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.