Obama Battles Against GOP Over Education Funding

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As the the Republican party looks to introduce its budget for fiscal 2016, President Obama says he’s prepared to fight for school funding and educational priorities rather than lose progress in these areas.

Education has been a hot point of contention between the Democratic White House and the Republican-run Congress as this year’s budget battle heats up, USA Today reports. The president’s main focus is going to be on educating every child and making sure less privileged districts get the attention they need. He’s also calling for a focus on low-performing schools, annual assessments and investments in special education and English-language learners.

“My hope is their budget reflects the priorities of educating every child,” Mr. Obama said during a meeting with education leaders at the White House. “The idea that we’d go backwards on that progress, in some cases for ideological reasons … that’s not the kind of legacy we want to leave for the next generation.”

Administration officials have also joined the battle against the GOP, saying that any plans to cut funding would hit urban districts with a higher percentage of black and latino students directly. The president also said that he wouldn’t tolerate this kind of isolation in the budget:

“There are a set of principles that are reflected in my budget, and I hope will be reflected in the Republican budget, but if it is not, then we’re going to have to have a major debate.”

The Department of Education said recently that high school graduation rates for a lot of minority groups has increased, however black, Hispanic and American Indian students still lag behind in a lot of areas.

Among these statistics, 81.4 percent of students graduated with a high school diploma. Black students in comparison only reached a rate of 70.7 percent, with Hispanics at 75.2 percent and American Indian students at 69.7 percent.

To combat these statistics, the No Child Left Behind law, which was signed in 2002, was introduced to set the focus on the performance of poor, disabled, non-English speaking and other minority students in an attempt to improve the outcome for these students. This has led to complaints from both Republicans and Democrats, however, saying that many of the requirements are unfeasible. Both the education and political communities are hoping for an updated re-write of the law in the current legislative session.

However, conflict between parties has made the progress and future of a re-write uncertain. The federal role is under constant evaluation in terms of just how much the federal government should play a part in identifying and fixing broken schools around the country.