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Fiscal 2012 Budget: Teacher-Quality Programs

Now that Congress has completed its fiscal 2012 spending bill, let's see what's what on the teacher-quality front.

(If you want an overview on the bill, check out colleague Alyson Klein's great scene-setter; at Curriculum Matters, Erik Robelen has more on the literacy, civics, and STEM programs.)

• Several of the teacher programs were effectively flat-funded at the same level as in fiscal 2011, including the $2.5 billion state teacher-quality grants, otherwise known as Title II-A.

• The Teacher Incentive Fund, which helps states and districts develop differentiated- compensation systems, took the biggest hit, dropping from $400 million to $300 million. The Education Department had made major changes to this program to emphasize the importance of aligning teacher evaluation to the new pay programs, and officials recently indicated they want to make yet more changes.

• Transition to Teaching, a program supporting career-changers to enter the profession, dropped from $41 million to $26 million.

• The Teacher Quality Partnership grant program, which doles out grants to universities, districts, and nonprofits to revamp teacher training and establish teacher-residency programs, was flat funded at $43 million. There was quite a bit of concern among teacher colleges earlier this year when the president's budget proposed zeroing out the program, which would have prevented existing grantees from receiving continuation funding.

• The Obama administration got nowhere in its bid to restructure the teacher-quality programs into three new competitive programs. It has made this a core proposal in its budget request for several years running.

UPDATED: I'm told the bill also contains a set-aside from Title II to fund the Supporting Effective Educator Development grant program. Under SEED, some of the entities that lost federal funding, like the National Writing Project and the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, can compete. More on that competition here.

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