Literacy Wins, History Loses in Federal Budget
Foreign-language, civics, economics aid also scrapped
The budget compromise recently hammered out in Washington breathes new life into a major literacy initiative at the U.S. Department of Education, but wipes out federal aid for some other department programs targeting aspects of the curriculum, including instruction in American history and foreign languages.
Congress restored the moribund Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy program, which seeks to promote literacy from birth to the end of high school, as part of an omnibus spending bill for fiscal 2012 that President Barack Obama signed into law late last month. The literacy program, which only recently got off the ground, received no federal aid last fiscal year, but in a quirk of the budget process, money from the year before that is fueling $180 million in grants was awarded to six states in September.
"My reaction is one of gratitude and surprise," said Phillip Lovell, the vice president of federal advocacy for the Washington-based Alliance for Excellent Education, about the decision to keep Striving Readers going. "Like anything else in life, once something is gone, it's hard...
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