Federal

Congress OKs Education Budget With Modest Increases

By David J. Hoff & Alyson Klein — December 17, 2007 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Includes updates and/or revisions.

Federal education spending would increase by 2.9 percent in fiscal 2008 under a bill approved by Congress that generally favors Democratic priorities over President Bush’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 gave in to a hard-line White House stance that earlier measures contained too much in the way of domestic spending increases.

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. President Bush is expected to sign the legislation, which is a $550 billion omnibus measure that includes fiscal 2008 spending for not only the Education Department but also most other Cabinet agencies.

Under the bill released Dec. 16, Democrats would provide $13.9 billion to the Title I program for disadvantaged students. That would be a 8.6 percent increase over the $12.8 billion appropriated for the program in fiscal 2007. But it would be 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 is slated for a significant cut under the bill, 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 program is paying a price on Capitol Hill for a series of highly critical reports over the last 15 months by the Education Department’s inspector General over favoritism for certain textbook publishers in the program’s early years.

“I’m pleased to report that we’re making some pretty good progress toward coming up with a fiscally sound budget—one that meets priorities, helps on some emergencies, and enables us to say that we’ve been fiscally sound with the people’s money,” the president said on Dec. 17 in a speech in North Fredericksburg, Va.

Small Increases Elsewhere

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

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

For K-12 education, most of the total would finance programs for the 2008-09 school year. In addition to the major increase for the Title I program and the cut to Reading First, the bill would 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
Assessment Webinar
The State of Assessment in K-12 Education
What is the impact of assessment on K-12 education? What does that mean for administrators, teachers and most importantly—students?
Content provided by Instructure
Jobs January 2022 Virtual Career Fair for Teachers and K-12 Staff
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.
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
Reading & Literacy Webinar
Proven Strategies to Improve Reading Scores
In this webinar, education and reading expert Stacy Hurst will provide a look at some of the biggest issues facing curriculum coordinators, administrators, and teachers working in reading education today. You will: Learn how schools
Content provided by Reading Horizons

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 Miguel Cardona Came in as a Teacher Champion. Has COVID Muted His Message?
The education secretary is taking heat from some who say his advocacy is overshadowed by Biden's push to keep schools open.
11 min read
Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona talks to students at White Plains High School in White Plains, N.Y. on April 22, 2021.
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona talks to students at White Plains High School in White Plains, N.Y., last April.
Mark Lennihan/AP
Federal Citing Educator and Parent Anxieties, Senators Press Biden Officials on Omicron Response
Lawmakers expressed concern about schools' lack of access to masks and coronavirus tests, as well as disruptions to in-person learning.
5 min read
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, left, and Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and chief medical adviser to the president, testify before a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing to examine the federal response to COVID-19 and new emerging variants, Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022 on Capitol Hill in Washington.
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, left, and Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to the president, testify at a Senate hearing about the federal response to COVID-19.
Greg Nash/Pool via AP
Federal Miguel Cardona Should Help Schools Push Parents to Store Guns Safely, Lawmakers Say
More than 100 members of Congress say a recent shooting at a Michigan high school underscores the need for Education Department action.
3 min read
Three Oakland County Sheriff's deputies survey the grounds outside of the residence of parents of the Oxford High School shooter on Dec. 3, 2021, in Oxford, Mich.
Three Oakland County Sheriff's deputies survey the grounds outside of the Crumbley residence while seeking James and Jennifer Crumbley, parents of Oxford High School shooter Ethan Crumbley, on Dec. 3, 2021, in Oxford, Mich.
Jake May/The Flint Journal via AP
Federal In Reversal, Feds Seek to Revive DeVos-Era Questions About Sexual Misconduct by Educators
The Education Department's decision follows backlash from former education Secretary Betsy DeVos and other conservatives.
4 min read
Illustration of individual carrying binary data on his back to put back into the organized background of 1s and 0s.
iStock/Getty Images Plus