A STIMULATING DEBATE: Seeking to Reduce the Overall Cost of the Economic Recovery Legislation, Senators Remove Portions of Education Funding: On February 10, by a vote of 61 to 37, the Senate approved its version of an $838 billion economic recovery bill, dubbed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Only three Republicans, Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), and Arlen Specter (R-PA) voted for the bill. The next step for the legislation is a House-Senate conference to iron out the differences between the Senate-passed bill and the version that the House of Representatives agreed to in January.
AP REPORT TO THE NATION: More Students Receive Passing Scores, but Minority Students Remain Underrepresented in Advanced Placement Courses: Of the approximately three million high school students from the Class of 2008, more than 15 percent received at least one score of 3 or higher on an Advanced Placement (AP) exam. That percentage is up from 14.4 percent in 2007 and 12.2 percent in 2003, according to the College Board’s fifth-annual AP Report to the Nation. The report notes that a score of 3 (out of a 5-point scale) is predictive of college success and graduation and often earns students college credit, thereby saving valuable tuition money.
STATE OF THE STATE ADDRESSES: Governors Continue to Focus on Budget Deficits: With forty-six states facing budget shortfalls, governors and state legislators around the country are rolling up their sleeves and crunching numbers to cut spending and find additional sources of revenue. Because education spending accounts for such a large percentage of most state budgets, it provides a big target for governors who are looking to reduce spending. In fact, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, at least twenty-five states are cutting, or proposing to cut, K–12 and early education while at least thirty states already have made cuts or are planning cuts to public colleges and universities. But in some cases, governors—emphasizing the clear link between education and the state’s economic future—are choosing to preserve or even boost education spending.