NPR: don't touch education. NPR's Claudio Sanchez reports.
CLAUDIO SANCHEZ: President Obama wants to spend $77.4 billion on education - $2 billion more than last year.
BARACK OBAMA: Education is an investment that we need to win the future, just like innovation is an investment that we need to win the future, just like infrastructure is an investment that we need to win the future.
SANCHEZ: Funding for these programs had everybody holding their breath, says Gene Wilhoit, a former social studies teacher who now heads the Council of Chief State School Officers.
GENE WILHOIT: We went into this assuming that this was going to be a tight budget. So it was nice to see that there was an increase for education. Slight as it might be, it still was an increase in these very difficult times, and we understand that.
SANCHEZ: Wilhoit says state and local school officials should also be grateful that the president is not abandoning his push for innovation and tough school reforms. Race to the Top, for example, would get another $900 million in this budget, except this time school districts, not states, would compete for the money.
WILHOIT: Putting some competition into the federal programs is a good idea.
SANCHEZ: Republicans in Congress, though, are in no mood to negotiate any increase - no matter how tiny - to protect any program. U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan says the administration is willing to do more with less. Duncan says he wants to work with Republicans on ways to cut spending.
ARNE DUNCAN: But we have to make sure that we're putting our children and our country in a place to be more successful in the future. And cuts that take us in the wrong direction don't help us get there.
SANCHEZ: Claudio Sanchez, NPR News.
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