More Conflict Over Cutting Federal Role in Education


Reposted from the New York Times:

On Monday, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan released new data that he said showed that the Republican proposal for the reauthorization of No Child Left Behind could be detrimental to school districts with a high percentage of low-income students, which receive extra money under the current law. Under the proposal, states could let students take their funding to the public school of their choice, an approach known as portability. Mr. Duncan said the largest school districts with high concentrations of black and Hispanic students could lose more than $3 billion in federal funding over the next six years under the Republican plan.

Representative John Kline, Republican of Minnesota and chairman of the House Education Committee called Mr. Duncan’s numbers scare tactics. He said that portability would be an option, not a requirement, and that Mr. Duncan’s figures were based on the premise that President Obama’s proposed budget would go into effect.

A report this month by the left-leaning Center for American Progress found that portability would help affluent school districts at the expense of poorer ones. If Illinois, for example, adopted portability, the Chicago schools could lose more than $64 million, the report said, while the more affluent suburb of Naperville could get an extra $380,000. The Republican bill would dismantle much of No Child Left Behind, including requirements that schools make “adequate yearly progress” toward proficiency for all students and that teachers have certain credentials. The legislation would not change testing requirements that have generated widespread opposition, but it would give states flexibility to decide what tests to use.

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