Budget!

The President’s budget request is out today, here are highlights from OMB (pdf). Big debate today is actually higher-ed not K-12.  The K-12 elements are mostly predictable and pretty good. Based on earlier work I’ve done, I’m obviously supportive of many of the changes to funds intended to support teacher quality efforts and also the general streamlining (though that’s always a tough, read frequently fruitless, debate).  The early-childhood crowd, meanwhile, is excited because they got a headline program proposed.  I’m skeptical the Race to the Top elements will make it through Congress intact though.

The higher-ed components are interesting for two reasons, on substance and on politics.   The substance is the – should be alarming – reality that absent some changes to Pell it would consume about 10 percent of what’s now called discretionary “non-security” spending in the entire budget (pdf).  That’s alarming because it again shows how the overall contours of the federal budget mean that investments in areas like education are getting squeezed and while many education advocates don’t fancy themselves deficit hawks a look at the out year projections should cause them to reconsider.  So, the Administration’s Pell grant proposal is a nod to that reality and an effort to preserve the maximum award within the budget and political context (meaning their past proposals have not been well-received) they’re operating in.  On the politics, keep an eye on how this idea is received by conservatives in the House.   They, too, want to make cuts to Pell but deeper and different.  A big question is if and how Speaker John Boehner can manage his caucus and their response here will be an interesting test.  Kevin Carey has more on the higher ed pieces of the budget. And Jon Cohn at TNR has more on Pell.

3 thoughts on “Budget!

  1. steve f.

    What a charade!

    It’s clear that the Obama Administration is now a moderate Republican administration.

    Cutting this “non-security” spending is perverse premise that theadministration accepts time and time again. It’s only 12% of the budget – and it actually helps people – a lot of working and middle class people.

    I have no doubt that the U.S., if it is not now, will soon be spending more on weapons and missiles, then it will on sending people to school. Quite an enlightened society we have.

    Please challenge the sense of this administration’s budget- we cannot keep flushing our blood and our hard work into Wall Street and foreign wars and forsaking our young citizens trying to get an education. They are not entitled – they are poor.

    We can afford to send them to school!

  2. edharris

    Budgeting, Indiana Style

    On Tues. Jan. 25th, 2011, I went to Indianapolis to help lobby for public schools, their students, and teachers. You see I graduated from public schools, as did my husband, and our 3 children. ( Katie, a public school teacher, Jonathan a lawyer, and Molly a medical doctor, where did I go wrong?) I have taught art in public schools since 1973. I love my students, my job, and my school.

    Enough about me…. as I am walking through the halls of our state capital I see a small group of teachers talking to the governor of Indiana and I join them to hear him speak. One of the first things I heard our Governor say was “You teachers are all making to much money. You are all making 22% more than the taxpayers who are paying your salaries.” A lady said her children are on free and reduced lunches and she was a teacher. One teacher did speak up in her defense and said she had 6 years of college. The Governor asked her what kind of a teacher she was and she replied a “very good teacher.”

    The Governor then said “well the rest of the teachers at her school must not be very good then because not everyone can be a very good teacher.” He went on to say that 90% of the teacher evaluations in our state say that the teachers are excellent. And our education is horrible. “One half of our state budget goes to education and that is ridiculous! Our state has the highest amount being paid out to fund education…. and our education is terrible!” the Governor replied.

    One teacher said it is not terrible and we are talking about our future, our children. She was ignored. “We have 300 school districts in Indiana and that is ridiculous. We need to cut that in 1/2” the Governor said. A senior student from Taylor High School stepped in. “Sir, I am a 21st Century scholar and I am concerned about the $3500 you want to give to seniors to leave school after their Jr. year. They need that year to figure out what they want to do and the schools can use that money . You will be hurting the school budgets.” The Governor pointed at her and accused her of taking money away from the poor students. She tried to get him to see her side. She was ignored. “Other states are watching us to see what we do with our education programs. I get calls every day” the Governor said. A very soft spoken teacher replied “Sir, I would like very much to discuss some of these issues with you, how do I go about this?” The Gov. said “You just did!” and walked away.

    I stood within 2 feet of our Governor and watched as his eyes bulged as he attacked everything said. I felt his disdain and contempt for public schools and teachers. And I felt the respect that should have been given to these public school teachers and students was non-existent.

  3. ACS Distance Education

    I’m just back from the UK. College & University funding has bewen cut 20%; everyone is depressed and talking about the next round of cuts. Government funded education seems to be heading for extinction.

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