Obama would end Teach for America Funding

2.12.10 – Guaranteed allocation would be lost, but it could compete for larger pool

Obama would end Teach for America Funding

Guaranteed allocation would be lost, but it could compete for larger pool.

Teach for America, which enlists recent college graduates for two-year stints in some of the nation’s most troubled public schools, would lose its uncontested claim on $18 million in federal funding under an Obama administration proposal to launch a grant competition for teacher training programs.

At first blush, the proposal to end Teach for America‘s noncompetitive grant seems a surprising setback for a program viewed favorably by federal officials, lawmakers and philanthropists with influence in public education.

But Education Secretary Arne Duncan said the proposal to merge that funding with other programs, if approved by Congress, would make $235 million available for initiatives to recruit and prepare teachers for high-need schools.

“We think there’s a chance for programs that are doing a great job to actually increase their funding,” Duncan told reporters last week when asked about Teach for America. “It’s an expanded pool of resources and we want the best to rise to the top. . . . There’s a big, big opportunity out there for high performers.”

But leaders of the 20-year-old nonprofit organization, based in New York, have expressed concerns about the budget proposal because they are counting on federal funding to help finance an expansion. So a dedicated grant could be more valuable to the organization than the chance to win more money.

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February 11th, 2010

Jimmy Kilpatrick

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