Budget Brouhaha, Ignoring Early Education, and More (Washington DC/National News)

To be sure, it is hard to justify spending less on education, eliminating major programs without much consideration, and proposing new initiatives without any new money to pay for them.

And yet, it's amazing how universally critical the reaction has been to the President's proposed education budget for FY 2006 -- both among school advocates and, more surprisingly, education reporters and editors:

Both sides of aisle question Bush cuts Chicago Tribune
A Cut for Schools, a First for Bush New York Times
The 2006 Budget: Meeting the Nation's Priorities Whitehouse.gov
President's Budget Puts NCLB Implementation at Risk Market Wire
Schools bracing for Bush's budget cuts San Diego Union-Tribune
Bush wants education spending cuts
Critics: Bush budget guts school services
Schools bracing for Bush's budget cuts
Bush Budget Would Cut Millions From New York Services
Program for middle schoolers faces elimination Las Vegas Sun
Lynch proposes education risk index to determine school aid

What nearly everyone leaves out or hides is (a) the cuts in dollar terms were much smaller than they seemed from looking at the large number of small programs to be eliminated, (b) few of the cuts and eliminations are likely to actually make it through Congress (despite the fact that some of these programs are mangy dogs), and (c) as the NEA’s Joel Packer points out, no one is going to be forced to pack up and stop providing services immediately. Multi-year grants for programs on the chopping block such as Upward Bound, GEAR UP, and Talent Search would be honored in the Bush budget to the tune of $683 million in continuation grants.

In the meantime, it seems like nobody on the high schools bandwagon in Washington wants to talk about preschool or early childhood education, which would cost a lot and mean having to deal with Head Start, Reading First and its little sister Early Reading First and other scary things like testing little children.

Out there in the states, it seems, preschool is no less controversial and expensive, but much hotter than high school reform:

Is full-day kindergarten worth it? DE News Journal
A good start makes for a good finish American Educator
More Governors Want to Rate Early-Childhood Programs Ed Week
Rell Boosts Education Funding ... The Day
Major cash backing for city's preschools San Francisco Examiner
Head Start Group Releases Test Data Ed Week
The Pied Piper of Preschool New York Times

On a related note, two interesting pieces on reading programs:

Decode This! Eduwonk
Reading Program Didn't Boost Skills Los Angeles Times

Best of the Rest:

Taking Note of Federal Faith-Based Efforts Ed Week
Secretary says cultural issues should be decided at ... Houston Chronicle
Spellings inherits title, Cabinet post Houston Chronicle


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