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NEA, Education Organizations Urge 'No' Vote on Budget Bill

The House is set to consider the final, long-awaited budget compromise on Thursday.

But the National Education Association and other groups are none too happy with the agreement, which was announced less than an hour before the government was slated to shutdown.

The bill level-funds Title I grants to districts and special education, but makes cuts elsewhere, including eliminating the $100 million Educational Technology State Grants program and trimming afterschool and vocational education programs.

The measure also finances the District of Columbia voucher program. The NEA is not a fan of the program, which the union contends doesn't work. The funding in the bill means less money for cash-strapped, proven programs, the union argues. But Rep. John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, the Speaker of the House, sees the program as a necessary lifeline to students in poverty.

The NEA isn't the only group that opposes the budget bill. The American Association of School Administrators is also upset that the bill cuts a number of education programs, while funding the voucher program.

"We're happy that the [bill] is done. It allow members to finalize state and local budget as they brace for the funding cliff," said Noelle Ellerson, the assistant director of policy and advocacy at AASA. "We're really concerned about where the cuts were made in education," she said.

For instance, AASA is not happy that a portion of the Teacher Quality State Grants program will be set aside for competitive grants that could go to programs eliminated under a previous stopgap measure, including Teach for America and the National Writing Project.

The Committee for Education Funding also opposes the bill.

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