Monday, May 30, 2011

MN-02 : Kline Eerily Silent on Troops to Teachers Program

Memorial Day should not only be the time to remember those whom have given the ultimate sacrifice in support of our country, but also to recognize that too many veterans are unemployed.

While Congress may be considering a number of proposals (including Senator Amy Klobuchar’s Veterans Employment Act ), there is one program that could be terminated as a result of the zeal to eliminate the federal government spending.

At the heart of the decision-making is John Kline (R-MN-02). Mr. Kline is Chairman of the Education and Workforce Committee but is also a member of the House Armed Services Committee … thus his views on the troops, teachers and jobs will impact the future of the Troops to Teachers Program.
But like so many other issues, Mr. Kline remains silent … no public comment … no press releases addressing the subject … just silence hoping that voters do not pay attention … especially military veterans looking for a new career after active duty service.

The Troops to Teachers Program is not a new program … it was established in 1994. It has proven to be successful as spotlighted in a March 2006 GAO report indicating that over 80 percent of Troops teachers are male and over 25 percent are African American—characteristics that differ from the overall teacher population. Troops teachers were placed in districts designated as high-need on the basis of serving children who qualify for federal assistance. According to the study, about one third of Troops hired reported teaching in the priority areas of math, science, special education, or vocational education. 60 percent of participants reported that they would not have become a teacher without the TTT program. Since 1993, over 12,000 retired members have brought math, science and foreign language expertise to schools through the program.

Sounds like a good program … putting true “Role Models” in the classroom.
However it faces a threat today as blind budget-cutting that seems to be the mindset of the Republican-controlled House ... funding for the Department of Education is an easy target (especially after so many members campaigned on eliminating the Department during the 2010 elections.)
This week, Mr. Kline’s E&W Committee cut 43 education programs. Mr. Kline, who has targeted programs that job training programs specifically, stated At a time when our nation faces a historic fiscal crisis, we must make a concerted effort to reduce federal spending. A necessary step in this process is to eliminate and streamline federal programs.

The TTT program costs …in terms of government spending is modest … funding for the program has declined, from a high of $29 million in FY03 to lower amounts … typically $15 million annually.

The Obama Administration has proposed to amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to move it from Education to the Department of Defense. The move to Defense will help ensure it runs smoothly and has no adverse impact on program enrollees while providing .better oversight of program outcomes by simplifying and streamlining program management.

The TTT program has its supporters in Congress … and even improving it … Tom Petri (R-WI) has introduced H.R. 1947 ( the Post-9/11 Troops to Teachers Enhancement Act of 2011) to expand the program, Mr. Kline remains silent … but the legislation has been endorsed by :

The American Legion
The American Military Retirees Association
The Military Officers Association of America (MOAA)
The Military Order of the Purple Heart
The National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE)
The National Education Association (NEA)
The Student Veterans Association

During the last session of Congress, a similar bill was introduced - HR 3943 - which had 171 co-sponsors including Minnesota military veterans Tim Walz (D-MN-01) and Colin Peterson (D-MN-07) … but not Mr. Kline.

Mr. Kline controls the gavel … he wields the power to deny Congressman Petri’s bill a hearing … he controls whether Troops will be encouraged to Teach … Mr. Kline, do the right thing … support the Troops … support Teachers.

3 comments:

dog gone said...

I was unaware of this program.

Cutting this while giving tax breaks to the wealthy is so offensive.

And Kline makes so much of HIS military service, while doing so poorly for his fellow veterans and current serving armed forces personnel.

It annoys the hell out of me that these jerks talk up their support for the military while doing the exact opposite. They have the "I've got mine, the hell with you and yours" mentality.

I saw today where there is a DFL challenger to Kline, but I don't know much about him. I look forward to reading what you have to share about the chances of defeating Kline.

Hope you and yours had a good memorial day weekend.

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