Education chief: Schools crucial to recovery

Education Secretary Arne Duncan said the economy won’t improve without the billions of dollars for schools in President Barack Obama’s recovery plan.

“If we want to stimulate the economy, we need a better-educated workforce,” Duncan said Thursday in an interview with The Associated Press.

“That’s the only way, long-term, we’re going to get out of this economic crisis,” he said.

The Obama administration is seeking to boost spending by nearly $500 million on reform-minded programs that fund teacher bonuses tied to student performance, and pay for charter school facilities and state data systems. The spending is in the stimulus plan approved Wednesday in the House, but it is not in the Senate version.

The chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., predicted Wednesday that the reforms ultimately would be funded: “These are the priorities of President Obama. I believe they’ll make it through,” Miller said.

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