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Education secretary says 'pink slips' comment was misinterpreted

Education Secretary Arne Duncan said his eyebrow-raising statement that teachers were already getting “pink slips” because of the sequester was misinterpreted and that he only meant they were getting notices of potential future effects. 

Spokesman Jay Carney reiterates the administration's stance that a sequester would directly impact certain aspects of education funding. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan spoke to reporters on Wednesday about the situation.

“What I said is that teachers were getting notices, and in the district we talked about, 110 teachers have gotten notices,” Duncan said Friday after touring the Rolling Elementary School in Takoma Park, Md. “I think there was a misinterpretation that I meant they were being laid off tomorrow.”

But the education secretary still did not indicate whether these notices could be definitively linked to the sequester, or whether they were part of an unrelated warning that affected low-income schools that receive Title I funding.

Duncan made the statement on the pink slips Wednesday when he came to the White House Briefing Room, citing Kanawha County in West Virginia.

“Whether it’s all sequester-related, I don’t know," Duncan said, "but these are teachers who are getting pink slips now."

According to the Washington Post, Kanawha's school superintendent said Thursday night that no teachers have received “pink slips” or been told they would not be coming back in the fall.

He said that because the district “do[es] not know what the cuts are” to Title I, he can’t predict whether teachers will, in fact, lose their jobs.