Federal Opinion

Budget Reactions: Not Enough For NCLB

By Alexander Russo — February 05, 2007 3 min read
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What seems clear already, just hours after the President’s budget has been released, is that the funding levels for NCLB and other much-watched programs aren’t nearly high enough to win over much Democratic support. On this, the basic go/no go issue, the reaction is “no go.”

Not that the Dems really expected anything else. They’ve been setting it up to slam the President on the budget (and, by extension, NCLB reauthorization) for a couple of weeks now, at least.

Knowing this, the Administration probably figured it couldn’t appease the Dems, so why try? It’s a Democratic problem now, and the Dems probably won’t be able to do much better, funding-wise, given the spending box we’re in (now, suddenly, when it’s convenient).

What’s left is lots of little stuff -- proposed eliminations of medium and small programs that nearly never get eliminated, slightly more fleshed out ideas from the NCLB reauthorization proposal, boutique ideas. (Speaking of which, the TIF funding issue isn’t resolved yet. Yikes.)

Over at Eduwonk, Andy bemoans the lack of big ideas (It’s Not That It Is Small, It’s That It Thinks Small).

Over at the Republican House ed committee site, Buck McKeon reminds everyone how much money has gone into NCLB in the past six years.

UPDATE: Miller and Kildee press release (theme = “not enough”) is below.You saw this coming. Senate staff response was posted earlier this AM. Monday, February 5, 2007

Press Office, 202-226-0853



Budget Also Includes Unacceptable Funding Cuts for

Children with Disabilities, Early Childhood Education

WASHINGTON, D.C. – President George W. Bush’s federal budget request for 2008 restores funding for the No Child Left Behind law that he and the Republican Congress cut in 2006, but his budget still does not provide schools with nearly as much funding as they need to carry out their responsibilities under the law. Overall, the President’s budget proposes $56 billion in discretionary education funding – $1.5 billion less than the joint funding resolution pending in Congress, or a 2.6 percent cut from the 2007 level of $57.5 billion.

Meanwhile, the President’s budget includes irresponsible cuts in aid for students with disabilities and the Head Start early childhood education law. U.S. Reps. George Miller and Dale Kildee said today that making sure that all children have what they need to succeed in school will require a much more serious federal investment than what the President has proposed.

“This budget stops the downward slide in No Child Left Behind funding that has happened over the last two years, but much more must be done to provide schools with the resources they need to successfully carry out the law,” said Miller, the chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee. “The cuts in this budget for students with disabilities and for young children are reprehensible and undermine the efforts of students and teachers who are working hard in classrooms across the country. For too long, the President has failed students, teachers, and parents, who are holding up their end of the bargain. It’s too bad the President isn’t holding up his.”

The President’s budget provides for a $993 million increase for the No Child Left Behind Act, for a total of $24.6 billion. In addition, the budget includes $300 million in additional funding for private school vouchers, a misguided, ideological proposal that would drain much-needed resources away from public schools.

“I am deeply disappointed that the dollar amounts in the President’s education budget do not match the words of his recent State of the Union address,” said Kildee, the chairman of the Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education Subcommittee. “While his proposal has some positive aspects, his budget continues to underfund our nation’s schools for the seventh consecutive year. Moreover, the President’s cuts of $100 million from Head Start and of $300 million from special education for children with disabilities are shameful. Our children deserve better if they are to succeed in school and in the global economy.”

The President’s budget request cuts $291 million from special education programs; as a result, the budget represents a federal investment that is less than half than what is required under the law. Finally, this year’s budget means Head Start early childhood education programs would experience a 13 percent cut in funding since 2002. In recent years, the President’s cuts to Head Start have meant many programs have had to shorten program hours, decrease classroom instruction, and eliminate transportation services. You saw this comin

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