2007-06-27 / Features

On the brief side...

32 Attorneys General Push For Student Loan Bill

Declaring that the shortcomings of the student loan industry "[cry] out for a federal solution," 32 state attorneys general have appealed to the United States Senate to follow the House's approval of a bill tightening oversight of the $85- billion-a-year student loan business.

In a letter to Senate leaders, the attorneys general, including New York state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, noted that the House had passed the bill in a bipartisan fashion. They said investigations conducted in their states had uncovered conflicts of interest and deceptive practices between college loan officers and the bank officials they deal with.

"The magnitude of the issue is daunting, with each investigation revealing new levels of corruption and deception," the law officials said.

Legislation to end these activities has been passed in New York and other states, but there is no better solution than national legislation which will address the problem with consistency for the nation, the officials said. Calls For Improved Language Education

Noting that qualified, trained teachers are critical in enabling English language learners (ELL) to simultaneously gain proficiency in English and comprehend classroom material, Congressmember Nydia Velazquez has filed a bill which would increase financial incentives for language teachers.

Under Velazquez' measure, any ELL teacher who works in a low-income Title 1 school district for five years would be eligible for $17,500 in loan forgiveness, equaling the offer made to math and science teachers. Presently, ELL teachers are offered a $5,000 loan forgiveness incentive.

Velazquez estimated that there are over 140,000 ELLs in city public schools who are not gaining proficiency in English quickly enough to help them in their general studies.

"The focus must be on recruiting teachers equipped with the specialized training necessary to adequately address the language deficiency issue," Velazquez (D- Queens/Brooklyn) said. Gov't Should Lead Way In Energy Efficiency: Maloney

Noting that the federal government is the largest energy consumer in the U.S., Congressmember Carolyn Maloney has introduced legislation to increase the government's energy efficiency.

"This bill would require our government to finally step up to the plate and become a leader on the serious issue of global warming," Maloney (D- Queens/Brooklyn) declared.

The bill requires federal agencies to inventory their greenhouse gas emissions, freeze emissions, and then in 2010 reduce net emissions over time to achieve zero emissions by 2050.

The bill would also establish minimum emissions standards for motor vehicles used by the federal government.

- Compiled by John Toscano

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