Duncan Underlines Top Federal Education Priorities
As the U.S. Department of Education prepares to disburse billions of dollars of economic-stimulus aid to states and school districts under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan sat down with Education Week to discuss the stimulus package, the 2010 budget, and his plans for implementing President Barack Obama’s education agenda. Questioning Mr. Duncan were reporters Alyson Klein, Michele McNeil, and Stephen Sawchuk. Here are some excerpts from the March 24 interview.
Q In the next couple of weeks, we are going to see the first chunk of stimulus money going out, and we are already starting to see reports of local school districts—even local governments—starting to question how states are going to use this stimulus money, particularly because it seems that some states are interested in plugging their overall budget deficits with education dollars, maybe shortchanging schools. How concerned are you about this trend? And what, if anything, can you do from your office?
A This is education money that is supposed to go to education. And we are going to work closely with states to make sure that the right thing is done. At the end of the day, we are putting out literally billions of dollars. We are also holding back billions of dollars, and if we see states doing things that don’t make sense and aren’t in the spirit of what this is about, they would put themselves at jeopardy in receiving that...
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