Congress Begins Taking Stock of Education Budget

By Alyson Klein — February 26, 2010 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Republicans on the House Budget Committee told U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan last week that the Department of Education’s proposed fiscal 2011 budget is too large and could add to the federal deficit. Some Democrats argued that the Obama administration’s plan to increase funding for competitive-grant programs could make it harder for school districts to get needed resources during difficult economic times.

Secretary Duncan, who testified before the panel last week, outlined President Barack Obama’s plans to boost the Education Department’s discretionary budget to $49.7 billion, a roughly 7.5 percent hike over the current fiscal year. That would include at least a $3 billion increase for K-12 programs, much of which would go to competitively awarded grants.

The department’s proposed budget is one winner in what otherwise looks like a lean year for domestic spending. President Obama has pledged to cap discretionary spending unrelated to the military or homeland security.

Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, asked Mr. Duncan why his department should be an exception to the spending restraints. Mr. Hensarling noted that the budget includes new programs that would be paid for out of the mandatory side of the ledger, such as a prekindergarten program.

“The administration should be putting its emphasis on spurring job creation,” he said. “How does this mountain of debt impact job creation, how is it going to impact educational opportunities in the future?”

Investment Touted

But the secretary said he sees education as an investment in the nation’s economic future.

Rep. Betty McCollum, D-Minn., asked why the administration wanted to concentrate its increased spending on competitive grants as opposed to those awarded by a formula to school districts meeting certain criteria. She said that could lead districts to divert funding that could be used to pay teacher salaries, for example.

But Mr. Duncan said that the department had proposed level funding for programs such as Title I grants for disadvantaged students, which are slated in the budget for $14.5 billion in fiscal 2011, the same level as this fiscal year.

“Major formula programs are absolutely untouched,” he said. He said putting out more competitive money can help push states and districts to adopt bold policies.

“We’re trying to be creative, trying to have a hybrid” between competitive and formula grants, he said.

A version of this article appeared in the March 03, 2010 edition of Education Week as Congress Begins Taking Stock of Education Budget


Recruitment & Retention Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Chronic Teacher Shortage: Where Do We Go From Here?  
Join Peter DeWitt, Michael Fullan, and guests for expert insights into finding solutions for the teacher shortage.
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.
Reading & Literacy Webinar
The Science of Reading: Tools to Build Reading Proficiency
The Science of Reading has taken education by storm. Learn how Dr. Miranda Blount transformed literacy instruction in her state.
Content provided by hand2mind
Student Achievement K-12 Essentials Forum Tutoring Done Right: How to Get the Highest Impact for Learning Recovery
Join us as we highlight and discuss the evidence base for tutoring, best practices, and different ways to provide it at scale.

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 Teachers Shouldn't Have to Drive Ubers on the Side, Education Secretary Says
In a speech on priorities for the year, U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said teachers should be paid competitive salaries.
5 min read
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona delivers a speech during the “Raise the Bar: Lead the World” event in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 24, 2023.
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona delivers a speech during the “Raise the Bar: Lead the World” event in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 24, 2023.
Sam Mallon/Education Week
Federal A Chaotic Start to a New Congress: What Educators Need to Know
A new slate of lawmakers will have the chance to influence federal education policy in the 118th Congress.
4 min read
Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., talks on the House floor after the first vote for House Speaker when he did not receive enough votes to be elected during opening day of the 118th Congress at the U.S. Capitol, Tuesday, Jan 3, 2023, in Washington.
Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., talks on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives on Jan. 3 following the first round of voting for House Speaker. McCarthy fell short of enough votes to be elected speaker in three rounds of voting on opening day of the 118th Congress at the U.S. Capitol.
Andrew Harnik/AP
Federal Historic Changes to Title IX and School Safety Funding: How 2022 Shaped K-12 Policy
Federal lawmakers sought to make Title IX more inclusive, respond to school shootings, and crack down on corrupt charter schools.
6 min read
Revelers march down Fifth Avenue during the annual NYC Pride March, Sunday, June 26, 2022, in New York.
Revelers march down Fifth Avenue during New York City's annual Pride March in June. Proposed changes to Title IX would explicitly protect students from discrimination based on their gender identity or sexuality.
Mary Altaffer/AP
Federal What Education Issues Did Voters Care About Most? Hint: It Was Not Critical Race Theory
An NEA poll shows voters' education priorities in the midterm elections.
5 min read
People fill out ballots to vote at Benjamin Banneker Middle School during Election Day on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, in Silver Spring, Md.
People fill out ballots to vote at Benjamin Banneker Middle School on Nov. 8 in Silver Spring, Md.
Jose Luis Magana/AP