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Budget’s impact on No Child Left Behind

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Tess Vigeland: Here’s one winner in the White House budget: schools. The proposal sets aside about $50 billion for education. But the White House plans to make schools work for that money. And that very well could mean big changes for the No Child Left Behind program.

Marketplace’s Nancy Marshall Genzer has more from Washington.

NANCY MARSHALL GENZER: No Child Left Behind is being left behind. The Obama administration wants to ditch much of former President Bush’s signature education policy. It judged schools on how students did on national tests. But it didn’t reduce funding for schools that didn’t do well. The Obama plan is more like — boost your grades, or you don’t get your allowance.

JACK JENNINGS: School districts will not be able to count on federal money year after year. They’re going to have to prove that they’ve increased test scores in order to get that money.

Jack Jennings is president of the Center on Education Policy. He says, right now, federal education money is doled out based on the number of students in a school district. The Obama administration wants some of that money to be awarded based on whether a school’s graduating seniors are ready for jobs or college.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan lays it out this way:

ARNE DUNCAN: My real desire is simply to have a high bar for the country, a common definition of success.

That definition is being hammered out by governors and top education officials from more than 40 states. Some of the proposed standards might not be welcomed by everyone. Teachers’ unions would be against any provision tying their evaluations to test scores.

Jeff Smink is vice president of policy at The National Summer Learning Association.

JEFF SMINK: A lot of groups may try and fight this if it does threaten funding, if it threatens some of the status quo that’s going on in education right now.

Congress has to sign off on the administration’s education proposals. Lawmakers are in the habit of snagging grants for their districts, regardless of test scores. The Obama administration wants to do away with that, too.

In Washington, I’m Nancy Marshall Genzer for Marketplace.

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