- The Washington Times - Monday, March 16, 2015

President Obama warned congressional Republicans Monday not to “go backwards” on education funding for poor school districts as the GOP prepares to introduce a budget this week for fiscal 2016.

“My hope is their budget reflects the priorities of educating every child,” Mr. Obama said during a meeting with education leaders at the White House. “The idea that we’d go backwards on that progress, in some cases for ideological reasons … that’s not the kind of legacy we want to leave for the next generation.”

Administration officials have blasted the GOP, saying its tentative education plans to give states more flexibility would result in cutting funding mainly for urban districts with high percentages of black and Latino students. The president said he won’t accept “sequester-level” funding for education, saying schools need more money for special education, annual testing of “subgroups” of students and for students who need help learning English.

“There are a set of principles that are reflected in my budget, and I hope will be reflected in the Republican budget, but if it is not, then we’re going to have to have a major debate,” Mr. Obama said. “This is something worth fighting for.”

Education Secretary Arne Duncan said increased federal education funding is necessary to “break cycles of poverty.”

“Education has to be the great equalizer in our nation,” Mr. Duncan said. “We will either invest in every single child, or we’ll continue to leave some on the margins.”

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