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Favorite quote of the week (by Obey)

Susan Notes:

My question is why they tack education funding to war funding. But we can hope the cuts to RTTT prevail in the Senate.

"I didn't come here to be Arne Duncan's congressman. Who do people think put the money into these programs in the first place? I did ... Welcome to Washington and welcome to hard choices."

That's what House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey said about U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan at a House Rules Committee meeting where legislators were discussing a measure that Obey sponsored -- and attached to a war-funding measure -- that includes $10 billion in aid to state governments to prevent the layoffs of thousands of teachers.

The House passed the legislation. But the White House has threatened to veto it because Obey proposes to fund some of that money by taking away millions of dollars from President Obama's main education initiatives, including $500 million from the $4.35 billion Race to the Top.

Race to the Top is a competition in which states apply for federal money by agreeing to carry through specific school reforms that Duncan likes.

The competition has a lot of critics, who argue that the championed reforms -- for example, increasing the number of charter schools and linking teacher pay to standardized test scores -- have no basis in research. And researchers have said that the 500-point system created to decide the "best" state proposals for education reform is based on false precision.

The Obey-sponsored measure also includes $5 billion for Pell grants for needy college students. The $10 billion is intended to save more than 100,000 education jobs at a time when state and local governments are facing major budget challenges, my colleague Nick Anderson reported in this story.

That a Democratic lawmaker has chosen to pick a fight with a Democratic president and Education Department about this raises a lot of interesting issues. Is this the first real challenge by Congress to Duncan's education policies?

Tell me what you think is going on.


Washington Post Answer Sheet



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