A Common Thread of Service . Secretary Richardson


Also on June 24, 1970, Elliot L. Richardson was sworn in as the ninth Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare. He had served as Assistant Secretary for Legislation from 1957 to 1959 in the Eisenhower Administration and as Acting Secretary from April to July 1958. In 1964 he was elected Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts and in 1966 was elected Attorney General of that State. A native of Boston and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, he had practiced law in Boston between periods of public service. He had served as Under Secretary of State from January 1969 until he was sworn in as HEW Secretary.

In his first speech as HEW Secretary, delivered July 8, 1970, before the Indiana University Bicentennial Convocation in Bloomington, Secretary Richardson struck a theme which he was to enunciate in subsequent speeches: The more effective delivery of the Department's services.

He attributed many of the failures of governmental assistance to meet the needs of people to the continued reliance on categorical grants programs, characterizing them as responsible for the "virtual strangulation of Federal efforts as more resources are continually forced into narrow, constricting funnels long since inadequate to the task."

The Secretary made it clear early in his tenure that more effective management of the Department's resources to meet human needs would be the cornerstone of his stewardship. He also developed two themes that would be emphasized throughout his tenure to make the Department more responsive to the people it serves: The prevention of dependency and the accomplishment of institutional reform.

On July 25, the Department announced that it was mailing to all HEW grantees a two-volume publication, "A Program for Improving the Quality of Grantee Management." For the first time in the history of HEW grants administration, policy requirements for individual grantee organizations would vary according to the quality of their business management systems. The new policy would enable the Department to distinguish, through review, evaluation, and classification procedures, three major categories of business management systems: those warranting relaxed policy requirements; those needing special requirements; and those continuing under normal requirements. It supported the efforts of the Federal Assistance Streamlining Task Force.

Secretary Richardson announced on July 31 appointment of the initial members of a National Reading Council to focus and coordinate the National Right to Read Effort. Endorsed by President Nixon in his 1970 Education Message, the effort seeks to eradicate the high rate of reading failure and deficiency encountered among students of all ages and background through a partnership of public and private interests.

As part of the effort, the Office of Education launched a new research program on reading, designed to provide the scientific foundation for developing improved reading instruction programs. The goal of this research effort is to enable every child in a national sample to achieve sufficient reading skill by age 10 to become a competent adult reader.

A Federal Clean Car Incentive Program to spur development of a low-pollution automobile was announced by the Secretary on August 7. To be administered by the National Air Pollution Control Administration, the program was designed to stimulate private efforts to market a passenger car by the 1980's that will match performance and convenience of present cars but which will be fundamentally pollution free.

On August 5, the Office of Education announced the award of $3 million in grants to train teachers and other school and community personnel in drug education. This action was the second step in an accelerated effort by the Department to combat drug abuse among the Nation's youth. In March 1970, President Nixon had announced that $2.8 million in supplemental funds were being made available to the National Institute of Mental Health for a variety of activities, including: acceleration of the marihuana research program; establishment of a National Clearinghouse for Drug Abuse Information; intensified professional training in prevention and treatment of drug abuse, including the production of materials for use by teachers and others in the educational field; and expansion of the NIMN mass media information/ education campaign.

The Office of Education reported September 6, 1970, that over 62 million people-more than 30 percent of the population-would be involved in the U.S. education process during the 1970-71 school year and that the Nation would commit an estimated $73.6 billion to education, compared with $69.5 billion in 1969-70. Of the total participants, 2.8 million were teachers and administrators and 59.2 million represented the fall enrollment, including 36.8 million at elementary level, 14.8 million at secondary level, and 7.6 million degreecredit students in higher education.

Surplus Federal property made available to the States by the Department during the first six months of 1970, totaled $169,481,130 according to an announcement September 14. Real property accounted for $19,609,910 and personal property totaled $149,871,220.

On September 15, the Office for Civil Rights reported that since January 1969, the number of black pupils attending schools that were at least 5 percent white had increased from 18.4 percent to 28.9 percent. In the 11 southern and border states, 1,977 school districts had desegregated-346 of them in the 1969-70 school year. More than 600 districts were committed to total desegregation in the fall of 1970, 200 of which had submitted voluntary plans to OCR. There were still 80 school districts not committed to desegregation being sued by the Federal Government.

Secretary Richardson announced in late October that of the approximately 2,700 school districts in the 11 southern States, more than 97 percent had desegregated under voluntary plans and court orders. Of the 3.1 million black children in these States, 27.4 percent were living in districts that had desegregated prior to 1970; an additional 63 percent were living in the more than 600 districts desegregating by voluntary plan and court order in the fall of 1970; 9.6 percent were living in the 76 districts still not listed in compliance. Of the white students in these 11 southern States, 48.3 percent were living in districts that desegregated prior to the fall of 1970; 42.2 percent were living in the districts desegregating in the fall of 1970 and 9.5 percent were living in districts not in compliance.

A study of Medicare released in November showed that nearly 17 million hospital admissions had been made under the program during the first three years and that the number of admissions is rising each year.

The Office of Education made two major announcements in November:

  • On November 15, Acting Commissioner Terrel Bell announced the allocation of more than $415 million in Federal support funds for vocational education programs in the States and territories.
  • On November 22, OE announced a grant of $2 million to the Children's Television Workshop to develop the second season of "Sesame Street", increasing to more than $7 million the total OE funding for this award-winning series. The first series was broadcast over approximately 200 television stations capable of reaching more than 80 percent of the U.S. population.

The Social and Rehabilitation Service reported in November that about 6 percent of the population in the United States was receiving public assistance money payments under the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program. Ten years earlier, less than 2 percent of the U.S. population was receiving AFDC payments.

On December 2, the Department transferred to the newly created independent Environmental Protection Agency its air pollution control program, its solid waste management program, efforts concerned with radiation in the general environment, and the Bureau of Water Hygiene. The action brought under one roof all Federal programs for controlling air and water pollution, solid wastes, pesticides, and radiation.

Early in December, the Food and Drug Administration banned certain toys with mechanical hazards and proposed repurchase or adjustment plans for consumers affected by such actions. The ban was the first such action to be taken under the 1969 Child Protection and Toy Safety Act.

Secretary Richardson announced on December 13 that loans under the Guaranteed Loan Program, authorized by the Higher Education Act of 1965, were approaching the $3 billion mark. The program, which became operational in the fall of 1966, had made more than three million separate loan transactions, with an estimated 2.5 million students having continued or completed their college and vocational training during five years of the program operation.

There were a number of organizational changes in the Department during 1970.

On March 19, the Bureau of Federal Credit Unions was removed from the Social Security Administration and made an independent Federal agency, the National Credit Union Administration.

The Youth Development and Delinquency Prevention Administration was created in the Social and Rehabilitation Service on June 1, 1970, elevating to sub-agency level the Office of Juvenile Delinquency and Youth Development in the Office of the Administrator. The new unit was to provide a sharper Federal focus in this field.

The Food and Drug Administration was gradually reorganized along product lines during 1970 and 1971 : The Bureau of Drugs was reorganized on August 20, 1970. On October 23, the Bureau of Product Safety was established and new units were created in the Bureau of Veterinary Medicine. On February 10, 1971 , the Bureau of Foods was established.

In the National Institutes of Health, the Bureau of Health Professions Education and Manpower Training was renamed the Bureau of Health Manpower Education on September 18, 1970.

The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Education was retired on October 21, 1970 and its functional responsibilities were transferred to the Office of Education.

Other units reorganized during the year were the Bureau of Health Insurance in SSA (December 10) and the Rehabilitation Services Administration in SRS (December 19).