FY 2009 Budget
Transforming Higher Education
Quote to Note
FY 2009 Budget
On February 4, President Bush released his Fiscal Year 2009 budget request, including $59.2 billion in discretionary funding for the U.S. Department of Education. The request is the same as last year's appropriation. However, within that total, the agency would receive sizable increases in priority areasstrengthening the No Child Left Behind Act, challenging high school students with rigorous coursework, and making college more affordableby reducing funding in other areas, eliminating 47 programs totaling $3.3 billion, and eliminating 759 earmarks totaling $328 million. Among the highlights:
No Child Left Behind
- a $406 million increase in Title I grants to states, to $14.3 billion (up 63% since 2001), to increase high schools' share of Title I allocations;
- a $607 million increase for Reading First, to $1 billion, to restore the funding required to implement this effective program;
- $491 million for School Improvement Grants, to support strong leadership in helping turning around low-performing schools and school districts;
- $409 million for Assessment Grants, including high school assessments aligned with college and work-ready standards; and
- $200 million for the Teacher Incentive Fund, to help develop modern compensation systems.
Other K-12 Education
- a $337 million increase in special education grants to states, to $11.3 billion, sustaining the federal contribution at 17%;
- $2.8 billion for Improving Teacher Quality state grants;
- $730 million for English language acquisition;
- $1.1 billion for new choice proposals: $300 million for Pell Grants for Kids, to supply scholarships for low-income students enrolled in restructuring schools or high school "dropout factories" to transfer to out-of-district public schools or local private schools, and $800 million for a revised 21st Century Learning Opportunities program, to transform that low-performing initiative into a scholarship program enabling poor students in struggling schools to enroll in high-quality afterschool programs; and
- $175 million for Academic Competitiveness Initiative proposals: $95 million for elementary and middle school components of Math Now, which would employ research-based instruction in math (based, in part, on the findings of the National Math Panel), $70 million for Advanced Placement/International Baccalaureate expansion, and $10 million to create an Adjunct Teacher Corps, which would encourage experienced professionals to teach high school courses.
Student Financial Aid
- $18.9 billion in combined discretionary and mandatory funding for Pell Grants (up 116% since 2001), to raise the maximum Pell Grant award to $4,800 (up 28% since 2001) and reach 5.8 million students (up 33% since 2001).
The Department's discretionary appropriations have grown by $17 billion, or 40%, since FY 2001. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/about/overview/budget/budget09/summary/. (State-by-state tables are available at http://www.ed.gov/about/overview/budget/statetables/.)
According to the College Board's fourth annual "Advanced Placement Report to the Nation," 15.2% of the graduating class of 2007 achieved mastery (at least a 3 on a 5-point scale) on one or more AP examsup from 11.7% for the 2002 class and 14.7% for the 2006 class. Moreover, six states now have more than 20% of their students graduate from high school having earned an AP exam grade of 3 or higher. Nevertheless, traditionally under-represented students still demonstrate much lower performance on AP exams. Indeed, although some states have successfully closed the gap for Hispanic students, no state with significant numbers of African-American or American Indian students has closed the gap. The report also spotlights states' efforts to implement programs that support academic achievement for all students. For more information, please go to http://www.collegeboard.com/about/news_info/ap/2008/.
Transforming Higher Education
Over the last week, in between her visits to Louisiana (1/31), Alabama (2/1), Mississippi (2/14), and Rhode Island (2/15) to discuss K-12 education, the Secretary spoke out on higher education. First, on February 8, she addressed the Greater Houston Partnership (http://www.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2008/02/02082008.html). "Houston prides itself on serving as a headquarters for 23 of the Fortune 500 companies," she said. "So, I know you agree that instead of debating whether it's responsible to teach the fundamentals of reading and math we should be talking about how to prepare every student for college and today's global economy. That's why, two years ago, I launched a commission to start a national conversation on access, affordability, and accountability in higher education," led by a Houston businessman, Charles Miller. And, she continued, in "reaction" to the commission's report, "We're seeing some very encouraging things. A coalition of institutions began sharing information that has never before been publicly available.... Texas is using the accrediting process to increase access and innovation in higher education. Ivy League universities have increased aid to students. More consumers are talking in terms of quality, affordability, and return for investment." Then, on February 12, she delivered the keynote at the National Legislative Summit of the American Association of Community Colleges and the Association of Community College Trustees (http://www.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2008/02/02122008.html). "Community colleges have never... rationed opportunity towards the privileged," she said. "Instead of keeping people out, you invite them in to higher educationand not just for degrees but for targeted workforce training. Your efforts must serve as a model because... shifting demographics and the rise of the global knowledge economy mean that we must educate more students to higher levels than ever before." Notably, President Bush appointed the first Deputy Assistant Secretary for Community Colleges, Pat Stanley, and Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education Diane Jones began her career as a community college teacher. Clearly, "We need better ways to follow students as they move across the system," she concluded, citing some budget items to assist. "Not just first-time, full-time, degree-seeking, non-transfer studentsbut all students." For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/about/bdscomm/list/hiedfuture/plan/.
At both venues, the Secretary lamented a House bill reauthorizing the Higher Education Act for failing to tackle the "real concerns of students and families." The White House has issued a detailed Statement of Administration Policy on the legislation. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2008/02/02062008.html.
While in Texas, Secretary Spellings announced the creation of Teaching Ambassador Fellowship positions at the Department for the 2008-09 academic year. These positions will offer highly motivated and innovative public school teachers the opportunity to contribute their knowledge and experience to the national dialogue on education. The program includes two tracks. Up to five Washington Fellows will become full-time federal employees in Washington, D.C., participating in policy discussions and working on education programs. Up to 20 Classroom Fellows will remain at their local schools under their regular teaching contracts and be paid for various assignments and projects throughout the school year on a part-time basis. All fellows will be selected on their record of leadership, impact on student achievement, and potential for contribution to the field. Only highly qualified public school teachers who have spent at least three years in the classroom are eligible to apply. And, to ensure collaboration, fellows must have the full support of their principals. Applications are due by April 7. Fellows will be named by early summer. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/programs/teacherfellowship/.
Educators and librarians are invited to apply for a new initiative being offered by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Picturing America is designed to promote the study, teaching, and understanding of American history and culture by introducing students and the general public to 40 of America's greatest art treasures. From the courage and leadership portrayed in Emanuel Leutze's Washington Crossing the Delaware to the power of democracy shown through Norman Rockwell's Freedom of Speech, these images of people, places, and events in American history allow citizens to better understand our nation's past and the principles for which it stands, while also providing an introduction to the broader world of the humanities. At no cost, NEH will furnish a set of high-quality reproductions of the art (approximately 24" x 36") and an illustrated teacher resource book with notes for all grade levels. For fall 2008, applications must be received by April 15. For more information, please go to http://picturingamerica.neh.gov/.
Forbes magazine asked a number of leading educators, business executives, and politicians to come up with solutions for educating children in the increasingly complex and fast-moving world of the 21st century. Secretary Spellings submitted an essay on closing the "giant achievement gap." Essays are also available from such varied personalities as KIPP Co-Founder Mike Feinberg, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, and 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus. For more information, please go to http://www.forbes.com/2008/01/23/solutions-education-
Quote to Note
"The budget process is one where we must balance process and priorities, and I believe this budget does that for education. In addition to Reading First [being fully restored], I am pleased the budget calls for increased funding for Title I, IDEA, and Pell Grants. All of these programs are essential to ensuring that our children not only have access to a rigorous education, but one suited for the global economy. I hope Congress acts to fund these important programs at the level requested by the President."
|||Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings (2/4/08),
announcing the President's FY 2009 budget request
The Department's next "Education News Parents Can Use" broadcast, on math education, is scheduled for March 18. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/news/av/video/edtv/.
Next week, the Department will be exhibiting at the National Association of Secondary School Principals' Annual Convention in San Antonio (February 22-24). If you are attending this event, please stop by the Department's booth.
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