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The FY 2010 Budget: The Teacher Elements

Lots of interesting teacher details in the Obama administration's newly released FY 2010 budget request.

The biggest surprise here is a $517 million request for the Teacher Incentive Fund, which would give the program more than $700 million in all for next year if you include the stimulus funds. That's way more than the Bush administration was ever able to secure for the program.

It looks like Obama is pretty serious about his calls for paying higher salaries to what he defines as excellent teachers. And the actual budget language contains a few additional tidbits. For one, it would expand the program to performance-based compensation to all staff in a building, not just teachers and administrators. And two, it says that the systems should be developed in concert with teachers, but it doesn't explicitly mention collective bargaining.

TIF would also include a $30 million set-aside for the "National Teacher Recruitment Campaign" to reach out to new candidates, including nontraditional ones, through nonprofits and other avenues. The details are kind of sketchy, but it appears Obama wants to make good on his campaign promise to "recruit an army of great teachers" into the profession.

The Title II state grant program would get about $2.9 billion, which is the same it got last year. Again, though, the important stuff is in the details: The administration would reserve about $15 million of that money for evaluations and studies to "develop the knowledge base on teacher effectiveness."

The Teacher Quality Partnership grants, which can be used to support teacher-residency training programs, would get a small boost, up to $50 million. That would support the existing grantees and four new partnerships, the budget indicates.

And in what is likely to really annoy critics of the 21st-century-skills movement, the budget states that the $400 million for the Enhanced Assessment Instruments should be used to craft assessments to measure "whether students possess 21st-century skills like problem-solving and critical thinking, entrepreneurship, and creativity. "

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