In all the back and forth about the President’s budget request I’m surprised that there has not been more said, written, blogged, about the assumptions behind it. They matter. The chart at right, taken from OMB’s historical tables released with this year’s budget shows education outlays by function in constant dollars for FY01-FY13 (click on it and it will get bigger –the chart, not the funding, sorry Joel Packer!). The green line is elementary and secondary education, been pretty good for a while but in the out years that doesn’t look so good…that’s a problem. Of course, there will be a new Administration in 2009 and this is hardly locked in but it should cause you some pause if you care about education funding especially if you are a believer in the Geezer War. And going forward perhaps it could spark a little discussion about that awful four letter word that causes so much angst in education: Productivity.