“Budgets aren’t just about numbers, they reflect our values.”
– Secretary Arne Duncan
Earlier this week, President Obama sent his Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 budget proposal to Congress. We know that you’re busy, and you may not have had the chance to dig through the details of the budget. For us, the big takeaway is that the budget request demonstrates the Obama Administration’s commitment to education as a means to strengthen America’s middle class, help hard-working families, and ensure that every child has the opportunity to fulfill his or her greatest potential.
Why Budgets Matter
This week’s budget announcement is a big deal for teachers, parents, and students. In fact, if you’re like the President and our team at the Department of Education, you probably believe that education is at the core of a successful and economically competitive America.
In the coming weeks, Secretary Duncan will testify before Congress on the President’s budget proposal, but before he goes, he wants to hear from you. In the form below, tell us what the budget means for you, so he can share that message when he testifies before Congress.
We know that at schools around the country, dollars are stretched thin, and that every penny in education makes a difference. That’s why budgets are important. They reflect our belief that education is at the core of what makes our country great.
President Obama’s 2015 budget request reflects his belief not only that education is a top priority, but that America’s public schools offer the clearest path to the middle class. Investing in education now will make us more competitive in the global economy tomorrow, and will help ensure equity of opportunity for every child.
The administration’s request for about $69 billion in discretionary appropriations represents an increase of nearly 2 percent over the previous year and slightly more than the 2012 discretionary level for education before the sequester.
Three-quarters of that $69 billion goes to financial aid to students in college, special education, and high-poverty schools (Title I). The remaining 23 percent targets specific areas designed to leverage major changes in the educational opportunity and excellence for all students, including expansion of access to high-quality preschool, data-driven instruction based on college- and career-ready standards, making college more affordable, and mitigating the effects of poverty on educational outcomes.
Education priorities for Fiscal Year (FY) 2015:
Increasing Equity and Opportunity for All Students
Despite major progress for America’s students, deep gaps of opportunity and achievement endure. The Obama administration is committed to driving new energy to solving those problems. Nearly every element of the federal education budget aims to ensure equity of opportunity, and a new proposed fund, Race to the Top-Equity and Opportunity would complement existing efforts by further supporting strong state and local efforts to improve equity.
Making Quality Preschool Available for All 4-Year-Olds
In one of the boldest efforts to expand educational opportunity in the last 50 years, President Obama has committed to a historic new investment in preschool education that supports universal access to high-quality preschool for all 4-year olds from low- and moderate-income families and creates an incentive for states to serve additional middle-class children.
Strengthening Support for Teachers and School Leaders
All educators should have the resources and support they need to provide effective instruction and to personalize learning to students’ needs. Technology can help teachers do this. Teachers and school leaders must know how to make the best use of technology. The new ConnectEDucators proposal would provide funding to help educators leverage technology and data to provide high-quality college- and career-ready instruction that meets the needs of all students.
Improving Affordability, Quality, and Success in Postsecondary Education
Improving college access and completion is an economic necessity and a moral imperative. Few good career options exist for those whose education ends with high school. College has long represented the surest route to the middle class—but the middle class is increasingly being priced out of college. America once ranked first in the college completion rate of its young people; we now rank twelfth. Reclaiming the top spot in college completion is essential for maximizing both individual opportunity and our economic prosperity, which is why the President has made increasing college affordability and improving college completion a major focus of his 2015 budget.
Making Schools Safer and Creating Positive Learning Environments
The President’s plan to increase school safety and to decrease gun violence includes investments not only to prepare schools for emergencies, but also to create positive school climates and help children recover from the effects of living in communities plagued by persistent violence.
Studies prove that children who have rich early learning experiences are better prepared to thrive in school. Yet the United States ranks 28th in the world for the enrollment of 4-year-olds in early learning, and 25th in public investment in preschool. Only 3 in 10 children attend a quality preschool program. Doing better is more than just a moral and educational imperative; it’s smart government: a public dollar spent on high-quality preschool returns $7 through increased productivity and savings on public assistance and criminal justice. From a growing number of voices, including from the recently concluded work of the Equity and Excellence Commission, the call has been clear to expand quality early learning in the United States.
To help all children begin school on a level playing field, the President has put forward in his 2014 budget request an historic new investment in early learning that would make preschool available to all 4-year olds from low-income families. The core elements of this proposal are:
Preschool for All ($75 billion over 10 years). This investment would support grants to States for the implementation of high-quality preschool programs that are aligned with elementary and secondary education systems. The Department would share costs with States to provide universal access to high-quality preschool for children from low- and moderate-income families and provide incentives for States to serve additional middle-class families.
Preschool Development Grants ($750 million). This program would provide grants to States to carry out activities that would build state capacity for implementing high-quality preschool programs, and expand model programs at the local level. The Department would provide competitive grants to States with preschool systems at various stages of development that are planning to provide universal access to high-quality preschool for four-year-old children from low-and moderate-income families to carry out the activities needed to successfully serve four-year-old children in high-quality programs.
The administration also requests funding to increase or maintain key investments in a number of programs that seek to improve outcomes for young children, especially for those with high needs:
Early Intervention Programs for Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities ($463 million, $20 million more than the fiscal year 2013 amount). These formula grants help States implement statewide systems of early intervention services for all eligible children with disabilities and developmental delays from birth through age two and their families.
Preschool Grants for Children with Disabilities ($373 million). These formula grants help States make a free appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment available to all children with disabilities ages three through five to help ensure that young children with disabilities succeed in school.
The Department of Health and Human Services is also investing in young children by requesting significant increases in funding for programs that include Head Start, Early Head Start and the Child Care and Development fund.
As Education Secretary Arne Duncan often says, budgets aren’t just numbers in a ledger – they are a reflection of our values. President Obama’s 2014 budget proposal, released today, demonstrates his belief in education as the engine that will keep America competitive in a global innovation economy and grow a thriving middle class.
The proposal builds on momentum for reform and protects the most vulnerable. Nowhere is this more true than in the president’s historic proposal to make high-quality preschool available to all four-year-olds.
The administration’s request for $71 billion in discretionary appropriations for education represents an increase of more than 4 percent over the previous year. Nearly three-quarters of that funding goes to financial aid for students in college, special education, and aid to schools with high numbers of children in poverty (Title I).
Early learning: Making quality preschool available for all 4-year-olds
President Obama has committed to a historic new investment in preschool education that supports universal access to high-quality preschool for all 4-year olds from low- and moderate-income families and creates an incentive for states to serve additional middle-class children.
The President’s budget request includes $1.3 billion in 2014 and $75 billion over 10 years in mandatory funding, along with $750 million for competitively awarded Preschool Development Grants and other funds.
President Obama’s fiscal year 2014 budget proposes significant new investments in areas where states and school districts face key implementation challenges from earlier investments such as Race to the Top and the Race to the Top-District competition, as well as continuing substantial investments in critical formula programs that support state and local reform efforts.
President Obama has called on all Americans to commit to at least one year of postsecondary education. Yet, for too many American students, high school is a time of disengagement that fails to put them on a path to college and career success. That’s why the Obama administration has laid out plans to redesign high schools and career and technical education (CTE).
Learn more about high school redesign and career readiness.
Strengthening Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Education
Economists project strong growth in careers related to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), but far too few American students are proficient in mathematics and interested in a STEM career. The Obama administration proposes an aggressive STEM push that will improve the delivery and impact of STEM education.
The President’s plan to increase school safety and to decrease gun violence includes investments not only to prepare schools for emergencies, but also to create nurturing school climates and help children recover from the effects of living in communities plagued by persistent violence.
The Obama administration has taken major steps to help students afford college, and proposes to build on that momentum with programs that will drive major reforms to reduce the escalating costs of higher education.
Secretary Arne Duncan testified before Congress today on the impact of across-the-board cuts. Photo courtesy of the Architect of the Capitol.
Earlier today Secretary of Education Arne Duncan testified on Capitol Hill about the impact of budget cuts called sequestration. Sequestration would mandate across-the-board cuts to the federal budget that will go into effect in January if Congress doesn’t act. While a lot of attention has been given to impeding cuts to defense, Secretary Duncan testified about the impact the cuts would on all government services and programs.
“Education, defense, public safety and all other federal agencies would indiscriminately cut services that are essential to every state and community,” Duncan said.
The Secretary said that education is the cornerstone of our country’s economy and essential for our military preparedness. Duncan noted that 75 percent of young Americans are unable to enlist in the military because they have either failed to graduate from high school, have a criminal record, or are physically unfit.
While most schools won’t feel the impact of across-the-board cuts until the fall of 2013, the lack of federal funds would be felt deep throughout the country.
Title I funding would be cut by $1.1 billion, cutting off funding to more than 4,000 schools serving an estimated 1.8 million disadvantaged students. The jobs of more than 15,000 teachers and aides would be at risk.
Funding for special education would be reduced by $900 million. That could translate into the layoffs of more than 10,000 teachers, aides, and other staff who provide essential instruction and other support to 6.6 million children with disabilities.
Up to almost 100,000 low-income children would be denied access to the Head Start program, which is critical to preparing them for success in kindergarten and beyond.
Duncan noted that the Obama Administration stands ready to work with Congress on preventing sequestration with a balanced approach to deficit reduction. The President’s plan includes more than $4 trillion in deficit reduction. It maintains the Budget Control Act caps, and calls for significant, yet targeted, cuts in discretionary spending.
“We must come together as a country to make sound, bipartisan investments in education,” Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said earlier today at a budget hearing on Capitol Hill. “It is unconscionable for us to ask a generation of students to pay the price for adult political dysfunction.”
Archive photo of Secretary Duncan testifying on Capitol Hill. Official Department of Education Photo by Paul Wood
Duncan testified before the House Committee on Appropriations as part of the annual federal budget process. In the early months of each year, the President submits his budget request to Congress. Congress can then choose to accept the President’s request or develop its own budget, deciding which programs to authorize and fund before the new fiscal year starts on October 1.
Secretary Duncan testified that the Obama Administration’s fiscal year 2013 education budget reflects the Obama Administrations commitment to reduce spending, make government more efficient and invest to secure our future. “We must educate our way to a better economy,” Duncan said.
Key areas of the budget that the Secretary highlighted include:
Making college affordable and the middle-class dream alive for Americans by providing new incentives for states and institutions to keep college costs from escalating;
Providing billions of dollars a year in aid to college students through Pell grants;
Prevent student loan interest rates from doubling this summer;
Double the number of work-study jobs within five years;
Make the American Opportunity Tax Credit permanent;
And dedicating significant resources to transforming the teaching profession through a new program called RESPECT.
Yesterday, the Obama Administration released its 2013 budget request, which included new investments in education. The budget seeks to make college more affordable, align job training and education with the demands of the workforce, and elevate the teaching profession. Click here to find out what this means for you.
On Friday at 1 p.m. ET, join ED’s Assistant Secretary for Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development, Carmel Martin for a Twitter Q&A on the 2013 budget.
Ask your questions at any time before or during the Twitter Q&A using the hashtag #AskED. Asst. Secretary Martin will answer your questions live through the @usedgov Twitter account. Following the event, you can find a summary of the Q&A session at ed.gov/blog.
Continuing its commitment to education and an America built to last, the Obama Administration released its 2013 budget proposal to Congress today. It includes new education investments that will give U.S. students and workers the education and training they need for the jobs of today and tomorrow.
The Department of Education is requesting $69.8 billion in discretionary funding for Fiscal Year 2013, an increase of $1.7 billion, or 2.5 percent, from 2012. The critical investments in education are part of an overall federal budget that abides by very tight spending caps that reduce discretionary spending by $1 trillion over 10 years and, including that amount, has more than $4 trillion of balanced deficit reduction.
But what, exactly, does this mean for you?
Job Training to Meet the Demands of the Workforce Helping students, employers and communities.
Two million jobs are waiting to be filled in the United States, yet many Americans seeking work don’t have the necessary skills to fill those jobs. To close that skills gap and deliver employers the kinds of workers they want to hire, the Administration is proposing $8 billion for a new Community College to Career Fund.
These funds would help community colleges become community career centers where individuals can learn the skills that local businesses need. Additionally, employers would offer paid internships for low-income students to help them learn skills on the job and gain experience.
ED is also proposing to invest $1.1 billion to support the reauthorization and reform of the Career and Technical Education program to ensure that the training and education our students receive are in line with the demands of the workforce.
Boosting the Teaching Profession Giving teachers the respect and support they deserve.
ED is proposing $5 billion in competitive funding to support states and districts as they pursue bold reforms that can help better prepare, support and compensate America’s teachers.
The Department would also invest $190 million for a new Presidential Teaching Fellows program that would provide scholarships to talented students who attend top-tier teacher prep programs and commit to working in high-need schools.
The budget also creates $620 million in new grants for states that would reward and support highly effective teacher preparation programs, help decrease STEM teacher shortages, and invest in efforts to enhance the teaching profession.
Making College Affordable Ensuring that everyone gets a shot at higher education.
The 2013 budget seeks to make college more affordable and to help achieve President Obama’s goal of the U.S. leading the world in college graduates by 2020. The budget proposes to sustain the maximum Pell Grant and increase the maximum award amount to $5,635, supporting nearly 10 million students across the country.
The Department is proposing to freeze the interest rate on subsidized student loans at 3.4 percent. Currently the rate is scheduled to double to 6.8 percent this summer if Congress doesn’t act.
The budget seeks to tackle college costs and quality by encouraging shared responsibility among states, colleges, families and the federal government. ED would invest $1 billion for a new Race to the Top focusing on college affordability and completion to drive reform at the state level and help students finish faster. This new Race to the Top would provide incentives for colleges to keep costs under control, it would double the number of work-study jobs, and it would increase by nearly $7.5 billion the amount available for Perkins loans.
Official Department of Education Photo by Paul Wood
“You can’t sacrifice the future to pay for the present, and nothing is more important to a family’s future—and our future as a nation—than education,” Secretary Duncan said during his opening statement before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies, earlier today.
Duncan appeared before the subcommittee to answer questions about President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2012 Budget Proposal. Secretary Duncan explained that the budget proposal seeks to make key educational investment, including:
Closing the Pell shortfall both through efficiencies and more resources.
Protecting Title I and IDEA formula funds for students most at risk.
Expanding reform programs that support state and local policies, including Race to the Top, Investing in Innovation, and ED’s learning and college completion programs.
Secretary Duncan noted that the President’s budget includes efficiencies, consolidations and cuts in ED programs that are not as effective as they should be. “We understand that, just as every family is doing more with less, so should we,” Duncan said.
Read Secretary Duncan’s entire testimony, and for or more information on the President’s FY 2012 Budget Request for the U.S. Department of Education, visit our FY 2012 budget page.
The Department of Education posted new budget tables today showing final program funding levels for the remainder of the 2011 fiscal year. The Obama administration had to accept some very difficult budget cuts in the continuing resolution that Congress passed in April to fund the federal government for the remainder of the fiscal year, and ED faced one of the toughest budget environments in recent history.
The Department of Education sought to make the necessary cuts in order to meet President Obama’s goal of reducing the deficit, while also making critical investments in programs that will help our country out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world.
Despite the need to make cuts, the Obama administration successfully fought for, and received, a $5.5 billion increase in funding for Pell Grants, ensuring that more than 9 million college students will continue to receive Pells up to a maximum of $5,550.
The Department also received funding for several of President Obama’s top education priorities, including $700 million for Race to the Top, $150 million for the Investing in Innovation program, $30 million for Promise Neighborhoods, as well as funding to maintain levels for key formula programs such as Title I and IDEA.
Across the country, governments at every level are facing enormous financial pressures. Many school districts are facing layoffs, reductions in state funding, and massive budget deficits.
Secretary Duncan calls these challenging financial times “The New Normal,” and to assist states, the Department of Education today released promising practices that offer some options to states and communities on the effective, efficient, and responsible use of resources in tight budget times.
In a letter to governors, Secretary Duncan noted that these options are entirely voluntary and entirely a matter of state and local discretion. He also challenged stakeholders, from elected officials at all levels to school administrators, school boards, and teacher leaders, to work with governors in achieving the very best outcome for students during tough economic times.
Click here to read the documents attached to Secretary Duncan’s letter to governors.
Earlier this morning, Secretary Arne Duncan testified before the Senate Budget Committee regarding President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2012 Budget Proposal. The Secretary noted that the proposed budget reflects the Obama administration’s dual commitment to not only reduce spending and increase efficiency, but to make smart investments in securing America’s future.
“Today, all across America, people are meeting the challenge of improving education in many different ways,” said Secretary Duncan. “From creating high-quality early learning programs, to raising standards, strengthening the field of teaching and aggressively attacking achievement gaps.
“While the federal government contributes less than 10 percent of K-12 funding nationally, our dollars play a critical role in promoting equity, protecting children at risk and more recently — supporting reform activities at the state and local level.”