President's FY 2008 Education Budget: Building On Progress
February 2007
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"Because we acted, students are performing better in reading and math, and minority students are closing the achievement gap. Now the task is to build on the success."
— President George W. Bush

The President's FY 2008 Education Budget builds on the progress of the last six years, focusing on reform and results. It will strengthen the No Child Left Behind Act so more students benefit from accountability and high standards. It will prepare high school students for success through more rigorous and advanced coursework. It will help close the achievement gap by encouraging good teachers to serve in challenging environments and by giving states new tools to fix underperforming schools. It will offer new tutoring and choice options so parents can meet their children's educational needs. And it will enable millions of young Americans to afford college. The $56 billion Education Budget invests wisely on the priorities of students, schools and taxpayers.

Highlights of the President's 2008 Budget Proposal

No Child Left Behind Act

After five years of the No Child Left Behind Act, educators and policymakers have learned more about how to improve student achievement than ever before. Across the country, test scores are up and the achievement gap is narrowing. As NCLB comes up for reauthorization, we must strengthen and build on this progress by focusing new resources to meet the greatest needs, including improving the performance of high school students and fixing troubled and underperforming schools. The President's Budget increases total funding for NCLB by $1.2 billion, to $24.5 billion, a 41% increase since 2001. This includes:

  • Title I Program—$1.2 billion increase—$13.9 billion total—up 59% since 2001
    Resources to high schools serving large numbers of low-income students will be significantly boosted, while funds for Title I elementary and middle schools will be protected. This would more fairly distribute Title I resources throughout the K-12 system.
  • State Assessment Systems—$412 million
    The funds will support the continued annual assessment of students in reading and math in grades 3-8 and high school. Funding can also be used to develop science assessments in three grade spans that States must administer by the 2007-08 school year, and for new course-level academic standards and assessments for high school students to prepare them for college and the workplace.
  • English Language Acquisition Support—$671 million—up 50% since 2001
    The funds will help the nearly 6 million limited English-proficient (LEP) students learn English and other subjects so they can achieve academic and economic success.

School Restructuring and Parental Choice

Before No Child Left Behind, parents were given few options when their child's school underperformed. Now, low-income families in Title I schools may qualify for free tutoring and the choice to attend another public school or public charter school. Nearly 450,000 students have chosen this path. Still, the demand for more choices and change is growing. The President's FY 2008 Education Budget invests $500 million to help states turn around the performance of chronically underperforming schools, and $300 million to provide new options, including public and private school choice, for students in those underperforming schools.

  • Title I School Improvement Grants Program—$500 million
    This will help States restructure, reform and restaff chronically underperforming schools. Added to the current four percent reservation of Title I Grants to local educational agencies (LEAs) for school improvement efforts, it would significantly increase funding to aid students in the nation's 10,000 schools in improvement, corrective action or restructuring status.
  • Promise Scholarships—$250 million
    Under the President's FY 2008 Budget, public schools that have consistently underperformed for five years and are in the process of restructuring will offer Promise Scholarships to low-income students. Averaging about $4,000, the money will follow the child to the public, charter or private school of his or her choice. Students selecting intensive tutoring as an option will receive scholarships of up to $3,000.
  • Opportunity Scholarships—$50 million
    Modeled after the federally funded D.C. Choice Program, Opportunity Scholarships will enable children to attend the private school of their choice or receive intensive tutoring. Competitive grants will be targeted to areas with a large number of schools in improvement status to give students yet another option to succeed.

American Competitiveness Initiative

Our schools helped make the 20th century the American Century. But in the 21st, the rest of the world is catching up. U.S. graduation rates are slipping relative to other developed nations, due in large part to lagging scores in science and math, the new currencies of the world economy. We must give our students the technical and problem-solving skills to succeed in this competitive global marketplace. Integral to this effort is the President's American Competitiveness Initiative, elements of which will receive $365 million under the President's FY 2008 Budget, to help strengthen math and science instruction so our students can stay on the right academic track. This includes:
  • Math Now for Elementary School and Math Now for Middle School Programs—$250 million
    These programs will employ proven, research-based instructional methods—based in part on findings of the National Math Panel—to help ensure that all children can take and pass algebra and other advanced courses.
  • Expanded Advanced Placement Programs—$90 million increase—$122 million total
    Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate programs will be expanded in math, science and critical foreign languages to prepare more students for higher education. Grantees will match funds two-to-one.
  • Adjunct Teacher Corps—$25 million
    This will encourage qualified professionals to serve as adjunct high school math and science teachers in low-income schools and districts, where students are less likely to have teachers with adequate subject-matter knowledge in math or science.

Helping Students with Disabilities

  • Special Education Grants to States Program—$10.5 billion—up 66% since 2001
    NCLB is committed to helping students with disabilities reach their full potential. This funding will help districts improve the academic achievement of these students under the highest possible standards.

Resources for Teachers and Schools

Teachers are critical to improving student achievement. The President's FY 2008 Budget provides nearly $4.4 billion to improve teacher quality. Through the Teacher Incentive Fund program, teachers who show real progress in raising test scores or closing the achievement gap will be rewarded. The best teachers will be offered financial incentives to serve in the most challenging educational environments. And programs such as Reading First and Striving Readers offer the professional development and instruction needed to build on our progress.

  • Proven Reading Instruction—$1.1 billion
    This includes $1.0 billion for the Reading First Program, and $117 million for Early Reading First. Reading First is the largest, most successful and most focused early reading initiative in American history, providing more than 100,000 teachers and 1.8 million students with training and instruction in proven, research-based methods so every child can learn to read by grade three.
  • Striving Readers Program—$100 million—up $68.4 million
    Students with poor reading skills are far more likely to drop out of school, joining the million who do so every year. We must reduce this number. Striving Readers provides targeted, intensive instruction to help struggling readers in grades 6-12 catch up to their peers and reach grade level, reducing the dropout risk.
  • Teacher Incentive Fund—$199 million
    This fund will enable States and districts to financially reward educators making progress in raising student achievement or closing the achievement gaps, as well as teachers who choose to serve in the neediest schools.
  • Educational Research Funding—$162.5 million
    This will support research, development and dissemination of information to ensure students and teachers continue to benefit from sound, research-based programs.
  • Statewide Longitudinal Data Grants—$49.2 million
    This will help State educational agencies develop longitudinal data systems that will enable them to more closely and accurately monitor student achievement, graduation and dropout rates.

Affordable Higher Education

A college degree, once merely desirable, has become essential to many Americans' future. Last year, Secretary Spellings launched an Action Plan for Higher Education to improve the performance of our colleges and universities, making them more accessible, affordable and accountable. The President's FY 2008 Budget provides $21 billion over the next five years to ensure that higher education continues to be on the leading edge of America's competitiveness. This includes:

  • Pell Grant Program—$15.4 billion—76% increase since 2001
    This will support 5.5 million recipients in the 2008-09 school year. It includes a $550 increase in the maximum Pell Grant award to $4,600, representing the largest growth in the maximum grant (14 percent) in more than 30 years. An additional $800 increase in the maximum Pell Grant would be made over the next five years, to $5,400 in fiscal year 2012, representing the largest-ever five-year increase. Since 2001, an additional 1.1 million students have been able to afford college through increases in the Pell Grant amount.
  • Academic Competitiveness & National SMART Grants—$1.2 billion—increase of $390 million over FY 06
    Academic Competitiveness Grant levels would increase by 50 percent, enabling an estimated 662,000 Pell Grant-eligible students who completed a rigorous high school program of study to receive up to $1,125 (up from $750) for the first year of college and up to $1,950 (up from $1,300) for the second year. National SMART Grants would provide grants of up to $4,000 to an estimated 93,000 low-income, high-achieving college juniors and seniors majoring in math, science, technology, engineering or critical foreign languages. This will help set these individuals—and their nation—on the course to a brighter future.

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Last Modified: 01/27/2009