AACTE Lauds President’s FY12 Budget for Increased Investment in Education; Denounces House Cuts in FY11 Continuing Resolution

Official AACTE Statement

For interviews, contact: Lisa Johnson
 202-478-4502 or ljohnson@aacte.org

FY12 Funding Emphasizes Programs to Enhance Quality Educator Preparation

(Feb. 16, 2011, Washington, D.C.) – The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) commends the increase in funding for education in President Barack Obama’s FY 2012 budget proposal. The Association is encouraged by the President’s clear commitment to investing in our nation’s future and promoting economic recovery through strengthening America’s PK-12 schools and institutions of higher education.

At the same time, AACTE is troubled that this impending progress is clouded by the proposal put forth in the U.S. House of Representatives to cut investment in education significantly. While the President’s budget seeks to increase education funding by $7.5 billion, the FY 2011 Continuing Resolution seeks to cut $10.6 billion, or 15.4 percent, from federal education spending. The House’s FY11 Continuing Resolution moves in the wrong direction by decimating critical education investments that will result in teachers and other school personnel losing their jobs.

President Obama’s budget proposes $40 million in new funding for the Hawkins Centers of Excellence program, an investment to strengthen the educator preparation programs in our nation’s minority serving institutions. This is a wise investment that will increase the diversity of our educator workforce.

The President’s budget also proposes a new program for educator preparation called the Presidential Teaching Fellows. This initiative reflects many of the reforms that AACTE has long supported, such as building useful data systems that would allow colleges of education to follow their graduates and understand their effectiveness in the classroom. It would also support state development and implementation of assessments of teacher candidates’ performance – an essential component of educator preparation reform and one that is well underway in 21 states. While many details of the Presidential Teaching Fellows program are yet to be determined, the proposal represents a sound strategy for continuing reforms in educator preparation. AACTE welcomes the opportunity to work with the Administration and Congress to refine the proposal and ensure a level playing field for higher education providers and alternate providers.

The President’s budget re-purposes existing funds by proposing $80 million to prepare 10,000 teachers in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields and bring a greater focus to the subjects. These funds represent a set-aside in a consolidated authority that merges five existing programs. For the National Science Foundation, the President proposes to use $10 million from the Noyce Scholarship Program and $10 million from the Math and Science Partnership to create a new teacher-training research program called Teacher Learning for the Future. In cooperation with the Department of Education, this program would fund new initiatives to design, develop, implement and test new teacher training programs.

The President’s budget is not without its pitfalls. Unfortunately it recommends the elimination of the TEACH grants and the consolidation of the Teacher Quality Partnership Grants – two critical reform components for educator preparation. AACTE will work hard to retain these programs as they are essential to producing strong teacher candidates and moving forward the transformation of educator preparation in higher education. Both programs are in the very early stages of implementation and warrant continued support.

AACTE looks forward to working collaboratively with the Administration and Congress to finalize a robust investment in the preparation of an educator workforce that is so critical to our nation’s economic recovery and future.

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