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Van Roekel sounds alarm to House Appropriations Committee: Administration plan could have serious consequences in this economy

March 17, 2010

WASHINGTON— NEA President Dennis Van Roekel sounded an alarm regarding the Administration’s trend toward more competitive grant programs in his testimony before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health, and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies. 

The federal government has long been an essential partner to states and localities to provide critically needed funds. However, Van Roekel raised a red flag because the Administration's budget places states in the position of having to compete for funds during one of the worst financial crises in decades. He pointed out that this scenario fuels a system that means some kids will win and some kids will lose.

The following are excerpts from NEA President Dennis Van Roekel’s oral testimony:

“Fulfilling the promise and purpose of public education requires a solid foundation of resources.

“In that respect, the President’s education budget is a mixed bag. While it correctly reflects an understanding that education fuels our nation’s success by calling for an overall funding increase, those increases would not reach all students, districts and states.

“That is why I raise a real red flag regarding the Administration’s trend toward more competitive grant programs.  A dramatic shift away from formula grants could have serious consequences in this economy.  Providing certainty to states and local school districts through formula-driven federal aid offers stability in an otherwise rapidly deteriorating fiscal environment.”

Van Roekel’s complete testimony and supporting documents are available at:
NEA’s principles for the reauthorization of ESEA are available at:

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The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing 3.2 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.

CONTACT: Samantha Kappalman
(202) 822-7823,


Education and the economy