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Obama's Education Secretary Blasts Republican Schools Budget

Arne Duncan lambasted education cuts in Rep. Paul Ryan's proposed budget following a Wednesday address at Perry Hall High School.

On the day President Barack Obama released an ad criticizing the education plan of his Republican presidential opponents, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan spoke to Baltimore County educators about the need to invest in education.

"Reform is important ... unfortunately, America is slipping," Duncan said Wednesday during a speech at .

The address was part of a school system professional development event.

Find more photos from the speech on Patch. 

The said that the Democratic president had already spent about $60 billion to keep teachers in the classroom, and was looking to spend an additional $25 billion on that effort.

"[Obama] fundamentally believes in education as the pathway out of poverty, and a pathway to a strong and secure future," said Duncan, an Obama appointee.

As a main focal point, Duncan said that teachers—which he called the "heart and soul of the education system"—deserve better pay. He noted that about half of young teachers starting in the school system leave within five years. Some bright minds don't even consider the profession because of the low salaries, he added.

The Obama administration has asked Congress for $5 billion "to get the ball rolling," he said.

"I know that none of you went into education to get rich," he told the audience of educators. "But you shouldn't have to take a vow of poverty either."

A teacher from asked the secretary how teachers would receive the $60,000 to $120,000 salaries the Obama administration proposes given local jurisdictions' financial issues. Duncan responded that at the federal, state and local level, school officials would need to look at existing pots of funding and make the salaries a priority.

At a press briefing following the address, Duncan criticized the 20 percent in education cuts called for in presumed Republican vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan's budget plan. Duncan said Ryan's proposed cuts would include more that $2 billion from struggling Title I schools and $3 billion from special education programs.

"Well, I just think...that education is an investment, not an expense," Duncan said.

Additionally, Duncan pointed to the , rise of technology and communication efforts such as The RESPECT Project (Recognizing Educational Success, Professional Excellence and Collaborative Teaching), which promotes a national conversation among educators and school officials, as essential to reforming education in the country.

"We're asking more from all of us...because this is how we get better," he said.

, the 2011-2012 Maryland Teacher of the Year, said he appreciated Duncan's collaborative spirit.

"I thought [Duncan's presentation] was well thought out," Parker said. "The groundwork is there, now we'll just have to wait on the legs."

Perry Hall Patch Editor Emily Kimball contributed to this report.

Tim August 24, 2012 at 12:50 PM
Joe: Please, Mitch McConnell may as well have been the founder of the filibuster. Reid is just giving him the same treatment now. You must have selective memory. Again, it's a Congress failure, not an individual party. I'm not quite sure where you are getting this 'middle of the pack' approval of the House - probably faux news. Here's a link I can actually prove though: Congressional Job Approval - August, i.e. current: in the mid teens. http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/other/congressional_job_approval-903.html Also here, to prove it's not one party or the other: http://www.ropercenter.uconn.edu/data_access/tag/congressional_approval.html Republican Disapproval: 68% Democratic Disapproval: 62% Data for this is last month ^^^^^^
Tim August 24, 2012 at 12:54 PM
Joe: Who's lazier. The person who doesn't manually search keywords of someone's text in google, or the person who fails to post a link in this first place. Quit while you are behind Joe, it's becoming apparent you simply can't hang. It's okay.
Joe August 24, 2012 at 12:57 PM
Tim, sorry I don;t post as you like. Keeping up is not a goal in my life. I would have to go backwards to catch you son.
BadStatistics August 24, 2012 at 01:06 PM
I think Strom Thurmond is the actual undefeated king of filibusters. 24 hours and 18 minutes of Strom. The movie.
BadStatistics August 24, 2012 at 01:14 PM
Am I the only one around here who knows that the government in Washington, D.C. has nothing to do with running your schools? The major issue with any federal education movement is that there is no enforcement mechanism to keep it running and running smoothly. Ultimately the federal government has to let the State's decide how they want to implement their version of a federal idea, and the federal government then supplies the funds that would be used to implement this idea. After this approval by the federal government, the State government then funnels this money down to the local governments for distribution at the school level. Whom has in turn submitted their own plans to receive money from the feds to the State education arm. Most/All decisions regarding funding and curriculum occur at the local level though. Why do you think academic achievement is so closely tied to socio-economic status of the local district?

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