Monday, September 23, 2002

Federal Education Funding Follies

Today, I received this from the Committee on Education and the Workforce.

"When it comes to funding education reform, Democrat leaders have no plan, no budget, and no credibility," Boehner said. "In the House, Democrats voted against the President's budget this year but didn't offer an alternative plan of their own. And in the Democrat-controlled Senate, they didn't even pass a budget resolution this year - the first time since 1974 that the Senate has failed to do so."

"By contrast, President Bush put forth a responsible budget that makes education a priority even in a time of war and economic turmoil," Boehner said. According to an independent analysis by National Journal, elementary, secondary, and vocational education funding will increase by 40.8 percent over the next five years under the President's budget - despite the fact that defense and federal law enforcement are being increased much more dramatically than expected prior to the September 11 attacks.

Specific Funding Increases include:

Special Education

· GOP Budget for Special Education: Provides $8.53 billion -- a $1 billion increase over last year -- for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Part B grants to states. This also accommodates a 12 percent annual increase in IDEA spending for future years -- a rate of increase that would allow for full funding of IDEA within ten years.

· House Democrats offered no budget to meet the needs of special education students.

Low-Income School Districts

· GOP Budget for Low-Income School Districts: Provides $1 billion increase in Title I grants to low-income schools -- on top of last year's $1.6 billion increase -- focusing resources on the highest-poverty school districts.

· House Democrats offered no budget to help low-income school districts.

Teacher Quality

· GOP Budget for Teachers: Provides $2.85 billion to states and schools districts to train, recruit, and retain high quality teachers -- a 35 percent increase in federal teacher quality funds over the last Clinton budget to help states and local schools put a quality teacher in every classroom by 2005.

· House Democrats offered no budget to help teachers.

Reading First

· GOP Budget for Reading First: Provides $1 billion -- a $100 million increase -- for the President's plan to improve reading instruction by addressing reading difficulties at an early age, and ensuring that teachers use proven teaching methods.

· House Democrats offered no budget for Reading First.

Head Start

· GOP Budget for Head Start: Increases funding by $130 million to increase children's preparedness for learning when they enter school.

· House Democrats offered no budget for Head Start.

Charter Schools and School Choice

· GOP Budget for New Elementary and Secondary Education Programs: Supports the President's request for the following initiatives: $100 million for charter schools; $50 million for research encouraging both private and public school-choice options; and $25 million for a voluntary public school choice program, particularly for parents of children attending low-performing schools.

· House Democrats offered no budget to help charter schools or encourage school choice.

Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs)

· GOP Budget for HBCUs and HSIs: Provides a 3.6 percent increase for historically black colleges, universities and graduate institutions, as well as Hispanic-serving institutions.

· House Democrats offered no budget for HBCUs and HSIs.

Pell Grants

· GOP Budget for Pell Grants: Maintains the maximum Pell Grant at an historic high of $4,000.

House Democrats offered no budget for Pell Grants.

I get the Republican ploy. But I liked it better when Republicans wanted to abolish the Department of Education. Somehow I doubt there will be a 40 percent increase (or any increase) in student productivity to go a long with 40 percent funding increases. Also, guess how many of the listed programs already have low performance outcomes. Failure is perceived as need and is continually rewarded.

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