STATEMENT: Cynthia Brown Opposes Proposal to Eliminate $800 Million from Race to the Top and Other Education Reform Programs

Cynthia Brown, Vice President for Education Policy at Center for American Progress, is against cutting funds from Race to the Top and other education reform programs.

Washington, D.C. – Faced with large budget deficits, school districts across the nation are predicting deep job cuts, and the country might soon see thousands of teacher layoffs. But the solution is not to cut money from effective education programs, and we respectfully oppose Chairman David Obey’s proposal to make large cuts to reform-minded federal education programs. As part of an amendment to a supplemental war spending bill, Obey has proposed the elimination of $500 million from the Race to the Top fund, $200 million from the Teacher Incentive Fund, and $100 million from federal charter schools programs.

These three programs are among the most innovative and promising federal programs for leveraging education reforms. While Race to the Top has only been in existence for a short time, it has yielded some of the most dramatic state education reforms the country has seen in many years. These changes include a new law in Colorado that ensures all teachers receive a meaningful evaluation, a raise in standards for teacher tenure, and measures that ensure that ineffective teachers who don’t improve are not teaching students.

We support the intentions behind Chairman Obey’s proposal. We share the chairman’s concern over the potential for large numbers of teacher layoffs and what that might mean for schools, students, and the future of our economy. But we believe there are other ways to protect jobs and support the administration’s innovative education programs like the Race to the Top fund. And despite the economic downturn, our nation must continue to push for school reform. We cannot continue to put dollars in our nation’s languishing school system without making demands for change.