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22 October 2011

Repudiation: Proposed Education Cuts

A blog entry at Education Week discusses thirty-one education programs that House Republicans would like to cut.  Some parts of the proposed legislation look good

It would boost Title I grants to districts for education disadvantaged kids by $1 billion, to nearly $16 billion. And it would increase special education funding by $1.2 billion, to $13.7 million.

Other parts have me very concerned.  Of the thirty-one programs cut, Education week cites these

School Leadership - $29.2 million
Arts in Education - $27.2 million
Advanced Placement - $43.3 million
Carol M. White Physical Education Program - $78.8 million
Ready to Learn Television - $27.2 million
Elementary and Secondary School Counseling - $52.4 million
Mathematics and Science Partnerships - $175 million
High School Graduation Initiative - $48.9 million
Teaching American History - $45.9 million

Some of these jump out at me as reasons for concern.  Arts, American History, Math and Science Partnerships.  While it is important to get the budget under control, these are not areas that should be cut.  We have been seeing a lot of teen suicides in the news, but they want to cut school counseling.

Because I have been a long-time AP teacher (since the mid-1990s), I received a memo from the College Board about what the funding cut to Advanced Placement means.  Part of that memo says

These funds have helped a significant number of low-income students earn scores of 3 or higher on AP Exams. Before the funding, only 40,000 low-income students were earning AP scores of 3+, while now more than 220,000 low-income students per year are achieving such scores.

This is a merit-based incentive that they want to cut.  While no program, including the advanced placement programs, is perfect, these give worthy students an important leg up.  There may be good parts to the Republican House proposed legislation, but it should be rethought to include extant education programs that work.

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