The President's 2014 Budget Proposal for Education
The President's 2014 Budget Proposal for Education
"We believe that America's prosperity must rest upon the broad shoulders of a rising middle class. ... We are true to our creed when a little girl born into the bleakest poverty knows that she has the same chance to succeed as anybody else, because she is an American; she is free, and she is equal, not just in the eyes of God but also in our own."
-- Barack Obama, Second Inaugural Address, January 21, 2013
America's public schools strive to offer a path to the middle class for children from hard-working families in every community, particularly those in poverty. Yet too many children lack access to the education and supports that make the journey to the middle class a reality. The Obama administration is committed to ensuring that every child has that opportunity.
In the first term, the administration helped to unleash innovation at the state level, in part through competitive funds that achieved extraordinary "bang for the buck" in driving positive change with public dollars. This happened even as the administration maintained strong support for formula grant programs, which make up the vast majority of the budget, and are focused on the most vulnerable students. The nation's schools, teachers, and students have made momentous gains. These include the highest high school graduation rate in three decades, an increase of more than 50 percent in the number of students accessing higher education on Pell Grants, a major increase in the number of Hispanic students in college, and, over the last decade, one million fewer students attending chronically underperforming "dropout factory" schools. Yet much remains to be done. The President has set a goal of making America, once again, first in the world in college completion – yet today, we rank 14th, and students from low-income families complete college at one-seventh the rate of those from high-income families.
The President's 2014 budget request for education
The President's budget request reflects his strong belief that education is a vital investment in the nation's economic competitiveness, in its people, and in its communities. Education is not a luxury to be cut in difficult economic times – it is an essential element of growth. The administration's request for $71 billion in discretionary appropriations represents an increase of more than 4 percent over the previous year. Nearly three-quarters of that funding goes to financial aid for students in college, special education, and aid to schools with high numbers of children in poverty (Title I). The remaining 28 percent of the budget invests in specific areas that can move major change – particularly through making preschool accessible for all students; funding a set of strategic reforms at the K-12 level; ensuring that college is affordable; and coordinating services that help students living in poverty.
Key administration priorities include:
Early learning: Making quality preschool available for all 4-year-olds
Children who have rich early learning experiences are better prepared to thrive in school. Yet fewer than a third of the nation's 4-year-olds are enrolled in high-quality preschool. Internationally, the United States ranks 28th in early learning enrollment. In one of the boldest expansions of opportunity in a generation, President Obama has committed to a historic new investment in preschool education that supports universal access to high-quality preschool for all 4-year olds from low- and moderate-income families and creates an incentive for states to serve additional middle-class children. In addition, the U.S. Department of Education will work with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to significantly expand and improve services to younger children. The President's budget request includes $1.3 billion in 2014 and $75 billion over 10 years in mandatory funding, along with $750 million for competitively awarded Preschool Development Grants and other funds. Learn more about Preschool for All.
K-12: Deepening reform in key strategic areas
Building on the momentum for state-level reform unleashed by Race to the Top and other competitive funds, President Obama has proposed a set of strategic investments to drive change in the nation's K-12 school systems. Race to the Top provided more than $4 billion to help 18 states and the District of Columbia implement comprehensive reform strategies based on college- and career-ready academic standards and assessments, wider use of data to improve instruction, excellence in teaching and school leadership, and turnaround of the lowest-performing schools. The 2012 Race to the Top-District competition encouraged districts across the country to build on the lessons learned from the state competition and to improve instruction at the local level, including by personalizing learning. President Obama's fiscal year 2014 budget would deepen these reforms through significant new investments in areas where states and school districts face key implementation challenges, as well as continuing substantial investments in critical formula programs that support state and local reform efforts. Learn more about the K-12 reforms.
The FY2014 proposals include:
High School Redesign and Career Readiness
President Obama has called on all Americans to commit to at least one year of postsecondary education. Yet, for too many American students, high school is a time of disengagement that fails to put them on a path to college and career success. That's why the Obama administration has laid out plans to redesign high schools and career and technical education (CTE). Learn more about high school redesign and career readiness.
Strengthening Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Education
Economists project strong growth in careers related to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), but far too few American students are proficient in mathematics and interested in a STEM career. The Obama administration proposes an aggressive STEM push that will improve the delivery and impact of STEM education. Learn more about STEM.
Teachers and Leaders
Research has consistently shown that the most important school-based factor impacting a child's academic success is the quality of the classroom teacher, followed closely by the strength of the school leader. To help prepare our students to be engaged citizens and meet the demands of the increasingly complex and global economy, we need better systems to, recruit, prepare, support, retain, and reward outstanding teachers and leaders in America's schools. Moreover, high teacher turnover today costs the nation more than $7 billion each year, and costs schools, families and communities in ways that cannot be measured. The Obama administration has laid out a plan to strengthen teaching and school leadership, building on significant investments in the first term. Learn more about the teachers and leaders plan.
Schools are, generally, the safest places in America, but the nation's conscience has been shocked by recent acts of horrific violence in schools. While these acts have changed communities forever, less dramatic moments of violence each day decrease students' sense of security, which is essential to their healthy growth and learning. In response, the President's plan to increase school safety and to decrease gun violence includes investments not only to prepare schools for emergencies, but also to create nurturing school climates and help children recover from the effects of living in communities plagued by persistent violence. Learn more about school safety.
Making college affordable
Today, three-quarters of the fastest-growing occupations require more education and training than a high school diploma. Yet nearly half of students who begin college in this country never finish. For low-income students, the completion rate is less than one in 10. To address these challenges, the Obama administration has taken major steps to help students afford college, and proposes to build on that momentum with programs that will drive major reforms to reduce the escalating costs of higher education. Learn more about making college affordable. Learn more about making college affordable.
Ladders of opportunity
Schools often struggle to take on the multiple challenges that face students growing up in communities of concentrated poverty. Since the time of Horace Mann, America has worked to make its public schools "the great equalizer," ensuring that every child would have the opportunity to join a thriving middle class. Too often, however, poverty endures from generation to generation, and schools often struggle to meet the needs of the most vulnerable students. Through "Ladders of Opportunity," the Obama administration will establish comprehensive, coordinated approaches to improving support for these students. Learn more about ladders of opportunity.
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Funder Call about 2014 Budget Request (April 24, 2013)
The Department of Education hosted a conference call for foundation and business leaders with Secretary Arne Duncan to discuss the President's FY 14 education budget proposal. The Secretary noted the President's commitment to "invest in the vision of reform at every level -- Early Childhood, K-12 and Higher Ed." Praising the President's leadership in education, he said, "Obviously these are tough economic times, but [President Obama] is asking for an additional $3 billion in our budget at a time when he's flat-lining or reducing most of domestic spending."