From a White House briefing yesterday with Secretary of Education Richard Riley:

Sec. Riley: Based on a 1.4 percent cut, the Republican plan slashes critical resources to schools below the president's request, including some $300 million less in funds to serve disadvantaged youth in the learning of basic skills; over $300 million less in after-school program funds to provide a safe haven for learning for after the school doors close for young people; a $30 million cut from programs to help young children learn to read; and $13 million would be cut from the college work-study program.

In addition, the . . . Republican proposal breaks the bipartisan commitment which was made last year to lower class size to 18 in grades one through three by hiring an additional 100,000 qualified teachers . . . .

Q: [I]s it your view that . . . there really, as a practical matter, is no more waste in government in your department?

Sec. Riley : The GAO did a study of . . . the Education Department . . . recently, and came up with a number that well over 99 percent of the money we receive goes down to the state, the schools, the school districts. That money goes down to the children.

So I think you can see it is not a whole lot of room to hunt for [cuts]; the 1.4 percent would be $460 million from my department. That money comes away from programs serving children; teaching poor children how to read that can't read and should be able to read, poor children to do basic skills.