posted by admin — Oct 16, 2005
Senate legislation reauthorizing HEA-Title VI International Education programs is moving closer to a vote. The bill, (S. 1614) “Higher Education Amendments of 2005,” differs significantly from its House counterpart, HR 609, in that it does not call for creation of an International Advisory Board to oversee foreign language and area studies programs supported by the Department of Education. The advisory board proposed by the House’s education committee has caused extensive controversy since it was first introduced in the previous Congress.
While supporters of Title VI programs are pleased by many aspects of the bill, several provisions in the Senate legislation have caused alarm in the higher education and humanities communities. These include introduction of a new complaint process in conjunction with curriculum requirements which mandate that grantees demonstrate that programs will reflect “diverse and balanced perspectives” or “diverse perspectives and a full range of views.”
Grant applications must outline a process by which complaints regarding proposed activities may be resolved, and new authority is provided to the Secretary of Education to suspend federal funds for up to 60 days in the case of unresolved disputes. Title VI advocates fear that the process could open the door for frivolous or politically motivated complaints, and jeopardize the long-standing academic independence of the programs.
The Senate bill may be tied to budget reconciliation legislation when Congress returns from the Columbus Day recess.
Source: National Humanities Alliance