Wondering what the U.S. Department of Education has in mind for teacher-quality programs in its budget request? Here’s a cheat sheet of the major themes—though keep in mind that the chances of any of this happening lie in the hands of appropriators.
Also, make sure to check out Alyson Klein’s broader look at the budget request.
The new $5 billion program: Probably the biggest news to come out of the budget is a proposed one-shot, $5 billion competitive grant program to reform schools of education, teacher professional development, teacher pay, and certification. That’s about all we know at the moment. The Obama administration is holding a press conference tomorrow about this initiative.
The Title II set-aside: Title II is the massive $2.5 billion annual formula grant that nearly all districts receive funds through. Over the last couple of funding cycles, appropriators have reserved a fraction of this for a competitive grant program. It was more or less created to allow programs that lost their earmarks, like Teach For America, the National Writing Project, and the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, to recoup some federal funding. Now, the administration proposes raising this from just 1.5 percent of the Title II pot to 25 percent of the fund, or some $600 million. About $80 million of this amount would also be reserved for science and math teacher training.
Program consolidations: Much of the budget request reiterates the administration’s long-standing push to fold a number of different programs into three teacher-quality competitive grants. The administration has proposed this idea before, but it’s never gone anywhere with Congress.
Teacher education reform: These proposals are the same as last year’s budget request. They would replace the TEACH grant program with a $190 million Presidential Teaching Fellows program. Under this initiative, states would grant $10,000 to candidates who attend selective teacher education programs, and would also allow them to recognize “master teachers” with a portable credential. More in the department’s budget justifications here.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Teacher Beat blog.