Fiscal Year 2006 Budget Summary February 7, 2005
Section II. A. Elementary and Secondary Education
In the three years since the enactment of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), States have made major strides in implementing higher standards and stronger accountability designed to ensure that all students achieve at a high level, and test scores and other indicators of student achievement have begun to change as a result. The 2006 request would continue to support key NCLB programs that help close achievement gaps between poor and minority students and their more advantaged peers, ensure that States and districts hold schools accountable for improved student achievement, enable schools to place a highly qualified teacher in every classroom, and provide families and students with expanded educational choices. In addition, the 2006 budget includes new authorities to bring the reforms of No Child Left Behind to the high school level and to support the reform of teacher compensation systems.
During the past three years, all States developed, submitted to the Department, and began implementing plans for holding all schools accountable for results. Key elements of these plans included new "adequate yearly progress" definitions to measure progress toward State proficiency goals and identify schools in need of improvement, the development and implementation of reform plans in those schools, and the provision of new educational options for their students, including the opportunity to transfer to another public school or to receive supplemental educational services. All States also are working to ensure that by the end of the 2005-2006 school year, all classes in the core academic subjects are taught by highly qualified teachers.
Early signs of success resulting from NCLB reforms include the following:
These data suggest that NCLB reforms have spurred a relentless focus on improving academic achievement for all students that is beginning to have a positive impact in the classroom. Other data, however, reveal continuing low achievement and enduring achievement gaps at the secondary school level. For example, recent reports by organizations like Achieve and the Education Trust document that too few high school students are completing the rigorous academic courses needed for success in postsecondary education and the workplace, and that high school students are not sharing fully in the improved achievement seen at lower grade levels. Moreover, approximately half of entering college students needs to complete remedial courses before they can handle college-level work.
These reports suggest the need for an even greater emphasis on accountability and student achievement at the secondary school level. In response, President Bush is proposing nearly $1.8 billion for a comprehensive set of initiatives that would strengthen the impact of NCLB principles in our middle and high schools.
Highlights of the budget for elementary and secondary education programs include:
Title I Grants to Local Educational Agencies
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, help all students in high-poverty schools to meet challenging State academic standards. The program serves more than 15 million students in nearly all school districts and more than half of all public schoolsincluding two-thirds of the Nation's elementary schools.
The $602.7 million or 4.7 percent increase requested for 2006 would help States, school districts, and schools meet the strong accountability and teacher quality requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). If enacted, the request would result in a $4.6 billion, or 52 percent, increase for Title I since the passage of NCLB.
The request would support the twin goals of school improvement and expanded choice for parents and students, in part by making available about $523 million to States and school districts for school improvement activities under section 1003(a) of the ESEA, which requires States to reserve 4 percent of Title I Grants to LEAs for this purpose. These funds, which States must distribute to those districts with the greatest need for such funds, support the implementation of school improvement plans.
The 2006 increase also would allow more parents and students to benefit from the public school choice and supplemental educational services provisions of NCLB, meeting the increased demand for those options that will result if additional schools are identified for improvement under the law.
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 26,000 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.
Under NCLB, school districts must permit students in Title I schools that do not meet annual State adequate yearly progress (AYP) objectives for two consecutive years to transfer to another public school, with transportation provided by the school district. If schools continue not to make AYP, students may obtain supplemental educational servicespaid for by the districtfrom the public- or private-sector provider selected by their parents from a State-approved list.
The law also requires these same schools (those that have missed AYP for two or more years) to develop improvement plans incorporating strategies from scientifically based research. 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.
The 2006 budget includes a separate $9.4 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 President's High School Initiative, which includes both High School Intervention and the new High School Assessments, will 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. High School Intervention would support the development, implementation, and evaluation of targeted interventions that: (1) increase the achievement of high school students, particularly students at risk of not meeting State academic standards; (2) eliminate gaps in achievement between students from different ethnic and racial groups and between disadvantaged students and their more advantaged peers; and (3) enable all high school students to graduate with the education, skills, and knowledge necessary to succeed in postsecondary education and in a technology-based, globally competitive economy. Formula grants to States would fund competitive grants to local educational agencies (LEAs) for implementation of interventions in secondary schools that have a demonstrated need for such assistance.
Participating LEAs would ensure that targeted high schools develop and implement (in consultation with parents, teachers, and counselors) individual performance plans for entering students based on 8th-grade assessment data. LEAs also would use program funds to implement specific interventions to improve the academic achievement of students at greatest risk of not meeting State academic standards and of dropping out of high school.
Interventions could include: (1) programs that combine rigorous academic courses with demanding vocational and technical education courses to provide students with high-quality academic and technical training; (2) research-based dropout prevention programs; (3) technology-based assessment systems to provide teachers and other school officials with regular and frequent feedback on the achievement of individual students; (4) programs that, beginning in middle school, prepare students who are at risk of educational failure and dropping out to succeed academically in high school and to enter postsecondary education; and (5) college preparation and awareness activities for students from low-income families.
The Department would reserve funds to conduct needed research on specific interventions for improving high school education and raising achievement that would contribute to the relatively thin existing national knowledge base in this critical area. The program also would support continuation awards under the Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP), Upward Bound, Upward Bound Math and Science, and Talent Search programs, which the President's request would eliminate as separate programs.
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. Assessments in each of grades 3 through 8 for reading and mathematics must be in place by the 2005-2006 school year, and science assessments in three grade levels by the 2007-2008 school year. The 2006 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 2005-2006 deadline. The remaining $11.7 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.
The 2006 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.
This proposed initiative would provide formula grants to States to develop and implement annual assessments in language arts and mathematics at two additional grades in high school (NCLB already requires annual testing once in grades 10-12). Under the initiative, States would administer valid and reliable assessments to high school students at least three times during high school in both language arts and math. States would be required to have these assessments in place by school year 2009-10. The new assessments would inform strategies to meet the needs of at-risk high school students and strengthen school accountability at the secondary level.
Mathematics and Science Partnerships
The request includes an increase of $90.4 million, or 51 percent, over the 2005 level. Combined with existing funding, this increase would support the President's high school reform strategy by funding $120 million in competitive grants to accelerate the mathematics learning of secondary-school students, especially those who are at risk of dropping out of school because they lack basic skills in mathematics.
Current 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. However, continuing evidence of low mathematics achievement on both the National Assessment of Educational Progress and multiple international assessments justifies a stronger, more targeted emphasis on high school mathematics.
The $21.7 million or 73 percent increase proposed for this program as part of the President's high school reform strategy would help ensure that teachers are well trained to teach Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses at schools that serve large populations of low-income students. A key element of high school reform is increasing the rigor of the curriculum, and such courses help to improve the entire school curriculum for all students. In addition, low-income students who take such courses are much more likely to enroll and be successful in college than non-participating peers.
Program funds support 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.
State Scholars Capacity Building
The request proposes a $9.5 million increase, as part of the President's high school reform strategy, to expand support for State-level business and education partnerships that encourage high school students to complete a rigorous curriculum in the core academic subjects, including four years of English, three years each of mathematics and science, three and a half years of social studies, and two years of a foreign language.
The State Scholars program increases the number of high school students who have the solid academic foundation necessary to succeed in postsecondary education and in an increasingly competitive labor market. Under the request, the Center for State Scholars would support partnerships in approximately 26 additional States and jurisdictions over the 26 currently projected to participate through fiscal year 2005.
This proposal would complement a $33 million request for Enhanced Pell Grants for State Scholars, which would increase Pell awards by up to $1,000 for students who complete a State Scholars program in high school.
Improving Teacher Quality State Grants
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 a flexible source of funding to help States and school districts meet this requirement. 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 $14.58 million (one-half of 1 percent) of the fiscal year 2006 appropriation for evaluation and related activities.
A PART analysis conducted in 2003 produced a Results Not Demonstrated rating for Improving Teacher Quality State Grants, because data were not available at the time to determine the program's effectiveness. The Department has initiated data collection and evaluation activities needed to support a more meaningful assessment in the next few years.
One of the most important elements of NCLB is its insistence that all public school students are taught by highly qualified teachers, with a particular emphasis on ensuring that such teachers are available in high-poverty schools serving large numbers of poor children and other at-risk students.
Teacher salaries typically depend on educational credentials and the number of years in the classroomfactors that generally bear little relationship to better teaching or higher student achievement. There also are few incentives for good teachers to seek assignment to or remain in high-poverty schools; such schools are often forced to rely on the least qualified faculty, including those hired with only emergency or other temporary credentials.
While Title II Improving Teacher Quality State Grants and Title I Grants to Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) provide significant support for professional development and other activities intended to help States and LEAs meet the NCLB highly qualified teacher goal, the proposed Teacher Incentive Fund is designed to stimulate closer alignment of teacher compensation systems with better teaching, higher student achievement, and high-need schools.
The Fund would provide $450 million in State formula grants to reward effective teachers and to offer incentives for highly qualified teachers to teach in high-poverty schools. The remaining $50 million would fund competitive grants to State educational agencies, LEAs, and non-profit organizations for the design and implementation of performance-based compensation systems to develop effective models that other districts could adopt to improve teacher compensation systems.
Adjunct Teacher Corps Initiative
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 appropriate public or private organizations to create opportunities for professionals to teach specific high-school courses in the core academic subjects, particularly in mathematics and the sciences. 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 on-line or through other distance learning arrangements.
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.
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 projects that would train, place, and support candidates as teachers in high-need schools.
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 request recognizes the importance of American history in preparing future generations of students to become responsible citizens and to fully participate in our democratic traditions. At the request level, the program would fund up to 145 new awards, and about $595,000 would be reserved to complete a 3-year evaluation of the program.
A recently completed PART analysis for this program produced a Results Not Demonstrated rating, primarily due to a lack of performance measures and annual performance targets. The Department is responding to these findings.
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 2006 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.
Early Childhood Educator Professional Development Grants
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.
President Bush has made the Reading First initiative one of his highest priorities because of compelling evidence that too many young children do not master readingthe most basic and essential skill required for more advanced learningduring their early elementary school years. On the 2003 National Assessment of Educational Progress, 63 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. The request would fulfill the President's commitment, in his original No Child Left Behind initiative, to provide $5 billion for Reading First over a 5-year period.
State 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 to ensure that they can read at grade level by the end of the third grade.
Early Reading First complements Reading First State Grants by providing competitive grants to school districts and non-profit organizations to support activities in pre-school 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 request includes a $175.2 million expansion for this new program, first funded in 2005, that involves States and school districts in implementing research-based interventions to help improve the skills of secondary school students who are reading below grade level. Many of those students are at risk for dropping out of school because of their poor reading skills, which can affect their performance in all core subject areas.
NCLB requires the use of scientifically proven educational practices and programs to raise student achievement at all levels, including middle and high schools. However, secondary school educators currently have little information to guide their decisions about which practices and programs are effective in helping to raise the reading achievement of teenage students. This initiative will test a variety of interventions through experimental studies to assess their effectiveness, and disseminate the results widely to school districts and schools.
Reading Is Fundamental/Inexpensive Book Distribution
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 5 million children through 22,500 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.
The program supports the development and distribution of educational video and related materials for preschool children, elementary school children, and their parents in order to facilitate student academic achievement. Funding has supported the development of two highly acclaimed children's shows, Between the Lions and Dragon Tales, along with a bilingual newsletter that provides suggestions for books and learning activities related to PBS children's programs. Activities supported through Ready-to-Learn play an important role in helping to ensure that young children are prepared to start school.
A PART analysis of this program produced a Results Not Demonstrated rating, primarily because the Department does not have consistent or reliable data on program results, and a recommendation that the Department take additional steps to better understand the impact of the program.
Literacy Through School Libraries
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 2006 request would fund an estimated 90-100 grants that would support the role of libraries in helping 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 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. A total of 40 States and the District of Columbia have charter school laws that relieve such schools from many education rules and regulations in exchange for greater accountability for improving student performance. The number of charter schools nationwide has grown to approximately 3,000. The first $200 million of each year's appropriation is used for grants to States and to individual charter schools in States that elect not to apply, and for national activities. Funds above $200 million maintain support for State Charter School Facilities Incentive Grants, which provides matching funds to States that offer per-pupil financial assistance to charter schools to obtain facilities.
Credit Enhancement for Charter School Facilities
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 helps overcome this problem by providing grants to public and nonprofit entities to leverage funds to help charter schools purchase, construct, renovate, or lease academic facilities. The program leverages funds to support charter schools through such means as guarantees and insurance on leases and bonds to reduce the risk to landlords and bondholders.
This initiative would provide the parents of students who attend low-performing schools with expanded opportunities for transferring their children to a higher-performing public, charter, or private school. The Department would make competitive awards to States, local educational agencies, and community-based nonprofit organizations with a proven record of securing educational opportunities for children. In making awards, priority would be given to applicants that provide large numbers of students with expanded choice opportunities. The Choice Incentive Fund would complement a $14.6 million request in the FY 2006 District of Columbia budget to continue funding opportunity scholarships that provide low-income parents with more options for the education of their children.
A growing 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." Additional studies have found that public schools improved their performance and responsiveness to parent and student needs when exposed to competition.
Voluntary Public School Choice
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. 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 request would support the final year of 5-year awards to 13 grantees that are taking different approaches to increase school capacity by, among other things, augmenting school curricula to attract students, providing academic tutoring to help students who transfer succeed in their new environments, and developing ways to expand choice options in rural areas.
The request would support 52 continuation grants to 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 Department would use about $500,000 for evaluation and dissemination activities.
21st Century Community Learning Centers
This program helps communities establish or expand learning 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 1,400 after-school programs.
The 2006 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 Department is taking steps to eliminate those weaknesses.
State Grants for Innovative Programs
This program provides flexible funding to State and local educational agencies for a wide range of authorized activities serving all students. Examples include reducing class size, professional development, funding Title I supplemental educational services, and creating smaller learning communities. The reduced request reflects a decision to redirect funding to higher-priority activities that are better targeted to national needs and have stronger accountability mechanisms.
The request would support the first full year of operation of the comprehensive centers authorized under Section 203 of the Educational Technical Assistance Act of 2002. During fiscal year 2005, the centers authorized under previous law will continue to provide technical assistance for a portion of the year to help ensure a smooth transition while the Department completes the competition for the new centers and they begin their operations.
Under the new program, the Department makes competitive awards to research organizations, institutions of higher education, or partnerships of such entities to establish not less than 20 centers, with at least one center in each of the 10 geographic regions served by the regional educational laboratories. The regional locations of the remaining centers are determined after consideration of the number of school-aged children in those areas, the proportion of disadvantaged students, the increased cost burdens of service delivery in sparsely populated areas, and the number of schools identified for improvement under Title I of ESEA.
The new Centers will provide services to State educational agencies, LEAs, regional educational agencies, and schools. At a minimum, each center will provide training and technical assistance in: the implementation and administration of programs authorized under the ESEA; the use of scientifically valid teaching methods and assessment tools in mathematics, science, reading and language arts, English language acquisition, and educational technology; and facilitating communication among education experts, school officials, teachers, parents, and librarians. In addition, centers will disseminate information and reports on improving academic achievement, closing achievement gaps, and sustaining school improvement to schools, teachers, parents and policymakers. The Department also will reserve funds for evaluation of the centers.
The Rural Education Achievement authority funds two separate programs that assist rural school districts in carrying out activities to help 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 suballocating 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 National Programs
Teaching and learning to the high standards demanded by NCLB requires that our schools are safe and our students are drug-free. Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities National Programs fund several activities to help promote safe and drug-free learning environments for students and address the needs of at-risk youth. The 2006 request includes a net $82.7 million, or 35 percent, increase for National Programs while proposing to eliminate the separately authorized State Grants program.
While the State Grants program spreads funds thinly across States and school districts and has not been able to demonstrate its effectiveness, National Programs provides greater flexibility to make large enough local awards to support quality interventions. In addition, the National Programs authority is structured to permit grantees and independent evaluators to measure progress, hold projects accountable, and determine which interventions are most effective.
Highlights of the request include: $30 million for the School Emergency Preparedness Initiative the Department is developing and implementing to coincide with the recent inclusion of the Nation's schools in the Department of Homeland Security's National Critical Infrastructure Plan; $25.4 million for school-based drug testing programs for students; $88.5 million for grants to school districts for comprehensive, community-wide "Safe Schools/Healthy Students" drug and violence prevention projects that are coordinated with local law enforcement and also include mental health preventive and treatment services; and $87.5 million for additional grant assistance to LEAs to support the implementation of drug prevention or school safety programs that research has demonstrated to be effective in reducing youth drug use or violence and for implementation and scientifically based evaluation of additional approaches that show promise of effectiveness.
Also, the request includes $49.3 million to pay continuation costs for mentoring grants, as the first year of a 2-year phase out of the program, which by 2007 will have achieved its objectives; and $5 million for Project SERV (School Emergency Response to Violence), to ensure that funds are available for the Department, if called upon, to provide emergency response services to LEAs in which the learning environment has been disrupted by a violent or traumatic crisis.
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.
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, in order to make progress toward meeting State standards for physical education. Funds may be used to provide equipment and other support enabling students to participate in physical education activities and for training and education for teachers and staff. The 2006 request includes funds to pay for continuation costs for physical education grants, as the first year of a 2-year phase out of the program in order to redirect resources to higher-priority activities.
Fund for the Improvement of Education
The Fund for the Improvement of Education (FIE) supports nationally significant programs 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 request would fund continuation costs of grants awarded in prior years, an e-Learning clearinghouse, an initiative to improve the quality of information on the effectiveness of elementary and secondary programs funded by the Department, and a small number of other new awards. The 2005 total includes $245.0 million for one-time projects for which funding is not requested in 2006.
English Language Acquisition
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 enable States to design and implement a statewide response to the 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.
The completion of projects funded under the antecedent statute in fiscal year 2005 will permit an increase of $44.7 million, or 7.7 percent, in Language Acquisition State Grant allocations in 2006.
Title I State Agency Programs
Migrant Education State Grants assist 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 supports educational services for an estimated 171,000 children and youth in State-operated institutions.
High School Equivalency Program and College Assistance Migrant Program
The High School Equivalency Program (HEP) funds projects to help low income migrant and seasonal farm workers gain high school diplomas or equivalency certificates. The College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) provides stipends and special services, such as tutoring and counseling, to migrant students who are in their first year of college. The 2006 request would support approximately 75 HEP and CAMP continuation grants as well as 13 new HEP projects and 10 new CAMP projects.
The Department completed a PART analysis of these programs as part of the fiscal year 2006 budget process. Both programs were rated Results Not Demonstrated, with the analysis highlighting strengths but also flagging weaknesses related to data collection and accountability.
Education for Homeless Children and Youth
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, such students continue to be at significant risk of educational failure, and the request would maintain support for State and local activities designed to reduce that risk.
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 funds to public and BIA-supported schools for activities to improve the educational achievement of Indian students. Special Programs for Indian Children includes $10.2 million 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 $9.2 million for 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 on identifying 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.
Education for Native Hawaiians
The Education for Native Hawaiians program provides 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. Other Department elementary and secondary education programs, particularly the State formula grant programs, also support improved achievement for Native Hawaiians. The proposed $1.6 million reduction in funding reflects the elimination of two one-time grants included in the 2005 appropriation.
Alaska Native Education Equity
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. The remaining funds support competitive grants for teacher training, student enrichment, and other activities that address the special needs of Alaska Native students in order to enhance their academic performance. Other Department elementary and secondary education programs, particularly the State formula grant programs, also support improved achievement for Alaska Native students. The proposed $3 million reduction reflects the elimination of two one-time grants included in the 2005 appropriation.
Training and Advisory Services (Title IV of the Civil Rights Act)
This program supports 10 regional Equity Assistance Centers 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.
Supplemental Education Grants (Compact of Free Association Amendments Act)
The $18.2 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 RMI and FSM.
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 grants for both regular Basic Support Payments and Basic Support Payments for Heavily Impacted LEAs.
The $50.0 million request for Payments for Children with Disabilities would 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 35 school facilities that serve large numbers of military dependents. The $7.8 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 $45.5 million proposed for Construction would provide both formula and competitive grants to school districts. Formula grants assist districts with large proportions of military dependent students and students residing on Indian lands. Competitive grants focus on helping LEAs make emergency renovations and modernization upgrades. The request is reduced by $3 million in funding for a one-time project in fiscal year 2005.
The $62.5 million request for Payments for Federal Property would provide payments to districts that generally have lost 10 percent or more of their taxable property to the Federal Government.
The Department recently completed a PART analysis of Payments for Federal Property that produced a Results Not Demonstrated rating, with praise for adequate financial management and efficient operations countered by a lack of performance measures or any overall review of program effectiveness. The Department is taking action on these findings.
Summary of the FY 2006 Budget Special Education and Rehabilitative Services
For further information contact the ED Budget Service.
This page last modifiedFebruary 7, 2005 (mjj).