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Increased Education Spending in Federal Budget
posted by: Alix | February 17, 2011, 03:38 PM   

This week President Obama outlined the federal budget at a middle school in Baltimore. While he discussed the scope of the entire federal budget, education was a major focus. Obama called for increased spending for education programs despite the call for cuts from congressional Republicans.

If approved, federal spending for public schools will increase significantly, and the maximum federal Pell grant will remain constant at $5,550 per college student. Obama's education proposal asks for $77.4 billion, a 4 percent increase from the 2010 budget.

The cornerstone of the spending centers around the Race to the Top campaign that last year gave $4 billion worth of stimulus funding to various states for enacting school reforms. The 2012 budget proposal includes $900 million for Race to the Top, which the administration says would be awarded this time not to states but to school districts.

The administration's education proposal also includes $600 million for School Turnaround Grants, a $54 million increase above 2010 levels. The turnaround program, which the Department of Education hopes will finance overalls of thousands of the country's poor performing schools, was also financed with billions in economic stimulus money.

Another program that will see increased funding under the proposed budget is Title I, which channels money to school districts to help them educate disadvantaged children, would receive $14.8 billion, an increase of $300 million over 2010.

The proposed spending comes on the heels of recent education rhetoric, culminating at the State of the Union with a call to increase our "investment" in education. Obama has pushed to take advantage of this "Sputnik moment" to increase our college graduation rate and renew our commitment to the STEM subjects to ensure American success in a changing global economy.

Obama and his administration are experiencing significant push-back from congressional Republicans who warn that we cannot afford to increase spending for any department.

Among the many cuts proposed by the Republicans, is a $1.1 billion cut from the Head Start program, which, according to estimates by the National Head Start Association, would eliminate services for children and eliminate positions within the Head Start organization.

Reacting to the administration's budget, Congressman John Kline, chairman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, indicated a reluctance increased education spending.

"Over the last 45 years we have increased our investment in education, but the return on that investment has failed to improve student achievement," Congressman Kline argued. "Throwing more money at our nation's broken education system ignores reality and does a disservice to students and taxpayers."

Both the Obama administration and congressional Republicans are sure to clash in the coming weeks with the push to approve the budget. While cutting education funding can be painful, spending at stimulus levels and beyond is admittedly not sustainable by both Republicans and Democrats.

What are your thoughts on the education budget? Is this a wise use of tax-payer dollars?
Comment below.

Comments (1)Add Comment
Look at the data... Get excited - change is coming - and it is good
written by J Los Angeles, November 15, 2013

I think it's important to take into account the success of the Turnaround program and embrace the studies to understand what the money being spent is doing for our country. The Turnaround program has significantly raised test scores and student participation in education.

You don't have to respect art to see that the program works. We have raised a couple of generations of Americans who have no clue the value of the creative spark. This is the consequence of removing art from our school system - ESPECIALLY under-funded less affluent districts. This program puts it back in with amazing results.

We need this to heal our country, our economy and our international reputation. Every profession needs innovative thinkers.

Art helps people of all ages learn to express abstract ideas, emotions, the human experience and to be creatively talented researchers (just to name a few). Art eduction helps people understand the world and provides people with a means to make unique connections between elusive ideas.

It's not clear if the Turnaround program itself will heal all of the country's educational wounds - but it is a start in the right direction, one that has to be repaved in the age of information as it has been neglected for a long time.

The world is changing. Baby boomers are reaching retirement yet we are living longer and longer as medical milestones are reached. But our idea of the elderly is that they are useless because we have valued the youthful zeal for technology over real-life experience, wisdom, education and deeper thinking. The technology sector is slowing down. Art will help us raise a new generation of imagination infused workers, caregivers and politicians who, with increased education at the core of their decisions, will help all levels of society increase the quality of life.

It's not that we can't afford the program - now that we know what we know from the studies over the past few years, it's clear that we cannot afford to ignore this opportunity to fix what we've broken. If we know the facts and we don't follow up with proactive measures, then we will not be able to continue competing in a global economy - with the success as a world leader - that we have been enjoying up until now in our country. We are recovering from recession... but things can get worse and will if we aren't proactive and respond now. The old way - reducing educational funds to the bare minimum - an act that has turned many of our schools into gorified daycare centers - has proven to erode our possibilities as an entire nation. We have been shown the way - now we have to follow through - even if it costs money.

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