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Washington, D.C. (February 5, 2007) Today, President Bush delivered a $2.9 trillion spending plan to Congress, with only $56 billion proposed for Federal education programs. This is almost a $1.5 billion cut from the U.S. House’s passed Continuing Resolution (C.R.) for FY 2007.
“This is the time to ramp up investments in education to address the shortage of highly effective teachers and meet the needs of our diverse student population,” said Dr. Sharon Robinson, president and CEO of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE).
“The President is decreasing the federal government’s investment in our students and teachers at a time when our nation’s position in the global economy is threatened. This is short sighted. We need to invest in programs that have a proven track record, not untested speculative propositions.” she concluded.
The need for more teachers is immediate and ongoing, yet for FY 2008 the President proposed eliminating $59.7 million for the Teacher Quality Enhancement (TQE) Grant program and reducing the Improving Teacher Quality State Grants (funded through Title II of NCLB) by $100 million. TQE grants are the only Federally-funded program targeted at higher education-based teacher preparation programs. Through the grants, preparation programs have significantly strengthened their curriculum and clinical components and have increased the recruitment of teachers.
TQE grants provide critical support to schools of education to reform programs and build the capacity necessary to place a “highly qualified teacher” in every classroom as required by the No Child Left Behind Act. Federal funding for these grants has declined by more than $40 million since 2001 when funding status was set at $98 million.
An evaluation from May 2006 by the U.S. Department of Education, entitled, Partnerships for Reform: Changing Teacher Preparation Through the Title II HEA Partnership Program, Final Report offered the conclusion, “The Title II Partnership Grants Program is remarkable for the number and diversity of education entities it has involved and the breadth of different activities in which the individual partnerships have engaged in order to improve teacher preparation.”
“Despite the impact of TQE grants, the President has recommended eliminating the TQE program for the third year in a row. The good news is that Congress continues to restore funding for the program. We will certainly advocate on Capitol Hill for Congress to continue its support of the TQE program, however, it is extremely disappointing that the President undercuts the value of well-prepared teachers through advocating the elimination of a program that has a solid track record in strengthening teacher preparation,” says Dr. Jane West, vice president of government relations for AACTE.