Lawmaker: Shift ‘Race’ money to jobs

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Money earmarked for education reform would go instead to education jobs under a proposal by the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, The Washington Post reported.

Rep. David R. Obey, D-Wisconsin, wants to move about $800 million out of the Race to the Top and other federal education programs and put it toward a $10 billion education jobs bill, according to The Post. The shift would be accomplished by tacking it to a military spending bill.

The Post reported that the idea is likely to force debate among Democrats about federal aid to schools. Some believe it should be spread widely, as through an education jobs bill, The Post reported, while others argue that a significant portion should be set aside for the most innovative states and schools, as the Race to the Top envisions.

Tim Daly, president of the New Teacher Project, predicted that state education officials would be "enraged" at cuts in the Race program, since many states (including Michigan) adopted reform measures to become more competitive for funding.

Ellis Brachman, an Obey spokesman, told The Post that the appropriations chairman believes there is a threat of massive teacher layoffs across the country. Peter Cunningham, assistant education secretary for communications, said that the country should not have to choose between jobs and reform, given that other areas of the federal budget could be cut.

The Washington Post, "Lawmakers wants to shift some 'Race to the Top' funds to prevent teacher layoffs," June 30, 2010

Michigan Education Report, "Jobs-and-reform mostly jobs-and-jobs," Jan. 21, 2010