2011 Federal K-12 Education Budget
I just sat in on a White House conference call about President Obama’s proposed 2011 budget for K-12 education. You can view a press release outlining key budget points at the United States Department of Education website.
The budget includes a $3 billion (yes, that starts with a “b”) increase in ESEA funding, but that increase is for competitive programs like the continuation of Race to the Top (RTTT) and the Investing in Innovation (I3) fund. Of course, this assumes that ESEA will be reauthorized during this session of Congress, something that the Learning First Alliance supports (see my earlier post, Reauthorize ESEA ASAP).
The budget also proposes replacing the accountability system established in No Child Left Behind with a new system built around the goal of helping all students graduate college- and career-ready—a very laudable goal and one that I will support with every ounce of my being.
I was also delighted to see a proposed $269 million for teacher and leader recruitment and preparation. PDK supports the Future Educators Association® (FEA), the only international program that helps recruit and prepare middle-level and high school students to become the next generation of great teachers, particularly those from underrepresented populations and those interested in teaching in high-need areas. You can bet that we will be looking to support K-12, community college, and university partners in establishing great pipelines to get the best and brightest into the teaching field.
Of course, there’ll be lots of controversy as this budget attempts to consolidate 38 ESEA programs into 11 funding streams. But listen to this—it’s the ultimate carrot. (Bugs Bunny, are you listening?) If ESEA is reauthorized this year, the President will send Congress a budget amendment that requests up to an additional $1 billion for ESEA programs.
What’s my take at 60,000 feet? This president is deadly serious in his belief that high-quality education is the path to greater individual equity and our nation’s collective security. Care to weigh in?