White House Backs Down from Earlier Claims of Impending Teacher Layoffs

School district disputes White House account of impending rash of teacher pink slips

Education Secretary Called Out for Misleading 'Pink Slips' Claim (Fox News)

Education Secretary Arne Duncan is getting called out for claiming -- erroneously -- that teachers are "getting pink slips" as the sequester looms.

Duncan made the claim on CBS' "Face the Nation" Sunday. Discussing the looming spending cuts that begin to kick in Friday, he said: "There are literally teachers now who are getting pink slips, who are getting notices that they can't come back this fall."

The claim raised eyebrows, and Duncan was pressed at Wednesday's White House press briefing to explain. That's when holes in the story started to appear. Duncan said "most haven't happened yet," but he knew of one district in West Virginia that had "issued notices."

Questioned again, Duncan said it was in Kanawha County, but that it dealt with "Title I teachers and Head Start teachers" whose funding sources are being cut. He conceded:  "Whether it's all sequester related, I don't know," before claiming again that "these are teachers who are getting pink slips now."

Apparently, it's not sequester-related, and most of those teachers are not actually getting pink slips.

Officials in that county told The Washington Post that "transfer notices" went out to at least 104 employees. But Pam Padon, director of federal programs and Title 1 for the Kanawha County public schools, said it did not have to do with sequestration. Further, she said most of those teachers were being notified that they could move to a different position -- only five or six positions would ultimately be eliminated.  

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