This was just announced by Arne Duncan, President Obama's Secretary of Education. I find it to be a disgusting way to run the nation's schools. His priorities are so out of order.
Here are his words from Education Week today.
The Obama administration continued to turn up the volume on the magnitude of the sequestration cuts by bringing U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan before the White House press corps today to outline what will happen if these across-the-board cuts take effect next month.Well, I say to Arne, let's look back at what you did with all that money you were given to play with.
He warned of $725 million in cuts to Title I, and $600 million to special education.
He cited one district in West Virginia that has already sent out layoff notices, and warned that more will flood the zone in March and April.
And to the critics who say he has discretion within his agency to mitigate the harmful effects of cuts, he replied: "It's not true." He said "there's nowhere to go" except to cut Title I and special education funding, which together comprise $25 billion of the department's budget. "You're hurting poor kids or you're hurting special needs."
Teach for America was given at least 50 million, although they had failed the Department of Education audit. Really? You had no choice? Audit in 2008.
In 2010 TFA was set to receive 50 million from the federal government, though I hear the new Republican majority may be taking part of those funds away. I can not find reference to these problems being corrected since the audit...only the words of Kevin Huffman saying they would be fixed.
The Department of Education Inspector General examined a small slice of the group's federal funding. What they found was shocking. In all, Teach for America failed to account for half the money audited. Time and time again the audit said there were no basic records or receipts: None for a $123,878 training expense; none for a $342,428 bill.There was an article about Arne Duncan in Time September 2009. I love the title. Especially now that he says he has no choice except to cut Title I and Special Education.
Teach for America vice president Kevin Huffman chalks it up to poor record keeping.
"We're confident, we're confident that we spent the money on the training of new teachers," Huffman said.
Attkisson said: "There was no agenda; no description of meals; no list of attendees. That sounds like a little more than sloppy bookkeeping."
On some weekends, when the rest of Washington is on the back nine or a racquetball court, Arne Duncan (whose first name is pronounced Are-knee) can be found playing in three-on-three street-ball tournaments across the nation. On a muggy, overcast Saturday in late July, while 50 Cent's "I Get Money" blares from a set of speakers, the former head of the Chicago Public Schools pounds the blacktop, alternating between playing intensely and walking off to take calls on his BlackBerry. Almost none of the other ballers know who the white dude with the salt-and-pepper hair is, and even fewer expect him to last long in the tournament. And yet his team goes on to win every game (20-10, 20-6, 18-9, 20-11, 20-10, etc.) and eventually the grand prize of $10,000.And just who is getting that money?
That may sound like a lot of money--Duncan plans to give his share to charity--but it's chump change compared with the kind of cash he gets to play with at work. The economic-stimulus bill passed by Congress in February included $100 billion in new education spending. Of that total, Duncan has $5 billion in discretionary funding. That money alone makes him the most powerful Education Secretary ever. "I had very little--in the single-digit millions," says Margaret Spellings, Duncan's predecessor. "That's millions, with an m."
Duncan's choices could have a transformative impact on America's beleaguered public-education system. On July 24, he stood beside President Barack Obama and announced the guidelines for states to compete for most of that cash. The $4.35 billion Race to the Top (RTT) fund lets states apply for grants that focus on a short list of reforms guaranteed to anger one of the Democratic Party's core constituencies, the teachers' unions. (The remaining $650 million will go to innovative local school districts and nonprofits.) With Duncan handling the ball, the Obama Administration is about to square off with the unions over perhaps the most controversial classroom issue of all: the idea that teachers should be held accountable for the success or failure of their students.So now I find it intolerable that he is announcing that "there's nowhere to go" except hurting the poor and those who need special education.
Now that all that money has been given to states that toe Arne's line on charter schools, merit pay and all things that reformers love.....now he says he has to cut Title I and Special Ed.
One of the billionaire reformers once said that with the appointment of Arne Duncan the stars were aligned.
He meant the stars were aligned for them, not for the rest of us. He was right.