Blog

Your Education Road Map

Politics K-12®

ESSA. Congress. State chiefs. School spending. Elections. Education Week reporters keep watch on education policy and politics in the nation’s capital and in the states. Read more from this blog.

Federal

Education Shutdown Update: What’s Arne Duncan Doing?

By Alyson Klein — October 04, 2013 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

UPDATED

So are those 4,000 Department of Education employees on furlough getting paid during the shutdown? For now, they’re not, but they could be eligible for back pay under a bill authored by a cadre of Republican and Democratic lawmakers from the Washington area. The Obama administration supports the measure.

Since there doesn’t appear to be an end in sight to the shutdown, House Republicans are introducing a series of bills funding certain programs that have gotten political attention (including Head Start and Impact Aid) through the middle of December.

The bills aren’t likely to go very far— they’re a kind of political theater, since Democrats have made it clear that they oppose almost any approach to get at the budget problems in a piecemeal fashion. (But some Democrats do like the back-pay provision.) Essentially, Democrats are worried that if the budget deal is accomplished bit by bit, Congress could end up financing everything but the president’s health care law (which, after all, is at the root of the fiscal stalemate). The Republican contention: If lawmakers can agree to fund certain key programs that have felt an immediate squeeze from the shutdown ... shouldn’t they do it?

What do education advocates think? The Committee for Education Funding—which counts numerous K-12 organizations, including the National Education Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, among its members—isn’t a fan of the piecemeal approach and plans to send a letter to lawmakers saying so. Joel Packer, the executive director of the CEF, said he sees the Republican move to single out some education programs as essentail as “hypocritical”, given the deep cuts to domestic spending put forth in the House GOP Budget.

UPDATE: On Tuesday, the House approved a bill that would continue funding for Head Start through the shutdown. It’s still not likely to go anywhere in the Senate or be signed by the president.

And finally, what exactly is Secretary of Education Arne Duncan doing during the shutdown? He’s working out of his office, said Cameron French, a spokesman for the Education Department. He’s already had to cancel some appearences. Case in point: Duncan was supposed to attend NBC’s Education Nation in person—but he canceled because of the shutdown. Instead, he may participate in some events remotely.

Related Tags:

Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
What’s Next for Teaching and Learning? Key Trends for the New School Year
The past 18 months changed the face of education forever, leaving teachers, students, and families to adapt to unprecedented challenges in teaching and learning. As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Curriculum Webinar
How Data and Digital Curriculum Can Drive Personalized Instruction
As we return from an abnormal year, it’s an educator’s top priority to make sure the lessons learned under adversity positively impact students during the new school year. Digital curriculum has emerged from the pandemic
Content provided by Kiddom
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Leadership for Racial Equity in Schools and Beyond
While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to reveal systemic racial disparities in educational opportunity, there are revelations to which we can and must respond. Through conscientious efforts, using an intentional focus on race, school leaders can
Content provided by Corwin

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Federal Feds Add Florida to List of States Under Investigation Over Restrictions on Mask Mandates
The Education Department told the state Sept. 10 it will probe whether its mask rule is violating the rights of students with disabilities.
3 min read
Surrounded by lawmakers, Florida Gov.Ron DeSantis speaks at the end of a legislative session on April 30, 2021, in Tallahassee, Fla.
Surrounded by lawmakers, Florida Gov.Ron DeSantis speaks at the end of a legislative session on April 30, 2021, in Tallahassee, Fla.
Wilfredo Lee/AP
Federal How Biden Will Mandate Teacher Vaccines, Testing in Some States That Don't Require Them
President Joe Biden's COVID-19 plan will create new teacher vaccination and testing requirements in some states through worker safety rules.
4 min read
Nurse Sara Muela, left, administers the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to educator Rebecca Titus at a vaccination site setup for teachers and school staff at the Berks County Intermediate Unit in Reading, Pa., on March 15, 2021.
Nurse Sara Muela administers a COVID-19 vaccine to educator Rebecca Titus at a vaccination site for at the Berks County Intermediate Unit in Reading, Pa.
Matt Rourke/AP
Federal Biden Pushes Schools to Expand COVID-19 Testing, Get More Teachers Vaccinated
President Joe Biden set teacher vaccine requirements for federally operated schools as part of a new effort to drive down COVID's spread.
7 min read
President Joe Biden speaks in the State Dining Room at the White House, Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021, in Washington. Biden is announcing sweeping new federal vaccine requirements affecting as many as 100 million Americans in an all-out effort to increase COVID-19 vaccinations and curb the surging delta variant.
President Joe Biden in a speech from the White House announces sweeping new federal vaccine requirements and other efforts in an renewed effort to stem the COVID-19 pandemic.
Andrew Harnik/AP
Federal Education Department Opens Civil Rights Probes in 5 States That Ban School Mask Mandates
The move on behalf of students with disabilities deepens the fight over masks between the Biden administration and GOP governors.
4 min read
Kindergarten students sit in their classroom on the first day of in-person learning at Maurice Sendak Elementary School in Los Angeles on April 13, 2021.
Kindergarten students sit in their classroom on the first day of in-person learning at Maurice Sendak Elementary School in Los Angeles in April 2021.
Jae C. Hong/AP