Literacy and Arts Programs See Boost Under Federal Budget Deal

By Liana Loewus — December 16, 2015 1 min read
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Today, Congress released an omnibus budget deal that would increase Title I aid—aimed at improving disadvantaged students’ math and reading achievement—by $500 million, up to about $14.9 billion.

The bill, which my colleague Andrew Ujifusa has details on over at the Politics K-12 blog, is expected to pass the Senate today and be signed by the president soon after.

Some existing literacy and arts programs would see more money under the agreement, while a key STEM program would remain flat-funded. Here are some highlights on what the budget would mean for curriculum-related programs:

  • The Striving Readers program would get nearly a 20 percent bump from 2014, up to $190 million. Striving Readers is likely to be replaced by LEARN, a literacy grant program authorized in the recently signed Every Student Succeeds Act, starting in 2017.
  • The Innovative Approaches to Literacy initiative would receive $27 million, up from $25 million in fiscal 2015. That program, created a few years ago in part to restore funding to school libraries, was also authorized in ESSA.
  • There was no change in funding for the Math Science Partnerships program—it would continue to get about $153 million. ESSA did not reauthorize this grant program, which funds collaborations between K-12 school districts and universities to improve STEM instruction (though it can continue to receive appropriations even after ESSA is implemented).
  • The Arts in Education program, which funds Very Special Arts as well as research and model arts-integration programs, would get a $2 million boost, up to $27 million.
  • Funding for helping historically underserved students take Advanced Placement tests would stay steady at about $28 million.

You can see the full text of the budget deal here.

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