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February 9, 2007 ED Review
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 February 9, 2007
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FY 2008 Budget
FY 2008 Budget (cont.)
Math and Science Literacy
AP Report
ED Strategic Plan
Pandemic Planning Guide
Quote to Note
Upcoming Events

FY 2008 Budget

On February 5, President Bush released his Fiscal Year 2008 budget request, including $56 billion in discretionary funding for the U.S. Department of Education. The baseline for the President's request was the 2007 continuing resolution that has been in effect since October. (Congress is currently working on new legislation that will alter that baseline, but, regardless of Congressional action, the administration's priorities will not change.) The request is the same as that continuing resolution. However, within that total, the agency would receive significant increases in priority areas—both by reducing funding in other areas and by eliminating 44 programs totaling $2.2 billion. Also, to increase grants for low-income postsecondary education students, the administration is seeking savings in mandatory student loan programs. Among the highlights:

K-12 Education

  • a $1.2 billion increase in Title I grants to states (up 59% since 2001), to increase high schools' share of Title I allocations (presently, U.S. high schools enroll 20% of low-income students but receive 10% of Title I allocations);
  • $500 million for first-time School Improvement Grants, to build state capacity to support school and school district improvement activities;
  • $100 million for the Striving Readers program (a $68 million increase);
  • $365 million for new Academic Competitiveness Initiative proposals: $250 million for elementary and middle school components of Math Now, which would encourage the use of research-based instruction in math, $122 million (a $90 million increase) for Advanced Placement/International Baccalaureate expansion, and $25 million to create an Adjunct Teacher Corps, which would encourage experienced professionals to teach high school courses;
  • $300 million for new choice proposals: $250 million for Promise Scholarships, which would allow low-income students to attend a private school or an out-of-district school or receive intensive tutoring (federal Title I funds would follow the child to the new school, supplemented with a scholarship of $2,500), and $50 million for Opportunity Scholarships, to spur state and local choice initiatives; and
  • $199 million for the Teacher Incentive Fund, to provide resources to help states and districts develop modern compensation systems.

Higher Education

  • a $550 increase in maximum Pell Grant award (largest increase since 1974) to $4,600 in 2008;
  • annual $200 increases in maximum Pell Grant awards over the next four years to $5,400 in 2012; and
  • a 50% increase in Academic Competitiveness Grants, from $750 to $1,125 for first-year students and from $1,300 to $1,950 for second-year students, which, when combined with a Pell Grant, would cover 85% of tuition and fees for freshmen and 100% of tuition and fees for sophomores at public four-year colleges and universities.

The Department's discretionary appropriations have grown by $13.8 billion, or 33%, since FY 2001. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/about/overview/budget/budget08/summary/. (State-by-state fact sheets are available at http://www.ed.gov/about/overview/budget/statefactsheets/.)

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FY 2008 Budget (cont.)

Secretary Spellings actually announced the increase in the maximum Pell Grant last week while addressing education, government, and business leaders assembled at North Carolina State University. "The reality is, as costs skyrocket, it becomes increasingly difficult for middle-class families to afford college. And, for low-income, mostly minority students, college is becoming virtually unattainable," she said. "States, institutions, and the federal government, we all must increase need-based aid. The President aims to do just that." The Secretary also emphasized the need to supply better information to students and families about how and where their money is being spent. "Just like any other investment or enterprise, we need meaningful data to better manage the system," she stated. "Better information will help parents plan and prepare. And it will help policymakers and college administrators do a better job serving our most important clients: students." For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/news/speeches/2007/02/02012007.html.

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Math and Science Literacy

The next "Education News Parents Can Use" broadcast (February 20, 8:00-9:00 p.m. ET) will focus on math and science education and the critical role these subjects play in equipping students with the skills needed to compete in the 21st century. Labor market trends indicate that tomorrow's high-growth, high-wage jobs will go to those with strong backgrounds in math and science and to skilled technical workers. Yet, American 15-year-olds ranked 24th out of 29 developed nations in math literacy and problem-solving on the 2003 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) test; only 7% of American fourth- and eighth-graders achieved "advanced" on the 2003 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) test (versus 41% of students from Singapore); and less than half of American students graduate from high school ready for college-level math and science. What is being done in response? First, to highlight specific problem areas, states are now required to assess and report student progress in the sciences. Second, President Bush is pursuing a series of investments under the American Competitiveness Initiative (see above), including the National Mathematics Advisory Panel. The show's guests will discuss both of these items, as well as showcase schools from around the country that are excelling in math and science. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/news/av/video/edtv/. (You can watch live and archived webcasts at http://www.connectlive.com/events/ednews/.)

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AP Report

According to the College Board's annual "Advanced Placement Report to the Nation," 14.8% of the graduating class of 2006 demonstrated mastery (at least a 3 on a 5-point scale) on one or more AP exams—up from 10.2% for the 2000 class and 14.1% for the 2005 class. Also, all 50 states and the District of Columbia reported an increase in the percentage of students succeeding on AP exams since 2000. However, traditionally under-represented students still demonstrate considerably lower performance on AP exams. Meanwhile, new independent research finds that students who participate in AP have significantly better college grades and college graduation rates. For more information, please go to http://www.collegeboard.com/about/news_info/ap/2007/.

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ED Strategic Plan

Want to help shape the agency's future? The Department's draft "Strategic Plan for Fiscal Year 2007-12," available at http://www.ed.gov/about/reports/strat/plan2007-12/2007-plan.pdf, sets out three priorities: (1) increase student achievement, reward qualified teachers, and renew troubled schools so that every student can read and do math at grade level by 2014, as called for by the No Child Left Behind Act; (2) encourage more rigorous and advanced coursework to improve the academic performance of middle and high school students; and (3) work with colleges and universities to improve access, affordability, and accountability, so the higher education system remains the world's finest. It also sets high expectations for management of the agency by creating a cross-cutting goal, focused on excellent management practices, fiscal integrity, and a culture of high performance. The Department welcomes public comment on the draft strategic plan at stratplancomments@ed.gov through February 23.

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Pandemic Planning Guidance

On February 1, the Department of Education joined the Department of Health and Human Services and its Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to roll-out the "Interim Pre-Pandemic Planning Guidance," a critical resource for teachers, administrators, schools, and communities that offers recommendations on non-pharmaceutical approaches for mitigating the effects of an influenza pandemic. The goal is to limit the spread of the disease by reducing contact between sick people and those who are well. Later this year, the Department of Education will provide additional guidance on ways in which districts should administer federal education funding and policies, if schools will be closed for an extended period of time. For more information, please go to http://www.pandemicflu.gov/plan/community/mitigation.html.

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Quote to Note

"As the larger return to education and skill is likely the single greatest source of the long-term increase in inequality, policies that boost our national investment in education and training can help reduce inequality while expanding economic opportunity. A substantial body of research demonstrates that investments in education and training pay high rates of return both to individuals and to the society at large. That research also suggests that workers with more education are better positioned to adapt to changing demands in the workplace."

        Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke (2/6/07)

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Upcoming Events

National Engineers Week (February 18-24) aims to increase the understanding of and interest in engineering and technology careers among students by promoting pre-college literacy in math and science. It also seeks to raise public understanding and appreciation of engineers' contributions to society. (For example, the web site features profiles of 50 young engineers.) For more information, please go to http://www.eweek.org/.

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Director, Intergovernmental Affairs—Rogers Johnson, (202) 401-0026, Rogers.Johnson@ed.gov
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Last Modified: 02/09/2007