President Obama’s 2016 Budget Seeks to Expand Educational Opportunity for All Students

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President Obama’s 2016 Budget Seeks to Expand Educational Opportunity for All Students

President calls for critical investments in preschool, K-12 and higher education
February 2, 2015

The Obama Administration released a fiscal year 2016 budget today that includes key investments to expand high-quality early learning programs; increase equity and opportunity for all students; support teachers and school leaders; and improve access, affordability and student outcomes in college.

“The President’s budget reflects this Administration’s belief that every single child in this country deserves the opportunity to receive a strong education,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “As demonstrated by the record high school graduation rate and by huge gains in college-going, especially for minority students, states, districts, educators, and students across the country are making real progress. The President’s budget would continue and accelerate that progress.”

The budget request is $70.7 billion in discretionary appropriations for the Education Department, a 5.4 percent increase over the previous year’s funding. The budget also improves new mandatory funding for early childhood education, teacher support and college opportunity.

Key education investments in the President’s budget:

Increasing equity and opportunity

  • An increase of $2.7 billion for Elementary and Secondary Education Act programs, including $1 billion for Title I, to ensure that all students – which includes poor and minority students, students with disabilities, and English learners - graduate from high school prepared for college and careers
  • An increase of $175 million for Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Part B grants to support the work that states are doing to improve results for children with disabilities and another $115 million for programs for younger children with disabilities

Expanding high-quality early learning programs

  • $75 billion over 10 years for the Preschool for All proposal to provide universal high-quality preschool programs for all 4-year-olds from low- and moderate-income families
  • $750 million for Preschool Development Grants, an increase of $500 million, to help states lay the foundation for universal public preschool

Supporting teachers and leaders

  • $5 billion over five years for a new, mandatory Teaching for Tomorrow program to support fundamental changes in how states and school districts recruit and prepare new teachers and strengthen professional support for teachers throughout their careers
  • $350 million for Excellent Educators Grants to provide funds for states and school districts committed to implementing new systems that develop, support, reward and advance teachers and principals 

Improving higher education

  • America’s College Promise would provide two years of free community college for responsible students through a $60.3 billion investment in a new federal-state partnership over the next 10 years
  • A $29.7 billion investment in Pell Grants would maintain the purchasing power of this critical, need-based postsecondary grant assistance after 2017
  • $200 million for an American Technical Training Fund joint effort with the U.S. Department of Labor to expand job opportunities

Another key theme in the President’s budget is investing what works in all levels of education – preschool, K-12 and colleges - to maximize results for taxpayers and students. By investing in what works, learning more about what works, and sharing what we learn, we can help more students succeed. For instance, the budget includes:

  • $300 million, an increase of $180 million, for the Investing in Innovation program, to develop, validate and scale-up effective practices and strategies for improving student achievement in K-12 education
  • $200 million, a $140 million increase, for the competitive First in the World grants that take the same approach to improving outcomes in higher education

More information on the Department of Education’s budget request can be found here: Budget Fact Sheet and Budget Summary.

In his State of the Union address, the President emphasized that education is a vital investment in America’s economic competitiveness, in its communities, and in its people. The President’s 2016 budget is designed to bring middle class economics into the 21st Century and shows what we can do if we invest in our nation’s future and commit to an economy that rewards hard work, generates rising incomes, and allows everyone to share in the prosperity of a growing America.

These proposals will help working families feel more secure with paychecks that go further, help American workers upgrade their skills so they can compete for higher-paying jobs, and help create the conditions for our businesses to keep generating good new jobs for our workers to fill, while also fulfilling our most basic responsibility to keep Americans safe. We will make these investments, and end the harmful spending cuts known as sequestration, by cutting inefficient spending and reforming our broken tax code to make sure everyone pays their fair share. We can do all this while also putting our nation on a more sustainable fiscal path.