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Education Funding

See the Hundreds of Pet Projects for Schools and Students Federal Lawmakers Want to Fund

By Andrew Ujifusa & Maya Riser-Kositsky — May 19, 2021 1 min read
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For the first time in roughly a decade, federal lawmakers are allowed under internal rules to seek direct funding for local pet projects by lobbying for what are commonly known as earmarks. The U.S. House of Representatives recently published a list of the earmarks members are seeking to attach to the annual spending bill for fiscal 2022.

So what’s in it for K-12 and for young people in general? We’ve created a searchable database that will allow you to learn about each of the more than 340 earmark requests so far from House lawmakers that support school districts, as well as for projects and organizations that deal with education or children in various capacities.

In addition, you’ll be able to see the number of requests by different categories, such as infrastructure, STEM, and summer-learning programs; which lawmakers have requested the most funding for education- and child-related projects; and more.

Click here for background on earmarks and how they work.

It’s possible that many of these funding requests won’t be included in the final spending deal that will fund the federal government for fiscal 2022; the House and Senate rules for earmarks this Congress will limit them to 1 percent of discretionary spending in next year’s federal budget. Nonetheless, the earmark requests shed light on lawmakers’ priorities for serving the needs of schools and students, and what kind of requests for funding help members of Congress get from the communities they represent.

Here are a few basic takeaways:

  • Out of 2,887 earmark requests from 530 members of Congress so far, we counted 343 child- or education-related projects (or approximately 12 percent of the total) from 185 lawmakers representing 36 states and territories, as well as the District of Columbia.
  • The child- and education-related projects, if all funded, would cost $335.8 million.
  • Of the 185 lawmakers who requested earmarks related to children or education, 151 were Democrats and 34 were Republicans.
  • “Learning loss” is directly mentioned in 11 of the earmark requests, while the “digital divide” is referenced in five of them.

The database below also does not include earmark requests from members of the Senate, which aren’t available yet. We hope to publish similar data about those requests when they become available.

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