President Obama’s education budget priorities wrong

PAA has serious concerns about President Obama’s education budget. Here is a one-page comparison chart detailing our positions regarding the President’s budget proposal.

We sent a letter to members of the House and Senate education committees today which included the following comments, with our chart attached:

Our general concern is that the budget seems to reinforce the current corporate reform agenda of further privatization, school closings, more charter schools, larger classes, and the expansion of high-stakes standardized tests. In fact, the majority of US parents oppose these strategies, which have no significant track record of success. We instead support research-based proposals to improve our schools, including class size reduction, expansion of preK programs, support for a more well-rounded, challenging curriculum, and more parent involvement in decision-making at all levels.

We support the President’s budget proposals to:

  • Raise much-needed revenue with new taxes on corporations, private equity, and the wealthy.
  • Add $30 billion to prevent teacher lay-offs and $30 billion for school infrastructure needs.
  • Eliminate the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Fund which takes scarce funding from public schools and gives it to private schools, with little evidence that this improves achievement.

We oppose the proposals that

  • Divert funds currently used for lower class size to competitive grants promoting boondoggles like school turnarounds, teacher merit pay, and Teach for America.
  • Flat-fund key formula grants, including Title I and IDEA at a time when child poverty is rising and the need for these programs is increasing.
  • Establish new competitive grants to revamp colleges of education, offer merit pay, and/or create new evaluation systems tied to test scores.

What can you do? Share our one-page position chart with your Senator and Congressman. Ask them to help re-prioritize the budget to help improve schools.  Their contact information is here.

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