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Arne Duncan testifies on Obama's education budget request; distances himself from Common Core

Teach the Vote
Teach the Vote

Date Posted: 4/09/2014

Education Secretary Arne Duncan testified before the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor-HHS-Education on April 8 to discuss President Barack Obama's proposed education budget. In another bipartisan effort, representatives from both parties criticized the department's move to increase competitive grant opportunities while decreasing access to more traditional formula grant funds. According to ranking member Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), under the requested budget, the Department of Education would increase competitive grants by 6.9 percent while cutting formula grants by 4.9 percent. Members of the committee were particularly concerned about the effect this move would have on important formula grants like Title I, IDEA (the federal law governing the education of disabled students), and Impact Aid (federal money that is designed to help school districts that suffer due to the presence of tax-exempt federal properties). Secretary Duncan did acknowledge that the proposed budget favors competitive grants more so than in past years, but emphasized that 89 percent of the proposal is dedicated to formula grant funding. The secretary also made news for his comments at the hearing on Common Core. In what many are considering a change in his messaging, Secretary Duncan distanced himself from Common Core saying that he is a proponent of high standards but that does not necessarily require the adoption of Common Core. His comments followed Republican questioning on the moves the department has made to tie the adoption of the Common Core standards to Race to the Top, a competitive grant program overseen by the Department. Read Secretary Duncan's full testimony or watch the archived hearing.



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