WASHINGTON D.C.—U.S. Chamber of Commerce Senior Vice President and Counselor to the President, Arthur J. Rothkopf, issued the following statement today strongly opposing the House-passed funding cuts in key education reform initiatives under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), as offsets to broader education funding, and encouraged the Senate not to include these cuts in any legislation they consider:
“While the Chamber has reservations about many of the domestic spending proposals added as part of the emergency war funding, we are deeply concerned with the House-passed version which pays for these new programs in part by rescinding education reform funds provided under ARRA. Under ARRA, nearly $100 billion was appropriated to help prevent teacher layoffs while just a fraction was set aside to drive much needed reform. Nevertheless, this small pot of funding, which has supported the ‘Race to the Top,’ the Teacher Incentive Fund, and charter schools has done more to spur lasting changes at the state level than the combined federal expenditure on education last year.
“The Race to the Top fund has resulted in over three dozen states passing laws to open more charter schools, push for improved teacher incentive systems, and make needed reforms at turning around chronically low-performing schools. It is a monumental step backward for Congress to tell state schools and educators ‘never mind.’ The need for education reform does not end during tough economic times—if anything—it becomes more urgent. The efforts of some in Congress to cut funds from three of the most important programs targeted at turning around our failing schools must not stand. The forces supporting more of the same old funding must not be allowed to carry the day.”
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.