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Kline Teacher Proposal Would Create Winners and Losers

By Alyson Klein — February 01, 2012 2 min read
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States that have seen big explosions in population—including Nevada, Utah, and Arizona—also would see a big jump in federal funding for teacher quality under a little-noticed provision of a draft bill to renew the No Child Left Behind Act, introduced by U.S. Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., the chairman of the House education committee.

But other states that have lost people in recent years—including New York, Michigan, and Kline’s home state of Minnesota—would see a dip in funding, according to an analysis Center for American Progress, a think tank in Washington that champions progressive policies.

The reason? Kline’s proposal would change the formula for distributing about $3 billion in Improving Teacher Quality State grant money, or Title II, in Washington-wonkspeak. The funds help states provide professional development, reduce class size, and generally boost teacher quality.

Right now, that money is distributed largely based on poverty (65 percent) as opposed to population (35 percent). The Kline proposal would change that to 50-50.

For some states, the change would be a big deal. Nevada (home to U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, the Democratic majority leader) would see a huge jump of 57.5 percent in its teacher quality money, from $12.4 million in fiscal 2012 to $19.6 million under the bill’s formula.

But West Virginia would lose 38.3 percent of its funding, bringing it down to $12.6 million in fiscal 2012. New York, which has a huge, influential delegation in the House, wouldn’t be far behind. It would lose 32.2 percent of its funding, or $63 million, bringing its total to $132.5 million.

In other cases, the shifts would be pretty small. Missouri, for instance, would only lose 0.6 percent of its nearly $42 million in funding that it got this year, or about nearly $260,000. And Kansas, which gets about $19.2 million would see only a 1.2 percent jump, or nearly $230,000. Thirteen states would break even under the change.

CAP, for one, is not a fan of the formula shift. The organization wrote that the change “would substantially dilute” the program’s focus on the neediest students. “The clearest loser, however, is a federal focus on redressing poverty,” write the report’s authors, Jeremy Ayers, a senior education policy analyst, and Raegan Miller, the associate director for education research.

And teacher-quality money may not be the only formula fight. U.S. Rep. Glenn Thompson, R-Pa., introduced a bipartisan bill that seeks to ensure that high-poverty rural schools get their fair share of Title I money, which provides grants for disadvantaged students. That’s sure to pit big suburban districts (like Montgomery County, Md.) against smaller rural areas, including parts of rural Pennsylvania.

There are lots of other goodies in the analysis, including a look at the draft’s decision to scrap maintenance of effort. Check out the whole thing here. (Title II chart starts on page 4.)

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