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House Panel Could Propose Elimination of 40+ Programs

The House Education and the Workforce Committee is putting the finishing touches on a bill that could eliminate more than 40 programs, advocates say. That just about cuts in half the number of programs that are authorized under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

Here's a sneak preview. (Important caveat: The bill hasn't been introduced yet, so I have not been able to confirm that this is the final list.)

The list of cuts includes some programs lawmakers see as duplicative or not really an appropriate role for the federal government (such as the $27 million Foreign Language Assistance Program, and the $34.3 million Native Hawaiian Education program.) Those activities can be funded through Title I grants for districts, the argument goes.

Others on the list were written into law but never got money from Congress (such as the Healthy, High-Performance Schools program, which was supposed to provide grants to help schools reduce energy use.)

Others haven't gotten money in a long time (such as the Star Schools distance learning program, which was lasted funded way back in 2007, when it got just $11.5 million.)

Some were just scrapped in the recent budget, including the Even Start Family Literacy Program, Improving Literacy Through School Libraries, Educational Technology state grants, and Striving Readers.

And others were slated for consolidation by President Obama in his fiscal year 2012 budget request. Those include Teaching American History, School Leadership, and Elementary and Secondary School Counseling. Obama wanted to funnel those programs into broader funding streams; the bill would eliminate them altogether.

There are some that don't seem likely to cause major headaches politically, like the Community Technology Centers program, which hasn't seen a dime from the feds in more than five years.

Others have the potential to cause more consternation, like the elimination of the $50 million High School Graduation Initiative, a program that President Obama created.

Quick civics lesson: It's important to note that this is not a spending bill. The House Education and the Workforce Committee creates programs through what's known as authorizations. But it doesn't actually provide the money. That's up to the House Appropriations Committee.

This bill would seek to get rid of programs by scrapping their authorizations. That means the folks on the Appropriations Committee have to stop giving them money.

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