2014 Education Budget: What’s the Bottom Line?

Budget LogoAs 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).

The remaining 28 percent of the budget invests in specific areas that can move major change – particularly through making preschool accessible for all students; funding a set of strategic reforms at the K-12 level; ensuring that college is affordable; and coordinating services that help students living in poverty.

What’s the bottom line?:

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.

Learn more about Preschool for All.

K-12: Deepening reform in key strategic areas

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.

Learn more about the K-12 reforms.

The 2014 budget proposal also includes:

High School Redesign and Career Readiness

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.

Learn more about STEM.

Teachers and Leaders

The Obama administration has laid out a plan to strengthen teaching and school leadership, building on significant investments in the first term.

Learn more about the teachers and leaders plan.

School Safety

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.

Learn more about school safety.

Making College Affordability

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.

Learn more about making college affordable.

Ladders of Opportunity

Through “Ladders of Opportunity,” the Obama administration will establish comprehensive, coordinated approaches to improving support for America’s most vulnerable students.

Learn more about ladders of opportunity.

Additional Budget Resources:


  1. I think the investment in education is the best proposal, ever. All children in America deserve a chance at a great education. It’s a shame that when the economy gets tough, the educational budget is the first thing cut. For example, my daughter was a 4.0 student all through school. She graduated in the top 10 of her class. Her MEAP scores were excellent and the educational system made a promise that if you did all of this, that students would get help for college through The Michigan Promise…well they snatched that away. She now has 3 years of student loan debt with more on the way. And she has to drop some classes because we can’t afford the books. Shameful!!!

  2. I am a single mother of four with two still at home. I am currently enrolled in college full time with one year left. I think this investment is the only way to get our country back on top. Our children are the future of this country, and it is about time that our government realize that. If they would cut the spending that our senators and representatives use for their vacations and luxury items, then I wonder how much more money could go towards educating our children and single parents that are trying to get ahead?

  3. As a life coach I am in full agreement that education should be a high priority for the future of the country. The likelihood of the appropriation passing the house of representatives is not very strong, however. I think it would be a great idea to actually have the money available, before we get around to spending the imaginary budget projections.

  4. STOP THE SPENDING!!! Head Start failed to have an effect on 110 out of 112 outcome measures for the four-year-old group. For the three-year-old group, Head Start failed to have an impact on 106 out of 112 measures, with five beneficial impacts and one harmful impact!

    U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, “Head Start Impact Study: Final Report,” January 2010, at http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/opre/hs/impact_study/reports/impact_study/hs_impact_study_final.pdf (October 19, 2010).

  5. Investment in education represents huge investment in the future of America. The budget targets education in engineering, science, mathematics and technology as a building block for the future challenges that America will face.

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