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More Thoughts on TIF

So what does the Obama administration's prioritization of the Teacher Incentive Fund in the FY 2010 budget request over the other federal teacher programs say about its strategies for improving the quality of teaching and learning? And how likely is Congress to follow his lead?

You heard Randi Weingarten's take in my last post, but for some additional reaction, I interviewed a few local sources.

Several experts pointed out that the administration chose to put new teacher-quality funding into the tightly written incentive-pay program rather than the $3 billion Title II teacher-quality state grants, a program with much more flexibility.“It seems clear that the Obama administration is more interested in a targeted approach to improving teacher quality through differential pay... than it is in the more generally applied funds,” said Cynthia Brown, the director of education policy at the Center for American Progress.

Others, while generally supportive of the move, think it'll be scaled back somewhat during the upcoming appropriations battles. Since TIF has never received more than $100 million during the appropriations process, a proposed increase likely will face some additional scrutiny, said EdSector's Andy Rotherham.

“TIF gets into trouble during appropriations perennially now,” he said, ”so someone’s got it in for the program.”

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