01 Jul Obey Proposal Leaves Reform-minded States at the Altar
Thursday, July 1st, 2010
Just a year and a half ago, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provided an unprecedented infusion of money into our education system in order to save jobs and advance changes through Race to the Top that are designed to improve schools and help our children succeed. Race to the Top’s progress and promise are at risk because of an amendment in Congress that proposes to cut $800 million from previously dedicated funds for this law and similar reforms.
Thirty-six states have submitted applications for round two of Race to the Top, and the Department has stated that about 10 would receive the award—but a cut on this scale could reduce that number to six. According to Hope Street Group Education Director Alice Johnson Cain, “As many as four qualifying states that have worked furiously to enact dramatic reforms will be left at the altar if committed federal dollars are not delivered.”
The application process for this program has already demonstrated that states are willing, able and eager to implement dramatic reforms. Congress must reject this false and inappropriate choice between saving jobs and promoting reform. Cain continued, “The offsets proposed will rip the heart out of historic reforms that are offering new hope to the families of millions of children trapped in struggling schools. Out of a federal budget of more than $3 trillion, surely Congress can find more appropriate offsets to reduce teacher layoffs.”
The education reform programs, including Race to the Top, the Teacher Incentive Fund and the Charter School Program, have already resulted in dramatic changes in states and have set a trajectory of critical improvements in the American education system. Hope Street Group urges Congress to replace this false choice between saving jobs and fueling reforms with a less divisive alternative that provides more support for teachers while improving outcomes for children.