Federal

Bush OKs Budget; Hikes Title I, Cuts Reading First

By Alyson Klein & David J. Hoff — December 27, 2007 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

President Bush has signed into a law a bill that will increase federal education spending by 2.9 percent in fiscal 2008 and that generally favors Democratic priorities over the administration’s.

The plan to appropriate $59.2 billion for U.S. Department of Education programs in the fiscal year that began Oct. 1 is part of a larger budget drama in which Democrats largely gave in to a hard-line White House stance that earlier measures contained too much in domestic spending increases.

In signing the bill Dec. 26, President Bush criticized Congress for including too many earmarks, or small projects requested by individual lawmakers, in the legislation, a $550 billion omnibus measure that includes fiscal 2008 spending for most other Cabinet agencies as well as the Education Department.

He said in a statement that the bill contains nearly 9,800 earmarks, totaling more than $10 billion. “These projects are not funded through a merit-based process and provide a vehicle for wasteful government spending,” the president said.

The Senate gave final approval to the bill Dec. 18 by a vote of 76-17; the House approved it the next day, 272-142.

The measure will provide $13.9 billion to the Title I program for disadvantaged students, an 8.6 percent increase over the $12.8 billion appropriated for the program in fiscal 2007. But the amount is about 2 percent less than what was proposed for the program in a bill vetoed by President Bush in November.

By contrast, the Reading First program was cut significantly under the legislation, dropping from $1 billion last year to $393 million in fiscal 2008. That is slightly more severe than the $400 million proposed for the program in the vetoed spending bill.

The president said he vetoed that bill, which covered the departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, because it exceeded the spending caps set in his proposed budget.

Reading First, aimed at grades K-3, is one of President Bush’s highest priorities under the No Child Left Behind Act, which also covers Title I and many other federal K-12 programs. But the reading program has paid a price on Capitol Hill for a series of highly critical reports over the past 15 months by the Education Department’s inspector general that found favoritism for certain textbook publishers and other management problems in the program’s early years.

Small Increases Elsewhere

Education advocates expressed disappointment over the modest increases for K-12 programs included in the omnibus legislation.

“It’s not as good as we had hoped,” said Mary Kusler, the assistant director of governmental relations for the American Association of School Administrators, based in Arlington Va. “We have not gotten to the point in Congress where they’re investing in the future.”

For K-12 education, most of the total will finance programs for the 2008-09 school year. In addition to the major increase for Title I and the cut to Reading First, the measure will appropriate:

• $10.9 billion for K-12 state grants under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, a nearly 1 percent increase over the fiscal 2007 level of $10.8 billion;

• $2.93 billion to help states improve the quality of their teachers, a 1.7 percent increase; and

• $1.2 billion for career and vocational education programs, a 0.5 percent decrease.

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Budget & Finance Webinar
Innovative Funding Models: A Deep Dive into Public-Private Partnerships
Discover how innovative funding models drive educational projects forward. Join us for insights into effective PPP implementation.
Content provided by Follett Learning
Budget & Finance Webinar Staffing Schools After ESSER: What School and District Leaders Need to Know
Join our newsroom for insights on investing in critical student support positions as pandemic funds expire.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Achievement Webinar
How can districts build sustainable tutoring models before the money runs out?
District leaders, low on funds, must decide: broad support for all or deep interventions for few? Let's discuss maximizing tutoring resources.
Content provided by Varsity Tutors for Schools

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Federal K-12 Leaders Denounce Antisemitism But Reject That It's Rampant in Schools
Three school district leaders said they're committed to rooting out antisemitism during a hearing in Congress.
6 min read
From left, David Banks, chancellor of New York Public schools, speaks next to Karla Silvestre, President of the Montgomery Count (Md.) Board of Education, Emerson Sykes, Staff Attorney with the ACLU, and Enikia Ford Morthel, Superintendent of the Berkeley United School District, during a hearing on antisemitism in K-12 public schools, at the House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education, on May 8, 2024, on Capitol Hill in Washington.
From left, David Banks, chancellor of New York City schools, speaks next to Karla Silvestre, president of the Montgomery County, Md., school board; Emerson Sykes, staff attorney with the ACLU; and Enikia Ford Morthel, superintendent of the Berkeley Unified school district in Berkeley, Calif., during a hearing on antisemitism in K-12 public schools, at the House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education, on May 8, 2024, in Washington.
Jacquelyn Martin/AP
Federal Miguel Cardona in the Hot Seat: 4 Takeaways From a Contentious House Hearing
FAFSA, rising antisemitism, and Title IX dominated questioning at a U.S. House hearing with Education Secretary Miguel Cardona.
6 min read
Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona testifies during a House Committee on Education and Workforce hearing on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, May 7, 2024, in Washington.
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona testifies during a House Committee on Education and Workforce hearing on Capitol Hill on May 7 in Washington.
Mariam Zuhaib/AP
Federal Arming Teachers Could Cause 'Accidents and More Tragedy,' Miguel Cardona Says
"This is not in my opinion a smart option,” the education secretary said at an EdWeek event.
4 min read
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona speaks during Education Week’s 2024 Leadership Symposium at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City in Arlington, Va., on May 2, 2024.
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona speaks during Education Week’s 2024 Leadership Symposium at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City in Arlington, Va., on May 2, 2024.
Sam Mallon/Education Week
Federal Opinion Should Migrant Families Pay Tuition for Public School?
The answer must reflect an outlook that is pro-immigration, pro-compassion, and pro-law and order, writes Michael J. Petrilli.
Michael J. Petrilli
4 min read
Image of a pencil holder filled with a variety of colored pencils that match the background with international flags.
Laura Baker/Education Week via Canva