The Bush Budget: Where Good Education Programs Go To Die

President Bush’s proposed education budget for fiscal year 2005 eliminates 38 education programs, and underfunds the Bush Administration’s education flagship, the so-called No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) by $9.4 billion. The Bush budget also eliminates funding for the most respected teacher certification organization in the country and instead funnels millions to an untested certification organization backed by friends of the Administration.

“The proposed Bush education budget is where good education programs go to die,” said Ralph G. Neas, president of People For the American Way. “We have never before seen such a shameless disconnect between rhetoric and action.”

The proposed budget eliminates funding for the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS). NBPTS is a nonpartisan organization that is widely regarded as the nation’s premier teacher certification organization. Since its founding in 1987 under President Ronald Reagan, NBPTS has certified 32,000 teachers and run certification programs in all 50 states.

The Bush budget eliminates funding to NBPTS and instead allocates $7 million over and above the $35 million already allocated to the American Board for Certification of Teacher Excellence (ABCTE) under the Bush Administration. ABCTE grants teacher certifications without requiring aspiring teachers to take courses or enroll in college-level teacher preparation programs. Since its founding in 2001, the group has only tested 100 people. While ABCTE had agreements with the states of Idaho and Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania has since withdrawn from its agreement with the fledgling organization.

“The Bush budget hands millions of dollars to an inexperienced organization with no track record of success and virtually no clients,” said Nancy Keenan, director of education policy at People For the American Way. “Meanwhile, they pull the rug out from underneath the feet of a highly effective, highly respected organization that has served the nation for over 16 years. It is the equivalent of replacing the Red Cross with a candy striper.”

ABCTE was founded in part by the Education Leadership Council and the National Council on Teacher Quality. Both groups have close ties to the Administration and the voucher movement.

These connections are not surprising. People For the American Way Foundation (PFAWF) recently released an analysis of federal education grants and uncovered a pattern of major grants made to a small cadre of pro-voucher private advocacy groups. The funds diverted to these groups total more than $75 million over the last three years. The analysis is available at:

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