Reading & Literacy

2009 Budget Edges Closer to Enactment

By Alyson Klein & Erik W. Robelen — March 06, 2009 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

The U.S. Senate this week considered a long-delayed fiscal 2009 spending measure that could signal the end of a District of Columbia voucher program and would zero out money for Reading First.

The measure would boost the U.S. Department of Education’s bottom line in the fiscal year that began Oct. 1 to $66.5 billion, up from just over $62 billion in fiscal 2008, a 7 percent increase.

Some major K-12 programs would receive modest increases, including $14.5 billion in Title I grants to districts for the education of disadvantaged students, a 4.3 percent increase.

Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act—the recently passed economic-stimulus package—Title I programs received $10 billion.

The planned elimination of funding for Reading First represents a reversal of fortune for a prominent initiative of President George W. Bush’s administration. At its height, the program was being funded at $1 billion a year, but it also drew controversy, including suggestions of conflicts of interest.

The spending bill’s threat to the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship tuition-voucher program, which lets low-income students in the nation’s capital use federal funds to attend private schools, has sparked strong criticism from supporters of school choice.

The Senate bill, which is similar to a measure that passed the House of Representatives on Feb. 25, says that federal funding for the vouchers would end after the 2009-10 school year unless the program were reauthorized by Congress.

A group of Republican lawmakers led by Sen. John Ensign of Nevada, and joined by Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, an Independent from Connecticut who caucuses with the Democrats, pushed an amendment to strike out the language.

Duncan’s Position

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan didn’t take a position on whether the program should be extended. But he said in a statement that he opposes vouchers and that “students currently enrolled in private schools with the help of the D.C. voucher program should be allowed to remain where they are. I don’t think it makes sense to take kids out of school where they’re happy and safe and satisfied and learning.”

And Sen. Lieberman, the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, which oversees the District of Columbia, plans to hold hearings later this year on whether to reauthorize the program.

A final vote on the measure is expected next week.

A version of this article appeared in the March 11, 2009 edition of Education Week as 2009 Budget Edges Closer To Enactment

Events

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
Webinar
Stronger Together: Integrating Social and Emotional Supports in an Equity-Based MTSS
Decades of research have shown that when schools implement evidence-based social and emotional supports and programming, academic achievement increases. The impact of these supports – particularly for students of color, students from low-income communities, English
Content provided by Illuminate Education
Classroom Technology Webinar Building Better Blended Learning in K-12 Schools
The pandemic and the increasing use of technology in K-12 education it prompted has added renewed energy to the blended learning movement as most students are now learning in school buildings (and will likely continue
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
A Whole Child Approach to Supporting Positive Student Behavior 
To improve student behavior, it’s important to look at the root causes. Social-emotional learning may play a preventative role.

A whole child approach can proactively support positive student behaviors.

Join this webinar to learn how.
Content provided by Panorama

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

Reading & Literacy White Characters Still Dominate Kids' Books and School Texts, Report Finds
The review comes at a time when there’s increased national attention on what children are reading in school.
6 min read
Teacher reading book to diverse group of children in the classroom
iStock/Getty Images Plus
Reading & Literacy New Curriculum Review Gives Failing Marks to Two Popular Reading Programs
Two of the nation's most-used literacy programs are facing new criticism.
14 min read
EdReports Fountas and Pinnell 1004026742
iStock/Getty Images Plus
Reading & Literacy Spotlight Spotlight on Oral Language in Reading Instruction
This Spotlight will help you determine where your reading instruction may have holes and more.
Reading & Literacy Data More States Are Making the 'Science of Reading' a Policy Priority
Four states have passed laws requiring evidence-based instruction, and at least 18 are directing COVID relief funds to early reading.
4 min read
Getty Images
Getty Images