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Friday, December 01, 2023

US Secretary of Education discusses Obama's budget plan

President Obama unveiled a $3.7 trillion budget proposal Sunday at a science, technology, engineering and mathematics-focused middle school.

For U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, the location venue was a “very intentional” choice in relation to the budget’s agenda.

If approved, Obama’s proposal for 2012 will allocate $77.4 billion to benefit America’s classrooms.

The agenda calls for fine-tuning of the Pell grant program, the financial aid that low-income students receive for college funding. The budget also calls for grants to top out at the maximum sum of $5,550 per student, ignoring the House Republicans’ proposal on Friday to slash grants by $845 per student.  

“We have to do more with less and shift savings to programs with the biggest impact,” Duncan said in a conference call with university reporters Monday.

According to the budget’s agenda, career and technical programs would be cut.

“There hasn’t been enough accountability for results in these programs,” Duncan said. “In tough budget times, we want to see [them] to be very successful and make sure these are really rigorous programs preparing for jobs of tomorrow rather than jobs of yesterday.”

Stephen Pape, a UF associate professor of mathematics education, said it’s important to have teachers who are adequately prepared in that particular realm of teaching.

“We have people out of field teaching to these fields,” Pape said. “Content knowledge is critical to proper instruction of math and science within the schools.”

Duncan said that the U.S. has had a shortage of math and science teachers for a couple of decades. Within the next 10 years, the federal government plans on recruiting 100,000 science, technology, engineering and mathematics teachers.

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