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White House and Duncan: Think Both Jobs and Reform

By Alyson Klein — July 15, 2010 1 min read

Melody Barnes, who works on K-12 issues at the White House, told reporters today that President Obama really, really wants to see money to help save education jobs. But the president doesn’t want it to come at the expense of his education redesign priorities.

“We don’t have to make a choice between reform and making sure that teachers will stay in the classroom,” Barnes said on a media conference call in which the administration worked to get out the message to reporters that Congress should a) pass edujobs, and b) use something other than top White House education initiatives as an offset.

That’s not different from what the administration said earlier this month. But it’s important to note that officials want to share the message with a broader audience. To help underscore the point, the department invited state chiefs, including Eric J. Smith from Florida, to the call. Smith, whose state was a Round 1 finalist in Race to the Top, spoke about how that competition has helped move the needle on reform in his state.

So just which programs would U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan want to cut instead? He wouldn’t specify that on the call today.