The primary problem – from a strategic standpoint – with the proposed Obey cuts to the Obama Administration’s education priorities to pay for the edujobs bill was that by cutting Race to the Top House Appropriations Chairman David Obey (D-WI) instantly pulled governors and state education chiefs into the fight against him. A lot of other groups jumped in but the bait and switch nature of the cuts to an ongoing competition made them untenable. Substantively there are plenty of arguments against the cut and even the edujobs bill itself absent some additional reform but at this point this really isn’t about substance.
Realizing this problem, however, the new proposal being floated yesterday and today to break the logjam in the Senate (where the Obey proposal was a non-starter) would only cut money from the federal charter schools program and the Teacher Incentive Fund. Although the amount of the proposed cuts in smaller ($200 million in total) the political risk for the reform community is just as high, if not higher. Reformers are being tested politically. But there will be fewer allies in the fight as not as many states and jurisdictions are touched by these funds.