News / USA

    US Education Chief Warns Against Cuts

    U.S. President Barack Obama reads a card during a game with children in a per-kindergarten classroom at College Heights early childhood learning center in Decatur, Georgia, February 14, 2013.
    U.S. President Barack Obama reads a card during a game with children in a per-kindergarten classroom at College Heights early childhood learning center in Decatur, Georgia, February 14, 2013.
    Kent Klein
    Education Secretary Arne Duncan is the latest in a series of Obama administration officials to make ominous predictions about the effects of the so-called sequester.

    He told reporters Wednesday that political bickering over the automatic $85 billion budget cuts is putting the U.S. education system at a competitive disadvantage.

    “So while we are having this conversation about fewer teachers, fewer school days, less opportunities to go to Head Start, less ability to pay for college, other nations, this is not how they are looking to improve their education system," Duncan said. "This is not the conversation that is happening with our competitors in Singapore, in South Korea, in China, in India.”

    Education Secretary Arne Duncan, seen here last month in Washington, warns the looming sequester will hurt the nation's schoolchildren.Education Secretary Arne Duncan, seen here last month in Washington, warns the looming sequester will hurt the nation's schoolchildren.
    x
    Education Secretary Arne Duncan, seen here last month in Washington, warns the looming sequester will hurt the nation's schoolchildren.
    Education Secretary Arne Duncan, seen here last month in Washington, warns the looming sequester will hurt the nation's schoolchildren.
    Duncan said lawmakers should instead be focusing on improving early education, college graduation rates, and school security.

    “For us to be thinking about taking steps backwards in all of these areas because folks in Washington cannot get their act together, and a level of dysfunction in Congress that, it is just like unimaginable to me," he said. "I cannot tell you how troubling that is to me, and frankly, how angry it makes me feel.”

    Duncan’s appearance at the White House briefing follows those by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. 

    President Obama went to the shipbuilding city of Newport News, Virginia on Tuesday to warn the budget reductions could erode U.S. defense readiness.

    The president will discuss the sequester Friday in a White House meeting with top Republicans House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, as well as Democrats Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

    The meeting takes place several hours after government budgets are to be slashed.

    “He [Obama] hopes that they will have a constructive discussion about doing something to prevent sequestration from causing the kinds of impacts that Secretary Duncan just described to you,” said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.

    The meeting will be the president’s first with congressional leaders since late last year.

    Obama has been calling for a mix of budget cuts and tax increases to help reduce the federal deficit.

    Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader McConnell, say they will hold firm against higher taxes and insist on cutting the deficit by reducing spending.

    “When the president goes off on a campaign for higher taxes instead of working with Republicans to replace the sequester with smarter cuts, and when Senate Democrats put forward tax hike gimmicks instead of negotiating serious spending cut solutions, Americans feel like they are not being listened to,” McConnell said.

    Senate Democrats are proposing legislation this week to delay the automatic cuts until the end of the year. Republicans are certain to defeat the measure.

    You May Like

    Native Americans Ask: What About Our Water Supply?

    They say they have been facing a dangerous water contaminant for decades - uranium – but the problem has received far less attention than water contamination by lead in Flint, Michigan

    Pakistan's President Urges Nation Not to Celebrate Valentine's Day

    Mamnoon Hussain criticizes Valentine's Day, which falls on Sunday this year, as a Western import that threatens to undermine the Islamic values of Pakistan

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.