UPDATE 1-Obama outlines new education vision in budget

(Updates to add earlier education story)

By Lisa Lambert

WASHINGTON, Feb 1 (BestGrowthStock) – President Barack Obama
proposed an overhaul of how the U.S. government funds education
in his budget proposal on Monday as part of a “new vision” for
elementary and secondary schools.

To back the changes, the administration would add $3
billion to federal allotments for education. It would provide
an additional $1 billion once the landmark law passed last
decade known as “No Child Left Behind” is reauthorized.

The law and the federal government’s role in education have
come under fire in recent years, and Obama’s reforms take many
of the criticisms head on.

In his budget, the President said he seeks clearer
standards for student achievement, improved teacher skills and
more flexibility for states’ relationships with schools in the
law’s reauthorization.

The last suggestion will likely be welcomed by state
governments. On Monday, the National Conference of State
Legislatures released a scathing report, saying that in the
last decade the U.S. government’s interference with curriculum
and school reforms has hurt students.

The law has impossible and lengthy standards and
inadvertently punishes poor performing schools by withholding
money, the group, which represents state legislatures, said,
echoing concerns voiced by teachers’ groups.

It also said that local districts and states are closer to
students’ lives and understand their needs better, while the
U.S. government is too removed. For more, see [ID:nN29114409]

In comparison, he said, the U.S. government provides seven
cents of every dollar spent on education.

“States provide more funding for education than any other
government service. On average, one-third of state budgets are
devoted to supporting K-12 education alone,” said Bob Plymale,
a member of the West Virginia Senate, in a statement.

As part of the new version of the law, Obama would like 38
current programs consolidated into 11, emphasizing helping
teachers in poor schools and raising the rigor of academic

He would also expand the stimulus initiative known as “Race
to the Top” that funded new education innovations, especially
at semi-autonomous charter schools, and has added $490 million
in his budget for the charter school system. He would also
create a $500 million testing program to gauge the success of
various innovations.

But the conference warned that the Race to the Top applies
a “one-size-fits-all formula” to a diverse group of states.

In the budget, Obama also proposes giving $950 million of
competitive grants to states and school districts for
recruiting teachers and principals, as well as train them, and
$210 million to “Promise Neighborhoods,” to strengthen
community services for students.

Last month, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said the
administration will seek to improve the “bottom 1 percent” of
schools with the new funding and changes to the No Child law.

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(Reporting by Lisa Lambert; Editing by Andrew Hay)

UPDATE 1-Obama outlines new education vision in budget