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Education Budget Bill Clears House

The House of Representatives approved its version of the fiscal year 2010 budget bill, which we wrote about here and here. The big story here was a mega-increase for the Teacher Incentive Fund, a pay-for-performance program.

The bill was approved on a very partisan vote, which all you Congress-geeks out there can take a look at here.

The Obama administration released a statement yesterday, giving a thumbs up to the bill's major increase for the Teacher Incentive Fund, and a thumbs down to lawmakers' decision not to boost funding for the Title I school improvement grants by $1 billion. The House instead kept that money in Title I grants for districts.

The administration also asked for more money for the Innovation Fund, which was created under the stimulus and is meant to reward districts and nonprofits groups that make major gains in student achievement.

There weren't any major changes to the education provisions, although Rep. David Obey, D-Wis., the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, did introduce an amendment that made a few tweaks to the bill. It included an extra $10 million that can be used to replicate successful charter schools and he included $6.95 million for the Reach out and Read Program in the Fund for the Improvement of Education (which is sort of a slush fund that includes a number of programs).

Meanwhile today, 10 senators urged the Senate Appropriations Committee to include the full $487 million for the Teacher Incentive Fund in their version of the education spending bill. The Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education subcommittee could consider their bill as early as next week.

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