In the opening statement to the Senate Appropriations subcommittee, Secretary Duncan hailed a record high school graduation rate and increased college attainment in the U.S. but said that large and costly opportunity gaps still remain. He called on Congress to enact President Obama's FY budget 2015 budget for education, stressing the importance of investing in education, and the moral and economic imperative for closing opportunity gaps and enhancing equity. (For a fuller exposition of the 2015 budget at the hearing, see the Statement for Record by Secretary Duncan on the department's FY 2015 budget request.)
Statement for the Record by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan on the U.S. Department of Education Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Request
I want to begin by thanking Congress for your work on the 2014 appropriation for education. I appreciate the funding increases that you included in the fiscal year 2014 appropriation. However, it’s important to recognize that total discretionary funding for the Department of Education, excluding Pell Grants, remains below the fiscal year 2010 level, and I worry about the long-term impact of the continuing slide in Federal education funding on the health of our economy and our democracy.
At the Building a Grad Nation Summit, Sec. Duncan celebrated the country’s record 80% high school graduation rate, and called for a focus on college completion, especially for minority and low-income students, noting that the nation's public schools will be majority-minority for the first time this fall,
Testimony of U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan: The U.S. Department of Education Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Request, House Appropriations Committee
Chairman Rogers, Ranking Member Lowey, Chairman Kingston, Ranking Member DeLauro, and Members of the Subcommittee:
Let me begin by thanking you for your work on the 2014 appropriation, which increased our investment in education over the previous year.
Thank you, Catherine [Lhamon]. I can't thank Catherine enough for the extraordinary leadership that she has shown as head of our Office for Civil Rights and for her passionate commitment to protect and ensure equal opportunity for all students.
Thanks, Ron [Thorpe] for that warm introduction and for all of your leadership. Congratulations on what has become one of the most dynamic discussions of teaching anywhere. You’ll be very relieved to know that unlike some of your other speakers, I will not be singing a capella, sharing my views on Abraham Lincoln, or putting a new operating system on your computer.
I want to thank Jim Steyer and Common Sense Media for bringing this event together and starting this important dialogue – and for your tireless efforts to keep the digital world that our kids inhabit safe and healthy.
Thank you, Governor Beshear. It’s great to be back at the NGA. And I welcome this opportunity to talk about the role of early learning with our governors. On both sides of the political aisle, it’s the governors who are really leading the nation in expanding high-quality early learning, from birth to age five.
Thank you for that kind introduction, Principal Maxey. Today, is a great day here at T.C. Williams High School for two reasons.
First, we’re here to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA form. Note that word “free.”
I am pleased to speak to ASCD's leadership because I believe educators across the country today have finally reached a long-sought turning point.