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Wednesday, July 14, 2010
No money for Hawaii DoE? Congressional Dems strip Obama’s RTTT funds
By Selected News Articles @ 12:50 PM :: 7110 Views :: Energy, Environment, National News, Ethics

Sup't Matayoshi and some members of the Hawaii BoE are still trying to act as if Hawaii DoE actually has a chance to receive these soon-to-be-non-existent Race To The Top funds.

For instance SA reports: “Diplomas might get harder to earn” with this little tidbit

The BOE's Committee on Curriculum, Instruction and Student Support voted 4-3 yesterday to advance the proposal, with several members expressing concerns about how the Department of Education would fund the facilities upgrades, personnel and professional development needed to implement the new requirements….

Yesterday, BOE Chairman Garrett Toguchi voted against the new requirements, along with members Lei Ahu Isa and Kim Coco Iwamoto.

Toguchi said he did not support the changes because the DOE has not provided enough information about how they will be implemented.

"We don't know what the cost is," he said.

and HNN reports today:

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii's future high school students might need to hit the books a little harder. A Board of Education committee voted to increase graduation requirements.

Beginning in 2018, students would need to take additional math, science and writing classes, and complete a senior project.

It's part of the DOE's application to receive more than $70 million in federal funding. (This refers to RTTT funds.)

The unions will review the plan before the full board votes.

This POLITICO article explains the reality, we have added (RTTT) everywhere in the article in which a reference is made which includes RTTT funds.  While reading this, be sure to take a moment and bask in the glory that is Obama….


POLITICO: The Dems' education debacle
by: David Rogers July 13, 2010 

Education for Democrats these days is an education itself — a lesson in how dysfunctional this White House and Congress can be on domestic policy.

Finding $10 billion in a multitrillion-dollar budget to avert threatened teacher layoffs — months before the midterm elections — would seem a shared goal for the party. Instead, it’s produced veto threats, stalled war funding and created a destructive divide between job-hungry lawmakers and a White House anxious to burnish its business credentials at the expense of teacher unions (by pushing RTTT).

Old resentments, rooted in the Democratic back stabbing that followed the giant economic recovery act last year, have resurfaced. The personal trumps the practical, and each side feels so backed into a corner that neither is really communicating.

In the runup to the July Fourth 4 recess, it got to the point that President Barack Obama personally appealed to Speaker Nancy Pelosi to intercede and protect education reform funds (RTTT) from being cut to pay for the teachers’ jobs. Rebuffed, Obama then put down his marker: a late-breaking veto threat. But this only further united House Democrats — all but 15 of whom joined in a shot across the bow of the president.

“I think their veto threat helped us pass the amendment,” House Appropriations Committee Chairman Dave Obey (D-Wis.) told POLITICO. “There are so many members of our caucus who think that this administration is willing to use members of Congress as cannon fodder. I think they were looking for a chance to send a message to the administration.”

The White House knives are out now for Obey, and there’s no love lost between the chairman’s camp and Obama’s sputtering chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel.

But as Congress returns this week, the greater danger is the overwhelming sense of drift. Asked Monday what the next step would be, Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) was anything but certain. “I wish I knew; I really mean that,” he said in a brief Capitol interview.

In fact, the Senate has thus far ducked the teacher crisis and shows no appetite for engaging it without Republican support. The Pentagon’s pockets are deep enough to survive a few more weeks of delayed war funding: “The services will find the money to fund our operations in Afghanistan. I’m convinced of that,” Gen. David Petraeus told senators recently. But with the Kabul Conference next week, important State Department operations in Afghanistan are being squeezed — not to mention Iraq funding and Haiti earthquake relief. And as hurricane season approaches, the Federal Emergency Management Agency is running on fumes.

What this window affords lawmakers and the White House is time to sort through the wreckage — and perhaps learn from past mistakes.

One myth that’s grown up around the fight is that the $10 billion for the teachers was added by House Democrats as a way to get liberal support for Obama’s underlying Afghanistan war-funding request. But a closer look at the House votes on July 1 shows that the $33 billion for the Pentagon was never in serious danger.

Only 22 Democrats supported a motion to strike it entirely; just 93 backed a second amendment directing that the added funds be used only for the purpose of a U.S. withdrawal. A third amendment — backed by Pelosi and a majority of Democrats — did seek to impose conditions on Obama in an effort to get him to give a clearer time frame for a U.S. withdrawal. But this failed also, 260-162, and was opposed by a significant bloc of 98 Democrats.

The real House dynamic was a last-ditch attempt by Democrats to get Obama focused on a state-and-local government crisis that many lawmakers believe the administration has been slow to recognize.

“There’s no strategy there,” House Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller (D-Calif.) told POLITICO, and all spring the administration has been at war with itself over how to proceed. A letter of endorsement from Education Secretary Arne Duncan arrived an hour after the Senate Appropriations Committee completed its markup of the war-funding bill May. 13. Then the White House stayed silent on the issue when the bill came to the floor, and even Monday, after all the rhetoric, there was no formal budget request.

Obama and Duncan have embraced the teachers initiative, but the administration’s approach has been too cute for many Democrats. A famous Saturday night letter to Congress, for example, was leaked to the Sunday papers before it even got to House and Senate leaders. And the one point at which the White House seemed fully engaged was when it felt threatened by plans to take $800 million from Obama’s education reforms (mostly RTTT) to help pay for the teachers fund.

Most sensitive was $500 million coming from unspent recovery act funds designated for the president’s Race to the Top (RTTT) school initiative. This hit a raw nerve for the administration, which says it wanted as much as $15 billion for education reforms in the stimulus bill and reluctantly agreed to come down to $5 billion. To see that pot of money threatened was too much for the president and Duncan; thus, the quick-strike veto threat.

Election-year politics may also have had a hand. By taking such a high-profile veto stand, the White House played to business allies and wealthy donors who share resentment toward teacher unions that are opposed to education reforms (RTTT).

Going into November’s elections, the administration is now actively trying to counter critics who contend Obama shows an “anti-business” attitude. The teacher unions make a convenient foil, and Emanuel has argued that business should respect Obama’s willingness to stand up for education reform (RTTT) at the expense of labor.

Obey hurt his cause by framing a set of budget choices that pitted reform funds (RTTT) against the teachers. But the chairman would argue that he was in an untenable situation and that these were the cards he was dealt under the new anti-deficit politics in the Democratic Caucus.

After all, when the teachers fight began months ago, the measure was to be $23 billion in new emergency aid. Obey cut that in half and then paid for it to placate moderates who didn’t want to add to the longterm deficit.

“They said it was their signature program, I know that,” Obey said of the White House. But he also cut from favorites of his own, such as expanding broadband computer access to rural areas like his district.

“My top priority in the whole stimulus package was broadband, and we cut over $600 million out of broadband. I was trying to demonstrate to people that if they were unhappy about my cutting their priorities, welcome to the club, I’ve cut my own.”

“There’s a lot I don’t know about this administration,” Obey said.

© 2010 Capitol News Company, LLC


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