What the Federal Budget Deal Means for STEM, Literacy, and Arts Education

By Liana Loewus — January 22, 2014 1 min read
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Last week, as you may know, Congress reached an agreement on the 2014 appropriations bill—and the new budget aims to make up for losses felt by public schools as a result of sequestration, the across-the-board 5 percent cuts put in place last March. My colleague Alyson Klein lays out all the details on the budget’s education impact here.

For those most interested in what the budget means for literacy, STEM education, and arts education, here are some quick highlights.

• The Striving Readers literacy program got a 4 percent bump in funding, compared with fiscal 2013, up to $158 million. Funding for Ready-to-Learn Television (yes, Sesame Street and other educational TV and digital media) stayed flat at about $26 million. President Obama had proposed replacing those programs with an $187 million “Effective Teaching and Learning” literacy program, but Congress once again declined to go along with this approach.

• Obama’s proposal for a STEM innovation program was left out as well. However, the bill includes a nearly 6 percent boost, to $150 million, for the Education Department’s Mathematics and Science Partnerships, which focus on teacher professional development.

• The Arts in Education program, which funds Very Special Arts, received $25 million, or 6 percent more than the previous year. However, the Innovative Approaches to Literacy initiative—created two years ago to restore funding to school libraries, among other literacy programs—was hit with an 8 percent cut, down to $25 million.

• The Javits Gifted and Talented Program, which had been defunded in previous years, received $5 million this go around.

• Funding for the Advanced Placement program remained steady at $28 million.

So there you have it: STEM professional development got a boost, as did Striving Readers and the arts. Gifted and Talented funding was revived. Libraries lost out. In the charts below, Joel Packer, the executive director for the Committee for Education Funding, a Washington lobbying firm, offers up some historical context on a couple of these programs. You can also view the House explanatory documents.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.