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Letter


NTU supports H.R. 1891, “Setting New Priorities in Education Spending Act.”
An Open Letter to Representative Hunter:

July 27, 2011

The Honorable Duncan Hunter
United States House of Representatives
223 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Representative Hunter:

On behalf of the more than 362,000 members of the National Taxpayers Union (NTU), I write to offer our support for H.R. 1891, your “Setting New Priorities in Education Spending Act.” Your legislation would repeal the authorization of several wasteful or duplicative federal education programs to ensure taxpayer resources are being used wisely.

Federal spending on education has increased by more than 300 percent over the last three decades while student achievement indicators, such as graduation rates and test scores, have remained largely stagnant. Despite these statistics, federal involvement in this area has proliferated, burying schools beneath an enormous compliance burden and substituting the will of Washington bureaucrats for state and local policymakers. In total, the Department of Education runs more than 100 different grant programs, many of which the Government Accountability Office or the Office of Management and Budget have identified as redundant or unsuccessful at increasing student achievement.

The Setting New Priorities in Education Spending Act would help to streamline the bloated federal bureaucracy and lay the foundation for increased flexibility at the local and state level. Although many proposals pertaining to education reform inspire knee-jerk reactions and shrill complaints about “draconian” cuts from the school-spending establishment, a measured inspection of the bill would reveal it is the product of a thoughtful, methodical process to identify inefficient and ineffective programs.  In fact, a great number of the grant schemes that would be permanently repealed by H.R. 1891 have already been defunded in the Continuing Resolution approved by both chambers of Congress, eliminated in President Obama’s Budget, or have not been funded in some time. Phasing out these programs, which have failed to show educational gains but nevertheless remain a significant drain on taxpayers, would be a welcome step toward fiscal discipline.

For the past several decades Washington has too often confused education reform with simply spending more money. The result has been dramatic increases in overlapping and underperforming initiatives, paperwork for schools, and liabilities for taxpayers. The Setting New Priorities in Education Spending Act would allow lawmakers as well as teachers to focus on programs that have demonstrated success in the classroom in order to ensure taxpayer dollars are being spent wisely. NTU endorses H.R. 1891 and any roll call votes will be significantly weighted in our annual Rating of Congress.

     Sincerely,

     Brandon Greife
     Federal Government Affairs Manager