Education Funding

Education Advocates Anxious Amid Budget Uncertainty

By Alyson Klein — April 05, 2011 2 min read

With the threat of a federal government shutdown looming—and education advocates anxious about the prospect of further federal aid cuts—congressional lawmakers last week wrangled over a bill to finance the federal government through the end of September.

The current stopgap spending measure expires April 8, and with lawmakers and the administration negotiating behind closed doors, it was unclear how—or even whether—the two sides would be able to come together on a longer-term bill before that deadline.

“We’re going to continue to fight for the largest spending cuts that we can get,” Rep. John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, told reporters last week.

But Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, the chairman of the subcommittee overseeing education spending, said in a statement: “We all recognize that we need to reduce spending, and any compromise we reach on the budget will include significant cuts. But if we want to stay strong as a nation, we have to maintain a ladder of opportunity for our young people.”

Education advocates have been carefully monitoring the budget negotiations because a range of K-12 programs could be on the chopping block, along with other domestic discretionary programs.

House Republicans want to rein in domestic spending in order to get the nation’s fiscal house in order. They already have approved a bill that would slice more than $5 billion out of the budget of the U.S. Department of Education, plus $1 billion from Head Start, an early-childhood program for disadvantaged students.

The Democratically controlled Senate defeated the spending cuts, but did not pass its own version of a longer-term spending bill.

President Barack Obama, meanwhile, is seeking modest increases, including for key programs such as Title I and special education and new money to continue Race to the Top and the Investing in Innovation grant programs, the administration’s signature grant competitions, started under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Stopgap-Bill Cuts

Typically, the budget process winds up in late fall, but this year, lawmakers were unable to agree on a spending plan for fiscal 2011, which technically started back on Oct. 1 of last year. Lawmakers have passed six extension measures in all, financing most programs at fiscal 2010 levels since then.

But several of those stopgap bills have also included cuts to high-profile education programs, including the elimination of the $250 million Striving Readers program, a comprehensive literacy program, and the $67 million Even Start Family Literacy program.

Education advocates argue that K-12 programs can’t withstand further cuts.

Federal funds—particularly Title I funds for disadvantaged children—are desperately needed, given the cloudy fiscal picture in most states and districts, said Mary Kusler, the manager of federal advocacy for the National Education Association, a 3.2 million-member teachers’ union.

“At a time where one in five children lives in poverty, there is no greater imperative than to provide school districts with desperately needed Title I dollars to help students become college-and-career ready,” she said.

A version of this article appeared in the April 06, 2011 edition of Education Week as Education Advocates Anxious as Budget Deadline Looms

Events

Jobs The EdWeek Top School Jobs Virtual Career Fair
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
Curriculum Webinar
How to Power Your Curriculum With Digital Books
Register for this can’t miss session looking at best practices for utilizing digital books to support their curriculum.
Content provided by OverDrive
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 Well-Being Webinar
Embracing Student Engagement: The Pathway to Post-Pandemic Learning
As schools emerge from remote learning, educators are understandably worried about content and skills that students would otherwise have learned under normal circumstances. This raises the very real possibility that children will face endless hours
Content provided by Newsela

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

Education Funding To Get Billions in COVID-19 Aid, States Pledge Focus on Mental Health, Learning Recovery
Twenty-eight states had submitted plans to the Education Department as of mid-June to access $41 billion from the American Rescue Plan.
4 min read
Illustration of money floating in a life preserver.
ISerg/iStock/Getty
Education Funding Some in Congress Fear State Budget Decisions May Undercut COVID-19 Education Relief
A dispute in Wisconsin over coronavirus relief underscores how technical issues and politics are affecting education spending decisions.
4 min read
Image shows an illustration of money providing relief against coronavirus.
DigitalVision Vectors/iStock/Getty
Education Funding There Are Big Funding Gaps Affecting High-Poverty Schools. Can Biden Close Them?
Hurdles lie ahead for a $20 billion bid to create "Title I equity grants" to address long-standing funding inequities.
9 min read
President Joe Biden talks about the May jobs report from the Rehoboth Beach Convention Center in Rehoboth Beach, Del., Friday, June 4, 2021.
President Joe Biden made boosting Title I for disadvantaged students a key part of his education platform on the campaign trail.
Susan Walsh/AP
Education Funding Education Department Issues Directive on Shielding Students in Poverty From Funding Cuts
The agency released the "maintenance of equity" guidance on COVID-19 relief as part of a public-relations blitz on equity amid the pandemic.
5 min read
Image of a $100 dollar bill that is cut into blocks for distribution.
E+/Getty