House Republican leaders put out a bill last night that would slice and dice education funding far below current levels and far below what President Barack Obama wanted in his never-enacted fiscal year 2011 budget request. (List of cuts is here.)
The measure, which would continue federal funding for rest of the fiscal year, takes aim at some programs that were previously considered untouchable, including special education spending and Pell Grants to help low-and-moderate income students pay for college. Overall it would cut $4.9 billion from the U.S. Department of Education's fiscal year 2010 budget of $63.7 billion.
Under the GOP proposal, Title I would be cut by $693.5 million. It's not clear if that means just Title I grants to districts, which got $14.5 million in fiscal year 2010, or if the cut would also effect Title I School Improvement Program, which got $545 million in fiscal 2010.
Special education, which is typically a Republican priority, would be cut by $557 million, below its $11.5 billion funding in fiscal 2010.
Head Start was targeted for the one of the biggest reductions: a $1 billion cut below fiscal 2010.
And Pell grants would be cut as well, resulting in an $845 cut to the maximum per-student grant of $5,550.
GOP lawmakers also didn't find any new money for the administration's top priority, the Race to the Top 2.0. The administration had asked for $1.35 billion to continue the competitive grant program begun under the economic-stimulus package, and last calendar year, Congress had been poised to provide some of that money. Plus, there would be no money for another round of the Investing in Innovation grant program. The administration had originally asked for $500 million to continue i3, another stimulus-funded initiative.
The Obama administration in its fiscal 2011 budget had proposed consolidating smaller programs into broader funding streams. For instance, smaller literacy programs would have been combined into a big competitive fund aimed at improving reading and writing.
But, under the House bill, those programs would be scrapped entirely, including:
• Even Start Family Literacy program: $66.5 million
• Mathematics and Science partnerships: $180 million
• Striving Readers program: $250 million
• The Obama administration's $50 million high school graduation initiative, which is a fairly new program
• Literacy Through School Libraries: $19 million
• Education Technology State Grants: $100 million
• Foriegn Language Assistance: $26.9 million
• The National Writing Project: $25.6 million
• Ready-to-Learn Television: $27.3 million
• Civic Education: $35 million
• Elementary and Secondary School Counseling: $55 million
• Smaller Learning Communities: $88 million
• Tech Prep State Grants: $102 million
• Teacher Quality Partnerships: $43 million
Even some prized education reform programs with deep political connections would be slashed:
• New Leaders for New Schools would be cut by $5 million.
• Teach for America would lose its $18 million appropriation.
• The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards would lose its its $10.6 appropriation.
Also on the chopping block:
• 21st Century Community Learning Centers would get cut by $100 million. And two college access would be cut: TRIO by almost $25 million, GEARUP by $19.8 million.
So who would come through unscathed? The Teacher Incentive Fund, which helps districts create pay-for-performance programs, and got $400 million in fiscal year 2010. Charter schools, which got $256 million in fiscal 2010. And Teacher Quality State Grants, which got $2.95 million in fiscal 2010.
Some of these cuts are good - cut i3 and RttT to the bone. That's change I can believe in.
Some awful cuts to0 - Pell Grants, for example.
And of course the charter school and merit pay programs remain intact.
It will be interesting to see where Obama finds the money to save RttT and i3.
Last time, he saved the money by cutting food stamps.
Perhaps this time he can throw old people out onto the street without health care in order to keep his "education innovation" going.
I say, a pox on both Obama's house and the Republican House.