Republican House Approves Department of Education’s End Around of State Legislatures


OCC Web Banners

The Senate level-funded almost all of the education funding.  The House increased funding for Title I and Special education, but eliminated 31 other programs including Race to the Top.  The compromise spending bill was recently passed by the House, 296-121 this would fund several government programs until September 30, 2012.  The Senate is expected to pass the bill as well.

EdWeek reported what survived in the compromise bill:

Under the compromise spending bill, Title I grants for districts would see a tiny boost of $60 million, bringing the total to $14.5 billion. And the $60 million increase will be divided among thousands of school districts, so it’s unlikely to make much a difference overall.

Special education would also see a teeny hike, to $11.6 billion, a $100 million increase. Advocates are sure to celebrate that the funding is heading in the right direction, but that tiny boost is unlikely to have a huge impact on the bottom line for many districts.

Race to the Top, which would have been completely eliminated under the House bill, was funded, but the program was cut from nearly $700 million in fiscal year 2011 to $550 million. In fact, the House Appropriations Committee, which is controlled by Republicans, touted the reduction in its press release, saying that the “Obama administration’s unpopular Race to the Top” was cut. The grants can be made to either states or districts. That would be a big change for the program.

Other Obama priorities survived the chopping block. The School Improvement Grant program, which covers the cost of turning around the nation’s lowest performing schools, got $534.6 million, according to the Committee for Education Funding, a lobbying coalition. That’s the same level as last year, but a little less than the $600 million the Obama administration wanted to see.

The Investing in Innovation grant program, which scales up promising practices at the district level, got nearly $150 million, according to CEF, or the same level as last year.

And the Promise Neighborhoods program, which helps communities pair wraparound services, such as health, with education, was a big winner. It got $60 million, according to CEF. That’s up from about $30 million last year.

What was the House thinking passing this bill?  Yes there are some budget cuts in it so they probably see that it isn’t a complete wash, but set the issue of money aside for a second.

The Republican Majority House just gave carte blanche approval for the Obama Administration through the Department of Education to continue to do an end around State Legislatures and Assemblies to go directly to school districts.  Wow.  That wasn’t a principled vote, it was looking for a deal to be done – at the expense of state sovereignty.

Originally posted at Truth in American Education