Fiscal Year 2006 Budget Summary February 7, 2005
It sounds odd, doesn't it, for the President to stand up and say, we need to focus on reading in high school. But that's the state of affairs. Someday, when No Child Left Behind is fully implemented and kicked in, there are not going to need to be early intervention programs or intervention reading programs in high school. But, today, we need them.
President George W. Bush
Section I. Summary of the 2006 Budget
Three years ago, President George W. Bush signed into law the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), which reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The new law reflected an unprecedented, bipartisan commitment to ensuring that all students, regardless of background, have the opportunity to obtain a quality education and reach proficiency in core academic subjects. To reach this goal, NCLB refocused Federal education programs on the principles of stronger accountability for results, more choices for parents and students, greater flexibility for States and school districts, and the use of research-based instructional methods.
States, school districts and schools are still doing the hard work of implementing NCLB, but the early returns are promising. Recent studies of State achievement data show that reading and mathematics scores are up in most States, and that achievement gaps among racial and ethnic groups have begun to narrow. While many have claimed that NCLB sets the bar too high, a majority of States reported that more schools met adequate yearly progress (AYP) targets in the 2003-2004 school year than in the previous year.
Most of this progress, however, has been at the elementary school level, where No Child Left Behind programs target most of their resources. In too many school districts across the nation, the longer students stay in school, the more they fall behind, with far too many students dropping out altogether.
For this reason, President Bush begins his second term of office determined to finish the job with American high schools.
For 2006, the President is requesting $56.0 billion in discretionary appropriations for the Department of Education, a decrease of $529.6 million, or .9 percent, from the 2005 level. Even after this small decrease, the Federal investment in education will have grown substantially over the past five years, with discretionary appropriations rising by $13.8 billion since fiscal year 2001, or nearly 33 percent.
The 2006 request includes nearly $1.5 billion for a new High School Initiative that would hold high schools accountable for teaching all students and provide timely intervention for those students who are not learning at grade level. The goal of this initiative is to ensure that every student graduates from high school prepared to enter college or the workforce with the skills to succeed.
In addition to the High School Initiative, the 2006 discretionary budget for education focuses on the following priorities: a $603 million increase for Title I Grants to Local Educational Agenciesthe cornerstone of NCLB; a $508 million increase for the reauthorized Special Education Grants to States program; an $834 million increase for Pell Grants, which, combined with $420 million in new mandatory funding, would increase the maximum Pell Grant award to $4,150; and $500 million for a new Teacher Incentive Fund to encourage performance-based compensation systems that change the way school districts pay teachers.
The overall 2006 requestincluding both discretionary and mandatory fundscombines fiscal discipline with strong, continued commitment to longstanding priorities such as Title I Grants to Local Educational Agencies, Special Education Grants to States, and Pell Grants for postsecondary students. In addition, the request includes a comprehensive package of proposals for reauthorizing the Higher Education Act that would make the student loan programs more effective by reducing excessive subsidies and program costs. The resulting savings would be used to increase the Pell Grant maximum award by $100 a year over the next five years, from $4,050 to $4,550; to retire the cumulative $4.3 billion Pell Grant funding shortfall, and to expand loan benefits to students and their families. Discretionary and mandatory components of the request are shown below:
Total Department of Education Appropriations
Mandatory costs for the student loan programs and Vocational Rehabilitation State Grants fluctuate from year to year due to changes in inflation, interest rates, and other factors. For 2006, new student loans provided under the Federal Family Education Loans and Federal Direct Loans programs will grow from $57.9 billion to $62.2 billion, an increase of $4.2 billion or 7 percent. For the first time in 2006, savings from reform of the mandatory student loan programs would be used to offset Pell Grant costs. The President is proposing $28 billion in new student benefits over 10 years, including $19 billion to increase the Pell Grant maximum by $500, to increase the number of Pell recipients by 138,000 to 5.5 million in 2006, and to retire the estimated $4.3 billion Pell Grant shortfall. The President's proposal also includes other mandatory savings that would be used to increase student loan benefits and contribute to deficit reduction.
Department of Education discretionary funds make up about 8 percent of the $514 billion that America spends annually on elementary and secondary education. Despite the size of this overall investmentmore than we spend on national defense, and more per-pupil than any other nation in the world except Switzerlandeducational achievement improved little over the past decade, and achievement gaps between minority students and their non-minority peers remain unacceptably large.
For this reason, President Bush has focused new education investments on programs with the most likely prospects for success in improving educational outcomes, and on programs that have been fundamentally reformed by the NCLB Act. In particular, the Administration has used the Program Assessment Rating Tool (PART) to guide its decisions on how best to allocate Federal education dollars in an increasingly tight fiscal environment, with increases in priority areas offset by reductions and program terminations in other areas.
The combination of discretionary and non-discretionary resources in the President's budget is focused on the following areas.
BRINGING NCLB TO THE HIGH SCHOOL LEVEL
President Bush has called recent evidence of poor performance by America's high schools "a warning, and a call to action." Only 68 of 100 9th graders in our public schools will graduate on time, and only 18 of those will go on to obtain a college degree. In addition, recent international assessments show that our high school students score well behind those of other nations in key subjects like mathematics. Since most well-paying jobs in our technology-based, globally competitive economy require at least some postsecondary education, the failure to prepare our high school students with the knowledge and skills to succeed literally places our national prosperity at risk.
In response, the President's 2006 request includes a comprehensive proposal that builds on the stronger accountability of No Child Left Behind to improve the quality of secondary education and ensure that every student not only graduates from high school, but graduates prepared to enter college or the workforce with the skills to succeed. The President's budget provides nearly $1.5 billion for his High School Initiative, which includes a High School Intervention program and new High School Assessments, along with an additional $329 million for related proposals:
IMPLEMENTING THE NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND ACT
Helping States, school districts, and schools meet the challenge of successfully implementing the No Child Left Behind Act remains one of President Bush's highest priorities. The 2006 request for education generally would support activities carried out in the 2006-2007 school yearthe first year in which nearly all major NCLB requirements will be in place, including assessments in reading and math for all students in grades 3-8 and the requirement that all teachers be highly qualified. To help make the changes and improvements needed to continue delivering on the promise of No Child Left Behind, the 2006 request includes the following:
EXPANDING OPTIONS FOR PARENTS
The No Child Left Behind Act significantly expanded educational choice for students and their parents, primarily by requiring public school choice and supplemental educational services options for students attending schools identified for improvement, corrective action, or restructuring. In most school districts, however, there are too few alternatives for parents seeking a quality education for their children. The 2006 request includes the following proposals to help ensure that students and parents have meaningful choices:
SPECIAL EDUCATION AND VOCATIONAL REHABILITATION
On December 3, 2004, President Bush signed the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004. This legislation reauthorized the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to improve educational results for students with disabilities by more closely aligning IDEA with NCLB in areas such as accountability for results, flexibility and reduced paperwork, enhancing the role of parents, and research-based instruction. For example, the bill clarifies and strengthens provisions requiring special education teachers to be highly qualified; reduces paperwork burdens on teachers and schools, as well as time spent in IEP and related meetings; and provides greater flexibility in the use of Federal funds. The 2006 request for Special Education includes increased funding for IDEA programs. The reauthorized IDEA also establishes a new Center for Special Education Research in the Department's Institute of Education Sciences (IES), so that special education research will meet the rigorous standards required by the Education Sciences Reform Act of 2002. Funding for research is included under IES.
The 2006 request also maintains support for comprehensive and coordinated vocational rehabilitation and independent living services for individuals with disabilities through research, training, demonstration, technical assistance, evaluation, and direct service programs. Consistent with the Administration's multi-year initiative to reform the Federal government's overlapping training and employment programs, funds are not requested for 3 vocational rehabilitation programs in this account: Supported Employment State Grants, Projects with Industry, and the Migrant and Seasonal Farmworkers program. These programs provide services to individuals with disabilities that can be funded by the larger VR State Grants program.
The 2006 request for these activities includes the following:
In 2006, the Department of Education will administer over $78 billion in grants, loans, and work-study assistance to help students pay for postsecondary education, including $62 billion in guaranteed and direct student loans and over $13 billion in Pell Grants. While these funds help millions of Americans finance postsecondary education and training, rising college costs and the necessity of advanced training in today's technology-based economy require increased investment, especially in Pell Grants to low-income students. The President's 2006 request for Student Financial Assistance includes a comprehensive set of proposals to reauthorize the Higher Education Act (HEA) that would increase financial assistance to students while improving the effectiveness of the Pell Grant and student loan programs.
The request also increases support for institutional development at colleges and universities serving large percentages of minority students, funds opportunities for students to gain international expertise and training as language and area specialists, and promotes access to postsecondary education through outreach and student support services. Highlights include the following:
Student Loan Reauthorization
The Administration's proposals for reauthorizing the student loan programs of the Higher Education Act would increase benefits to students through higher loan limits, lower interest rates, and more flexible and lower-cost repayment options. Proposed reforms would make the student loan programs more efficient, cost-effective vehicles for helping students finance their postsecondary educations, in part through reductions in loan subsidies to financial participants in the Federal Family Education Loans Program. Highlights of these proposals include the following:
Benefits for Students
Increase Risk-Sharing and Reduce Loan Subsidies
BUDGET AND PERFORMANCE INTEGRATION
As part of the President's Management Agenda, the Administration developed the Program Assessment Rating Tool (PART) to assess and improve program performance so that the Federal government can achieve better results. Each program receives scores for program purpose and design, strategic planning, program management, and program results, as well as an overall rating of effective, moderately effective, adequate, ineffective, or results not demonstrated.
Of the 56 programs in the Department assessed since the 2004 budget using the PART, the Administration rated 2 programs Effective, 14 programs Adequate, 5 programs Ineffective, and 35 programs Results Not Demonstrated (RND).
A rating of RND often indicates management issues because it typically involves problems such as the lack of long-term goals, annual performance measures, or reliable data. However, program statutes often contribute by failing to give ED the necessary tools to demonstrate success: clear and measurable objectives; strong accountability mechanisms or other means of ensuring participants focus on achieving results; and mechanisms for gathering high quality, reliable data on program outcomes. Outside of the annual budget process, to the extent possible under current law, the Department is working to improve the effectiveness of its programs. In addition, the Department hopes to work with Congress to improve program statutes by clarifying program objectives and measures and by strengthening accountability and data quality.
In the current fiscal environment, Federal discretionary programs not related to national defense or homeland security are facing an overall reduction in spending for the foreseeable future. Accordingly, the Administration is using the PART in the annual budget process to better focus the Department's limited resources on those programs and activities most likely to achieve positive results for our education system.
In general, this means investments will continue to be made in programs receiving a PART rating of Effective or Adequate, while programs rated Ineffective will be proposed for elimination. For programs rated RND, the Administration is taking a careful look to determine whether the programs are likely to demonstrate results in the future. If so, the Administration will generally support continued funding along with management or legislative improvements. However, the Administration will propose the termination of RND programs that unnecessarily duplicate other activities or suffer from such major flaws in design or execution that they are unlikely to improve their performance in the future.
While lack of reliable performance data hindered efforts to fully integrate performance information and budget policy for the Department of Education, the Administration was able to use PART ratings to inform key 2006 budget policy decisions.
For example, the PART played an important role in shaping the President's High School Initiative. Few current Department programs that focus on high school have been able to demonstrate positive results, as is reflected in Ineffective ratings for programs like Vocational Education State Grants and Upward Bound. In view of these PART results, it made sense to redirect resources from such programs to the more comprehensive, coordinated, High School Initiative, which will measure student outcomes based on test data and graduation rates and hold States and participating school districts accountable for improved student educational outcomes for at-risk youth.
PART ratings also guided the development of the Administration's proposals to reform the student aid programs. For example, the Administration is proposing to eliminate the Perkins Loans program, which received an Ineffective rating largely because it needlessly duplicates the larger and more widely available guaranteed and direct student loan programs, and redirect Perkins resources to the more effective and equitable Pell Grant program, which was rated Adequate by the PART.
PART ratings reinforced decisions to reduce or eliminate funding for a number of small, categorical programs for which RND ratings included findings regarding serious flaws in program design. These include Byrd Honors Scholarships, B.J. Stupak Olympic Scholarships, and the National Writing Project. However, for most programs rated RND, the Administration is requesting level-funding while the Department continues to follow up on recommendations identified by the PART process, including actions to establish appropriate performance measures, collect appropriate data on program outcomes, and use those data to achieve better program results.
For example, in response to PART recommendations for the Special Education Preschool Grants and Grants for Infants and Families programs, rated RND for the 2004 budget, the Department has undertaken a multifaceted approach to assist States in developing systems for collecting data on child outcomes, which can be used to assess program impact and improving program performance. The Department is making some progress to improve the quality of its data (such as data on graduation and dropping out) for the Special Education Grants to States program and is also working to develop a measure to track the post-graduation outcomes of students. The Administration is requesting increased funding for Grants to States in 2006.
For further information contact the ED Budget Service.
This page last modifiedFebruary 7, 2005 (mjj).