration that the House-Senate conference 
committee has been stymied in our effort to report that measure back to 
the House and Senate for final passage.
  I again urge the Republican leadership in the House and Senate to 
pass that bill without further obstruction and delay. Let the Congress 
act and do what it can to help end this senseless violence. Six-year-
olds killing other 6-year-olds is unthinkable but now, tragically, all 
too real.
  For more than two years, I have worked with other Senators to craft 
responsible and effective juvenile crime legislation to curb this 
senseless violence. Last May, the Senate passed the Hatch-Leahy 
juvenile justice bill, S. 254, by a strong bipartisan vote of 73-25.
  Our comprehensive legislation provides states and local governments 
with resources to fund programs to prevent juveniles from committing 
crimes and to properly handle juvenile offenders if they commit crimes.
  Our balanced approach to juvenile justice also includes provisions to 
keep children who may harm others away from guns. These provisions 
include: bans on the transfer to juveniles and the possession by 
juveniles of assault weapons and high capacity ammunition clips; 
increased criminal penalties for transfers of handguns, assault 
weapons, and high capacity ammunition clips to juveniles; bans on 
prospective gun sales to juveniles with violent crime records; trigger 
locks to be sold with all handgun sales; background checks on all 
firearm sales at gun shows; and increased federal resources to enforce 
firearms laws by $50 million a year.
  But the majority refuses to move ahead with final passage of a 
juvenile justice conference report. In fact, the majority even refuses 
to reconvene the House-Senate conference to meet to discuss the bill.
  The members of the juvenile justice conference have met only once--on 
August 5, 1999. That one meeting of the House-Senate juvenile 
conference was more than six months ago.
  It is shameful that the majority refuses to act upon a final juvenile 
justice bill. A bill that would help keep guns out of the hands of 
children and criminals, while protecting the rights of law-abiding 
adults to use and enjoy firearms.
  Mr. ASHCROFT. Mr. President, I support the objective of the Senator 
from California that the Senate should do all it can to implement 
policies ``that will reduce the threat of gun violence in schools.''
  I would like, however, to note that the amendment contains an 
erroneous factual finding. This amendment states that ``Every day in 
America, on average, between 12 and 13 children under the age of 18 die 
of gunshots from homicides, accidental shootings and suicides.'' That 
is incorrect.
  According to the 1997 statistics collected by the National Center for 
Health Statistics there were 4,205 firearms-related deaths of persons 
aged 0 to 19, 85 percent of whom were between the ages of 15 and 19. 
Thus, the daily average stated in this amendment is young adults and 
children under the age of 20, not under 18 as this amendment says.
  Of course, this number is far too high regardless of whether it is 
young adults and children under 18 or under 20. It is a national 
tragedy either way, and the Senate should do all it can to reduce that 
number. I just want to make the record clear, consistent with my belief 
that the Senate has an obligation when it makes findings of fact to be 
accurate.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Nevada.
  Mr. REID. Mr. President, the manager of the bill, the Senator from 
Georgia, has graciously agreed to allow 5 minutes of the time on this 
amendment to be yielded to the Senator from Virginia to speak on behalf 
of the Graham amendment which was a second-degree amendment to the Roth 
amendment.
  Mr. ROBB. Mr. President, I thank the distinguished Senator from 
Georgia. Since I am, in effect, speaking for the other side, I am 
particularly grateful. I am in wholehearted support of the Boxer 
amendment. I commend the Senator from California for all she has done 
to raise our consciousness with regard to school violence, and the very 
difficult environment that is created for learning if we cannot 
guarantee our children go to their classrooms with relative safety.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Virginia.


                Amendment No. 2870 To Amendment No. 2869

  Mr. ROBB. Mr. President, I would like to spend a moment talking in 
support of my colleague from Florida, Senator Graham, in his efforts to 
maintain at least a semblance of fiscal discipline at a time when many 
of our colleagues are thinking primarily about how to spend the surplus 
on new programs or major tax cuts. As the baby boomers head toward 
retirement, we have a responsibility to address their future needs. The 
current Social Security and Medicare programs simply are not equipped 
to handle our aging population. We need to strengthen these programs, 
but we cannot do that with our current national debt. Conventional 
wisdom has always been, in times of prosperity we save for the bad 
times. It is hard to fathom more prosperous times than we are currently 
enjoying. Yet we continue to avoid making tough choices that will 
prepare us for the future.
  Until we muster the political courage to strengthen Social Security 
and Medicare, we need to focus on paying down the debt. There are three 
ways to pay for our priorities. We can borrow from our parents by using 
the Social Security trust fund, we can borrow from our children by 
adding to our Nation's debt, or we can pay for our priorities 
ourselves. In my view, the only responsible approach is to pay for our 
priorities ourselves. How can we even consider tax cut legislation that 
is not paid for when we have not even determined how much of the budget 
should be allocated to tax cuts?

[[Page S1069]]

  We are still several weeks away from the actual debate on the budget 
resolution and even further away from an agreement. If we are going to 
vote tax legislation off the floor before the budget resolution is in 
place, it should be paid for. That is the only responsible thing to do.

  Currently, the public debt is more than $5.75 trillion. In order to 
maintain this debt, we need to dedicate billions of dollars to making 
interest payments. Last year alone we paid over $230 billion in 
interest payments on the publicly held debt. Can you imagine what we 
could do if we were able to use even one-tenth of this money on our 
Nation's schools?
  We can argue all day about the proper role of the Federal Government 
in public schools, but I assume we all agree something needs to be 
done. We owe it to our children to give them the best head start 
possible. Mr. President, $230 billion would go a long way toward 
solving this problem.
  We need to remember that the surplus is what we have left over once 
we have met all our obligations. We have not yet decided what our 
obligations are, so how can we know how much our surplus is going to be 
and how much extra money we are going to have?
  I urge our colleagues to support the Graham amendment when it comes 
up for a vote. I yield any time that may be allotted to me.
  I thank the Senator from Georgia for his courtesy.
  Mr. REID. 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. AKAKA. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Voinovich). Without objection, it is so 
ordered.
  Mr. AKAKA. Mr. President, I rise to associate my remarks with those 
of my colleagues over the past few days while we have discussed S. 
1134, the education savings accounts bill. I am pleased that education 
has been raised as a priority by this body. Education will continue to 
be a high-profile issue as we continue to work on the Elementary and 
Secondary Education Act, which the Health, Education, Labor, and 
Pensions Committee has started to markup. At this time, I would like to 
talk about a number of related issues that need to be addressed from 
the Federal level.
  I began my career as an educator. I taught music, social studies, 
math, and other subjects in Hawaii's classrooms. I ran schools as a 
vice principal and principal. In my current position, I still come in 
direct contact with students who travel thousands of miles from my 
great State of Hawaii to tell me what is good and what is bad about 
their education. It is no surprise that the bulk of these students are 
in public school, since 90 percent of American students are served by 
the public school system. When I ask students what makes the biggest 
difference in how they learn, they talk about teachers who motivate and 
the commitment they put into subjects. When asked about how their 
education can improve, students lament the poor conditions of 
playgrounds and classrooms, overcrowding in classrooms, the lack of 
proper textbooks, and the need for more and better computers.
  My colleagues have touched on these, and many other problems, as they 
debated amendments to S. 1134. I supported the amendment offered by my 
colleague from Virginia, Senator Robb, which sought to authorize $24.8 
billion in school modernization bonds and a $1.3 billion grant and 
zero-interest loan program for urgent school repairs. The modernization 
bonds would build or modernize 6,000 schools and the grant/loan program 
would finance about 8,300 urgent repair projects. Although states have 
addressed some of these needs, students are still learning in 
substandard conditions.
  The Federal Government can assist with these projects. This has been 
acknowledged through the inclusion of a school construction provision 
in S. 1134. Unfortunately, this provision will only help a handful of 
schools in need, as opposed to the comprehensive assistance that would 
have been made available if the Robb amendment were adopted.
  Regarding the conditions in Hawaii's schools, 73 percent need to 
upgrade or repair buildings to good overall condition, 57 percent have 
at least one inadequate building feature--such as a condition related 
to plumbing or electricity--and 78 percent report at least one 
unsatisfactory environmental factor such as poor air quality or 
ventilation. Because of Hawaii's temperate climate, we do not have to 
worry about having to heat our classrooms in the winter. However, we 
face other challenges such as corrosion due to the amount of salt in 
the air from the ocean. Funding in the Robb amendment would take into 
account the differences across states and provide assistance for the 
myriad of problems facing our schools.
  The Campaign to Rebuild America's Schools tells me that Hawaii faces 
a $955 million cost for school modernization--nearly 80 percent for 
infrastructure and more than 20 percent of that for technology needs. 
The school modernization initiative would provide Hawaii's schools with 
$63 million to meet some of these needs. I will continue to work with 
my colleagues to pass this legislation.

  I have also been a long-time supporter of class size reduction 
efforts. I voted for the Murray amendment, which would continue the 
help to communities to hire 100,000 quality teachers to reduce class 
size in lower grades. I was pleased to see the second installment of 
this initiative funded through last year's appropriations process, 
which will provide Hawaii with more than $6 million in fiscal year 
2000. The President's budget request for fiscal year 2001 would 
increase this funding to Hawaii to more than $8 million.
  Our students deserve the best possible learning environment. Larger 
classes of 30 or 35 students tend to be noisier, have greater potential 
to be disruptive, and provide less teacher time to each student, 
compared to classes with fewer students. Many students are struggling 
through courses, and some of this can be attributed to their presence 
in larger classes. Impending teacher shortages will compound this 
problem, as well as will record school enrollments that will only 
increase, into the new millennium. The class size reduction initiative 
would help mitigate these problems facing our school-age generations.
  I support other amendments that were taken up and are anticipated to 
S. 1134, and I commend my colleagues for their work on this bill. These 
include Senator Abraham for working to provide more computers and 
increased technology in classrooms and Senators Graham and Hutchison 
for encouraging individuals to transition their careers into teaching. 
I also support Senator Wellstone in his ongoing effort to look at the 
levels and effects of child poverty.
  Mr. President, I would like to make a final point about worthy 
legislation in this area. I have a bill, S. 1487, the Excellence in 
Economic Education Act, that would work to boost economic literacy in 
the country. I will not offer my bill as an amendment to S. 1134 at 
this time, but I intend to do so when the Elementary and Secondary 
Education Act comes before the Senate. In this debate about education, 
I must highlight the need for us to educate Americans, starting from a 
young age, about the importance of many aspects of economic education: 
personal finance, consumer education, entrepreneurship, career and 
retirement planning. It is important for our students to have a 
practical understanding of economics to help them in their daily lives, 
and my bill would help. It provides funding directly to the State and 
local level by giving grants to economic education councils and centers 
nationwide through the National Council on Economic Education. It also 
provides assistance on the national level to boost resources developed 
by the National Council that help states and schools teach economics to 
teachers and students. I hope that my colleagues will support my effort 
to pass this legislation during ESEA debate.
  Mr. President, I am glad to have this opportunity to talk about the 
importance of education. We must continue to make significant 
investments in the future of this country, and we can accomplish this 
by magnifying the resources that we provide to education.
  To finish my remarks, I would like to comment on one more thing that 
I hear

[[Page S1070]]

from Hawaii's students. I am frequently impressed by the thoughtful 
ideas and expressions of concern voiced by the young men and women I 
meet. Students talk about issues that are surprisingly values-based: 
the need to treat one another with kindness and respect. Or, as we say 
in Hawaiian, ``malama'': to take care of, to care for, or to support. 
With all of the tragic incidents at our schools, I hope that our 
students can achieve a better understanding of the value of human life 
so that these incidents can be reduced. America's youth should strive 
to understand why we must treat others as we would like to be treated. 
Some of this helpful dialogue is occurring naturally, initiated by the 
students themselves, in our schools. We must do what we can to support 
our young people as they tangle with these often overwhelming and 
disturbing issues.
  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. REID. 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, under the previous unanimous consent 
agreement, I believe a voting order has been established to begin at 
2:15.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator is correct.


                           Amendment No. 2870

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. According to the understanding, there will be 
2 minutes evenly divided before we vote on the amendment. The first 
vote is on the amendment of the Senator from Florida.
  Who yields time?
  Mr. COVERDELL. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the 
prescribed time for debate before this vote be vitiated and we proceed 
with the vote.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The question is on agreeing to amendment No. 2870. The yeas and nays 
have been ordered. The clerk will call the roll.
  The bill clerk called the roll.
  Mr. NICKLES. I announce that the Senator from Arizona (Mr. McCain), 
is necessarily absent.
  Mr. REID. I announce that the Senator from New York (Mr. Moynihan) is 
necessarily absent.
  The result was announced--yeas 25, nays 73, as follows:

                      [Rollcall Vote No. 23 Leg.]

                                YEAS--25

     Akaka
     Baucus
     Biden
     Boxer
     Breaux
     Bryan
     Byrd
     Cleland
     Daschle
     Dodd
     Graham
     Hollings
     Inouye
     Kerrey
     Kohl
     Lautenberg
     Leahy
     Levin
     Lieberman
     Mikulski
     Robb
     Rockefeller
     Torricelli
     Voinovich
     Wyden

                                NAYS--73

     Abraham
     Allard
     Ashcroft
     Bayh
     Bennett
     Bingaman
     Bond
     Brownback
     Bunning
     Burns
     Campbell
     Chafee, L.
     Cochran
     Collins
     Conrad
     Coverdell
     Craig
     Crapo
     DeWine
     Domenici
     Dorgan
     Durbin
     Edwards
     Enzi
     Feingold
     Feinstein
     Fitzgerald
     Frist
     Gorton
     Gramm
     Grams
     Grassley
     Gregg
     Hagel
     Harkin
     Hatch
     Helms
     Hutchinson
     Hutchison
     Inhofe
     Jeffords
     Johnson
     Kennedy
     Kerry
     Kyl
     Landrieu
     Lincoln
     Lott
     Lugar
     Mack
     McConnell
     Murkowski
     Murray
     Nickles
     Reed
     Reid
     Roberts
     Roth
     Santorum
     Sarbanes
     Schumer
     Sessions
     Shelby
     Smith (NH)
     Smith (OR)
     Snowe
     Specter
     Stevens
     Thomas
     Thompson
     Thurmond
     Warner
     Wellstone

                             NOT VOTING--2

     McCain
     Moynihan
       
  The amendment (No. 2870) was rejected.
  Mr. ROTH. 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.
  Mr. ROTH. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the votes on 
the Roth amendment, which will be next, and the Kennedy amendment be 
limited to 10 minutes.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Who yields time on the amendment?


                           Amendment No. 2869

  Mr. ROTH. My amendment increases from $500 to $2,000 the annual ESA 
contribution. It makes the educational savings account permanent. It 
would make employer provided educational assistance permanent. It 
removes all tax increases and makes this a pure education tax cut bill.
  America has waited for this education savings plan for 3 long years. 
This legislation brings it home today. My amendment makes sure it stays 
there for families, not just for today but for tomorrow and all the 
days that follow.
  I yield the remaining time.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Who yields time in opposition?
  Mr. REID. We yield back our time.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. All time is yielded back.
  The question is on agreeing to amendment No. 2869. The yeas and nays 
have been ordered. The clerk will call the roll.
  The assistant legislative clerk called the roll.
  Mr. NICKLES. I announce that the Senator from Arizona (Mr. McCain) is 
necessarily absent.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Fitzgerald). Are there any other Senators 
in the Chamber desiring to vote?
  The result was announced--yeas 59, nays 40, as follows:

                      [Rollcall Vote No. 24 Leg.]

                                YEAS--59

     Abraham
     Allard
     Ashcroft
     Bennett
     Biden
     Bond
     Breaux
     Brownback
     Bunning
     Burns
     Campbell
     Chafee, L.
     Cochran
     Collins
     Coverdell
     Craig
     Crapo
     DeWine
     Domenici
     Enzi
     Feinstein
     Fitzgerald
     Frist
     Gorton
     Gramm
     Grams
     Grassley
     Gregg
     Hagel
     Hatch
     Helms
     Hutchinson
     Hutchison
     Inhofe
     Jeffords
     Kyl
     Lieberman
     Lott
     Lugar
     Mack
     McConnell
     Murkowski
     Nickles
     Roberts
     Roth
     Santorum
     Sessions
     Shelby
     Smith (NH)
     Smith (OR)
     Snowe
     Specter
     Stevens
     Thomas
     Thompson
     Thurmond
     Torricelli
     Voinovich
     Warner

                                NAYS--40

     Akaka
     Baucus
     Bayh
     Bingaman
     Boxer
     Bryan
     Byrd
     Cleland
     Conrad
     Daschle
     Dodd
     Dorgan
     Durbin
     Edwards
     Feingold
     Graham
     Harkin
     Hollings
     Inouye
     Johnson
     Kennedy
     Kerrey
     Kerry
     Kohl
     Landrieu
     Lautenberg
     Leahy
     Levin
     Lincoln
     Mikulski
     Moynihan
     Murray
     Reed
     Reid
     Robb
     Rockefeller
     Sarbanes
     Schumer
     Wellstone
     Wyden

                             NOT VOTING--1

       
     McCain
       
  The amendment (No. 2869) was agreed to.
  Mr. ROTH. 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. The Senator from Georgia.


                           Amendment No. 2871

  Mr. COVERDELL. Mr. President, I believe under the unanimous consent 
agreement, the next order of business is the Dorgan amendment. I have 
conferred with Senator Dorgan. He has agreed to a voice vote. I yield 
back the proponents' and opponents' time. I, of course, oppose the 
amendment.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. All time has been yielded back.
  The question is on agreeing to amendment No. 2871.
  The amendment (No. 2871) was rejected.
  Mr. WELLSTONE. Mr. President, may I ask one question? What happened 
to our 10-minute votes? Can we try to do these in 10 minutes?


                           Amendment No. 2872

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the next amendment 
is the Kennedy amendment No. 2872.
  Who yields time on the Kennedy amendment?
  Mr. FITZGERALD. The Senator from Massachusetts.
  Mr. KENNEDY. Mr. President, are there 2 minutes to a side or 1 minute 
to a side?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. One minute per side.
  Mr. KENNEDY. Mr. President, as we all know, there are scarce 
education resources. The Federal Government only

[[Page S1071]]

provides 7 cents out of every dollar. The question is: How are we going 
to use those scarce resources?
  This amendment is basic and fundamental. It says we need a well-
trained, qualified teacher in front of every classroom in America. That 
is what this amendment provides. We know we need 2 million teachers 
over the next 10 years. We are training 200,000. This last year, we 
employed 50,000 unqualified teachers.
  The situation has become so desperate that the Wall Street Journal 
now shows the ad of Kelly Services which unveiled for the first time 
nationwide substitute teachers.
  This amendment is simple. It provides assistance to local communities 
to recruit qualified teachers, provides current teachers with 
professional development, and it provides 200,000 new teachers a year 
with trained mentors. My amendment also holds States and schools 
accountable for the results.
  This seems to be a wiser way to expend scarce resources than the 
underlying bill, and I hope it will be accepted.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Georgia.
  Mr. COVERDELL. Mr. President, I have several points to make. This 
amendment was laid down in the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions 
Committee today. There are controversies. It embraces the idea of 
Federal intervention, but that will be settled in committee, A.
  B, this is about the fifth time we have had to deal with an amendment 
that makes moot the entire debate we have had for the last week and a 
half because it removes the funding from the education savings account, 
sweeping away 14 million people, 20 million students who will benefit, 
and, more importantly, $12 billion in new resources that will be 
volunteered by these families for education.
  We ought to do the same thing we have done with all these amendments 
that make moot the proposal for which we have been fighting. I will 
vote against it.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The question is on agreeing to amendment No. 
2872.
  Mr. KENNEDY. I ask for the yeas and nays.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The yeas and nays have been ordered. The clerk 
will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk called the roll.
  Mr. NICKLES. I announce that the Senator from Arizona (Mr. McCain) is 
necessarily absent.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Are there any other Senators in the Chamber 
desiring to vote?
  The result was announced--yeas 39, nays 60, as follows:

                       [Rollcall Vote No. 25 Leg.]

                                YEAS--39

     Akaka
     Baucus
     Bayh
     Bingaman
     Boxer
     Bryan
     Cleland
     Conrad
     Daschle
     Dodd
     Dorgan
     Durbin
     Edwards
     Feingold
     Feinstein
     Graham
     Harkin
     Hollings
     Inouye
     Johnson
     Kennedy
     Kerrey
     Kerry
     Landrieu
     Lautenberg
     Leahy
     Levin
     Lincoln
     Mikulski
     Moynihan
     Murray
     Reed
     Reid
     Robb
     Rockefeller
     Sarbanes
     Schumer
     Wellstone
     Wyden

                                NAYS--60

     Abraham
     Allard
     Ashcroft
     Bennett
     Biden
     Bond
     Breaux
     Brownback
     Bunning
     Burns
     Byrd
     Campbell
     Chafee, L.
     Cochran
     Collins
     Coverdell
     Craig
     Crapo
     DeWine
     Domenici
     Enzi
     Fitzgerald
     Frist
     Gorton
     Gramm
     Grams
     Grassley
     Gregg
     Hagel
     Hatch
     Helms
     Hutchinson
     Hutchison
     Inhofe
     Jeffords
     Kohl
     Kyl
     Lieberman
     Lott
     Lugar
     Mack
     McConnell
     Murkowski
     Nickles
     Roberts
     Roth
     Santorum
     Sessions
     Shelby
     Smith (NH)
     Smith (OR)
     Snowe
     Specter
     Stevens
     Thomas
     Thompson
     Thurmond
     Torricelli
     Voinovich
     Warner

                             NOT VOTING--1

       
     McCain
       
  The amendment (No. 2872) was rejected.
  Mr. REID. 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.
  Mr. COVERDELL. Mr. President, there probably will not be any other 
votes until 6 or after. It has taken us an hour and 15 minutes to cast 
one 20-minute vote and two 10-minute votes. Both sides are really 
suffering from this. If it is a 10-minute vote, let's vote in 10 
minutes.
  If there is any remaining time on our side on the Boxer amendment, I 
yield it back.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Time is yielded back.


                Amendment No. 2874 to Amendment No. 2873

(Purpose: To express the sense of the Senate on improving the learning 
                 environment by ensuring safe schools)

  Mr. COVERDELL. Mr. President, I offer a second-degree amendment to 
the Boxer amendment.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report.
  The legislative clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from Georgia [Mr. Coverdell] proposes an 
     amendment numbered 2874 to amendment No. 2873.

  Mr. COVERDELL. 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:

     SENSE OF THE SENATE REGARDING A SAFE LEARNING ENVIRONMENT.

       (a) Findings.--Congress finds that--
       (1) Every school child in America should have a safe 
     learning environment free from violence and illegal drugs.
       (2) Violence and illegal drugs in the schools undermine a 
     safe and secure learning environment.
       (3) Any instance of violence or illegal drugs in schools is 
     unacceptable and undermines the efforts of Congress, state 
     and local governments and school boards, and parents to 
     provide American children with the best education possible.
       (4) In the last 12 months, there have been at least 50 
     people killed or injured in school shootings in America.
       (5) From 1992 through 1998, the number of referrals made by 
     the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms to the Federal 
     Bureau of Investigation for federal firearms prosecutions 
     fell 44%, which resulted in a 40% drop in prosecutions and a 
     31% decline in convictions, allowing criminals to remain on 
     the streets preying on our most vulnerable citizens, 
     including our children.
       (6) From 1996 to 1998, the Justice Department only 
     prosecuted an average of seven persons per year for illegally 
     transferring a handgun to a juvenile.
       (7) Since 1992, the percentage of 8th grade students using 
     marijuana, cocaine, and heroin in the past 30 days has 
     increased 162%, 86%, and 50%, respectively, according to the 
     respected Monitoring the Future survey.
       (8) The February 29, 2000, shooting at Buell Elementary 
     School in Mount Morris Township, Michigan, is evidence that 
     gun violence in American schools continues, that the drug 
     culture contributes to youth violence, and that the breakdown 
     of the American family has contributed to the increase in 
     violence among American children.
       (b) Sense of the Senate.--It is the sense of the Senate 
     that the reauthorization of the Safe and Drug-Free Schools 
     program that Congress soon will be considering should target 
     the elimination of illegal drugs and violence in our schools 
     and should encourage local schools to insist on zero-
     tolerance policies towards violence and illegal drug use.


                    Amendment No. 2874, as Modified

  Mr. COVERDELL. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the 
pending second-degree amendment be modified to reflect a first-degree 
status and that the time restraints be limited to 10 minutes equally 
divided on both amendments, and following the use or yielding back of 
time the amendments be laid aside with votes occurring at a time to be 
determined by the two leaders and no second-degree amendments be in 
order to either amendment.
  I further ask unanimous consent that the votes occur in relation to 
the Coverdell amendment to be followed immediately by a vote in 
relation to the Boxer amendment and that no other amendments relative 
to guns be in order other than the Durbin amendment which replaces the 
Reed amendment.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Mr. REID. Reserving the right to object, I apologize to my friend, 
but I was preoccupied speaking to another Senator. We will have to go 
over the unanimous consent request again.
  Mr. COVERDELL. Would my colleague like me to read the request again?
  Mr. REID. Please.
  Mr. COVERDELL. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the 
pending second-degree amendment be modified to reflect a first-degree 
status and that the time restraints be limited to 10 minutes total, 
equally divided, on both amendments. That means we

[[Page S1072]]

would each have 5 minutes before our amendment. And following the use 
or yielding back of time, the amendments be laid aside with votes 
occurring at a time to be determined by the two leaders and no second-
degree amendments be in order to either amendment.
  I further ask unanimous consent that the votes occur in relation to 
the Coverdell amendment to be followed immediately by a vote in 
relation to the Boxer amendment and that no other amendments relative 
to guns be in order other than the Durbin amendment which replaces the 
Reed amendment.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Nevada.
  Mr. REID. Mr. President, I ask that the unanimous consent agreement 
be amended. What the Senator from Georgia has read is just fine, but 
due to the grace of the Senator from California, she has agreed to 
allow Senator Bingaman to offer the Kennedy amendment next. That would 
be the next amendment that would be offered. Senator Bingaman has asked 
for 8 minutes on his side.
  After that, for the information of other Senators, following that 
will be, of course, the Feinstein amendment. Senator Feinstein has been 
here all day waiting to offer her amendment. After that, Senator 
Landrieu; Senator Landrieu is going to make a statement for 
approximately a half an hour. She will not require a vote, she has 
indicated to us. Following that, there would be an amendment by Senator 
John Kerry, and he has asked for 7 minutes on his side. Following that, 
would be Senators Schumer, Boxer, Durbin, and Wellstone.
  Mr. COVERDELL. I have no objection. That is basically just embracing 
the order of amendments on the other side.
  Mr. WELLSTONE. Mr. President, reserving the right to object, I want 
to be clear that I will have a second-degree amendment to the Feinstein 
amendment.
  Mr. REID. You have a right to do that.
  Mr. COVERDELL. Mr. President, I suggest that the unanimous consent 
request be so modified.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection to the request being so 
modified? Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The amendment, as modified, is as follows:
       At the appropriate place in the bill, insert the following:

     SEC.   . SENSE OF THE SENATE REGARDING A SAFE LEARNING 
                   ENVIRONMENT.

       (a) Findings.--Congress finds that--
       (1) Every school child in America should have a safe 
     learning environment free from violence and illegal drugs.
       (2) Violence and illegal drugs in the schools undermine a 
     safe and secure learning environment.
       (3) Any instance of violence or illegal drugs in schools is 
     unacceptable and undermines the efforts of Congress, state 
     and local governments and school boards, and parents to 
     provide American children with the best education possible.
       (4) In the last 12 months, there have been at least 50 
     people killed or injured in school shootings in America.
       (5) From 1992 through 1998, the number of referrals made by 
     the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms to the Federal 
     Bureau of Investigation for federal firearms prosecutions 
     fell 44%, which resulted in a 40% drop in prosecutions and a 
     31% decline in convictions, allowing criminals to remain on 
     the streets preying on our most vulnerable citizens, 
     including our children.
       (6) From 1996 to 1998, the Justice Department only 
     prosecuted an average of seven persons per year for illegally 
     transferring a handgun to a juvenile.
       (7) Since 1992, the percentage of 8th grade students using 
     marijuana, cocaine, and heroin in the past 30 days has 
     increased 162%, 86%, and 50%, respectively, according to the 
     respected Monitoring and Future survey.
       (8) The February 29, 2000, shooting at Buell Elementary 
     School in Mount Morris Township, Michigan, is evidence that 
     gun violence in American schools continues, that the drug 
     culture contributes to youth violence, and that the breakdown 
     of the American family has contributed to the increase in 
     violence among American children.
       (b) Sense of the Senate.--It is the sense of the Senate 
     that the reauthorization of the Safe and Drug-Free Schools 
     program that Congress soon will be considering should target 
     the elimination of illegal drugs and violence in our schools 
     and should encourage local schools to insist on zero-
     tolerance policies towards violence and illegal drug use.

  Mr. COVERDELL. Mr. President, I suggest to anybody trying to figure 
out their schedule that we are not likely to see any votes until 6 or 
after. We would begin with the Coverdell-Boxer amendments and then 
follow down the amendments as enumerated by the Senator from Nevada.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from New Mexico.


                           Amendment No. 2875

         (Purpose: To increase funding for Federal Pell Grants)

  Mr. BINGAMAN. Mr. President, I send an amendment to the desk on 
behalf of myself, Senator Kennedy, Senator Reed, and Senator Feingold.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report.
  The legislative clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from New Mexico [Mr. Bingaman], for Mr. 
     Kennedy, for himself, Mr. Bingaman, Mr. Reed, Mr. Feingold, 
     and Mr. Wellstone, proposes an amendment numbered 2875.

  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:

       Strike section 101 and insert the following:

     SEC. 101. FEDERAL PELL GRANTS.

       There are appropriated to carry out subpart 1 of part A of 
     title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 
     1070a) $1,200,000,000, which amount is equal to the projected 
     revenue increase resulting from striking the amendments made 
     to the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 by section 101 of this 
     Act as reported by the Committee on Finance of the Senate.

  Mr. BINGAMAN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that Senator 
Wellstone be added as a cosponsor of the amendment.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. BINGAMAN. Mr. President, I yield myself 4 minutes of the 8 
minutes allocated for advocating this amendment. Then I will defer to 
Senator Feingold.
  This amendment is very straightforward. It would provide an 
additional $1.2 billion for the Pell Grant Program. I think all of us 
who have paid any attention to Federal support for education know that 
the one program that is most helpful to those trying to go to college 
in our States is the Pell grant. We have a great many young people in 
this country--and some of them not so young--who are taking advantage 
of this program. In fact, we have nearly 4 million people in this 
country who receive Pell grants every year. The average size of those 
Pell grants this year will be a little over $2,000. This amendment 
says, let's take the funds that were otherwise provided as a $5-per-
student tax benefit in this pending bill and increase by $400 the 
maximum grant for Pell grants. The current limit on what can be 
provided in the Pell grant is $3,300 per year. We say, let's raise that 
to $3,700 per year.
  Now, most students don't get that maximum amount, but we want to have 
the opportunity there for them to get the maximum amount, if possible. 
The estimate we have is that, today, the maximum grant permitted under 
the Pell Grant Program is 86 percent of the 1980 value of the Pell 
grant in constant dollars. The simple fact is that we are not keeping 
up with the increase in the cost of higher education. We used to 
provide substantial support by providing grants and much less in the 
way of loans. In the time I have been in the Senate, we have seen that 
change dramatically. Now we provide loans but little in the way of 
grants. This amendment would help to correct that to some small degree. 
This is very meaningful for my State. Over $64 million, this year, goes 
to Pell grants, and that amount would increase if the amendment I have 
offered on behalf of Senator Kennedy and the other Senators is 
accepted.
  The average family income for families whose children are taking 
advantage of the Pell Grant Program is $14,500 a year. So if a Senator 
is concerned about getting the money to where it is most needed--to the 
families who most need that money for education--this amendment will do 
that. It takes money that otherwise is being spread to many people who 
are much better off than that and concentrates it where the families 
need it the most--in this case, the families who are eligible for Pell 
grants.
  This $400 increase will translate into 96,000 new recipients of Pell 
grants this next year. In May of 1999, the Health and Education 
Committee that Senator Jeffords heads and of which Senator Kennedy is 
the ranking member passed a bipartisan resolution to increase the basic 
Pell grant by $400, which is exactly what this amendment does.

[[Page S1073]]

  We have a chance with this amendment to make good on that promise 
with real money for a change and not just a resolution. I urge my 
colleagues to vote to put aid to needy college kids ahead of the tax 
breaks that are provided in this bill for families or individuals who 
are much better off.
  Mr. President, I yield the remainder of my time to Senator Feingold.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Wisconsin is recognized.
  Mr. FEINGOLD. Mr. President, I rise in strong support of the 
amendment of Senator Bingaman and Senator Kennedy to raise the maximum 
individual Pell grant to $3,700, an increase of $400.
  Higher education is one of the most vital keys to open the door to 
success in this country. Without a college degree, or significant 
postsecondary education, it is a lot harder to find a successful path 
through today's labor market. Without Pell grants, many individuals 
simply can't consider college. Without a college degree or serious 
postsecondary training, some employers won't consider hiring these 
individuals.
  In general, workers with a bachelor's degree are much better off 
financially compared to less-educated workers. In 1998, the average 
male college graduate earned about 92 percent more than the average 
high school graduate.
  While I commend the supporters of this legislation for their desire 
to promote increased access to an affordable higher education, I think 
their approach is seriously flawed. Specifically, I take exception with 
those who believe that the education IRA component of this legislation 
is the best way to help increase accessibility to affordable education. 
Instead of helping those truly in need, as Senator Bingaman has said, 
this provision would disproportionately help the most affluent families 
and provide little or no assistance to low- and middle-income families.
  A Treasury analysis concluded that 70 percent of the tax benefits 
from this provision would go to the top 20 percent of all taxpayers. 
Now, in sharp contrast to these targeted tax breaks, Pell grants 
provide essential financial assistance to those who are truly in need. 
Unfortunately, the individual Pell grant award has not kept pace with 
the rising cost of a postsecondary education. In fact, I have been told 
that the maximum Pell grant has declined in constant dollars by 14 
percent over the last 20 years.
  This decline is even more significant when we look at the rising cost 
of a college education. Over the past 10 years, tuition alone has 
increased by 41 percent at 4-year private colleges, and 53 percent at 
4-year public colleges and universities. What is even more troubling 
about the trends of increasing tuition and decreasing grant value is 
how students, especially low-income students, make up the difference 
between aid and tuition. Because of a decreasing real value of 
assistance, such as the Pell grant, more and more students are relying 
on debt to finance their college education. Last year alone, the number 
of students who took out non-Federal loans increased by 25 percent. 
These loans inevitably are, in large part, the reason students are 
leaving college with more and more debt every year.
  One of the other concerning trends is the emergence of a widening 
educational gap between the rich and poor. Statistic after statistic 
illustrates that students from low-income families are pursuing a 
postsecondary education at a much lower rate than individuals from 
upper- and middle-income families. By supporting an increase for the 
Pell Grant Program, Congress has a chance to address this growing 
disparity. After all, Congress created need-based student financial aid 
programs to ensure that individuals from low-income families are not 
denied postsecondary education because they cannot afford it.
  The Pell Grant Program is vital to paving the way to an affordable 
higher education. I look forward to working with my colleagues to 
support a real increase in the individual Pell grant award. I thank my 
friend from New Mexico for his leadership on this issue.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Georgia is recognized.
  Mr. COVERDELL. Your side had 8 minutes?
  Mr. BINGAMAN. Yes.
  Mr. COVERDELL. I will keep my remarks within that same constraint.
  Let me say that every year since the Republicans gained the majority 
we have worked to increase the maximum Pell grant. For more than 7 
years, the Pell grant maximum fluctuated between $2,300 and $2,400. 
Last year, the President's budget cut the Pell grant. But we have been 
dedicated on this side.
  This is about the seventh time I have lost track of an amendment that 
has come from the other side. They may have a laudable goal, but the 
underlying goal is to make moot the central premise of the legislation 
we are discussing, which is to allow families to set up education 
savings accounts.
  If you take the amendment the way it is constructed, it obliterates 
the possibility to set up these education savings accounts, which means 
14 million people will not set up an account who otherwise would. Of 
the 20 million children in school, almost half the population will not 
be beneficiaries of the account that otherwise would. But, more 
importantly, $12 billion that would be accumulated voluntarily in these 
accounts to help education at every level--kindergarten through 
college--would go away similar to snuffing out a candle. It makes no 
sense to do that.
  The Senator from Wisconsin cited statistics from the Treasury 
Department that we can't get but the Joint Tax Committee finds 
incorrect, which is that 70 percent of all benefits from these savings 
accounts will go to families making $75,000 or less.
  I will tell you why that is undoubtedly the correct analysis--because 
the people who would open these savings accounts are identical by 
criteria to those who can open up the college savings account the 
President and the Congress passed several years ago. It is identical. 
The same families who can use those accounts are the ones to whom these 
accounts would apply. I don't think the President or the Congress 
passed an education savings account for people driving around in black 
limousines. It was means tested to help the middle class or less, and 
the identical means testing applies to this amendment that this 
amendment would obviate.
  I yield the floor. I believe the next order of business is Senator 
Feinstein.
  Mr. BINGAMAN. Mr. President, I ask for the yeas and nays on the 
amendment that was just offered.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there a sufficient second?
  There is a sufficient second.
  The yeas and nays were ordered.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, the pending amendment is a 
set-aside.
  Mr. REID. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent the pending 
amendment be set aside.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The Senator from California.


                           Amendment No. 2876

   (Purpose: To provide for achievement standards and assessment of 
             student performance in meeting the standards)

  Mrs. FEINSTEIN. Mr. President, on behalf of Senators Sessions, Byrd, 
and Lieberman, I send an amendment to the desk.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report.
  The legislative clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from California (Mrs. Feinstein) for herself, 
     and Mr. Sessions, Mr. Byrd, and Mr. Lieberman, proposes an 
     amendment numbered 2876.

  Mrs. FEINSTEIN. 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:

       At the appropriate place, insert the following:

     SEC. ____. ACHIEVEMENT STANDARDS AND ASSESSMENT OF STUDENT 
                   PERFORMANCE.

       In order to receive Federal funds under the Elementary and 
     Secondary Education Act of 1965 each local educational agency 
     and State educational agency shall--
       (1) require that students served by the agency be subject 
     to State achievement standards in the core curriculum, to be 
     determined by the State, for all elementary through secondary 
     students; and
       (2) assess student performance in meeting the State 
     achievement standards at key transition points, such as 
     grades 4, 8, and 12, before promotion to the next grade 
     level.

     SEC. ____. POLICY PROHIBITING SOCIAL PROMOTION.

       (a) Policy.--No education funds appropriated under the 
     Elementary and Secondary

[[Page S1074]]

     Education Act of 1965 shall be made available to a local 
     educational agency in a State unless the State demonstrates 
     to the Secretary of Education that the State has adopted a 
     policy prohibiting the practice of social promotion.
       (b) Definition.--In this section, the term ``practice of 
     social promotion'' means a formal or informal practice of 
     promoting a student from the grade for which the 
     determination is made to the next grade when the student 
     fails to achieve a minimum level of achievement and 
     proficiency in the core curriculum for the grade for which 
     the determination is made.
       (c) Waiver Prohibited.--Notwithstanding any other provision 
     of law, the Secretary of Education may not waive the 
     provisions of this section.

  Mrs. FEINSTEIN. Mr. President, today Senators Sessions, Byrd, 
Lieberman, and I are offering an amendment to address one of the most 
significant detriments to good education in our public schools. That is 
the practice of passing children on to the next grade regardless of 
whether they make passing grades. It is called social promotion. While 
this practice may be politically correct, it has, I believe, become the 
single most important factor leading to the decline in quality of 
public education in America.
  Under our amendment, in order to receive Federal funds, States would 
be required to prohibit the practice of social promotion and adopt 
achievement standards in the core academic subjects. Decisions about 
how to implement a nonsocial promotions policy would be left to the 
States and localities.
  Implicit in the amendment is that remedial education is necessary and 
can be provided through a number of different Federal, State, and local 
sources.
  This amendment is carefully written so that implementation is left 
with State and local governments. For example, State and local 
officials would decide all specifics of promotion policy and the 
criteria for passing and holding back students, achievement standards, 
subjects that constitute the core curriculum, grades when students 
would be tested, grading methods, testing methods, and remedial 
education.
  The amendment defines social promotion as a formal or informal 
practice of promoting a student from the grade for which the 
determination is made to promote or not to promote to the next grade 
when the student fails to achieve a minimum level of achievement and 
proficiency in the core curriculum for the grade for which the 
determination is made.
  The amendment covers elementary through secondary grades--grades 1 
through 12. It is carefully crafted so that reform changes could be 
made incrementally, grade by grade, or in any fashion the State or 
local school districts see fit.
  Social promotion misleads our students, their parents, and the 
public. Even educators have concluded that it doesn't work.
  Let me give you the conclusion of a study conducted by the American 
Federation of Teachers. I quote:

       Social promotion is an insidious practice that hides school 
     failure and creates problems for everyone: For kids who are 
     deluded into thinking they have learned the skills to be 
     successful, or get the message that achievement doesn't 
     count; for teachers who must face students who know that 
     teachers wield no credible authority to demand hard work; for 
     the business community and colleges that must spend millions 
     of dollars on remediation; and for society that must deal 
     with the growing proportion of uneducated citizens unprepared 
     to contribute productively to the economic and civic life of 
     the nation.

  The American Federation of Teachers has said that social promotion is 
rampant and that only 22 States have standards in the four core 
disciplines of English, math, social studies, and science that are well 
grounded in content and that are clear and specific enough to be used.
  They surveyed 85 of the Nation's 820 largest school districts in 32 
States representing one-third of the Nation's public school enrollment.
  None of the districts in the AFT national survey has an explicit 
policy of social promotion. But almost every district has an implicit 
practice. According to the U.S. Department of Education, a third of 
students across the United States perform below the basic level of 
proficiency; 15 percent who graduate from high school cannot balance a 
checkbook or write a letter to a credit card company to explain an 
error on a bill.

  Mike Wright, a San Diegan, told the San Diego Tribune he continued to 
get promoted from grade to grade and even graduated from high school 
even though he failed subjects. At the age of 29, he enrolled in a 
community college to learn to read.
  Let me talk for a moment about social promotion in Los Angeles.
  School officials decided they would end the practice. That is the 
good news. The bad news was that if it were done all at once, they 
found that one-half of the entire student population --350 students--
would have to be held back. More than two-thirds of eighth graders 
would be flunked if social promotion were fully ended.
  The problem was so massive that they have had to scale back their 
plans and implement the new policy more slowly. They have taken a 
multistep, phased-in plan, and this legislation is structured to give 
school officials the flexibility to do just that.
  I would like to read a letter sent to me yesterday from the 
superintendent of that school district, a man who was superintendent of 
public instruction when I was mayor of San Francisco and whom I respect 
greatly. He points out:

       One of the solutions is to institute an intensive program 
     of standards-based promotion, eliminating the dastardly 
     practice of social promotion that has advanced the student 
     from one grade to the next without having learned what was 
     required in his current grade. In its initial phase, we are 
     targeting the second and eighth grade and focusing on 
     reading, because that is the foundation of all learning. Our 
     program is very practical in design, and is based on 
     classroom space, materials, professional development, and the 
     availability of staff.
       It would be my proudest hope that we can and will provide 
     the education for our children of poverty that they deserve. 
     These are the disadvantaged, who in this district are 
     predominantly children of color. I see the end of social 
     promotion as a way to ensure that all children will have 
     the basic skills to become contributing Members of their 
     community.

  The Governor of California, Gov. Gray Davis, has endorsed our 
amendment. In a February 29 letter to me he wrote:

       I write to express my support for your amendment that 
     provides for achievement standards, assessment of student 
     performance in meeting those standards, and an end to the 
     practice of social promotion. As you know, improving 
     education in California is my first, second, and third 
     priority. Last year, I sponsored the California Public 
     Schools Accountability Act which established a comprehensive 
     high stakes school accountability system, the various 
     components of which will be phased in over the next several 
     years. Your amendment will provide an added impetus to 
     reinforce our State's commitment to ensuring the achievement 
     of all students.

  Mr. President, at least half of my State's 5.6 million students 
perform below their grade level. California ranks 36th out of 39 States 
in fourth grade reading proficiency, 32nd out of 36 States in eighth 
grade reading proficiency, 41st out of 43 States in fourth grade math 
performance.
  Let me speak about Chicago, the major city of the Presiding Officer. 
On June 1, I took a group of top-level California educators and experts 
to Chicago and spent the day discussing what was being done. In 
Chicago, they have abolished social promotion. They have established 
content standards. They test student performance in meeting the 
standards. They have adopted a core curriculum, teacher lesson plans. 
They evaluate schools on a regular cycle. They intervene with failing 
schools. They have performance criteria for teachers and principals and 
they put in place extensive remedial and afterschool programs providing 
the very necessary help for struggling students. The Chicago school 
district is 90 percent minority and 90 percent poverty.
  If it can be done in Chicago, it can be done everywhere else. The 
results are there: Reading, up 12 percent; math, up 14 percent. Scores 
are improving.
  Chicago stands as an example, but it takes political will and courage 
to make these changes. Our legislation provides the incentive.
  I yield 10 minutes to my cosponsor, the distinguished Senator from 
Alabama, Mr. Sessions.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Alabama.
  Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. President, I thank the distinguished Senator from 
California and appreciate being able to work together with the Senator 
on this

[[Page S1075]]

important piece of legislation and with the others who are cosponsoring 
it.
  I think this Senate will come together, both sides of the aisle. The 
time has come. We know social promotion, the concept of moving kids 
along when we have failed to make sure they have learned the basics of 
the course level in which they should be operating, is the wrong thing 
to do. I believe that very strongly. I think the American people 
understand it and care about it.
  We need to identify, at the earliest possible time, children who are 
falling behind. If we do not have a core curriculum, if we do not have 
standards, and we cover up or we deny what is happening when we know 
students are not getting the required amount of knowledge in school, it 
is time to confront this.
  In some ways we are utilizing that psychiatric principle called 
``enabling.'' We are enabling bad behavior to successfully continue 
unacceptable behavior, unacceptable performance by a school system, 
unacceptable performance by students.
  It is time to confront that, not because we want to be mean or harsh 
but because we love these children. We care about the children. If we 
love them and if we care about them, we will set reasonable and tough 
standards; we will insist they adhere to them. When we find out they 
are not consistently adhering to them, we find ways to get them to the 
level they need.
  Maybe their parents need to be more involved. Some say: I didn't know 
Billy was that far behind.
  If we end social promotion, they will know; if there is testing, they 
will know. Maybe they need a member of the family to help with the 
homework. Maybe a tutor would be appropriate. Something has to be done. 
The school systems are going to have to participate better, also.
  We had an incident in Alabama not long ago where a former all-pro 
football player could not pay his child support and could not get a 
job. He said the reason he couldn't get a job was because he couldn't 
read and write.
  Such a sad statement. Too often in America we are passing kids along 
who have not learned how to read and write effectively. They are not 
going to be able to perform effectively in the commercial sector, and 
they are not going to be able to care for their families effectively.
  Alabama has adopted one of the toughest programs in the Nation. The 
Fordham Foundation says it is the toughest. They have tested the 4th, 
8th and 11th grades. We will do that this year. We want to know at what 
level the children are operating. A 60-person commission is undertaking 
right now a detailed study on how to implement the end of social 
promotion. It is something that ought to be done around this country. 
We want our education system in Alabama to be better. I want it to be 
better all over America. I know we can do that.
  There are a number of things we have to recognize when we ask: Is 
this really a problem; do we need to confront this?
  American 12th graders rank 19th out of 21 industrial nations in 
mathematics achievement and 16th out of 21 nations in science. Our 
advanced physics students rank dead last.
  Since 1983, 10 million Americans have reached the 12th grade without 
having learned to read at a basic level. Over 20 million have reached 
their senior year unable to do basic math. Almost 25 million have 
reached the 12th grade not knowing the essentials of U.S. history.
  In 1992, a Department of Education survey found between 21 and 23 
percent--more than 1 out of 5--or 40 million of the 191 million adults 
in this country were in the bottom 5th of literacy assessment 
proficiency categories.
  We are saying we do care about education. That is not always 
reflected in how much money we spend. I hope we can continue to spend 
more. We increased the budget this year substantially over last year, 
and we will increase the education budget next year.
  Kansas City brought their per pupil spending up to $11,700 and 
brought down the student teacher ratio to 13-1 without seeing any 
increase in test scores.
  What is it that we are about? I think children respond to challenges. 
I think children reach up to the level they are asked to reach, that 
they are expected to reach. If we set reasonable standards and we 
challenge students to meet them, and the teachers are motivated to make 
sure the children reach certain standards, and parents get engaged 
because they know what the tests are going to be like and they want to 
be sure their children meet those standards, this will increase 
learning more in this country than any other thing we can do.
  I am pleased to support this legislation with the Senator from 
California. I think it will have broad support in this body.
  I reserve the remainder of my time.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Gorton). Who seeks recognition? The 
Senator from Minnesota.
  Mr. WELLSTONE. Mr. President, how much time do my colleagues have?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from California controls 13 
minutes. The opposition has 30 minutes.
  Mr. WELLSTONE. Mr. President, I shall not take all my time. I will be 
interested in hearing from my colleagues. Then I will have a second-
degree amendment after this debate is over.
  I hope Senators will look at the empirical evidence. I appreciate the 
sentiment behind this amendment, but I think it is profoundly mistaken. 
Part of the language reads:

       No education funds appropriated under the Elementary and 
     Secondary Education Act of 1965 shall be made available to a 
     local educational agency in a State unless the State 
     demonstrates to the Secretary of Education that the State has 
     adopted a policy prohibiting the practice of social 
     promotion.

  Then it goes on to be a definition.
  I want my colleagues to carefully examine the evidence. I want to 
offer a second-degree amendment which says these provisions would apply 
as long as we make sure every child has the same opportunity to learn.
  We had testimony in the HELP Committee from Dr. Hauser, who is a 
professor of sociology at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. He 
has received numerous awards. He also serves on the Board of Test and 
Assessment for the National Research Council. He is a prolific writer, 
a very key researcher in the field.
  Can I summarize his findings? His findings related to social 
promotion:

       Students who have been held back typically do not catch up. 
     Low-performing students learn more if they are promoted even 
     without remedial help than if they are held back. Students 
     who have been held back are much more likely to drop out 
     before completing high school. The long-term costs of holding 
     students back are high to students and to school systems. The 
     negative effect of holding students back are often 
     invisible to those who make retention decisions because 
     they occur many years later.

  I now wish to move on to some of the critical findings. There is 
abundant evidence which shows that this practice of high stakes testing 
and holding kids back as young as age 8 has not only been unsuccessful 
but it is also harmful. It is ethically questionable, basically, to 
experiment with our children. I am going to cite evidence. Maybe my 
colleagues can refute it. I am not sure they can.
  First of all, low-achieving students do better academically if they 
move forward with their peers rather than if they are held back. Dozens 
of studies over the past two decades have found that retaining students 
contributes to academic failure and behavioral difficulties rather than 
success in school. That is the evidence.
  I quote from ``Using Standards and Assessments To Support Student 
Learning,'' Linda Darling-Hammond and Beverly Falk. Linda Darling 
Hammond addressed our caucus. She is a distinguished professor at 
Stanford University. This piece was in the Phi Delta Kappan, November 
1997. A scientific review of 63 controlled studies of grade retention 
through the mid-1980's revealed that 54 of the 63 yielded overall 
negative effects of retention.
  The best of these studies have shown the negative effects of 
retention. The authors concluded that ``[o]n average, retained children 
are worse off than their promoted counterparts on both personal 
adjustment and academic outcomes.''
  I am just giving my colleagues the evidence.
  Ignoring educational research, too many of us and too many school 
districts have continued to hold out retention as educational reform 
instead of the failed approach that it is.
  In Chicago, they tried to do this in the 1970s and 1980s, and it 
failed. Then

[[Page S1076]]

they decided to do it again. Here is some of the data that is now 
forthcoming:

       In 1998, researchers Ann McCoy and Arthur Reynolds at the 
     University of Wiconsin-Madison completed longitudinal studies 
     on the population of the Chicago students retained in grade. 
     Their report, cited above, found ``[f]or all achievement 
     comparisons, retained children consistently underperformed 
     their promoted [low-achieving] peers, and usually 
     significantly. No positive effects of grade retention were 
     detected.''

  There is no evidence that this works.

       They concluded that grade retention is, at best, an 
     insufficient intervention strategy for promoting student 
     achievement and, at worst, it impeded children's academic 
     success and should be substantially modified or replaced by 
     programs and policies which demonstrate effectiveness . . .
       On January 21, 1999, the New York Times reported that a 
     whopping 5,500 Chicago students are repeating the third grade 
     and 964 are repeating the third grade for a second time.
       The Washington Post reported on August 1, 1999, that 1,300 
     15-year-old Chicago students were sent to ``academic 
     halfway houses between the eighth and ninth grades'' 
     because of failing scores.

  The evidence from all of the studies is that retention leads to 
increased school dropouts. ``Researchers at the University of Wisconsin 
also found that 30 percent of those who were retained dropped out of 
school compared to 21 percent of those students who were not,'' 
controlling for academic ability; thus, there was a 42-percent increase 
in dropping out. That is from a piece titled ``Grade Retention Doesn't 
Work,'' Arthur Reynolds, Judy Temple, Ann McCoy, Educational Week, 
September 17, 1997.

       The August 21, 1999, New York Times reported preliminary 
     results showing that 35 to 40 percent of the third, sixth, 
     and eighth graders who took standardized tests at the end of 
     mandatory summer school in New York City had failed to make 
     the required score . . . Predictions are that many other 
     students will be held back.

  Chicago showed similar results following mandatory summer school 
during its first 2 years. Summer school has not moved a large extent of 
these low-achieving students to acceptable levels of performance. They 
are held back, and when they are held back, they do not do better; they 
do worse.
  Research does show that there are preventive measures that do work, 
that if you put the emphasis--are we surprised?--into early childhood 
development, it makes a huge difference.

       Researchers found preschool participation was associated 
     with a 24-percent reduction in the rate of school dropout and 
     that participation for 5 or 6 years was associated with a 27-
     percent reduction in the rate of early school dropout . . .

  My second-degree amendment, which we will get to, says that the 
provisions of this section will not apply to any child who was not 
afforded by the State educational agency or the local educational 
agency an opportunity to learn the material necessary to meet the 
achievement standards. I do not know how colleagues can be opposed to 
it. I hope we will put the two amendments together.
  When I offer the second-degree amendment, I will list specifically 
what I have in mind. Again, I have cited study after study which shows 
retention has not worked. I have cited study after study which show it 
leads to increased dropout. I have cited study after study by the best 
people in the country, including those who testified before our 
committee and addressed our own Democratic caucus, that this is a 
mistake. Then what I said is, at least let's make sure these children 
have the same opportunity to achieve these results, to pass these 
tests, before we make this operational.
  I will yield the floor and listen to my colleagues, but when we look 
at what is going on with these tests and the assessments, I hardly 
think retention has been a successful strategy.
  I ask unanimous consent that a letter from the NAACP Legal Defense 
and Educational Fund, which is adamantly opposed to the direction of 
this amendment, be printed in the Record.
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

                                                   September 1999.

 NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund Opposes ``Quick Fix'' Repeat-a-
 Grade Policies for Low-Achieving Students Because Abundant Empirical 
  Research Shows Grade Retention To Be Unsuccessful and Educationally 
     Harmful, LDF Calls for High Quality, Early and Comprehensive 
                       Educational Interventions

       So-called ``end social promotion'' proposals to require 
     schools to hold low-achieving students back in grade until 
     they meet certain standards--often an arbitrarily set score 
     on a standardized test unrelated to instruction provided in 
     the classroom--have been gaining popularity recently as a 
     viable instrument of school reform. Chicago leads the list of 
     school districts that have recently adopted retention-in-
     grade policies. This approach unquestionably is targeted 
     primarily for disadvantaged youth in failing schools. But 
     retention in grade is not new. Despite its apparent drawing 
     power, districts that have recently embraced, such as Chicago 
     and New York City, often have a record as recent as the 
     1980's of trying it and abandoning it--for good reason. They 
     learned that holding children back in grade decreased 
     achievement and increased drop outs.
       Numerous empirical studies establish that in the vast 
     majority of cases, retention causes serious harm to those who 
     are retained. Thus, current efforts to promote retention-in-
     grade as a sound and useful educational practice warrant 
     strong opposition. Where abundant evidence shows that an 
     educational practice is not only unsuccessful but also 
     harmful, it is at best ethically questionable to continue to 
     experiment with it on children.
       For students who are facing learning difficulties, LDF 
     calls instead for interventions that have shown promise such 
     as high quality early childhood education, increased 
     instructional time, high quality teaching, standards and 
     corresponding curricular materials, smaller classrooms, 
     parental involvement programs, and adequate resources.
       Large numbers of children, especially minorities and the 
     poor, are retained in grade now. While there are no national 
     statistics on the numbers of children retained in grade, 
     available data show that ``among children who entered school 
     in the late 1980's, 21 percent were enrolled below the usual 
     grade at ages 6 to 8; 28 percent were below the usual grade 
     at ages 9 to 11; 31 percent at ages 12 to 14; and this rose 
     to 36 percent at ages 15 to 17 . . . [M]inorities and poor 
     children are the most likely to be held back . . . by ages 15 
     to 17, 45 percent to 50 percent of black and Hispanic youth 
     are below the expected grade levels for their ages.'' (``What 
     if We Ended Social Promotion?'' Robert M. Hauser, Education 
     Week, April 7, 1999.) General estimates are that by the time 
     children reach the third grade, one in five has been 
     retained. (``Grade Retention and School Performance: An 
     Extended Investigation,'' Ann McCoy and Arthur Reynolds, 
     Institute for Research on Poverty, University of 
     Wisconsin-Madison, 1998). In large, urban districts 
     upwards of 50 percent of the students who enter 
     kindergarten are likely to be retained at least once 
     before they graduate or drop out. (``Retention Policy,'' 
     Nancy R. Karweit, Encyclopedia of Educational Research, 
     Vol. 3, 6th Edition, 1992.)
       Low-achieving students do better academically if they move 
     forward with their peers than if they are held back. ``Dozens 
     of studies over the past two decades have found that 
     retaining students contributes to academic failure and 
     behavioral difficulties rather than success in school.'' 
     (``Using Standards and Assessments to Support Student 
     Learning,'' Linda Darling-Hammond and Beverly Falk, Phi Delta 
     Kappan, November 1997.) A scientific review of 63 controlled 
     studies of grade retention through the mid-1980's revealed 
     that 54 of the 63 yielded overall negative effects of 
     retention, and the best studies showed the largest negative 
     effects of retention. The author concluded that ``[o]n 
     average, retained children are worse off than their promoted 
     counterparts on both personal adjustment and academic 
     outcomes.'' (``Grade Level Retention Effects: A Meta-Analysis 
     of Research Studies,'' (C.T. Holmes, in Flunking Grades; 
     Research and Policies on Retention, eds, L.A. Shephard and 
     M.L. Smith, 1989).
       Ignoring educational research, politicians and school 
     districts continue to hold out retention as a promising 
     educational reform, instead of the failed approach that it 
     is. Ironically, despite research showing that retention 
     failed to improve academic achievement in the Chicago Public 
     Schools in the 1970's and 1980's, in 1996, Chicago again 
     adopted a strict retention in grade program for students in 
     the third, sixth, eighth and ninth grades. Those who fail to 
     make a set score on a norm-referenced, standardized test, the 
     Iowa Test of Basic Skills, are held back.
       In 1998, researchers Ann McCoy and Arthur Reynolds at the 
     University of Wisconsin-Madison completed longitudinal 
     studies on populations of Chicago students retained in grade. 
     Their report, cited above, found, ``[f]or all achievement 
     comparisons, retained children consistently underperformed 
     their promoted [low-achieving] peers, and usually 
     significantly. No positive effects of grade retention were 
     detected.'' They concluded that grade retention is at best an 
     insufficient intervention strategy for promoting student 
     achievement . . . [and] [a]t worst, grade retention impeded 
     children's academic success and should be substantially 
     modified or replaced by programs and policies with 
     demonstrated effectiveness.'' Chicago presses ahead 
     nonetheless. On January 21, 1999, The New York Times 
     reported that a whopping 5,500 Chicago students are 
     repeating the third grade and 964 are repeating the third 
     grade for the second time. The Washington Post reported on 
     August 1, 1999, that 1,300 15

[[Page S1077]]

     year old Chicago students were sent to ``academic halfway 
     houses between the eighth and ninth grades'' because of 
     failing scores.
       Retention leads to increased school drop outs. Researchers 
     at the University of Wisconsin also found that 30 percent of 
     those who were retained dropped out of school compared with 
     21 percent of those students who were not. Thus, retention 
     was associated with a 42 percent increase in dropping out. 
     (``Grade Retention Doesn't Work,'' Arthur Reynolds, Judy 
     Temple, and Ann McCoy, Education Week, September 17, 1997.) A 
     1996 study found that only 24 percent of retained students in 
     their study graduated compared to 52 percent of their low-
     achieving peers. (``Is Grade Retention an Appropriate 
     Academic Intervention? Longitudinal Data Provide Further 
     Insights,'' S.R. Jimerson and M.R. Schuder, June 1996.) In 
     1994, a large-scale, longitudinal study with extensive 
     statistical controls, including test scores, examined the 
     effect of grade retention on 5,500 students whose school 
     attendance was followed from 1978-79 to 1985-86. That study 
     found that students who were currently repeating a grade were 
     70 percent more likely to drop out of high school than 
     students who were not (Douglas Anderson study, cited in 
     Hauser above.) A similar study conducted in 1998 using 
     longitudinal data for almost 12,000 students and controlling 
     for academic achievement, including test scores and grades, 
     found that being held back before the 8th grade increase the 
     relative odds of dropping out by the 12th grade by a factor 
     of 2.56. (R.W. Rumberger and K.A. Larson, American Journal of 
     Education, 1998).
       LDF urges comprehensive approaches to improve the academic 
     performance of low-achieving students. LDF recognizes that 
     the problem policy makers attempt to address with retention 
     is a difficult one. What can we do to improve the academic 
     achievement of students who are performing at low levels? 
     Simply moving them on the next grade is not the answer. LDF 
     supports an approach that keeps students in age-appropriate 
     settings while providing immediate and intensive 
     interventions to help them master the necessary skills.
       Some lessons are evident from recent experience, such as 
     the fact that summer school alone is insufficient. The August 
     21, 1999, New York Times reported preliminary results showing 
     that approximately 35-40 percent of the third, sixth and 
     eighth graders who took standardized test at the end of 
     mandatory summer school in New York City had failed to make 
     the required score. School Chancellor Rudy Crew is quoted as 
     saying, ``It's that absolute. I am not letting kids go 
     forward if they did not pass the tests.'' Predictions are 
     that many thousands of students will be held back. Chicago 
     showed similar results following mandatory summer school 
     during its first two years. Clearly, summer school alone is 
     not effective in moving a large percentage of low-achieving 
     students to acceptable levels of performance.
       Research does show that preventative measures are 
     critically important. A recently completed longitudinal study 
     of the Chicago Child-Parent Center program showed very 
     positive results. The program provides child education and 
     family support services from preschool through second or 
     third grade in 20 sites in Chicago's poorest neighborhoods. 
     Researchers found that preschool participation was associated 
     with a 24 percent reduction in the rate of school dropout and 
     that participation for 5 or 6 years was associated with a 27 
     percent reduction in the rate of early school dropout, 
     relative to less extensive participation. (``Can Early 
     Intervention Prevent High School Dropout? Evidence from the 
     Chicago Child-Parent Centers,'' Judy Temple, Arthur Reynolds, 
     Wendy Miedel, August 1999.) Other studies have shown the 
     benefits of quality teacher preparation and smaller class 
     size. (``What Matters Most: Teaching for America's Future,'' 
     Report of the National Commission on Teaching and America's 
     Future, New York, 1996; Ronald F. Ferguson, ``Paying for 
     Public Education: New Evidence on How and Why Money 
     Matters,'' Harvard Journal on Legislation, Vol, 28, Summer 
     1991).
       Stifling educational opportunities for thousands of low-
     achieving students by making them repeat a grade is not only 
     unfair, it is unwise. LDF opposes punitive schemes that try 
     to flunk our way our of the effects of failing schools 
     instead of providing children with the means to experience 
     the positive and continuous educational progress necessary to 
     become productive citizens interested in life-long learning 
     and self-improvement.

  Mr. WELLSTONE. I reserve the remainder of my time.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from California.
  Mrs. FEINSTEIN. Mr. President, I think Members can now see the Catch-
22. Of course, retention without remedial education is not going to 
work, but there is not one who can say that our public education system 
is working with the policy of promoting youngsters even when they are 
failures, of never coming to grips with failure and then promoting them 
and graduating them when they cannot read or write, multiply, divide, 
add, recognize China on a map, or count change in their pocket. How do 
they get a job in the workplace of this new millennium? They do not.
  That is why we have had employers come in to us and say: You have to 
raise the H-1B quota. We need more foreign nationals from other 
countries because we cannot hire public school graduates who can think, 
who can do what they need to do, and more and more employers have to 
provide remedial education which should be the job of the public school 
system.
  I went to public school for all of my elementary school. There was a 
policy of no social promotion, and youngsters learned. There was 
remedial education. Districts are putting that back into play now.
  We have different statistics. My staff yesterday talked with the 
superintendent of the Chicago school district, and these are the 
figures we were given:
  No. 1, in 1996, 20.5 percent of students performed at or above 
national norms in 9th and 11th grade reading. In May of 1999, 32.5 
percent of students performed at that level. That is a 12-percent 
increase in performance.
  No. 2, he told us elementary reading scores are at their highest 
since 1990. In 1996, 26.5 percent of students were at or above national 
norms. In 1999, 36 percent were. That is up 10 percent.
  No. 3, math scores are up, too. In 1996, 30 percent of children 
scored at or above national norms in elementary math. In May of 1999, 
they had risen to 44 percent. That is up 14 percent.
  During this time, the very mayor who put this system into effect was 
up for reelection, and the people of Chicago reelected him. The day I 
was there, there was no question in my mind what parents thought about 
this program. They liked it. They wanted their children to learn, 
particularly parents of students of color. They know this is the only 
way their children are going to get the kind of education they need.
  The President of the United States has called for ending social 
promotion. The Secretary of Education has prepared guidelines for 
educators on ending social promotion and guidelines for using Federal 
funds to adopt sound promotion policies.
  In 1998, the California Legislature ended social promotion. Districts 
are now implementing it. For example, San Diego school officials will 
now require all students to earn a C overall average and a C grade in 
core subjects for high school graduation, effectively ending social 
promotion for certain grades for high school graduation.
  I have a hard time understanding how people can speak against having 
accountability and excellence as a goal in public education, how they 
can rationalize this to say that the system that has brought us to be 
the 39th among 41 industrialized nations in education is one that we 
should not change.
  Studies show that title I moneys are not producing the dividends we 
had hoped they should. Better those funds be spent on remedial 
education for poor children, better they be spent in teaching 
youngsters the basic fundamentals than spent diffusely throughout 
school districts and not achieving any change.
  Public education, as we know it today, is in deep trouble. The 
Achilles' heel of education is this path of least resistance: Simply 
promoting a youngster regardless of whether they are in school, whether 
they are a truant, whether they are getting Ds or Fs, and not worrying 
about it because next year the light may go on and they might learn. I 
think the facts are clear, the light does not go on.
  I tell you, I do not buy this business about increasing dropouts 
because you work with them in remedial education. I do not buy that at 
all. I think that unless our schools have basic standards, hold 
teachers and students accountable for performance, public education, as 
we know it today, will simply continue to sink below the waves.
  I am proud that the largest State in the Union has taken some steps. 
I think if we were to target and provide the incentive that title I 
moneys from the Elementary and Secondary Education Act would only go to 
schools that were willing to observe accountability, and were willing 
to put in remedial education, and were willing to see the grades mean 
something, and that students are able to master basic core 
fundamentals, we would have the enlightened workforce of the future, 
which would mean that we would not have to continue to increase H-1B

[[Page S1078]]

quotas to bring foreign nationals into this country to carry out some 
of the finest occupations we have that should be going to our own 
students.
  Mr. President, I reserve the remainder of my time.
  Mr. WELLSTONE. Mr. President, how much time does my colleague from 
California have remaining?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Six minutes.
  Mr. WELLSTONE. How much time do I have?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. There is 15 minutes more in opposition under 
the control of Senator Coverdell.
  Mr. WELLSTONE. I think that is my time. I am the one opposing the 
amendment.
  Mr. REID addressed the Chair.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Nevada.
  Mr. REID. Mr. President, I heard the Chair say that 15 minutes was 
controlled by Senator Coverdell, but that is not the case. I think if 
you check with the Parliamentarian the time is controlled by whoever is 
in opposition to the amendment. At this time, that would be Senator 
Wellstone.
  Mrs. FEINSTEIN. May I make a point of inquiry, Mr. President?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Minnesota is correct. He has 
15 minutes more.
  Mr. WELLSTONE. I thank the Chair.
  Mrs. FEINSTEIN. Point of inquiry: How much time do I have remaining?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Six minutes.
  Mrs. FEINSTEIN. Six minutes. I thank the Chair.
  Mr. WELLSTONE. Mr. President, first of all, it would seem to me that 
if we are talking about children doing well--and we want to look at the 
evidence about what makes for a good education and equal opportunity 
for every one of our children--then the second-degree amendment that I 
have to this amendment would be agreed to.
  What I am simply saying with the second-degree amendment is: Let's 
make sure, in fact, every child has had the opportunity to learn the 
material that is necessary to meet the achievement standards. Don't we 
want to make sure that every child has had that opportunity?
  I talk about how a child has to be taught by fully certified or 
qualified teachers as defined by the State; that the child's parents 
have multiple opportunities for parental involvement; that the child 
has access to high instructional materials; that the child has the 
opportunity to reach the highest performance level, regardless of 
income or disability; that the child receives the services for which 
the child is eligible under title I of the Elementary and Secondary 
Education Act; that the child receives proper bilingual education and 
special education services; and that the child has good early childhood 
development. Let's get real. If you do not do that, then we already 
know which children are going to fail. I am saying, before you start 
failing third graders and holding them back, let's make sure every 
third grader has the same opportunity to do well.
  Does anybody on the floor of the Senate want to argue that you do not 
need to do that first? When Secretary Riley testified, he said: Yes. 
Let's have standards, but let's also make sure every child has the same 
opportunity to meet those standards.
  This is incredible. We do not make the investment in early childhood 
development. We do not have the title I money. We do not put the money 
into bilingual education. We do not make sure these children have the 
same support services. We do not do enough to help children who are in 
some schools where they do not have the good teachers and they do not 
have adequate resources.

  Without doing that, and without making that commitment to every child 
having the same opportunity to learn--it is called equity; it is called 
equality of opportunity--then what we do is we fail these students. And 
then we pound our chests and say: We're being rigorous, and we have 
done something good for these children. That is my first point.
  My second point is, in all due respect, the superintendent from the 
Chicago schools can say one thing, but I say to the Senator from 
California and other Senators, I have come out on the floor and I have 
combined the best evidence of studies around the country.
  Again, I go to Robert Hauser, who is an acknowledged expert. He 
testified before our HELP Committee. Here are what his findings were 
related to retention: Students who have been held back, they don't 
catch up. You are not doing them any favor. Low-performing students 
learn more even if they are promoted, even without remedial help, than 
if they are held back. Students who have been held back are much more 
likely to drop out of school.
  In all due respect--we talk about Chicago--there was an independent 
study done, the 4-year Evaluation Report of the Chicago Public Schools 
Leadership by Parents United For Responsible Education and the Chicago 
Association of Local School Councils. This is what they found on 
retention: rising dropout rates, declining enrollment citywide, 
increased instructional time devoted to testing for the tests. That is 
another thing the teachers are ending up doing, testing for the test. 
Just rote drills, memorization.
  Then, drawing from the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund 
letter, which pulled together such important research, the fact is, 
there is abundant evidence that--frankly, I have not heard any of my 
colleagues refute any of it--not only has retention been unsuccessful 
but it has been harmful.
  I cited a number of different studies. I cited the work of Linda 
Darling Hammon, who addressed us Democrats. In fact, I asked her about 
this. She said that as we look at dozens of studies that have been done 
over the past two decades, they have found that retaining students 
contributes to academic failure and behavioral difficulties rather than 
success in school.
  Then I went on and talked about work that the professor had also done 
with Beverly Falk. Then, I went on and quoted from another study: 
``Grade Level Retention Effects: A Meta-Analysis of Research Studies,'' 
C.T. Holmes, in Flunking Grades: Research and Policies on 
Retention, that concluded that on average retained children are worse 
off because of retention.

  Then I went on and quoted about four or five different studies of 
what has been going on in Chicago and New York and quoted from the 
Washington Post and the New York Times and pointed out that the summer 
school remedial program didn't even help these kids.
  We don't have the evidence that retention has helped these kids 
because there isn't the evidence. The evidence is the retention has had 
a harmful effect on these kids. These kids don't do better; they do 
worse. They drop out of school. It has a devastating impact. If you 
keep them in age-appropriate settings, you move them on, but you give 
them the additional help. We should do that. If you want to make sure 
by the time they graduate they are, indeed, qualified, do that, but 
don't do something that is harmful.
  Given the evidence, I don't know how we can support this amendment 
unless my second-degree amendment is accepted, which says, again, the 
provisions of this section shall not apply to any child who was not 
afforded by the State educational agency or the local educational 
agency an opportunity to learn the material necessary to meet the State 
achievement standards.
  Do my colleagues mean to tell me they are going to vote for retention 
when the evidence shows it is harmful and they won't even vote for an 
amendment that says, let's make sure that at least every child has the 
same opportunity to pass these tests before we fail them and hurt them? 
That is unbelievable.
  I would be interested, if my colleagues have a lot of evidence from 
across the country that retention has been a great reform that has 
helped these children who have been retained, who have been flunked as 
young as age 8. I see no evidence.
  I retain the remainder of my time.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Who yields time?
  The Senator from California.
  Mrs. FEINSTEIN. Mr. President, I just read statistics given to me by 
the superintendent of public instruction of Chicago which showed a 12- 
to 14-percent improvement in core curriculum grade scores since Chicago 
ended the policy of social promotion and put in motion remedial 
education and decreased class size and also set some standards holding 
students accountable for performance and teachers accountable for 
performance as well.

[[Page S1079]]

  I have a very difficult time with what the Senator from Minnesota is 
saying because he is essentially calling this a policy, in a sense, of 
guaranteed retention. It is not that at all. It is a policy that says 
there should be standards; that there should be achievement levels set 
in each of the grades; that there should be a minimum pass requirement 
for promotion; and that schools should mean something in terms of 
learning.
  The problem with the amendment is it obfuscates our amendment. It 
prevents a clean vote on our amendment, and in effect it would destroy 
our amendment because it sets up a series of seven conditions which 
would make it virtually impossible to enact our amendment.
  For example, the child was taught by fully certified or qualified 
teachers as defined by the State. In my State, we probably have 30,000 
teachers who are not certificated. This would mean under this 
provision, California should not go ahead and abolish social promotion, 
put forward standards of accountability for teachers and for students, 
which, of course, California is now in the process, by the Governor's 
statement, by the legislature's action, and by individual school 
districts, of beginning to do.
  Secondly, that the child's parents had multiple opportunities for 
parental involvement. I don't know what multiple opportunities for 
parental involvement are, but it is not just opportunities for parental 
involvement. It is multiple opportunities for parental involvement, 
which gives a basis, again, to essentially poison what we are trying to 
achieve.
  In addition, that the child has access to high-quality instructional 
materials and instructional resources to ensure that the child had the 
opportunity to achieve the highest performance level, regardless of 
disability, income, and background, that is something we would all 
subscribe to, but when it is put in this form, it becomes a way of 
avoiding accountability and avoiding performance.
  We do not tell a State or a local jurisdiction how to do this. This 
is up to them. As I have tried to point out, Los Angeles is now doing 
it in an incremental fashion, in a grade-by-grade fashion. I suspect 
that schools throughout this country would implement accountability and 
standards in a different way. That is fine with me. But what this 
amendment says is, we are not going to waste taxpayers' money by 
providing money when there is no evidence it is going to provide the 
remedial education or the kind of opportunity for students that the 
framers intended in the first place.
  Mr. President, how much time do I have remaining?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Two minutes.
  Mrs. FEINSTEIN. I reserve the remainder of my time.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Minnesota.
  Mr. WELLSTONE. Mr. President, my colleague says: What the Senator has 
said is that the child has to be taught by fully certified or qualified 
teachers.
  You don't have that. You don't have the certified or qualified 
teachers, but you are willing to go ahead and flunk these kids.
  I am saying the children who are in classes as young as age 8, who 
don't have fully certified and qualified teachers, probably ought not 
to be flunked and held back because other kids in other schools who had 
highly qualified and certified teachers were able to pass those tests. 
Don't Senators think we should include an amendment which would say 
every child is going to have the same opportunity to pass these tests? 
That is an incredible argument to make. To make an argument to 
Senators, wait a minute, Senators, you can't vote for the Wellstone 
second-degree amendment because he is saying there have to be qualified 
and certified teachers before we flunk these third graders, that is 
unbelievable. That is exactly the point of my amendment.
  Let us have the standards, but let's make sure all the children have 
the same opportunity to achieve those standards. If the second-degree 
amendment is accepted, if passed, then we have an amendment that talks 
about standards, but we also have an amendment that makes sure these 
children have the same chance to reach those standards.
  I hate to say this but, one more time, I have presented about 10 
different studies. I have presented the best testimony we have had in 
the Senate. I have presented the best testimony we had in our Senate 
Democratic conference about retention. Again, we had what the 
superintendent of the Chicago schools said.
  Well, I gave the Senate a different report, a 4-year independent 
evaluation: rising dropout rates, declining enrollment citywide. Then I 
have drawn on the best research from around the country, and the 
Senator from California and the Senator from Alabama have not refuted 
any of it.
  I don't want to repeat it again, but please vote on the facts. What 
did they show? Students who have been held back typically don't catch 
up. Actually, low-performing students learn more if they are promoted 
even without remedial help than if they are held back. Students who 
have been held back are much more likely to drop out.
  With all due respect, there is not a shred of evidence that my 
colleagues have presented which shows retention works.
  Again, I have a second-degree amendment which says, let's at least 
make sure every child has the same opportunity to pass these tests, 
determining whether or not they will pass a grade. That seems to me to 
be reasonable. Let's make sure they have certified teachers. Let's make 
sure we fund it properly, fund title I. Let's make sure we have the 
bilingual education fund so the kids who come from homes where English 
is a second language, such as the Hmong children in St. Paul, have a 
chance. Why would that not be accepted?
  And the second point I made is, right now, what we have out here is 
an amendment that says retention is really good, it is all about rigor 
but there is not a shred of evidence that it works for these children. 
In addition, it is an amendment which doesn't recognize that these 
children aren't going to do well unless we get it right on the 
prevention piece.
  I have a second-degree amendment that talks about what we should do. 
I ask unanimous consent that I may send my second-degree amendment to 
the desk.
  Mr. SESSIONS. I object. I don't believe it is time.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Objection is heard.
  Mr. REID. Mr. President, if I may inquire of my friend from Alabama, 
we have approximately 4 minutes left. We would like to say that he can 
offer that amendment when that time has expired, but is there any 
reason he can't offer it now?
  Mr. SESSIONS. He has the floor. He can use his time or not. I believe 
the Senator from Minnesota can use his time or not.
  Mr. WELLSTONE. Will the Chair notify me when the time has expired--
when the other side's time has expired?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Yes.
  Mrs. FEINSTEIN. Mr. President, I yield the remainder of my time.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Minnesota.
  Mr. WELLSTONE. I yield the remainder of my time.


                Amendment No. 2878 To Amendment No. 2876

  (Purpose: To provide a limitation regarding the policy prohibiting 
                           social promotion)

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

       The Senator from Minnesota [Mr. Wellstone] proposes an 
     amendment numbered 2878 to amendment No. 2876.

  Mr. WELLSTONE. 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 2, after line 23, add the following:
       (d) Limitation.--
       (1) In general.--The provisions of this section shall not 
     apply to any child who was not afforded, by the State 
     educational agency or the local educational agency, an 
     opportunity to learn the material necessary to meet the State 
     achievement standards.
       (2) Opportunity.--A child shall not be considered to have 
     been afforded an opportunity to learn under paragraph (1) 
     unless--
       (A) the child was taught by fully certified or qualified 
     teachers as defined by the State;
       (B) the child's parents had multiple opportunities for 
     parental involvement;

[[Page S1080]]

       (C) the child had access to high quality instructional 
     materials and instructional resources to ensure that the 
     child had the opportunity to achieve to the highest 
     performance levels, regardless of disability, income, and 
     background;
       (D) the child received the services for which the child is 
     eligible under title I of the Elementary and Secondary 
     Education Act of 1965 and the Individuals with Disabilities 
     Education Act;
       (E) if necessary, the child received proper bilingual 
     education and special education services; and
       (F) the child had the opportunity to receive high quality 
     early childhood education.

  Mr. WELLSTONE. Mr. President, this is an amendment I think Senators 
can vote for and I think feel comfortable about because, on the one 
hand, you can vote for the first-degree amendment, but you can also 
vote for the first-degree amendment with the understanding that the 
provisions of this section shall not apply to any child who was not 
afforded, by the State educational agency or the local educational 
agency, an opportunity to learn the material necessary to meet the 
State achievement standards.
  I am simply saying, let's make sure every child is afforded the 
opportunity to do well on these achievement standards. This says: ``the 
child has been taught by fully certified or qualified teachers as 
defined by the State; the child's parents had multiple opportunities 
for parental involvement.''
  My colleague asked what that meant. That means to understand what 
homework is about, make sure you know when you can come in, understand 
what the standardized tests are about, understand how the child's 
performance is being measured. We are all for parent involvement.
  Next is: ``the child had access to high quality instructional 
materials and instructional resources''--how can anybody be opposed to 
that?--``to ensure that the child had the opportunity to achieve the 
highest performance levels, regardless of disability, income, and 
background; the child received the services for which the child is 
eligible under title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act . 
. . and if necessary, the child received proper bilingual education and 
special education services, and that the child had the opportunity to 
receive high quality early childhood education [developmental child 
care].''
  Colleagues, even if you don't believe me, all I have to tell you in 
this debate is, I presented all kinds of evidence suggesting that 
retention has been harmful and hasn't worked. I never was refuted at 
all. Now what I am saying is that even if you want to go in that 
direction, at least let's make sure that every child has the 
opportunity to do well in these tests and to achieve, that there are 
highly qualified instructors and certified teachers, that we have 
followed through on title I commitment, that we make sure they are the 
same resources.
  Don't you think we want to make sure children in our schools have the 
lab facilities and the textbooks and the good teachers, that there has 
been good pre-K education? Let's make sure every one of our children 
has had the same opportunity to achieve. That is what this amendment 
says. I hope there will be 100 votes for it.
  I reserve the remainder of my time.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Alabama is recognized.
  Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. President, I will speak in opposition to the 
second-degree amendment proposed by the Senator from Minnesota.
  First and foremost, as everybody knows who has been participating in 
this debate and can understand how the system works, the second-degree 
amendment, as proposed, would gut Senator Feinstein's and my first-
degree amendment. It would simply make it impossible to enforce. Of 
course, that is what the Senator from Minnesota desires. He is not for 
testing or accountability or the end of social promotion.
  I respect that position. But his President, the President of the 
United States, in his State of the Union Address, to a cheer from the 
audience, called for an end of social promotion. It is something whose 
time has come and gone. It is time to care about children and to care 
about the billions of dollars we are spending on education. And we are 
going to spend more next year than we did this year. But if we care 
about what is happening with it, we have to ask if there is some 
accountability. We can't simply allow children to go on and on, be 
promoted, and end up being an all-pro football player who can't read 
and write. That is happening in America, to a lesser degree mostly, but 
to a sad degree too often throughout this country. We are not making 
sure children are meeting minimum standards. When we do so, problems 
arise. They have to be confronted.
  Right now, we are denying the problem. We are enabling an inefficient 
system to continue. We refuse to do what is required to point out to 
everybody who is not meeting minimum standards. Once we find that out, 
then we can all get together and do something to fix it. There is 
plenty of money in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act--soon to 
be passed, I hope--that will provide a continual flow of money for 
disadvantaged schools throughout America, so we can improve that 
system.
  This amendment is nothing more than a gutting and an elimination and 
a wiping out of the total intent of the Feinstein-Sessions amendment. 
It will not allow an end to social promotion in America. Our amendment 
will. But it will allow the States to decide how to do it. If the 
States decide to have different standards for children who have 
difficulties, or disadvantaged or special education kids, they can do 
so. We are not saying how they ought to do it. But if we care about 
those children, we have to know, ourselves, whether or not they are 
learning. If they are not learning, we have to confront that fact. We 
can't enable this unacceptable behavior to continue. Some of it is on 
the part of the kids, some of it is on the part of their parents, and 
some of it may be a poor school. We have to end that.
  We care about our children. I think Senator Feinstein has made it 
clear that she cares about them. I do. I want to see the system 
improved. I am convinced that we must move to eliminate the passing 
along of kids who are not meeting the most basic of standards. That is 
why I will oppose the Senator's second-degree amendment.
  Mr. WELLSTONE. Mr. President, how much time remains?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator has 7 minutes.
  Mr. WELLSTONE. Mr. President, all this amendment says is let's have 
the standards, though I presented a lot of irrefutable evidence about 
retention not working and even being harmful. I understand the politics 
of some of these votes. It is not a pretty picture if anybody cares 
about the evidence.
  This second-degree amendment requires that if you are going to have 
these tests and these standards which determine whether or not a child 
as young as age 8 passes or not, or is held back, especially if 
retention is so harmful, and there is no evidence it is helping 
children--I thought we were trying to help the children--at least let's 
ensure we have met the standards that all these children have had the 
opportunity to pass these tests and do well.
  My colleague from Alabama says I am trying to gut the amendment 
because by this amendment we want to ensure these children are taught 
by fully certified and qualified teachers. If that guts his amendment, 
his amendment should be gutted.
  To make sure the child has had access to high-quality instructional 
material, to make sure the child has received the services for which 
the child was eligible under title II, to make sure the child has 
received adequate bilingual education, to make sure the child has had 
the opportunity to receive high-quality early childhood education, this 
is a no-brainer, colleagues.
  We all know this is critical to making sure the children do well in 
school. My colleague was referred to those who graduate and have a 
third-grade reading level. What I am talking about is critical to that. 
Let's make sure that before we fail all of these children and act as if 
that is doing something great for them, why don't we make sure those 
children also have the same opportunity to do well and to pass our 
achievement tests.
  Is it too much to ask other Senators to vote in favor of certified 
and qualified teachers, making sure there is parental involvement, 
making sure there are good instructional materials, making sure we live 
up to our title I commitments, and making sure there is adequate 
bilingual education?

[[Page S1081]]

  Colleagues, you know this is critically important. Let's vote for 
``standards.'' That is the way you view it. But let's also vote for 
equality of opportunity for all of our children.
  I especially thank the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund for all 
of the research they have pulled together that I have been able to 
present today about why it is so important that we pass the second-
degree amendment and meet the test of decency. This is true equality of 
opportunity for our children. If you do not do that, then what you have 
done is very harmful. It is brutal.
  I reserve the remainder of my time.
  Are my colleagues prepared to yield the remainder of time?
  I am prepared to yield the remainder of my time.
  Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. President, I will use 2 minutes and then yield.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Alabama.
  Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. President, the second-degree amendment provision of 
this section--that is, the end of social promotion--shall not apply to 
any child who is not afforded by the State educational agency an 
opportunity to learn the material necessary. I don't know what that 
means. That can mean almost anything to anyone.
  One of the requirement that has to be in the amendment or this bill 
does not apply is that a child has the opportunity to receive high-
quality early childhood education. What does that mean? It means 
anything anybody says it does.
  The President of the United States says it is time to end social 
promotion. The overwhelming majority of American people believe so. 
Certainly the people on this side of the aisle believe so. I believe a 
majority on that side of the aisle believe so.
  Let's not go with some meddling second-degree amendment that will, in 
effect, undermine the import of the amendment Senator Feinstein has 
offered. Let's not do that. Let's send a clear message that we care 
about children and we want to confront them at an early age and find 
out whether or not they are meeting basic standards. If they are not, 
let's start helping them. We are not going to put them in jail if they 
are not meeting standards. We ought to set about to find out who is not 
meeting those standards and start helping them. That is what it is all 
about. That is what we need to do.
  I yield the floor.
  Mr. WELLSTONE. Mr. President, let me conclude this way.
  I think there is a bitter irony here. There is no evidence the 
retention works, and there is a certain amount of evidence that it is 
harmful. We should let the States decide, for those colleagues who 
worry about States and States making decisions. This amendment requires 
States to do retention, and if they do not do retention, then they are 
not going to get education funds.
  That is flaw No. 1. I think some of my colleagues would be troubled 
by that. Frankly, I think my colleague from Alabama would be troubled 
by that.
  If the States decide, on the basis of what they know, not to do the 
retention because of all of the evidence, we are now saying: You have 
to do it, States, or we will cut off Federal money.
  That is unbelievable. This amendment should be defeated for that 
reason. The Federal Government ought not to be doing that to States, 
especially given the evidence.
  The second point my colleagues are bothered by is my second-degree 
amendment which says let's make sure every child has the same 
opportunity to do well in these achievement tests. Let's make sure 
these children are taught by fully qualified teachers, that there is 
parental involvement, that they have good instructional material, that 
we live up to our commitment on title I, that we make sure the child 
has had the opportunity to receive good early childhood development, 
that there is bilingual education available.
  My colleagues are telling Members to vote against this? We are all 
for that.
  The evidence says retention doesn't work and can be harmful. If your 
State decides it doesn't want to do that, it doesn't matter because now 
if Members vote for this amendment, they are telling States they have 
to have retention of students, even if it is harmful. If they don't do 
what they think is right, we will cut off Federal funds.
  Do Members want to vote for that?
  I have a second-degree amendment I think colleagues should vote for 
because it makes elementary sense. Let's make sure these children have 
the same opportunity for achievement on these tests. If we don't do 
what I suggest in this amendment and don't make that commitment, what 
we will have done to children will be very harmful, brutal, and 
unconscionable.
  I yield back the remainder.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Smith of Oregon). The Senator from 
Alabama.
  Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. President, I conclude by explaining why this 
amendment is so impractical. It says children have to have multiple 
opportunities for parental involvement.
  I don't know what that means.
  Mr. WELLSTONE. I defined that twice. I didn't know the Senator would 
speak against the amendment. I talked about the amendment three times.
  Mr. SESSIONS. The Senator does not define it in the statute. They 
won't know what the Senator said on the floor.
  Mr. WELLSTONE. We want to make sure parents know what the homework 
requirements are, know what the standards are.
  Mr. SESSIONS. I reclaim my time.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Alabama is recognized.
  Mr. SESSIONS. What is the balance of my time?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator has 4 minutes remaining.
  Mr. SESSIONS. I appreciate the concern of the Senator from Minnesota, 
but I say to the Senator, parents would get a lawyer and sue: You can't 
hold my child back; you didn't call me enough times.
  The amendment doesn't say how many times.
  Or my child didn't have an opportunity to receive a high-quality 
early childhood education.
  Well, you had kindergarten; that was not enough.
  This amendment does not say what it is. It will turn it into a 
conglomeration of things that are not healthy.
  I note, as Senator Feinstein from California so eloquently said, we 
are not saying what the standards are. The States can set standards 
that require parental involvement. I hope they do. I hope they do a lot 
of things that are not mentioned by the Senator from Minnesota in 
setting a fair, objective standard for testing.

  However, we do need some objective standards for testing. If we do 
so--as Chicago has found, as California will be moving toward, as 
Alabama will move very soon to accountability and the end of social 
promotion--we will find that students are learning more because they 
are challenged. There is an incentive there. Parents are going to know 
certain standards must be met. Teachers and principals will know it. 
The children will know it. They will respond and meet the challenges.
  We will end this slide in which we spend more and more money and get 
less and less productivity.
  From 1960 to 1990, we tripled the amount of money spent on education 
in America. It went up every single year. But SAT scores declined 73 
points.
  In Kansas City, they spent $11,700 per pupil. They raised education 
figures consistently to reach this very high level; they had a teacher-
pupil ratio of 13-1, without raising test scores for the kids.
  We have to challenge children because we care about them. We care 
about America. We cannot continue to move children through the system 
when they do not know how to read and write and perform effectively in 
this society of which we are a part. I wish we could do it kindly, 
without having to tell people: Sorry, you didn't meet the standards; 
you have to take this course over again.
  Oftentimes that is what we have to do. It is the way life is on the 
football field or in a military unit. You have to meet certain 
standards. We are in a world that demands first rate competition. If we 
are not prepared, we will lose out. I am concerned about it. All of 
America is concerned. I think we can make progress toward that goal.
  I believe we should reject this amendment to the underlying amendment 
proposed by Senator Feinstein and myself. With that, we can send a 
message to America that we will have

[[Page S1082]]

some accountability, that we will encourage children to improve. When 
we recognize that large numbers of students are not meeting those 
standards, we can redirect resources to find out exactly what that 
problem is and rectify it.
  I yield back the remainder of my time.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. All time is yielded back.
  Mr. BINGAMAN. Mr. President, I would like to take a moment to state 
that I agree with the position of my distinguished colleague from 
California on the issue of social promotion. We must end this practice. 
Far too many of our young people are graduating without the skills that 
they need to secure good jobs because they are being passed from grade 
to grade without accountability for what they have learned. Many young 
people are also dropping out of school because they find themselves in 
high schools without the knowledge that they need to succeed in that 
forum. I am a strong supporter of efforts to end this practice.
  I have voted for legislation in the past that would have given States 
and local districts incentives to eliminate social promotion policies. 
I currently am cosponsoring legislation, based on a proposal from the 
President, which seeks to end social promotion in all our schools. I 
must vote against Senator Feinstein's amendment, however, because it 
would cut all federal funding for education to a State based on this 
sole issue and provides no flexibility on the State or local level. If 
this amendment were to become law, we would be imposing a strict 
requirement without providing adequate resources to achieve the goal. 
As the Elementary and Secondary Education Act moves to the floor, 
however, I will work with my distinguished colleague from California to 
develop legislation that addresses this critical issue.


                 Amendments Nos. 2859 and 2824, en bloc

  Mr. COVERDELL. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent the following 
two amendments be considered en bloc: The amendment introduced by 
Senator Kerry of Massachusetts, No. 2859, relating to AmeriCorps; the 
Hatch amendment, No. 2824, relating to the marriage penalty and student 
loan interest deduction.
  These amendments have been cleared on both sides. I ask unanimous 
consent the amendments be agreed to, any statement relating to these 
amendments be printed, and that the motions to reconsider to be laid 
upon the table.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. HATCH. Mr. President, my amendment addresses a specific and 
serious problem for Americans repaying student loans. Many of our 
colleagues may not be aware of it, Mr. President, but there is a severe 
marriage penalty lurking in the deduction for student loan interest 
expense that Congress enacted in 1997.
  This marriage penalty arises because, when Congress established the 
deduction for student loan interest, we targeted it so that only 
taxpayers with incomes below a certain amount could use it. For single 
taxpayers, that income threshold is $40,000. For taxpayers with 
Adjusted Gross Income above $40,000 the deduction begins to phase out. 
The deduction is fully phased out over the next $15,000 of income, so 
that when a single taxpayer's income reaches $55,000, there is no 
deduction allowed.
  For married taxpayers filing a joint return, there is a different 
threshold--$60,000. This is where the deduction begins to phase out, 
and it is gone at an income level of $75,000. This is the heart of the 
problem, Mr. President. Because the threshold for married taxpayers 
filing a joint return is less than twice as high as the threshold for 
singles, there is a marriage penalty.
  Let me illustrate the problem with an example. Let's consider a 
couple from my home state. Dave and Joann met at Utah State University 
and married right after graduation last year. Dave is the assistant 
manager of a grocery store an earns $38,000 per year. Joann is a 
computer programmer making $40,000 annually. These are not high income 
people, Mr. President, although their income puts them in the 28 
percent marginal tax bracket.
  Dave and Joann each borrowed to finance their education, and each has 
$2,000 in interest expense from their student loans. The full $2,000 
interest expense would be fully deductible if they were single, saving 
them each $560 in taxes. However, simply because Dave and Joann are 
married, and their combined income exceeds $75,000, they lose the full 
$4,000 student loan interest deduction.
  Unfortunately, the $1,120 marriage penalty inherent in the student 
loan interest deduction is only the tip of the marriage penalty iceberg 
for Dave and Joann. This is only one of at least 66 marriage penalties 
that resides in the Internal Revenue Code. Not every one of these 66 
marriage penalties affect every married couple in America, but many 
couples are hit with at least one, and often more than one, marriage 
penalty. In our example here, Dave and Joann are hit with two other 
marriage penalties.
  As you can see, the total amount of marriage penalty affecting Dave 
and Joann is a whopping $2,650. This means their tax burden is 27 
percent higher than it would be if they were single, Mr. President! 
This is simply not fair. It is poor tax policy, it is poor education 
policy, and it is poor family policy. Taxpayers should not pay more in 
taxes just because they are married.
  The other marriage penalties affecting Dave and Joann stem from the 
fact that the standard deduction for married couples is less than twice 
the amount of the standard deduction of singles, and from a similar 
problem that exists in the tax rate schedules. These two marriage 
penalties are not the subject of this amendment.
  I will note, however, that H.R. 6, the marriage penalty alleviation 
bill passed by the House in early February, would correct most of this 
marriage penalty for Dave and Joann. I know that Chairman Roth plans to 
take up marriage penalty legislation in the Finance Committee in the 
next few weeks. I look forward to working with him to solve these other 
problems.
  The marriage penalty problem the House bill would not correct, 
however, is the one inherent in the student loan interest deduction. 
The solution to this marriage penalty is simple. This amendment merely 
increases the income threshold for joint returns to $80,000, twice the 
level of the single taxpayer threshold.
  The marriage tax penalty problem is a complex one. We are not going 
to solve it all at once. I am gratified to see the Congress focusing on 
this important family issue, and I hope we can see real progress on 
alleviating the problem this year.
  This amendment is a good place to start. Some might argue that this 
is relatively minor marriage penalty. And, compared with some of the 
other ones. maybe it is. However, it is not small to Dave and Joann and 
to the millions of young Americans who pay more in taxes simply because 
they have formed the basic unit of society--a family.
  This small step today will eliminate the marriage penalty that hurts 
married taxpayers who are repaying educational loans. Then, in a few 
weeks when the Finance Committee takes up broader marriage penalty 
legislation, we can address some of the other problems.
  The amendments (Nos. 2859 and 2824) were agreed to en bloc, as 
follows:


                           AMENDMENT NO. 2859

   (Purpose: To exclude national service educational awards from the 
                       recipient's gross income)

       On page 21, between lines 3 and 4, insert:

     SEC. 204. EXCLUSION OF NATIONAL SERVICE EDUCATIONAL AWARDS.

       (a) In General.--Section 117 (relating to qualified 
     scholarships) is amended by adding at the end the following:
       ``(e) Qualified National Service Educational Awards.--
       ``(1) In general.--Gross income for any taxable year shall 
     not include any qualified national service educational award.
       ``(2) Qualified national service educational award.--For 
     purposes of this subsection--
       ``(A) In general.--The term `qualified national service 
     educational award' means any amount received by an individual 
     in a taxable year as a national service educational award or 
     other amount under section 148 of the National and Community 
     Service Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 12604) to the extent such 
     amount does not exceed the qualified tuition and related 
     expenses (as defined in subsection (b)(2)) of the individual 
     for such taxable year.
       ``(B) Limitation.--The total amount of the qualified 
     tuition and related expenses (as so defined) which may be 
     taken into account under subparagraph (A) with respect to an

[[Page S1083]]

     individual for the taxable year shall be reduced (after the 
     application of the reduction provided in section 25A(g)(2)) 
     by the amount of such expenses which were taken into account 
     in determining the credit allowed to the taxpayer or any 
     other person under section 25A with respect to such 
     expenses.''
       (b) Effective Date.--The amendment made by this section 
     shall apply to amounts received in taxable years beginning 
     after December 31, 1999.
                                  ____



                           AMENDMENT NO. 2824

 (Purpose: To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to eliminate the 
    marriage penalty in the phaseout of the education loan interest 
                               deduction)

       At the end of title II, insert:

     SEC.  . ELIMINATION OF MARRIAGE PENALTY IN PHASEOUT OF 
                   EDUCATION LOAN INTEREST DEDUCTION.

       (a) In General.--Subparagraph (B) of section 221(b)(2) 
     (relating to limitation based on modified adjusted gross 
     income) is amended--
       (1) by striking ``$60,000'' in clause (i)(II) and inserting 
     ``$80,000'', and
       (2) by inserting ``($30,000 in the case of a joint 
     return)'' after ``$15,000'' in clause (ii).
       (b) Effective Date.--The amendments made by this section 
     shall apply to taxable years beginning after December 31, 
     2000.

  Mr. WELLSTONE. Mr. President, I ask for the yeas and nays on the 
Feinstein-Sessions amendment, No. 2876.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there a sufficient second?
  There is a sufficient second.
  The yeas and nays were ordered.
  Mr. WELLSTONE. Mr. President, I ask for the yeas and nays on the 
Wellstone amendment No. 2878.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there a sufficient second?
  There is a sufficient second.
  The yeas and nays were ordered.
  Mr. REID. Mr. President, before the Senator from Illinois takes the 
floor, I alert my colleagues that following Senator Durbin, Senator 
Landrieu is expected to be here to make her presentation, Senator 
Boxer, Senator John Kerry, and Senator Schumer. That will complete the 
work for today except for the final vote on the bill. We would hope 
everyone would be here as quickly as possible.
  The two leaders have told Members we will complete all amendments and 
final passage tonight, so the quicker we get to these amendments, the 
quicker we get out of here.
  Mr. COVERDELL. Mr. President, I move that the pending amendment and 
the Feinstein amendment be laid aside for sequential voting later this 
evening.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.


                           Amendment No. 2879

                (Purpose: To reduce violence in schools)

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Illinois is recognized.
  Mr. DURBIN. I send an amendment to the desk and ask for its immediate 
consideration.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report.
  The assistant legislative clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from Illinois [Mr. Durbin] proposes an 
     amendment numbered 2879.

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

       At the appropriate place, insert the following:

     SEC.   . REDUCTION IN SCHOOL VIOLENCE.

       (a) Short Title.--This section may be cited as the ``School 
     Violence Reduction Act''.
       (b) Findings.--Congress finds that--
       (1) Every school child in America has a right to a safe 
     learning environment free from guns and violence.
       (2) The U.S. Department of Education report on the 
     Implementation of the Gun-Free Schools Act found that 3,930 
     children were expelled for bringing guns to school during the 
     1997-98 school year.
       (3) Nationwide, 57 percent of the expulsions were high 
     school students, 33 percent were in junior high and 10 
     percent were in elementary school.
       (c) Grants.--The Secretary of Education shall award grants 
     to elementary and secondary schools (as such terms are 
     defined in section 14101 of the Elementary and Secondary 
     Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 8801)) to enable such 
     schools to:
       (1) develop and disseminate model programs to reduce 
     violence in schools,
       (2) educate students about the dangers associated with 
     guns, and
       (3) provide violence prevention information (including 
     information about safe gun storage) to children and their 
     parents.
       (d) Application.--To be eligible to receive a grant under 
     subsection (b), an elementary or secondary school shall 
     prepare and submit to the Secretary of Education an 
     application at such time, in such manner, and containing such 
     information as the Secretary may require.
       (e) Public Service Announcements.--The Secretary of 
     Education shall provide for the development and dissemination 
     of public service announcements and other information on ways 
     to reduce violence in our Nation's schools, including safe 
     gun storage and other measures.
       (f) Authorization of Appropriations.--For the purpose of 
     carrying out this Act, there are authorized to be 
     appropriated funds of up to $7,000,000 for fiscal year 2001 
     and such sums as may be necessary for each of the four 
     succeeding fiscal years.

  Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, the headlines in our morning papers are a 
sad reminder: America Faces a National Gun Crisis.
  USA Today is published across America. This morning's paper, on its 
front page, speaks of the shooting of a little 6-year-old girl in Mount 
Morris Township, MI. Her name was Kayla Rolland. Her parents sent her 
to the first grade. She never came home.
  Turn the page and find on page 3:

       Pa. Gunman Flies into a Fatal Rage.

  Firearms are easy to come by--for 6-year-olds and psychotics. That is 
the state of affairs in America today. The violence in America is not 
confined to mean streets. It is in our homes, it is in our fast food 
restaurants, and, yes, it is even in our schools. We passed legislation 
several years ago to make certain that Congress and the American people 
would know, on an annual basis, about the evidence of gun violence in 
our schools. From the school year 1997 and 1998, the Department of 
Education reports to us grim statistics about what we face as a nation. 
Let me recount for you what they have told us.
  The U.S. Department of Education's recent report on the 
implementation of the Gun-Free Schools Act found that 3,930 children 
were expelled for bringing guns to school during the 1997-1998 school 
year, almost 4,000 children. Nationwide, 57 percent of the expulsions 
were high school students, 33 percent were junior high, 10 percent were 
elementary school. That means almost 400 elementary students were 
expelled for bringing firearms to school. These children were as young 
as 6 years old.
  In this situation in Mount Morris, MI, Kayla Rolland, this beautiful 
little girl, was gunned down by a 6-year-old killer. In my home State 
of Illinois, 86 students were expelled during the year in question for 
bringing a gun to school: 49 high school students, 31 junior high 
school students, and 6 elementary school students.
  In Illinois, firearms are the leading cause of injury and death to 
children. The next most common cause is car crashes. On average, 364 
children die every single year in Illinois from guns, almost 1 child 
every single day. Do not believe for a moment this is a story unique to 
Illinois. The tragedy of Kayla Rolland was in Michigan. Another tragedy 
yesterday occurred in Pennsylvania.
  If you follow the headlines in the paper, you will see a sad reminder 
on a regular basis of infants and children who have access to guns: 
``Eighth Grader Takes Principal Hostage''; ``5-Year-Old Girl Shoots 
Herself In The Head,'' in New Orleans; in Chicago, ``Girl Killed In An 
Accidental Shooting''; Kansas City, ``6-Year-Old Accidentally Shoots 1-
Year-Old Cousin To Death''; Memphis, ``Angry 5-Year-Old Takes A Gun To 
School''; Miami, ``15-Year-Old Takes Gun To School, Injures Himself In 
Horseplay''; in Cleveland, ``4-Year-Old Caught Again For A Second Time 
With A Gun At Day Care.''

  Did he say 4 years old? Yes, a 4-year-old with a gun at day care; a 
5-year-old accidentally shoots to death a 10-year-old boy in Grand 
View, MO; a child brings guns to school in Topeka, KS--on and on and 
on. What I am addressing today is not an exception. It is becoming a 
rule. It is becoming a sad reality in America.
  We talk a lot about education on the floor of the Senate, as we 
should. It may be America's highest priority. But before we start 
talking about funding education and paying and training teachers, 
before we talk about smaller class sizes, before we talk about modern 
buildings and new technology, for goodness' sake, should not we first 
talk about the safety of our children in the schools themselves?
  It is unfortunate that this Congress is in virtual denial about the 
crisis which I have described. We have had an opportunity ever since 
Columbine High School, and even before, to pass sensible gun control 
legislation. We have

[[Page S1084]]

failed to do it. America faces a national epidemic of gun violence. 
Guns are a deadly social virus. The same USA Today in its editorial 
page spells this out so well:

       Guns are a deadly social virus that can strike down 
     children like the horrible diseases of old.

  And yet this Congress refuses to acknowledge it. We refuse to 
consider even the most basic commonsense gun control. Because this 
Congress refuses to seriously consider any efforts under law to keep 
deadly firearms out of the hands of children and convicts, I urge my 
colleagues to, at the very least, consider as an alternative the 
amendment which I offer today. It is an amendment which tries to give 
families across America fair warning of the scourge of gun violence and 
what it can do to so many families. Guns kill 34,000 Americans every 
year; between 12 and 13 children every day. They kill more teenagers 
than any natural cause. The American people, especially mothers in 
suburban areas who are sending their children to school, want some 
assurance that their children will come home at the end of the day.
  That is why I am offering this amendment. It creates the School 
Violence Reduction Act. What will it do? It is simple. It establishes a 
grant program for the U.S. Department of Education to develop and 
disseminate model programs to reduce violence in schools. I would much 
rather these dollars, the $7 million part of this amendment, be used 
for other purposes--to buy computers, to train teachers, to reduce 
class size, to modernize school buildings. But I say to those who 
follow this debate, we have to deal with the basics, the safety of our 
schools, before we can consider even the process of education. We need 
to educate students about the dangers associated with guns. I am sad to 
report we have to start at the earliest ages to educate them.
  We need to provide information about safe gun storage to children and 
their parents. The amendment provides funds for public service 
announcements and other information to reduce violence in our schools. 
Six-year-olds do not go out and buy guns, not in the ordinary course of 
events. The guns are left lying around the house.

  I read some about this child's situation in Mount Morris, MI. It is 
clear this child lived in a terrible situation, exposed to things with 
which no adult could cope. This tiny little boy, for whatever reason, 
faced the life of a dysfunctional family, of drugs, God knows what kind 
of abuse, and exposure to guns on a regular basis. But that is not the 
only way kids come by guns. Kids come by guns when parents are 
neglectful, when they are negligent, when they do not meet their 
obligation to store guns safely.
  The President, after this situation in Michigan, renewed his call for 
a national standard for trigger locks to make sure if a child gets his 
hands on a handgun he can't shoot it and kill someone, some other 
innocent victim or himself. But we can't do that in Congress. That is 
beyond us. The gun lobby will not stand for it.
  The idea of putting safety devices on guns is something the National 
Rifle Association will not buy. So let us at least try, through our 
schools, to create public information and education efforts so families 
across America at least know that there is a right way to store guns 
safely, out of the hands and out of the reach of children.
  We passed legislation last year, when Vice President Gore came to the 
floor of the Senate and broke a tie, which dealt with some of the 
problems we have in our country involving guns: for background checks 
at gun shows, the amendment of Senator Feinstein of California to 
reduce the importation of these high-capacity magazine clips from 
overseas into the United States, things that move us down the road 
toward protecting Americans from the abuse of guns. Trigger locks: 
Senator Kohl of Wisconsin has been a leader on that as well.
  What happened to this legislation? Dead on arrival in the House of 
Representatives. There has not even been a conference committee on this 
bill. Yet day in and day out we read these terrible headlines.
  I looked in the face of this little girl, Kayla Rolland, and saw so 
many thousands of little kids I have seen across my State of Illinois, 
kids I have seen in the day-care classes with my 3 1/2-year-old 
grandson. This beautiful little girl is no longer with us because of 
someone who was negligent in handling a gun and because of a 6-year-old 
who took a gun to school.
  There are so many who do this across America on a regular basis that 
we have to come to grips with this challenging national situation. I 
urge my colleagues, whatever their opinion of gun control, to at least, 
at the very least, join me in this effort to create a program so 
schools across America, on their own, with a voluntary application, can 
receive assistance from the Federal Government to deal with this gun 
violence. I believe this is a step in the right direction. I believe it 
will give to many schools the resources they need to educate the 
children and the parents and all who will listen to the public service 
announcements about the reality of reducing gun violence in our 
schools.
  I pray to God this is the last story we will read in the year 2000 of 
another infant, another child who lost her little life because of this 
kind of gun violence, because of the negligence of a gun owner or 
someone who possessed a gun so a child could come in contact with it.
  History tells me it will not be the only story of the year. It will 
be one of many.
  To those parents who think it is not their problem, I am sorry to 
report it is. If you do not have a firearm in your house, can you ever 
be sure your little child's playmate does not have a firearm in his 
house? Can you ever be certain the child sitting behind your son or 
daughter at school does not have a handgun in his backpack?
  That is the reality of America today. That is the national gun crisis 
we face. There have been a lot of suggestions about improving education 
in America. This bill suggests one of the ways to do it is to save 
families on average $7 in this tax benefit package if they will send 
their children to public schools. Before we start saving less than $10 
when it comes to education, let's talk about saving the lives of our 
priceless children in our schools.
  Mrs. BOXER. Will the Senator yield?
  Mr. DURBIN. I sincerely hope my colleagues will join me in this 
effort.
  Mrs. BOXER. Will the Senator yield for a question?
  Mr. DURBIN. Yes.
  Mrs. BOXER. Mr. President, I commend my friend from Illinois. A long 
time ago, he and I talked about the importance of having a school 
safety fund where if schools felt they needed assistance, whether it 
was to purchase equipment--a metal detector--whether it was to teach 
the children about how to resolve their differences without violence, 
that we should set this up in a way that local schools could put 
together their own programs.
  I want to ask my friend this: There is a lot of talk around here of 
local control. Isn't this what my friend is doing, he is designing a 
grant program so if school districts decide they want to partake, if 
they have this problem, they have an opportunity to do so?
  Mr. DURBIN. The Senator from California is absolutely right. It is 
totally voluntary. There is no Federal mandate involved. If a school 
district says they are concerned enough about this problem that they 
want to put together a program that is going to try to educate children 
about the danger of guns, that is going to try to educate parents about 
the safe storage of guns, public service announcements to encourage 
trigger locks, then they can apply for these funds. It is only $7 
million, which by Federal standards is a very small amount of money.
  I hope it will give some school districts the resources they need to 
step forward and protect children from needless tragedies which we read 
about every day.
  Mrs. BOXER. I ask my friend another question. As I read these hair-
raising accounts of what happened in Michigan with this little baby of 
6 years old bringing a gun to school, shooting a child, and then 
actually after it was done, coloring something, drawing some pictures, 
having no concept he committed this murder, if you will, I think this 
points out to us that kids do not understand what gun violence can 
really do.
  I commend my friend and ask him if he has read those accounts and how 
chilling it is and how appropriate it is

[[Page S1085]]

to have a vote on this. As my friend said, the underlying bill gives $7 
a year. Now they want to give help to people even in higher incomes 
while our kids are losing their lives. I am very pleased my friend has 
offered this amendment, and I am proud to join him.
  Mr. DURBIN. I thank the Senator from California who earlier offered a 
sense-of-the-Senate amendment as to whether we are going to make a 
concerted and dedicated effort to reduce violence in the schools. Her 
leadership on this issue in her State and across the Nation has been a 
model for all of us. This program I am suggesting is a very modest 
approach as well. It is a $7 million grant that is available, and when 
you consider these headlines which I went through earlier about 
children coming to day care with a gun, a 4-year-old caught a second 
time bringing a loaded handgun to day care in Cleveland, OH.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator's time has expired.
  Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent for 30 additional 
seconds.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, I say to those in the Senate, regardless 
of your position on gun control, I hope we all concede we need to get 
the resources to schools, parents, and families so they can do their 
best to protect their kids and try to eliminate a senseless tragedy 
such as we saw in Michigan this week and, sadly, we have seen repeated 
across America.
  I yield the remainder of my time.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Nevada.
  Mr. REID. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the Durbin 
amendment be set aside and the Senator from Massachusetts, Mr. Kerry, 
be allowed to offer his amendment with a 14-minute time agreement 
equally divided.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered. The 
Senator from Massachusetts.
  Mr. KERRY. What was the agreement on time? I am sorry, I could not 
hear you.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Fourteen minutes.
  Mr. KERRY. Fourteen minutes equally divided.


                           Amendment No. 2866

    (Purpose: To amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to provide 
scholarships for future teachers and loan forgiveness and cancellation)

  Mr. KERRY. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that amendment No. 
2866 be called up.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report.
  The legislative clerk read as follows:

       The Senator from Massachusetts [Mr. Kerry] proposes an 
     amendment numbered 2866.

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

       At the appropriate place, add the following:
       TITLE ____--AMENDMENTS TO THE HIGHER EDUCATION ACT OF 1965

     SEC. ____01. SCHOLARSHIPS FOR FUTURE TEACHERS.

       Part A of title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 
     U.S.C. 1070 et seq.) is amended by adding at the end the 
     following:

             ``Subpart 9--Scholarships for Future Teachers

     ``SEC. 420L. STATEMENT OF PURPOSE.

       ``It is the purpose of this subpart to establish a 
     scholarship program to promote student excellence and 
     achievement and to encourage students to make a commitment to 
     teaching.

     ``SEC. 420M. SCHOLARSHIPS AUTHORIZED.

       ``(a) Program Authority.--The Secretary is authorized, in 
     accordance with the provisions of this subpart, to make 
     grants to States to enable the States to award scholarships 
     to individuals who have demonstrated outstanding academic 
     achievement and who make a commitment to become State 
     certified teachers in elementary schools or secondary schools 
     that are served by local educational agencies.
       ``(b) Period of Award.--Scholarships under this section 
     shall be awarded for a period of not less than 1 and not more 
     than 4 years during the first 4 years of study at any 
     institution of higher education eligible to participate in 
     any program assisted under this title. The State educational 
     agency administering the scholarship program in a State shall 
     have discretion to determine the period of the award (within 
     the limits specified in the preceding sentence).
       ``(c) Use at Any Institution Permitted.--A student awarded 
     a scholarship under this subpart may attend any institution 
     of higher education.

     ``SEC. 420N. ALLOCATION AMONG STATES.

       ``(a) Allocation Formula.--From the sums appropriated under 
     section 420U for any fiscal year, the Secretary shall 
     allocate to each State that has an agreement under section 
     420O an amount that bears the same relation to the sums as 
     the amount the State received under part A of title I of the 
     Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 bears to the 
     amount received under such part A by all States.
       ``(b) Amount of Scholarships.--The Secretary shall 
     promulgate regulations setting forth the amount of 
     scholarships awarded under this subpart.

     ``SEC. 420O. AGREEMENTS.

       ``The Secretary shall enter into an agreement with each 
     State desiring to participate in the scholarship program 
     authorized by this subpart. Each such agreement shall include 
     provisions designed to ensure that--
       ``(1) the State educational agency will administer the 
     scholarship program authorized by this subpart in the State;
       ``(2) the State educational agency will comply with the 
     eligibility and selection provisions of this subpart;
       ``(3) the State educational agency will conduct outreach 
     activities to publicize the availability of scholarships 
     under this subpart to all eligible students in the State, 
     with particular emphasis on activities designed to assure 
     that students from low-income and moderate-income families 
     have access to the information on the opportunity for full 
     participation in the scholarship program authorized by this 
     subpart; and
       ``(4) the State educational agency will pay to each 
     individual in the State who is awarded a scholarship under 
     this subpart an amount determined in accordance with 
     regulations promulgated under section 420N(b).

     ``SEC. 420P. ELIGIBILITY OF SCHOLARS.

       ``(a) Secondary School Graduation or Equivalent and 
     Admission to Institution Required.--Each student awarded a 
     scholarship under this subpart shall--
       ``(1) have a secondary school diploma or its recognized 
     equivalent;
       ``(2) have a score on a nationally recognized college 
     entrance exam, such as the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) or 
     the American College Testing Program (ACT), that is in the 
     top 20 percent of all scores achieved by individuals in the 
     secondary school graduating class of the student, or have a 
     grade point average that is in the top 20 percent of all 
     students in the secondary school graduating class of the 
     student;
       ``(3) have been admitted for enrollment at an institution 
     of higher education; and
       ``(4) make a commitment to become a State certified 
     elementary school or secondary school teacher for a period of 
     5 years.
       ``(b) Selection Based on Commitment to Teaching.--Each 
     student awarded a scholarship under this subpart shall 
     demonstrate outstanding academic achievement and show promise 
     of continued academic achievement.

     ``SEC. 420Q. SELECTION OF SCHOLARS.

       ``(a) Establishment of Criteria.--The State educational 
     agency is authorized to establish the criteria for the 
     selection of scholars under this subpart.
       ``(b) Adoption of Procedures.--The State educational agency 
     shall adopt selection procedures designed to ensure an 
     equitable geographic distribution of scholarship awards 
     within the State.
       ``(c) Consultation Requirement.--In carrying out its 
     responsibilities under subsections (a) and (b), the State 
     educational agency shall consult with school administrators, 
     local educational agencies, teachers, counselors, and 
     parents.
       ``(d) Timing of Selection.--The selection process shall be 
     completed, and the awards made, prior to the end of each 
     secondary school academic year.

     ``SEC. 420R. SCHOLARSHIP CONDITION.

       ``The State educational agency shall establish procedures 
     to assure that a scholar awarded a scholarship under this 
     subpart pursues a course of study at an institution of higher 
     education that is related to a career in teaching.

     ``SEC. 420S. RECRUITMENT.

       ``In carrying out a scholarship program under this section, 
     a State may use not less than 5 percent of the amount awarded 
     to the State under this subpart to carry out recruitment 
     programs through local educational agencies. Such programs 
     shall target liberal arts, education and technical 
     institutions of higher education in the State.

     ``SEC. 420T. INFORMATION.

       ``The Secretary shall develop additional programs or 
     strengthen existing programs to publicize information 
     regarding the programs assisted under this title and teaching 
     careers in general.

     ``SEC. 420U. APPROPRIATIONS.

       ``There are authorized to be appropriated, and there are 
     appropriated, to carry out this subpart $10,000,000 for each 
     of the fiscal years 2001 through 2005, of which not more than 
     0.5 percent shall be used by the Secretary in any fiscal year 
     to carry out section 420T.''.

     SEC. ____02. LOAN FORGIVENESS AND CANCELLATION FOR TEACHERS.

       (a) Federal Stafford Loans.--Section 428J of Higher 
     Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1078-10) is amended--
       (1) in the matter preceding subparagraph (A) of subsection 
     (b)(1), by striking ``for 5 consecutive complete school 
     years'';

[[Page S1086]]

       (2) by amending paragraph (1) of subsection (c) to read as 
     follows:
       ``(1) Amount.--
       ``(A) In general.--The Secretary shall repay--
       ``(i) not more than $5,000 in the aggregate of the loan 
     obligation on a loan made under section 428 or 428H that is 
     outstanding after the completion of the second complete 
     school year of teaching described in subsection (b)(1); and
       ``(ii) not more than $5,000 in the aggregate of such loan 
     obligation that is outstanding after the fifth complete 
     school year of teaching described in subsection (b)(1).
       ``(B) Special rule.--No borrower may receive a reduction of 
     loan obligations under both this section and section 460.''; 
     and
       (3) by adding at the end the following:
       ``(i) Authorization of Appropriations.--There are 
     authorized to be appropriated, and there are appropriated, to 
     carry out this section $50,000,000 for each of the fiscal 
     years 2001 through 2005.''.
       (b) Direct Loans.--Section 460 of the Higher Education Act 
     of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1087j) is amended--
       (1) in the matter preceding clause (i) of subsection 
     (b)(1)(A), by striking ``for 5 consecutive complete school 
     years'';
       (2) by amending paragraph (1) of subsection (c) to read as 
     follows:
       ``(1) In general.--The Secretary shall repay--
       ``(A) not more than $5,000 in the aggregate of the loan 
     obligation on a Federal Direct Stafford Loan or a Federal 
     Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan that is outstanding after 
     the completion of the second complete school year of teaching 
     described in subsection (b)(1)(A); and
       ``(B) not more than $5,000 in the aggregate of such loan 
     obligation that is outstanding after the fifth complete 
     school year of teaching described in subsection (b)(1)(A).''; 
     and
       (3) by adding at the end the following:
       ``(i) Appropriations.--There are authorized to be 
     appropriated, and there are appropriated, to carry out this 
     section $50,000,000 for each of the fiscal years 2001 through 
     2005.''.

  Mr. KERRY. Mr. President, I thank the Senator from Georgia, and I 
thank the Senator from Nevada for their assistance in moving things 
along. I will try not to take very long. In fact, I want to say a few 
words about the schoolchild my friend from Illinois was talking about. 
Let me try to get through the substance and see where I am timewise 
before I do that.
  Whatever the dynamic we are locked into in the Senate, it is clearly 
not promising or anything substantive to pass. Our friends on the other 
side of the aisle have decided that nothing substantive with respect to 
education will fundamentally pass. Yesterday we passed a study on 
welfare offered by Senator Wellstone, but every other effort to deal 
with education is preordained.
  I understand in standing up here the fate of this amendment. 
Notwithstanding that, I want to make it clear, and I think my 
colleagues who preceded me have made it clear, that these are the real 
issues that face the country and these are the choices the Senate ought 
to be making. If our colleagues simply choose to dismiss them out of 
hand, then that is a reality the American people, I hope, will begin to 
digest at the appropriate time, which is obviously election time in 
this country. There may be another chance when we will deal with some 
of these issues. We certainly hope there will be. But not being 
guaranteed that opportunity, we have to take this opportunity now.
  Everyone in this country knows we have a teacher shortage of 
remarkable proportions. We are supposed to hire some 5 million teachers 
over the course of the next 10 years, 2 million of them in the next 5 
years. If one looks at an article that appeared in the Washington Post 
at the beginning of this school year, it tells us the story of some of 
that hiring. A principal in Northern Virginia was so desperate for 
teachers to begin the school year that she was wooing shoppers at Wal-
Mart in an effort to find people to teach in her school.
  The last thing the parents of our children and our school 
administrators want is an unprepared, unqualified, uncertified adult 
simply there supposedly to fill a quota and ``teach,'' and I put quotes 
around that.
  If we continue on our present course, we are going to face many 
similar stories. But we know because of the pressures of attrition, the 
pressures of the classroom itself, the lack of pay, and other problems 
attendant to teaching today, we are losing many more people than are 
coming into the profession. Thirty to 40 percent of the people who 
teach leave within the first 3 to 5 years. We have a remarkable rate of 
loss and a remarkable rate of turnover.
  We also know we have an incredible shortage of teachers who teach in 
the field for which they may have gone to school or in which they have 
a degree. Again, I am not going to take up all the time, but the 
statistics with respect to teachers who are qualified to teach math or 
science is extraordinarily distressing, not to mention other subjects 
that people also come to teach.
  The amendment I offer today addresses this by seeking to address the 
question of how do we create an incentive to draw people into teaching.
  I met with young people this morning, interns in my office, about 15, 
16 of them. Not one of them is planning to be a teacher or is even 
thinking about it.
  When I speak at colleges and universities there may be whatever 
number of people in the room, and I ask them: How many of you are 
planning to be teachers? You are lucky if you get one or two or three 
hands going up because most people cannot afford to do it based on the 
loans they have at the end of their schooling. Also, many of them find 
the opportunities of the private sector simply too great, too alluring, 
so they are drawn away from teaching. Thirdly, our school systems 
today, because of the lack of adequate resources, structures, support, 
curriculum, reform standards, and other things, are not particularly 
enticing to many young people in terms of a career option.
  We have to offer greater incentives to attract people, particularly 
measured against the marketplace. Therefore, the current law already 
forgives $5,000 in student loans after 5 years in teaching.
  My amendment seeks to recognize the reality of that principle, which 
we have already adopted, that an incentive works. But recognizing that, 
the second reality is that because of the marketplace, the incentive 
isn't strong enough. So we need to find a way to add an additional 
incentive. My amendment would provide an additional $5,000 in 
forgiveness for teachers after 2 years of teaching, providing 
additional relief for those who are faced with leaving teaching in 
order to make more money.
  In addition, we would offer a grant for States to be able to 
establish a program to provide college scholarships to students with 
SAT scores or grade point averages in the top 20 percent of each 
State's high school graduating class. That would be in return for a 
commitment by the individual to become a State-certified teacher for a 
period of 5 years.
  We have always tried to attract people into our military service by 
offering them, either through the Service academies or through ROTC or 
through the GI bill, the opportunity to be able to have payment in 
exchange for a service that we value greatly: Service to country.
  Here we are trying to apply the same principle, and we are trying to 
draw some of the top students. Those who have performed the best in 
high school will have an opportunity to have college scholarships so 
they can go to college, not come out with the burden of debt and, 
indeed, dedicate 5 years of their life to teaching in return.
  In a sense, it is a GI bill for teaching. I hope my colleagues will 
recognize this principle and the value of it.
  The teacher shortage our schools are facing now will pale in 
comparison to what we're looking at over the next 10 years as large 
numbers of teachers are expected to retire and enrollments are expected 
to increase. The pressures of attrition, of retirements, will only be 
compounded by the impact of hundreds of other important education 
improvement efforts taking root all over the country, whether it's 
class-size reduction or higher standards for teachers, and that too 
will exacerbate the teacher shortage.
  So what do we do about it? We must pass legislation that helps 
increase the supply, and the quality, of teachers in this country. And 
to do that, we must make the teaching profession more attractive to our 
young people and to those many thousands of people who are certified 
teachers but have left the profession because of financial constraints.
  The amendment I offer today addresses the teaching crisis plaguing 
our Nation's schools and impairing our children's ability to learn and 
succeed.

[[Page S1087]]

My amendment will provide full-time state certified public school 
teachers who teach in low-income areas or who teach in areas with 
teacher shortages such as math, science, and special needs with loan 
forgiveness of up to $5,000 after 2 years of teaching and an additional 
$5,000 after 5 years of teaching.
  I know the Congress believes loan forgiveness is an important way to 
attract and retain qualified teachers, because current law already 
forgives $5,000 in student loans after five years of teaching. My 
amendment would provide an additional $5,000 in forgiveness for 
teachers after 2 years of teaching, providing relief for teachers who 
are faced with leaving teaching to make more money, and providing an 
incentive for them to continue in the field. Coupled with increased 
ongoing education opportunities that are the focus of so many Senators, 
particularly my colleague from Massachusetts, who has contributed so 
much to the education debate over the years, Senator Kennedy, coupled 
with increased professional development opportunities that I hope we 
will enact, we have the capability of recruiting and retaining 
thousands of highly qualified teachers around the country.
  My amendment would also provide grants for states to establish a 
program to provide college scholarships to students with SAT scores or 
grade point averages in the top 20 percent of each state's high school 
graduating class in return for a commitment to become a state certified 
teacher for 5 years. States would contribute 20 percent of the funds 
for the scholarships. This amendment would also establish a national 
hotline for potential teachers to receive information on a career in 
teaching.
  Demand for teachers is so great that it is projected that 50,000 
unqualified teachers have been hired annually on emergency or 
substandard licenses. And the situation is most severe in poor urban 
and rural areas. According to the National Center for Education 
Statistics, these districts have such a hard time recruiting and 
retaining qualified teachers that 39 percent of their teachers have 
neither a college major or minor in their primary field of course work.
  What does this mean for our children's education? In urban schools 
where children are already crippled by an unfair playing field, a lack 
of adequate resources, too often the teachers they do have are 
unqualified. And over the next 10 years the situation will get even 
worse, virtually guaranteeing that the percentage of unqualified 
teachers in these schools will increase.

  I ask you this: How are our young people supposed to get engaged in 
the learning process if they only have warm bodies in their classrooms? 
Who will answer the questions that children have about their lessons if 
the teachers themselves are not sure of the answers? I have heard from 
people all over my state, deans of engineering schools in my state, 
high school administrators, parents, about a decrease in the number of 
young people interested in pursuing math, science, and engineering 
degrees after they graduate from high school. Is it any coincidence 
then that the greatest shortage of teachers in this country is in the 
areas of math and science? No wonder our young people are seeking math 
and science degrees in lower numbers. They aren't excited about these 
subjects because the teachers weren't there to get them excited, to 
provide them with good instruction, to encourage them on. And I won't 
even get into the shortage of hi-tech workers before us now and that we 
are in dire need of greater numbers, not fewer, of graduates in math, 
science, and engineering.
  I can guarantee you that this additional loan forgiveness and a 
scholarship program are necessary, that the existing laws will not 
recruit the numbers and quality of students we need. Thirty to fifty 
percent of all new urban teachers leave the teaching profession within 
the first 3 to 5 years of teaching. And while we can't be sure that all 
of these young teachers leave because of inadequate salaries and 
blossoming student loans, when you look at the data you can be sure 
looming students loans and low paying comprise a great deal of the 
incentive for these teachers to leave.
  We need to attract the best and the brightest teachers into our 
public schools to cultivate the minds of our children. But can we 
realistically expect those students graduating from 4-year institutions 
and saddled with thousands of dollars in student loans--the average 
private college students graduates with $14,000 of loans that must be 
repaid--to enter career where they can expect a starting salary that 
barely reaches the mid-twenties? How can we expect our young people to 
turn their backs, particularly in this booming economy, on higher-
paying jobs as analysts, in technology companies.
  Consider the case of Bridgewater State College, which was the first 
college in Massachusetts to obtain accreditation under the new National 
Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education standards. One-fifth 
of Bridgewater State students go on to become teachers in Massachusetts 
and throughout the country. But these students graduate with an average 
of $8,693 in student loans that must be repaid. And that is from a 
public school, where in-state tuition is just $8,000. A student 
graduating from a private college, of which there are many in my state, 
faces a average of $14,000 in loans to be repaid.
  Now, we all know that first-year teachers are poorly paid. The 
average starting salary is in the mid-twenties. it is simply too 
difficult for young teachers to make ends meet when, in addition to 
paying rent, buying groceries, maybe saving for graduate school, or for 
a car, they must also pay back these loans.
  We must act on this legislation now. If not because we are facing an 
imminent teacher shortage, then because of the rising cost of tuition. 
From 1990 to 1996, average tuition for a full-time resident 
undergraduate student rose 43.8 percent, but during that same period, 
the consumer price index rose only 15.4 percent. And at the same time, 
Mr. President loans are comprising a greater percentage of student's 
tuition than grants or income. In the early 1980s, loans covered about 
40 percent of total aid. Now, loans cover 58 percent of total aid and 
during that period, grants went from covering 55 percent of total aid 
to just 40 percent of total aid. Mr. President, we must address this 
issue. We must provide assistance to aspiring teachers. We must act 
now.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator's time has expired.
  Mr. KERRY. I ask my colleague from Georgia if he would mind if I took 
a moment, maybe 3 or 4 minutes, to say something about the shooting in 
Michigan. May I ask for 4 minutes?
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Mr. COVERDELL. I yield 4 minutes to the Senator from our time.
  Mr. KERRY. The Senator is very generous. Knowing the outcome of this 
vote, I know the Senator does not have to expend a lot of eloquence to 
defeat me. I am very appreciative for his consideration.
  Thank you very much, Mr. President.

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