by Jessica Wehrman
Scripps Howard News Service
February 07, 2005
Fifteen of the 48 programs cost $5 million or less, and Education Secretary Margaret Spellings said, "It's hard to get critical mass for a national program in 50 states, the District of Columbia and the territories with small amounts."
The focus instead, she said, has been putting money in a pot of funding aimed at beefing up the educational quality for high schools, as well as boosting Pell Grants.
Among the funding cuts in education programs in Bush's proposal:
School safety expert Ken Trump of National School Safety and Security Services said despite the shift, a cut is still a cut.
"At a time when we're protecting our bridges, monuments and the halls of Capitol Hill with greater funding, it absolutely baffles me how anyone inside the Beltway can propose cutting any funding for school safety," he said.
Also on the chopping block: $94.5 million for grants to create smaller learning environments within large schools.
"All of the data I've looked at demonstrates kids do a lot better academically and socially in smaller learning environments," said former Rep. Baron Hill, an Indiana Democrat who got that provision into the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act. Hill said the administration has tried to eliminate it every year since then. This year, administration officials cited a decrease in applications and argued that there is a "lack of compelling evidence" on the program's effectiveness.
Richard Sterling, executive director of the National Writing Project, remains hopeful that friends in Congress will keep Bush's proposed $20 million cut to the National Writing Project from becoming a reality. The program promotes training teachers in writing.
"We believe they think well of the project," Sterling said of administration officials. "We hope there is a reconsideration of it."
Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service