Education sees modest increase in Obama’s FY2012 budget

Appearing in Maryland, Obama declared: “We can’t sacrifice our future.” He said the country has a responsibility to commit money to areas that will help it compete against other nations, and he emphasized education as one such area.

The president spoke at Parkville Middle School near Baltimore, an institution that focuses on STEM.

Duncan noted that STEM teacher training programs are “critically important” to the president.

“We’ve had a shortage of STEM teachers in this country for a couple decades now,” Duncan said, adding that it is important that children of all ages, and not just those in high school, receive instruction from someone who is passionate about STEM.

“We think if we can do this well, the benefits for our children, and ultimately for our country and our country’s economy, are huge,” he said. “It’s no coincidence that the president unveiled his budget at a STEM middle school in Baltimore.”

Obama also requested $90 billion for the creation of a new educational technology agency called Advanced Research Projects Agency – Education, which would “support research on breakthrough technologies to enhance learning.”

The president pledged to work with lawmakers of both parties to come up with a budget that shows better fiscal discipline.

The proposed budget comes at a time when the No Child Left Behind Act is up for reauthorization. Democrats and Republicans alike have voiced a desire to revamp the law.

The president’s budget proposal will face stiff opposition from Republicans who now control the House of Representatives and who have pledged to reduce federal spending on all domestic programs, including education.

A Republican bill introduced on Feb. 11 proposes extensive cuts to education for the remaining fiscal year.

Laura Ascione

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