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Edujobs Bill Cuts $50 Million From Reading Program

The U.S. Senate gives to education, and at the same time takes away, it seems.

A much-debated federal measure to provide $10 billion to help avert teacher layoffs was approved by the Senate yesterday. To help pay for it, the bill has offsets, including stripping $50 million from Striving Readers, an adolescent-literacy program of the U.S. Department of Education. Another $10 million would come from eliminating all current-year funding for the Ready-to-Teach program.

For an overview of the legislation and the debate surrounding it, check out my colleague Alyson Klein's story.

Education budget guru Joel Packer, who heads the Committee for Education Funding, explained to me in an e-mail last night that the cuts to the two education programs involved money that had not yet been committed to particular grant recipients.

"Those are from [fiscal year 2010] unobligated funds—funds that have not yet been spent or awarded to states or school districts or other entities," he wrote. "For Striving Readers, the rescission, $50 million, is 20 percent of its total funding. For Ready-to-Teach—the rescission, $10.7 million—is its total funding, so it would be eliminated."

Cuts came to a variety of federal programs, though, not just education.

Packer says his group strongly supports the $10 billion for education, but was opposed to paying for it with other school aid.

It is worth noting, as Alyson explains in her story, that an earlier version of the education jobs legislation contained $800 million in education offsets, some of which would have come from key priorities of the Obama administration, including $500 million from the Race to the Top program.

The Democratic-controlled Senate approved the bill on a largely party-line of 61-39. House leaders, meanwhile, are calling lawmakers back from their August recess next week to take up the final legislation.

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