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Obama Seeks More Aid for NSF Education Unit, While GOP Wants Less

The contrast between President Barack Obama and leaders in the Republican-controlled House on education spending is evident not only at the U.S. Department of Education. It's also playing out at the National Science Foundation, which has long played a role in advancing education in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

The White House is looking to boost slightly the overall budget for the NSF's Education and Human Resources division next fiscal year, including with plans to launch a $40 million teacher-training research and development program. Meanwhile, House Republicans are aiming to chop $147 million from that division's $873 million budget for the current fiscal year (2011) as part of a plan expected to reach the House floor this week.

Obama would increase federal aid for the Directorate for Education and Human Resources by $38 million for a total of $911 million in fiscal 2012. (Remember, Congress has yet to complete work on the budget for fiscal 2011, which began Oct. 1.)

And he wants to create a new Teaching and Learning for the Future program. This initiative would "fund new lines of research and development needed for the rapid improvement of the preparation and continued professional learning of the math and science teachers of tomorrow," the Obama budget request explains. Half of the money would go toward K-12 teachers, and the other half would go to educators in colleges and universities.

For more on Obama's STEM agenda at the U.S. Department of Education, check out my blog post from yesterday. For more on the plan by House Republicans to cut programs at the Education Department, including zeroing out the $180 million for the Math and Science Partnerships program, check out this item.

Also, my colleague Sarah D. Sparks has a story out about the president's new proposal to create a $90 million education research initiative modeled on the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

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