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UPDATED: K-12 Could Be Bright Spot in Austere Budget

By Alyson Klein — January 27, 2010 1 min read
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K-12 education could be one of the few areas increased in the president’s budget.

According to this story, President Barack Obama’s budget will call for up to a $4 billion boost to the U.S. Department of Education’s budget, or a 6.2 percent increase. Part of that includes the $1.35 billion in additional Race to the Top spending.

And at least $1 billion will be used to help push the administration’s goals for renewal of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, whose current version is the No Child Left Behind law. Of course, in past budgets, various administrations have proposed all sorts of funding and Congress has simply moved it around to meet their needs.

But obviously, reauthorization has moved up the legislative agenda, possibly because it’s one of the few areas where there is likely to be some bipartisan agreement and cooperation.

The Department won’t be without a few reductions. Apparently, in the budget to be released Monday, 38 programs will be streamlined into 11 and six will be scrapped. Any guesses which ones will be targeted?

And, of course, the question remains: Will this increase in K-12 spending, even though it’s just one of a very few boosts in an otherwise slim budget, be enough to gain support from education organizations and practitioners?

UPDATE: Stephen Sawchuk has the teacher implications over at Teacher Beat.

UPDATE 2: So, after a call with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, we have a somewhat better breakdown of that $4 billion. It includes $3 billion for a whole host of K-12 programs, including that $1.35 billion increase for Race to the Top. But $1 billion would be contingent on Congress passing a reauthorization of the ESEA. That’s highly unusual, as Duncan acknowledged on the call.

It will be interesting to see what the chairman of the House and Senate appropriations committees (Rep. David R. Obey of Wisconsin and Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa) have to say about that move.

UPDATE 3:Duncan said specifically that the $10 million Promise Neighborhood program, which helps communities create programs that pair education with support services, such as health and college counseling, would be slated for an increase.