Fiscal Year 2007 Budget Summary February 6, 2006
Section II. A. Elementary and Secondary Education
Four years after the enactment of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), States continue to make substantial progress in fully implementing the law and its principles of greater accountability for student achievement, more choices for students and parents, new flexibility for States and school districts, and the use of proven instructional methods. By the end of the current 2005-06 school year, nearly all States are expected to meet two major milestones under NCLB: full implementation of reading and math assessments for all students in grades 3-8; and ensuring that there is a highly qualified teacher in every classroom.
States also continue to identify schools and school districts for improvement, and are working hard to provide the technical assistance and other resources needed to turn around low-performing schools. They also are taking advantage of the "new flexibility" provided under the law to increase educational options for students, like the pilot project in four Virginia districts to offer supplemental educational services in the first year of improvement, and to explore new ways to measure student and school progress, like tracking the year-to-year progress of students and schools under a "growth model" of adequate yearly progress.
And there is evidence that NCLB reforms are beginning to take hold and produce better results in America's public schools. For example, the latest long-term trend results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), released in July 2005, showed gains in key areas, with achievement reaching all-time highs for 9-year-olds in reading and math and for 13-year-olds in math. African-American and Hispanic students shared in these gains, with the achievement gaps between these groups and their white peers reaching all-time lows.
Similarly, the NAEP Trial Urban District Assessment results, released in December 2005, showed that students in selected urban districts improved their academic achievement faster than their peers nationwide over the past two years. These results are important because the key driver of NCLB reforms, the Title I Grants to Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) program, focuses on high-poverty schools in such districts.
The 2007 request would maintain the positive momentum generated by NCLB through a $12.9 billion request for the Title I program, including a $200 million increase that would provide first-time funding for School Improvement Grants to help States expand their support for LEAs and schools that have been identified for improvement, and $12.7 billion for Title I Grants to Local Educational Agencies (LEAs). In addition, a $100 million request for America's Opportunity Scholarships for Kids would provide new choices for students attending schools identified for restructuring under NCLB, including the option of transferring to a private school.
American Competitiveness Initiative
Despite the great promise and progress of No Child Left Behind, gaps remain in the Federal effort to improve the performance of America's public schools. This is particularly true in the areas of mathematics and science, which are so critical for our Nation's economic competitiveness, and in our high schools, which allow too many students to drop out and prepare too few for the rigors of college or the challenges of the workplace.
For example, just 35 percent of our 4th-graders, and 29 percent of 8th-graders, scored at the proficient level or above on the 2005 NAEP math assessment. As for the low- income students who are the focus of most NCLB programs, just one-fifth of 4th-graders and only 13 percent of 8th-graders scored at the proficient level or above.
The potential impact of this subpar performance in mathematics on our competitiveness in the modern global economy is suggested by the latest results of the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA). In 2003, US 15-year-olds outscored their peers in just 11 of 39 participating countries in mathematical literacy. In a PISA test of problem-solving skills, 15-year-olds from 25 other countries, including 22 out of 29 member nations of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, scored better than US 15-year-olds.
In response, President Bush's 2007 Budget includes a multi-agency American Competitiveness Initiative that focuses on improving America's long-term economic competitiveness through a wide range of proposals to promote math and science education, basic research, workforce development, and immigration policies. The President's 2007 request for the Department of Education would provide a $380 million increase, primarily related to improving teaching and learning in mathematics, to support this Initiative.
In addition to math and science education, a key to ensuring America's economic competitiveness is improving the performance of our high schools. At a time when young Americans need more education and training than ever to be prepared for the jobs of the 21st century, 1 million students drop out of high school each year, and less than half of those who do graduate are ready for college-level math and science. To help increase accountability in our high schools, particularly for low-income and minority students who are most likely to drop out, President Bush is renewing his request for a $1.5 billion High School Reform initiative.
Highlights of the budget for elementary and secondary education programs include:
$1.0 billion for Reading First State Grants and $103 million for Early Reading First to maintain support for comprehensive reading instruction, grounded in scientifically based reading research, that enables all young children to read well by the end of third grade.
A $380 million increase, as part of the American Competitiveness Initiative, for proposals to strengthen the capacity of our schools to improve secondary instruction in mathematics and science while complementing High School Reform efforts:
$484 million to expand educational choices for America's students and families, including $100 million for a new America's Opportunity Scholarships for Kids program, which would provide the parents of students enrolled in schools identified for restructuring under NCLB with expanded opportunities to transfer their children to a private school or to obtain intensive supplemental services, $251 million to maintain strong support for the Nation's growing charter school movement, $107 million for Magnet Schools Assistance, and $26 million for Voluntary Public School Choice grants to promote public school choice across district boundaries.
Title I, Part A of the ESEA provides supplemental education funding, especially in high- poverty areas, for locally designed programs that offer extra academic support to help raise the achievement of students at risk of educational failure or, in the case of schoolwide programs, to help all students in high-poverty schools to meet challenging State academic standards. The formula-based program serves more than 16 million students in nearly all school districts and more than half of all public schoolsincluding two-thirds of the Nation's elementary schools.
Title I schools help students reach challenging State standards through one of two models: "targeted assistance" that supplements the regular education program of individual children deemed most in need of special assistance, or a "schoolwide" approach that allows schools to use Title I fundsin combination with other Federal, State, and local fundsto improve the overall instructional program for all children in a school. More than 28,000 schools participating in Title I use the schoolwide approach.
Both schoolwide and targeted assistance programs must employ effective methods and instructional strategies grounded in scientifically based research, including activities that supplement regular instruction, such as after-school, weekend, and summer programs. Schools also must provide ongoing professional development for staff working with disadvantaged students and implement programs and activities designed to increase parental involvement.
The request would mainly fund activities carried out in school year 2007-2008, two years after States are expected to have fully implemented the No Child Left Behind Act, including assessment of all students in grades 3-8 in reading and mathematics and ensuring that there is a highly qualified teacher in every classroom. Funding for Grants to LEAs has grown substantially since the enactment of NCLB, rising from $8.8 billion in fiscal year 2001 to $12.7 billion in fiscal year 2006, an increase of 45 percent.
Under NCLB, schools must make adequate yearly progress (AYP) toward annual, State- established proficiency goals aimed at ensuring that all students are proficient in reading and math by the 2013-14 school year. Schools that do not make AYP for at least two consecutive years must develop and implement improvement plans, and school districts must permit students attending such schools to transfer to a better-performing public school, with transportation provided by the district.
Schools that do not improve are subject to increasingly tough corrective actionssuch as replacing school staff or significantly decreasing management authority at the school leveland can ultimately face restructuring, which involves a fundamental change in governance, such as a State takeover or placement under private management. Students attending schools that have not made AYP for three or more years may obtain supplemental educational servicespaid for by the districtfrom the public- or private- sector provider selected by their parents from a State-approved list.
School Improvement is Key Challenge
With NCLB implementation largely completed, States and school districts will increasingly focus on providing the resources and expertise needed to help turn around low-performing schools that have been identified for improvement, corrective action, and restructuring. The statute requires States to reserve 4 percent of LEA allocationsan amount that would total an estimated $508 million in fiscal year 2007and subgrant 95 percent of these funds to LEAs to support local school improvement activities. However, many States are unable to withhold the full 4 percent because of a "hold- harmless" provision prohibiting a State from reducing any LEA's Part A allocation below the prior-year level when reserving school improvement funds.
The hold-harmless provision also forces States to reserve school improvement funding only from LEAs that receive higher allocations under the need-based Title I funding formulas, thus partially undermining the statutory purpose of those formulas, which is to direct more resources to those districts educating the greatest numbers or higher percentages of poor students.
To help ensure that all States have the resources needed to provide the school improvement support required for the long-term success of No Child Left Behind, and to ensure that all LEAs contribute equitably to these efforts, the 2007 request would override the current hold-harmless provision, thus permitting States to reserve the full 4 percent on a proportional basis from all Title I districts.
In combination with the $200 million School Improvement Grants request discussed below, this request would enable States and school districts to implement and sustain the kind of continuous improvement activities envisioned by NCLB.
The 2007 budget also includes a separate $9.3 million request for Title I Evaluation, primarily to support studies designed to produce rigorous scientific evidence on the effectiveness of education programs and practices, including practices critical to the effective use of Title I, Part A funds.
The request would provide first-time funding for formula-based Title I School Improvement Grants, authorized under ESEA section 1003(g), in recognition that the long-term success of No Child Left Behind requires a strong State role in LEA and school improvement. To ensure that States have sufficient resources to build their capacity to provide effective improvement support to LEAs and schools identified for improvement, they would be permitted to retain up to 100 percent of their allocations for State-level activities, instead of only 5 percent as currently authorized.
The number of Title I schools identified for improvement jumped by 50 percent in the 2004-05 school year, from about 6,000 schools to more than 9,000, or nearly one-fifth of all Title I schools. While this rate of growth in identified schools is unlikely to continue, the addition of tested grades and subjects as the new NCLB assessments are phased in, combined with rising annual proficiency thresholds on the path to 100-percent proficiency by 2013-14, will increase the difficulty of making adequate yearly progress and lead to additional identifications for improvement in subsequent years.
Moreover, the sixth year of NCLB implementation (the request would fund improvement activities in school year 2007-2008) will bring growing demand for the more comprehensive improvement measures required under corrective action and restructuring. Districts will be faced with the challenge of undertaking significant interventions at many schools while continuing to offer meaningful public school choice and supplemental educational service options to students and their parents. And, increasingly, those districts will themselves be identified for improvement and corrective action.
No Child Left Behind anticipated these developments, and not only envisioned but required a strong State role in developing and delivering comprehensive leadership and technical assistance in the area of LEA and school improvement. Under the law, States must "establish a statewide system of intensive and sustained support and improvement for local educational agencies and schools" receiving funds under Part A of Title I. More specifically, the law requires States to create school support teams to provide expert advice and other assistance to help LEAs and schools analyze their improvement needs and develop and implement appropriate plans to meet those needs. In addition, States are responsible for carrying out comprehensive and effective improvement measures for LEAs that have been identified for improvement and corrective action.
However, while States currently reserve 4 percent of Title I, Part A allocations for school improvement activitiesan amount totaling more than $500 million annuallythey must subgrant 95 percent of these funds to LEAs, leaving just $25 million available for State-level school improvement activities.
As a result of these funding limitations, few if any States are able to deliver on the NCLB promise of meaningful assistance to LEAs and schools identified for improvement. Department data indicate, for example, that school support teams were operating in just two-thirds of the States during the 2004-05 school year. Of these States, just 13 served all schools identified for improvement, while 21 provided support only to some identified schools.
The request would respond to these issues by providing substantial new support for State-led LEA and school improvement efforts. The $200 million request, along with the proposed flexibility for State use of these funds, would help build State capacity to carry out statutory improvement responsibilities. The request also would help States better leverage, through expanded leadership and technical assistance, the existing $500 million provided to LEAs through the 4-percent reservation for school improvement.
The request would support the third year of the new Comprehensive Centers program. The new centers, selected competitively in 2005, are structured to provide intensive technical assistance to increase the capacity of State educational agencies (SEAs) to help districts and schools meet the key goals of No Child Left Behind, including 100- percent proficiency in reading and math by the 2013-14 school year, highly qualified teachers in every classroom, the use of research-based instructional methods and curricula, and increased choices for students and parents.
The system includes 16 regional centers that work with SEAs within specified geographic regions to help them implement NCLB school improvement measures and objectives. In addition, 5 content centers provide in-depth, specialized support in key areas, with separate centers focusing on (1) assessment and accountability; (2) instruction; (3) teacher quality; (4) innovation and improvement; and (5) high schools. Each content center pulls together resources and expertise to provide analyses, information, and materials in its focus area for use by the network of regional centers, SEAs, and other clients.
This program provides formula grants to States to pay the cost of developing the additional standards and assessments required by NCLB and, if a State has put in place such standards and assessments, to pay for the administration of those assessments or other related activities. Funds also may be used to develop standards and assessments in subjects other than those required by NCLB and to improve the reliability and validity of assessment systems. Other allowable uses include paying the costs of working in voluntary partnership with other States to develop standards and assessments, professional development aligned with State standards and assessments, and support for data reporting and other components of the State accountability systems required under NCLB.
Under NCLB, States select and design their own assessments aligned with State academic achievement standards. Annual assessments in reading and mathematics must be in place in grades 3-8 by the end of the 2005-2006 school year. States also must implement science assessments in three grade spans (3-5, 6-9, 10-12) by the 2007-2008 school year.
The 2007 request would provide $400 million for Grants for State Assessments, the amount required under the statute to ensure that States remain on track toward meeting the 2007-2008 deadline for science assessments. The remaining $7.6 million would fund a new round of competitive Grants for Enhanced Assessment Instruments to support State efforts to improve the quality and reliability of State assessments, especially assessments for students with disabilities and limited English proficiency.
The 2007 request is supported by the results of a recent PART analysis, which gave State Assessment Grants an Adequate rating. The PART review identified some areas where the Department will need to improve data collection and reporting mechanisms but, overall, found that the program has a clear purpose, is operated well, and meets an important need.
The President's High School Reform initiative would help educators implement strategies designed to meet the needs of at-risk high school students and hold high schools accountable for providing high-quality education to their students. The proposed program would make formula grants to States to support: (1) the development, implementation, and evaluation of targeted interventions designed to improve the academic performance of students most at risk of failing to meet State academic standards; and (2) expanded high school assessments that would both assist educators in developing strategies to meet the needs of at-risk high school students and increase accountability at the high school level.
Interventions would be designed to increase the achievement of high school students, eliminate gaps in achievement between students from different ethnic and racial groups and between disadvantaged students and their more advantaged peers, and help ensure that students graduate with the education, skills, and knowledge necessary to succeed in postsecondary education and in a technology-based, globally competitive economy. A key strategy would be the use of 8th-grade assessment data, in consultation with parents, teachers, and counselors, to develop individual performance plans for students entering high school.
Specific interventions could include programs that combine rigorous academic courses with vocational and technical training, research-based dropout prevention programs, the use of technology-based assessment systems to closely monitor student progress, and programs that identify at-risk middle school students for assistance that will prepare them to succeed in high school and enter postsecondary education, including college preparation and awareness activities for students from low-income families.
The proposal also would require all States to develop and implement reading and mathematics assessments at two additional grades in high school, building on the current NCLB requirement for annual testing once in grades 10-12. The new assessments, which must be in place by the 2009-10 school year, would inform strategies to meet the needs of at-risk high school students and strengthen school accountability at the secondary level.
The request includes a $70 million expansion for this new program, first funded in 2005, which would support research-based interventions to help improve the skills of secondary school students who are reading below grade level. Such students often are at risk of dropping out of school because of their poor reading skills, which can affect their performance in all subject areas.
The request would fund competitive awards for: (1) the development, implementation, and testing of research-based reading interventions designed to improve the reading skills of students reading significantly below grade level; (2) rigorous evaluations, including evaluations that use experimental research designs, of interventions being implemented in the Nation's secondary schools to determine their efficacy; and (3) activities to improve the quality of literacy instruction across the curriculum in schools receiving program funds.
This proposal, which is part of the American Competitiveness Initiative, would help prepare students for rigorous high school mathematics courses by providing competitive grants to partnerships to improve instruction in mathematics for students in kindergarten through 7th grade. Grantees would use funds to expand the use of proven practices in math instruction, including those recommended by the National Mathematics Panel, to help teachers to prepare all students in algebraic concepts so that every student can take and pass Algebra in middle school.
This request would support the American Competitiveness Initiative by making competitive grants to partnerships to improve mathematics instruction for middle-school students whose achievement is significantly below grade level. Partnerships would use funds to, among other things, implement scientifically based research interventions that involve intensive and systematic instruction and provide professional development for teachers and other staff that targets important mathematics content knowledge and effective practices.
The National Mathematics Panel (NMP) will be created in 2006, under the FIE authority, as part of the President's American Competitiveness Initiative to identify important mathematics content and to develop principles that will guide the implementation of the Math Now proposals, which are intended to ensure that every student is prepared to take and pass algebra. The $10 million request for 2007 would be used to carry out the panel's recommendations, including research and dissemination of promising practices in mathematics education.
The Administration is requesting $5 million under the FIE authority in 2007 to conduct activities to improve the quality of evaluations of Federal elementary and secondary mathematics and science programs across the government, as well as to evaluate such programs. Funds will be used to assess the quality of program evaluations, design and carry out evaluations of Federal programs that have not been evaluated, and develop guidelines for future program evaluations. The overall goal is to optimize the Federal investment in elementary and secondary math and science programs by applying the principles of No Child Left Behind.
This program helps teachers in high-poverty high schools receive the training needed to teach Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses. Program funds also support competitive grants to State educational agencies to pay AP and IB test fees for low-income students, as well as State and local efforts to make pre- advanced placement and advanced placement courses more widely available to low- income students. AP and IB programs increase the rigor of high school curricula and offer a proven avenue to postsecondary success for low-income students.
Consistent with the American Competitiveness Initiative, the $90 million increase requested for 2007 would fund new competitive awards to expand AP and IB offerings in mathematics, science, and foreign languages. Funded projects would include incentives for teachers to become qualified to teach AP/IB courses in these subjects and rewards for teachers whose students pass AP/IB tests in those subjects. The priority given to this program is based upon a proven model of results backed by data and the fact that the program is immediately scalable on a national basis.
The request also would require grantees to match program funds, with two State, local, or private dollars for every Federal dollar. In combination with public and private matching funds, the Department estimates that the program could train 70,000 new AP/IB math and science teachers over the next five years, while helping an additional 700,000 students pass the AP/IB exams in these subjects.
A PART analysis of the Advanced Placement program completed in 2005 produced a Moderately Effective rating, primarily based on high scores in program purpose and design, strategic planning, and program management.
This new initiative would create an Adjunct Teacher Corps that would draw on the skills of well-qualified individuals outside of the public education system to meet specialized teaching needs in secondary schools. Instead of the usual focus on certification or licensure of such individuals, the initiative would concentrate on helping schools find experienced professionals who would be able to provide real-world applications for some of the abstract mathematical concepts being taught in the classroom and, in some cases, provide individuals to teach temporarily in hard-to-fill positions.
Funds would be used to make competitive grants to partnerships of school districts and States (or of school districts and appropriate public or private institutions) to create opportunities for professionals with subject-matter expertise to teach secondary-school courses in the core academic subjects, particularly in mathematics and science. Adjunct teachers might teach one or more courses on the school site on a part-time basis, teach full-time in secondary schools while on leave from their jobs, or teach courses that would be available online or through other distance learning arrangements.
This program provides State formula grants to help States and localities improve students' academic achievement in mathematics and science. The program promotes strong teaching skills for elementary and secondary school teachers, including integrating teaching methods based on scientifically based research and technology into the curriculum. Partnerships focus on developing rigorous mathematics and science curricula, distance learning programs, and incentives to recruit college graduates with degrees in math and science into the teaching profession.
NCLB requires States and school districts to ensure that all teachers are highly qualifiedas defined by individual States according to statutory requirementsby the end of the 2005-2006 school year. Improving Teacher Quality State Grants provides flexible formula grants to help States and school districts meet this requirement and to strengthen the content knowledge and pedagogical skills of the teaching force. State- level activities may include changes to teacher certification or licensure requirements, alternative certification, tenure reform, merit-based teacher performance systems, and differential and bonus pay for teachers in high-need subject areas. School districts may use funds for professional development, recruitment and retraining of teachers and principals, merit pay, mentoring, and other activities.
Program funds support high-quality professional development as a central and indispensable element of the larger effort to help all students achieve. Research indicates that such professional development can contribute to improvements in teachers' skills and practice and thereby raise student achievement. The Department also would continue developing the knowledge base on teacher effectiveness by reserving up to $14.4 million (one-half of 1 percent) of the fiscal year 2007 appropriation for evaluation and related activities.
The initial PART review of this program, in 2003, rated it Results Not Demonstrated. A second review in 2005 gave the program a Moderately Effective rating, based on documented progress in reaching performance targets and evidence that the Department has initiated rigorous program evaluations and improved its technical assistance to help States and districts meet program requirements.
This newly funded program will provide grants to encourage school districts and States to develop and implement innovative ways to provide financial incentives for teachers and principals who raise student achievement and close the achievement gap in some of our Nation's highest-need schools. States and LEAs, either alone or in partnership with non-profit organizations, may apply for competitive grants to develop and implement performance-based compensation systems for public school teachers and principals in high-need areas. These compensation systems must be based primarily on measures related to student achievement.
This program supports the Department of Defense Troops-to-Teachers program, which encourages and helps train retiring military personnel to teach in high-poverty school districts. A 2001 survey by the Government Accountability Office showed that almost 4,000 former military personnel had been hired as teachers nationwide since the program was established in 1994. Teachers recruited through Troops-to-Teachers have been twice as likely as traditional public school teachers to teach in such high-need subject areas as mathematics, science, and special education.
Troops-to-Teachers received an Adequate rating following a 2003 PART analysis concluding that while the program is accomplishing its objectives, it would benefit from short- and long-term performance measures and more transparent reporting of results. The Department has responded to these findings by establishing performance measures and improving reporting.
This program will help meet the demand for an estimated 2 million new teachers over the next decade by supporting alternative routes to teacher certification and other approaches enabling mid-career professionals and recent college graduates to transition to careers in teaching. The request would finance more than 100 5-year competitive grants that would train, place, and support candidates as teachers in high-need schools.
A 2005 PART analysis for the program produced an Adequate rating and high scores for purpose, measurable goals, and progress in making performance data available to the public. In response to PART findings, the program is working to improve the reliability and comparability of performance data.
This program makes competitive grants to school districts for professional development to strengthen the teaching of traditional American history as a separate subject in elementary and secondary schools. The Administration recognizes the importance of American history in preparing future generations of students to become responsible citizens and to fully participate in our democracy. However, the number of quality applications for assistance under this program in recent years does not justify the current level of funding. The reduced request reflects the anticipated number of high-scoring applicants in fiscal year 2007, and would fund up to 52 new awards.
A PART analysis completed in 2004 for the program produced a Results Not Demonstrated rating, primarily due to the absence of long-term and annual performance targets and data unavailability. In response, the program is collecting data for targets and measures, and developing a strategy for making the data available to the public.
This program supports the development of advanced credentials based on the content expertise of master teachers. Funds also support related activities to encourage and support teachers seeking advanced credentials. The 2007 request would support the American Board for the Certification of Teacher Excellence's development of an Initial Certification and a Master Certification to give States and districts more options for improving teacher quality and, most importantly, raising student achievement.
This program focuses on professional development, especially in teaching pre-reading skills to young children, for early childhood educators and caregivers working in high- poverty communities. The request would fund a new round of competitive grants to support training for preschool and other early childhood educators to help ensure that young children enter school ready to learn to read.
The Reading First initiative remains a strong priority in the President's 2007 Budget because data continue to show that too many young children do not master reading the most basic and essential skill required for more advanced learningduring their early elementary school years. On the 2005 National Assessment of Educational Progress, 61 percent of all fourth graders in high-poverty schools scored below the "basic" reading level. Research shows that students who cannot read well by fourth grade have a greater likelihood of dropping out and facing a lifetime of diminished success. Reading First activities help increase reading gains, reduce the number of children who fall behind in reading, provide additional help to children who need it, and lower the number of children referred to special education due to low reading scores.
The request includes more than $1.1 billion for the two components of Reading First. The Reading First State Grants program is a comprehensive, nationwide effort to implement high-quality, research-based reading instruction to help reach the President's goal of ensuring that every child can read at grade level or above by the end of 3rd grade.
State formula grant funds are used to help school districts and schools provide professional development in reading instruction for teachers and administrators, adopt and use diagnostic reading assessments for students in kindergarten through third grade to determine where they need help, implement reading curricula that are based on recent research, and provide reading interventions for young grade-school children.
In addition, as required by statute, the Department would reserve $5 million for the National Institute for Literacy and $3.8 million for Targeted Assistance Grants, which are competitive grants to States that demonstrate progress in reading achievement.
Early Reading First complements Reading First State Grants by providing competitive grants to school districts and non-profit organizations to support activities in preschool programs designed to enhance the verbal skills, phonological awareness, letter knowledge, and pre-reading skills of children from birth through age 5. Funds are targeted to communities with high numbers of low-income families.
The 2007 request level will support up to 36 new Early Reading First projects, which focus on providing cognitive learning opportunities for young children to ensure that they are well prepared for kindergarten. These grants improve the instruction and environment provided by programs primarily serving young children living in poverty, including preschool programs supported by the Title I program, Head Start, and publicly funded or subsidized child care.
This program helps school districts improve literacy skills by providing students with increased access to up-to-date school library materials and professionally certified school library media specialists. The 2007 request would fund an estimated 80-90 competitive grants that would support the efforts of libraries to help children to read well by making information available to all students, training students and teachers about how to obtain and make use of information, and increasing access to technology and information for students in low-income schools.
This program is administered through a contract with Reading is Fundamental, Inc. (RIF), a nonprofit organization affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution. RIF allocates funds to local community associations that select and distribute inexpensive books to children free of charge. RIF currently reaches about 4.5 million children through 20,000 projects. By increasing preschool children's access to books, and involving their parents as their child's first teachers, this program supports the President's goal that all children will be able to read well by 3rd grade.
This proposal would encourage local efforts to enable students from low-income households who attend schools identified for restructuring under Title I of the ESEA to attend a private school or to receive intensive, sustained tutoring assistance, which may include after-school and summer programs. The program would make competitive awards to States, local educational agencies (LEAs), and public or private nonprofit organizations (including community-and faith-based organizations), with a priority given to applicants proposing to serve students in LEAs that operate large numbers or percentages of schools that have been identified for restructuring (schools that have not met State progress targets for 6 or more years). The request builds on the successful Opportunity Scholarships program implemented in the District of Columbia since fiscal year 2005, which is designed to give low-income parents more options for the education of their children, and for which almost $15 million is included in the 2007 request for the District of Columbia.
A significant body of evidence shows that providing parents and students with expanded choice options can improve both the academic performance of the students exercising choice and the performance of schools at risk of losing students. For example, the September 2002 Government Accountability Office report, School Vouchers: Characteristics of Privately Funded Programs, found that rigorous evaluations of private school choice programs in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Dayton, Ohio, "provide some evidence that African American students who used vouchers to attend private schools showed greater improvements in math and reading than students in the comparison group." Other studies have found that public schools improved their performance and responsiveness to parent and student needs when exposed to competition.
This program supports efforts to establish intradistrict and interdistrict public school choice programs to provide parents, particularly parents whose children attend low- performing public schools, with greater choice for their children's education. Competitive grants support planning and implementation costs associated with new programs, tuition transfer payments to public schools that students choose to attend, and efforts to expand the capacity of schools to meet the demand for choice. The first cohort of grantees will end in 2006; the request would support the first year of a new cohort of grants that will specifically focus on increasing school capacity through interdistrict choice strategies. Few districts have created interdistrict choice arrangements under NCLB, and examinations of NCLB implementation have concluded that the low level of activity in this area has limited the effectiveness of the Title I choice provisions.
This program increases public school choice options by supporting the planning, development, and initial implementation of public charter schools. States also may use a portion of their funds for dissemination of information on successful charter school practices. Forty States and the District of Columbia have charter school laws that offer regulatory flexibility in exchange for greater accountability for improving student performance. Over the last decade, the number of charter schools nationwide has grown from only a handful to approximately 3,600. The first $200 million of each year's appropriation is used for competitive grants to States and to individual charter schools in States that elect not to apply, and for national activities. Funding above $200 million maintains support for State Charter School Facilities Incentive Grants, which provide competitively awarded matching funds to States that offer per-pupil financial assistance to charter schools to obtain facilities.
The 2007 request for this program is supported by a 2005 PART analysis that gave the program an Adequate rating and high scores for purpose, program management, and demonstrated results, while identifying weaknesses related to data collection and public availability of results. The Department is taking steps to eliminate those weaknesses.
Expanding the number of charter schools is a key Administration strategy for increasing the options available to parents seeking the best educational opportunities for their children. A major obstacle to the creation of charter schools in many communities is limited access to suitable academic facilities. The Credit Enhancement for Charter School Facilities program provides competitive grants to public and nonprofit entities that help charter schools secure the financing needed to purchase, construct, renovate, or lease academic facilities. For example, a grantee might provide guarantees and insurance on bonds and leases.
The request would support a competition to select 50 local educational agencies to operate magnet schools that are part of a court-ordered or approved desegregation plan to eliminate, reduce, or prevent minority group isolation in elementary and secondary schools. Magnet schools address their desegregation goals by providing a distinctive educational program that attracts a diverse student population. The budget also supports the continuation of 2 projects initiated in earlier years. The Department would use about $1.2 million for evaluation and dissemination activities.
A 2004 PART analysis of this program produced an Adequate rating and high scores for purpose, management, and evaluation strategy, while also noting weaknesses in the collection and public dissemination of performance data. The Department is working to improve data collection and to develop a plan for publicizing performance data.
The Fund for the Improvement of Education (FIE) supports nationally significant programs, administered through a combination of discretionary grants and contracts, to improve the quality of elementary and secondary education at the State and local levels and help all students meet challenging State academic achievement standards. The budget provides a $27.3 million increase to support several new and consolidated activities, including two components of the National Security Language Initiative: $5 million for the Language Teacher Corps, which would provide training to college graduates with critical language skills who are interested in becoming foreign language teachers, and $3 million for a Teacher-to-Teacher Initiative that would fund intensive summer training sessions for foreign language teachers, especially teachers of critical need languages.
The request also would provide $10 million for Reach Out and Read, a program that promotes early literacy for infants and preschool children; $8 million for State Scholars (previously funded under Vocational Education National Programs), which encourages high school students to complete a rigorous curriculum in the core academic subjects; $4 million for Teach for America, which recruits and trains recent college graduates to teach in high-need communities; and $2 million to continue a Data Quality Initiative launched in fiscal year 2006 that is intended to improve the quality of Department evaluations and data collections for its elementary and secondary education programs.
This program provides 3-year competitive grants to State educational agencies to support systemic approaches to improving foreign language learning in States, and to local educational agencies to establish, improve, and expand foreign language instruction. The request would support the President's National Security Language Initiative by providing incentives to school districts and States to provide instruction in critical foreign languages, such as Arabic, Chinese Farsi, Japanese, Korean, Russian, and Urdu. The request also would promote innovative approaches to teaching such languages, especially those involving the use of technology to provide intensive instruction.
This program helps communities establish or expand centers that provide extended learning opportunities for students and related services to their families. From their formula grants, States make competitive awards of at least $50,000 to school districts, community-based organizations, faith-based organizations, and other public or private entities for projects that primarily serve students attending high-poverty schools. States give priority to projects serving students who attend schools identified for improvement or corrective action under Title I, and projects emphasize activities that prepare students to meet State and local student performance standards in core academic subjects. The request would enable districts to provide after-school learning opportunitiesparticularly for children who attend high-poverty or low-performing schoolsto more than 1.3 million students in 2,900 after-school programs.
The 2007 request for this program is supported by a 2003 PART analysis that gave the program an Adequate rating and high scores for purpose, planning, and management, while identifying weaknesses related to accountability. The program has taken steps to improve its data collection system and to use data and program evaluations to improve program management.
This program provides flexible formula grants to State and local educational agencies for a wide range of authorized activities serving all students. Examples include educator professional development, acquisition of classroom and school library materials and equipment, and funding Title I supplemental educational services.
In 2005, the program received a rating of Results Not Demonstrated on the PART, mostly because of the lack of performance data. To respond to these concerns, the Department has added two additional performance measures to determine program quality, will begin formal monitoring visits to States to ensure that the program is being implemented correctly, and has developed two interim efficiency measures for the program.
The Rural Education Achievement authority funds two separate programs that help rural school districts improve the quality of teaching and learning in their schools. The Small, Rural School Achievement program provides formula funds to rural school districts serving small numbers of students, and the Rural and Low-Income School program provides formula grants to States, which have the option of sub-allocating funds to high- poverty rural districts competitively or by formula. Each program receives one-half of the appropriation. The request would maintain support for small, often geographically isolated rural districts that face special challenges in implementing NCLB.
Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities (SDFSC) National Programs fund several activities, primarily through competitive awards, to help promote safe and drug-free learning environments for students and address the needs of at-risk youth. The request includes $79 million for grants to school districts for comprehensive, community-wide "Safe Schools/Healthy Students" drug and violence prevention projects, and $52 million for drug prevention or school safety programs informed by scientifically based research or that will use such research to demonstrate their effectiveness. Other activities include $26 million for the school emergency preparedness initiative conducted in coordination with the Department of Homeland Security, $15 million for school-based drug testing programs for students, $5 million to provide emergency response services to LEAs under Project SERV (School Emergency Response to Violence), and $19 million to pay continuation costs for Mentoring grants as the final year of a 2-year phase-out of this activity, which will have achieved its objectives.
This program makes competitive awards to States and school districts for such activities as developing character education curricula, implementing model character education programs that involve parents and community members, including private and nonprofit organizations, and training teachers to incorporate character-building lessons and activities into the classroom. Programs must be integrated into classroom instruction, consistent with State academic content standards, and coordinated with other State education reforms. Elements of character include such qualities as caring, civic virtue and citizenship, justice, respect, responsibility, trustworthiness, and giving. The request would provide $20.2 million for continuation awards, $2.8 million for new grants, and $1.2 million for national activities.
This program provides competitive grants to local educational agencies and community- based organizations to pay the Federal share of the costs of initiating, expanding, and improving physical education programs (including after-school programs) for students in kindergarten through 12th grade. Funds may be used to provide equipment and other support enabling students to participate in physical education activities and for training teachers and staff. The 2007 request would pay for continuation costs only as part of a two-year plan to phase out the program to redirect resources to higher-priority activities. A 2005 PART analysis rated this program Results Not Demonstrated because of weaknesses and deficiencies with regard to demonstrating positive outcomes. In response, the Department is establishing new mechanisms for collecting accurate and reliable performance data from grantees.
This program supports the development and distribution of educational video and related materials for preschool children, elementary school children, and their parents that are intended to improve school readiness and academic achievement.
A 2004 PART analysis of this program produced a Results Not Demonstrated rating, primarily due to a lack of consistent or reliable data on program results, and a recommendation that the Department take additional steps to better understand the impact of the program. In response, the Department has made three key changes. First, the Department is requiring that all new children's television programming content be informed by scientifically based research in reading and early literacy. Second, programming grantees must conduct rigorous evaluations using experimental or quasi- experimental designs. And third, instead of a single, large award, the Department has made three smaller competitive awards (two programming and one outreach award) to different grantees. The request would continue support for these three awards.
Title III of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) authorizes formula grants to States based on each State's share of the Nation's limited English proficient (LEP) and recent immigrant student population. Grants help States design and implement statewide activities meeting the educational needs of their LEP students. The statute also provides a .5 percent set-aside for the Outlying Areas and a $5 million set- aside for elementary, secondary, and postsecondary schools operated predominantly for Native American children.
States must use at least 95 percent of formula funds for subgrants to school districts, based primarily on each district's share of the State's LEP students. In addition, States must use up to 15 percent of the 95 percent to increase the size of grants to districts that have experienced a significant increase in the percentage or number of recent immigrant students over the preceding two years.
States must develop annual measurable achievement objectives for LEP students that measure their success in achieving English language proficiency and meeting challenging State academic content and achievement standards. If a school district does not make progress toward meeting these objectives for two consecutive years, the State must require the district to develop and implement an improvement plan. If the district still is not meeting the State's annual achievement objectives after four consecutive years, the State must require the district to take corrective action by adopting approaches more likely to bring about meaningful change, such as comprehensive implementation of a new instructional method or replacing educational personnel responsible for the LEA's inability to meet the objectives. The State also may terminate assistance to the district.
Title III also requires the Department to set aside 6.5 percent of the appropriation for National Activities, including the National Professional Development Project, a National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition and Language Instructional Programs, and evaluation. Under the National Professional Development Project, the Department makes 5-year competitive grants to institutions of higher education that have entered into consortium arrangements with State or local educational agencies. The purpose of these grants is to increase the pool of teachers prepared to serve limited English proficient students and increase the skills of teachers already in classrooms. The purpose of the National Clearinghouse contract is to collect and disseminate information about instructional programs for LEP students.
Migrant Education State Grants provide formula-based assistance in meeting the special educational needs of nearly 750,000 children of migrant agricultural workers by helping States identify and pay the higher costs often associated with serving such children. The Department also uses a portion of funding to improve inter- and intra-state coordination of migrant education activities. The Title I Neglected and Delinquent program makes State formula grants to support educational services for an estimated 171,000 children and youth in State-operated institutions.
The Title I Neglected and Delinquent program received a PART rating of Results Not Demonstrated, primarily due to the absence of performance targets and data. In response, the Department currently is improving data collection procedures as a basis for setting targets.
The High School Equivalency Program (HEP) funds competitively selected projects to help low-income migrant and seasonal farm workers gain high school diplomas or equivalency certificates. The College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) makes competitive grants to provide stipends and special services, such as tutoring and counseling, to migrant students who are in their first year of college. The 2007 request would support approximately 73 HEP and CAMP continuation grants as well as 5 new HEP projects and 12 new CAMP projects.
The Department completed a PART analysis of these programs in 2004. Both programs were rated Results Not Demonstrated, with the analysis highlighting strengths but also flagging weaknesses related to data collection and accountability. In response, the Department has improved procedures to promote the collection of comparable performance data across grantees.
Indian Education programs supplement the efforts of State and local educational agencies and Indian tribes to improve educational opportunities for Indian children. The programs link these efforts to broader educational reforms underway in States and localities to ensure that Indian students benefit from those reforms and achieve to the same challenging academic standards as other students.
Grants to Local Educational Agencies provide formula grants to public and BIA- supported schools for activities to improve the educational achievement of Indian students. Special Programs for Indian Children includes $13.5 million in competitive grants for the American Indian Teacher Corps and the American Indian Administrator Corps, to support training for Indian teachers and administrators to take positions in schools that serve concentrations of Indian children, and $5.7 million for competitive demonstration grants to improve educational opportunities for Indian children in areas such as early childhood education and college preparation.
Finally, the request provides $4.0 million for National Activities, which funds research, evaluation, and data collection designed to fill gaps in our understanding of the educational status and needs of Indians and to identify educational practices that are effective with Indian students. The program also provides technical assistance to school districts and other entities receiving Indian Education formula and discretionary grants.
The Education for Native Hawaiians program funds competitive grants for supplemental education services and activities for Native Hawaiians, many of whom perform below national norms on achievement tests of basic skills in reading, science, and math. Grants support a variety of authorized activities, including early childhood education services, after-school programs, special education, and educator professional development. The proposed $2.5 million reduction in funding reflects the elimination of two one-time grants included in the 2006 appropriation.
The Alaska Native Education Equity program provides educational services to meet the special needs of Native Alaskan children. By statute, a portion of funds must be awarded annually to specific entities (Mandated Awards), and the remainder is awarded competitively. Grants support a variety of authorized activities, such as curriculum development, teacher recruitment, and student enrichment programs in math and science.
The $18.0 million request would maintain support for Supplemental Education Grants to the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) and the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI), as authorized by the Compact of Free Association Amendments Act of 2003 (P.L. 108-188). Under the program, the Department transfers funds and provides recommendations on funding to the Department of the Interior, which makes grants to the FSM and RMI for educational services that augment the general operations of the educational systems of the two entities.
The Act eliminated RMI and FSM participation in most domestic formula grant programs funded by the Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, and Labor, and created this program to supplement a separate education support programs under the Compact. The request would allow the RMI and FSM to support programs that focus on improving the educational achievement of students in the two Freely Associated States.
This program provides formula grants to States, which subgrant most funds to LEAs for tutoring, transportation, and other services that help homeless children to enroll in, attend, and succeed in school. In addition to academic instruction, the program helps ensure access for these children to preschool programs, special education, and gifted and talented programs.
While nearly all States have eased residency requirements and improved transportation and immunization policies to ensure greater access for homeless students over the past decade, those students continue to be at significant risk of educational failure. The request would maintain support for State and local activities designed to reduce that risk.
The Impact Aid program provides financial support to school districts affected by Federal activities. The property on which certain children live is exempt from local property taxes, denying districts access to the primary source of revenue used by most communities to finance education. Impact Aid helps to replace the lost local revenue that would otherwise be available to districts to pay for the education of these children.
The $1.1 billion request for Basic Support Payments would provide formula grants for both regular Basic Support Payments and Basic Support Payments for Heavily Impacted LEAs.
The $49.5 million request for Payments for Children with Disabilities would provide formula grants to help eligible districts meet their obligations under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act to provide a free appropriate public education for federally connected children with disabilities.
The Department of Education owns and maintains 33 school facilities that serve large numbers of military dependents. The $5.0 million request for Facilities Maintenance would fund essential repair and maintenance of these facilities and allow the Department to continue to transfer schools to local school districts.
School districts also generally pay for most of their school construction costs using their own resources and rely on property taxes to finance these costs. Districts affected by Federal operations have limited access to those sources of funding. The entire $17.8 million proposed for Construction would be used for competitive grants, rather than the formula grants that are also authorized under the program (and that received the entire 2006 appropriation). Unlike the formula grants, the competitive grants are targeted to the LEAs with the greatest need and provide sufficient assistance to enable those LEAs to make major repairs and renovations.
The $64.4 million request for Payments for Federal Property would provide formula-based payments to districts that generally have lost 10 percent or more of their taxable property to the Federal Government.
PART assessments have produced mixed results for Impact Aid programs. A 2005 PART analysis of Impact Aid Basic Support Payments and Payments for Children with Disabilities produced a Results Not Demonstrated rating, based on the lack of data on the targeting of funds to districts without regard to financial need, while also acknowledging the Department's increased efficiencies in managing payments. In response, the Department is working to develop a model for estimating the effectiveness of the program in delivering assistance to Federally affected school districts.
A 2005 PART analysis of Impact Aid Construction produced an Adequate rating and high scores for purpose, program management, and results that show improvement in the grantees ability to improve the condition of their school buildings. A 2004 PART analysis of Payments for Federal Property produced a Results Not Demonstrated rating based on the lack of annual and long-term performance measures for the program. In response, the Department created two new performance measures to track the efficiency of the Payments for Federal Property program.
This program supports 10 regional Equity Assistance Centers, selected competitively, that provide services to school districts on issues related to discrimination based on race, gender, and national origin. Typical activities include disseminating information on successful practices and legal requirements related to nondiscrimination, providing training to educators to develop their skills in specific areas, such as identification of bias in instructional materials, and technical assistance on selection of instructional materials.
A PART analysis of this program conducted in 2005 produced a Results Not Demonstrated rating, primarily due to the absence of performance targets and data. In response, the Department is working to measure the quality, relevance, and usefulness of the services provided by the program and to collect data to allow the comparison of this program to other technical assistance programs.
For further information contact the ED Budget Service.
This page last modifiedFebruary 6, 2006 (mjj).