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Money, Money, Money

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The House of Representatives Appropriations Committee released its stimulus package today. And education programs are a big winner:

Hot off the presses, here's a copy of the House Education and Labor Committee's release on the education section of the bill:

EDUCATION FOR THE 21st CENTURY
We will put people to work building 21st century classrooms, labs, and libraries to help our kids compete with any worker in the world.

21st Century Classrooms
• School Construction: $20 billion, including $14 billion for K-12 and $6 billion for higher education, for renovation and modernization, including technology upgrades and energy efficiency improvements. Also includes $100 million for school construction in communities that lack a local property tax base because they contain non-taxable federal lands such as military bases or Indian reservations, and $25 million to help charter schools build, obtain, and repair schools.
• Education Technology: $1 billion for 21st century classrooms, including computer and science labs and teacher technology training.

Higher Education: Tuition is up, unemployment is up, and as a result more people are choosing to go to school to upgrade their skills and more of these students need student aid. This investment addresses those short term needs while investing in our nation’s future economic strength.
• Pell Grants: $15.6 billion to increase the maximum Pell Grant by $500, from $4,850 to $5,350.
• College Work-Study: $490 million to support undergraduate and graduate students who work.
• Student Loan Limit Increase: Increases limits on unsubsidized Stafford loans by $2,000.
• Student Aid Administration: $50 million to help the Department of Education administer surging student aid programs while navigating the changing student loan environment.

K-12 Education: As states begin tackling a projected $350 billion in budget shortfalls these investments will prevent cuts to critical education programs and services.
• IDEA Special Education: $13 billion for formula grants to increase the federal share of special education costs and prevent these mandatory costs from forcing states to cut other areas of education.
• Title I Help for Disadvantaged Kids: $13 billion for grants to help disadvantaged kids in nearly every school district and more than half of all public schools reach high academic standards.
• Statewide Data Systems: $250 million for competitive grants to states to design and develop data systems that analyze individual student data to find ways to improve student achievement, providing teachers and administrators with effective tools.
• Education for Homeless Children and Youth: $66 million for formula grants to states to provide services to homeless children including meals and transportation when high unemployment and home foreclosures have created an influx of homeless kids.
• Improving Teacher Quality: $300 million, including $200 million for competitive grants to school districts and states to provide financial incentives for teachers and principals who raise student achievement and close the achievement gaps in high-need schools and $100 million for competitive grants to states to address teacher shortages and modernize the teaching workforce.

Early Childhood Development
• Child Care Development Block Grant: $2 billion to provide child care services for an additional 300,000 children in low-income families while their parents go to work. Today only one out of seven eligible children receives care.
• Head Start: $2.1 billion to provide comprehensive development services to help 110,000 additional children succeed in school. Funds are distributed based on need. Only about half of all eligible preschoolers and less than 3 percent of eligible infants and toddlers participate in Head Start.
• IDEA Infants and Families: $600 million for formula grants to help states serve children with disabilities age 2 and younger.

There will also be a $79 billion fund to help prevent cut backs to key services. Of that, $39 billion can go to local school districts, public colleges and universities. Another $25 billion can go to other state priorities, such as public safety, but could also be given to schools.

Democratic congressional staff tells me that the Senate numbers are similar for theTitle I and IDEA. Beyond that, there are some differences. It's unclear whether the Senate will release its bill today or not.

Also, note that the highly qualified teacher section looks suspiciously similar to performance pay. Interesting, no?

3 Comments

If Congress is serious about helping families afford college, they need to include Parent PLUS loans within the category of loans that may be subsidized. As it is now, parents who take these loans out and defer them, will owe interest even if their financial information qualifies their child for subsidized loans.

Parent college loans

It's pretty simple. If President Obama approaches educational reform like every other political leader, (the rhetoric of uniformed and/or unattainable expectations salted with a huge waste of dollars), we'll pretty much know how the next four years are going to go.

If, on the other hand, the Obama administration looks for an funds real solutions, we may have hope that educational (and all other) polices may be more than window dressing.

Here is a link to a document prepared by the Congressional Research Service which estimates the amount of education funding that each school district will receive from certain aspects of the American Recovery and Reinvestment bill.

Mike Kruger
Online Outreach Specialist
House Committee on Education and Labor

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