NAICU Washington Update

Congress Challenges Administration’s Higher Ed Proposals

March 23, 2012

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan had a rough go of it yesterday at a House Appropriations Committee hearing on the administration's higher education budget proposals.

Duncan was criticized by Democrats for not providing enough support for existing programs, and by Republicans for proposing too much new spending. The hearing illustrated how unlikely it is Congress will approve any major new higher education initiatives this election year.

There also is growing resentment in Congress over the secretary's practice of putting tight strings, not approved by Congress, on federal money. This is especially evident in the department's use of stimulus funds to design Race to the Top. The robust elementary and secondary reform program is causing consternation in many states and school districts because of its prescriptive approach, including a heavy emphasis on student testing.

MORE News from NAICU