Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Obama's ed budget a tough sell on Capitol Hill

DFER's Charles Barone is quoted in this AP/Washington Post article about the unprecedented cuts coming to K-12 education.  In light of this, especially big kudos to Obama and Duncan for calling for more funding for Race to the Top:

Analysts say a modest increase in education spending at the federal level would be dwarfed by state cuts.

"It doesn't match the magnitude of what's really happening on the ground out there," said Michael Petrilli, vice president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, an education think tank, said of the president's budget request. "That we're seeing the biggest decreases in education spending since the Great Depression."

Education Secretary Arne Duncan acknowledged it would be a difficult year.

"There's no question these are some of the toughest budget times we've seen in decades," Duncan said. "We've called this the new normal. What we're asking them to do as much as possible is see a very tough time as an opportunity."

The proposed budget includes $900 million for a Race to the Top competition for districts and rural communities. Education officials credit the first two rounds of the competition with a wave of education reforms throughout the nation, including adopting common academic standards, changing teacher evaluations so that instructors are held accountable for student achievement, and allowing for more charter schools.

Duncan said the new Race to the Top would allow these efforts to continue at the district level. Republicans have already said they would oppose another round of the competition.

Also included in the budget is $350 million for a similar competitive grant program aimed at early education.

…"What they're trying to do is spur innovation, replicate success," Charles Barone, director of federal policy for the Democrats for Education Reform. "That's where federal government is able to make the most impact."

Obama's ed budget a tough sell on Capitol Hill

The Associated Press
Tuesday, February 15, 2011; 4:55 PM


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