U.S. House strips charter school, merit pay money from funding bill

Education Week reports that the U.S. House of Representatives has cut funding for education spending aimed at reform. The House cut $200 million for the Teacher Incentive Fund (merit pay) and $100 million for charter school startups. The money will be diverted to supplementing district budgets that exist today.

There’s a case to be made against federal funding of education, but if we are to have it, it should be for supplemental programs, not to shore up day-to-day operations. Unfortunately, that’s what the latest vote in the House is all about.

At Newsweek, meanwhile, Jonathan Alter says that Rep. David Obey (D-Wisc.), who authored the shift, “wants to cut from the terrific 5 percent of education spending devoted to exciting reform proposals, not the 95 percent that went for other things.”

Alter sees this as a missed opportunity: “After taking on the teachers’ unions with Race to the Top, Obama has decided to go easy on the unions when it comes to challenging seniority rules. How disappointing. Rigid ‘last hired, first fired’ rules are a disaster for schoolchildren.” He calls it “unconscionable.” Alter continues,  “Seniority systems might make some sense on assembly lines, but have no place in education.”

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