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FY2006 Department of Education Appropriations (7-18-05)

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The primary interest for the geoscience community in funding for the Department of Education (DoEd) is the treatment of science education. When the No Child Left Behind Act was signed into law on January 8, 2002, it transformed the way in which the federal government funds elementary and secondary math and science education. In the past, math and science education was funded through the Eisenhower National Programs, which included the Eisenhower Professional Development Grants provided to each state, the Eisenhower National Clearinghouse (ENC), and the Eisenhower Regional Mathematics and Science Education Consortia. The fiscal year (FY) 2004 budget request would eliminate funding for the ENC in keeping with separate legislation passed in November 2002 to restructure the former DoEd Office of Educational Research and Improvement into the new Institute of Education Sciences. The No Child Left Behind Act also established Math and Science Partnerships (MSP) as a DoEd program to provide support for improving math and science education. A Math and Science Partnership program was also established at the National Science Foundation (NSF) and although the MSPs have the same name they are allocated in different ways and use different, but complementary approaches to improve math and science education. For more information, see the American Institute of Physics FYI 2003-84.

 

Fiscal Year (FY) 2006 Department of Education Appropriations Process

Account

FY05 Enacted
($million)

House Action
($million)

Senate Action
($million)

Department of Education (total)

56,600
56,000
56,700
56,700
--

Math and Science Partnerships

179
269
190
179
--

President's Request for FY 2006

The Department of Education budget request is down about one percent, from $56.6 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2005 to $56 billion in FY2006. However, several programs are slated to be eliminated and/or combined to provide states greater flexibility in using the federal funds.

The budget proposal increases Title II, Part B, Math and Science Partnerships to $269 million, increase of $90.4 million, or 51 percent, over the 2005 level, but restricts $120 million for the Secondary Education Mathematics Initiative, a competitive grant program to be administered by the Department of Education. This creates a net decrease in funding available to the states in FY2006 over the FY2005 allocations. The $120 million in funds for Secondary Education Mathematics Initiative is part of the High School Intervention Initiative.

To ensure that a high school diploma is a ticket to success in the 21st century, the President is proposing the High School Intervention Initiative, which will expand the application of No Child Left Behind principles to high-school grades to improve high school education and raise achievement, particularly the achievement of students most at risk of failure. The new initiative combines a number of categorical programs in order to give states and districts more flexibility and contains stronger accountability mechanisms. Vocational and Adult Education, including the Tech-Prep Education State Grants and the Tech-Prep Demonstration program, is eliminated in the budget proposal. Under the Administration's Program Assessment Rating Tool (PART), Vocational Education State Grants was rated ineffective because it has produced little or no evidence of improved outcomes for students despite decades of federal investment. The $1.3 billion in funding is shifted to fund the High School Intervention Initiative. States and school districts would be able to use the funds for vocational education, tech-prep programs, and other purposes, depending on state and local needs and priorities.

The proposed Teacher Incentive Fund would provide $450 million in state formula grants to reward effective teachers and to offer incentives for highly qualified teachers to teach in high-poverty schools. The remaining $50 million would fund competitive grants to state educational agencies, LEAs, and non-profit organizations for the design and implementation of performance-based compensation systems to develop effective models that other districts could adopt to improve teacher compensation systems. There are few incentives for good teachers to seek assignment to or remain in high-poverty schools; such schools are often forced to rely on the least qualified faculty, including those hired with only emergency or other temporary credentials. The Teacher Incentive Fund is designed to stimulate closer alignment of teacher compensation systems with better teaching, higher student achievement, and high-need schools.

The new Adjunct Teacher Corps Initiative would have a budget of $40 million and would draw on the skills of well-qualified individuals outside of the public education system to meet specialized teaching needs in secondary schools. Instead of the usual focus on certification or licensure of specialized teachers, the initiative would concentrate on helping schools find experienced professionals who would be able to provide real-world applications for some of the abstract mathematical concepts being taught in the classroom and, in some cases, provide individuals to teach temporarily in hard-to-fill positions. Initiative funds would be used to make competitive grants to partnerships of school districts and appropriate public or private organizations to create opportunities for professionals to teach specific high-school courses in the core academic subjects, particularly in mathematics and the sciences. Adjunct teachers might teach one or more courses on the school site on a part-time basis, teach full-time in secondary schools while on leave from their jobs, or teach courses that would be available on-line or through other distance learning arrangements.

The budget request contains a number of higher education programs as well. A record request of $13.7 billion for the Pell Grant program will increase the maximum grant to $4,150 and help an estimated 5.5 million low-income students pay for their higher education. It also provides $50 million for the new Presidential Math-Science Scholars program that will provide up to $5,000 to low-income students pursuing math and science studies. It will make permanent the increase in loan forgiveness from $5,000 to $17,500 for highly qualified math, science and special education teachers who serve low-income communities.

Finally, the budget would provide $40.2 million for need-based scholarships and fellowships to postsecondary students under the Javits Fellowships and Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (GAANN) programs, as well as $22.2 million for the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) to support a wide-range of projects to reform and improve postsecondary education.

House Action

On June 16, 2005, the House Appropriations Committee passed the Labor, Health and Human Services and Education spending bill. Within the bill, the Department of Education received a $118 million increase over FY2005 funding levels for a total of $56.7 billion, which is $467 million more than the President's request.

For the Department of Education's (DOEd) Math and Science Partnership program, the committee increased the budget to $190 million, a boost of $11 million over last year's allocation, but far below the $90.4 million increase proposed by the President. However, the committee decided against the President's proposal to reserve $120 million of these funds for the Secondary Education Mathematics Initiative, which would have lowered state grants overall and justified a transfer of funds away from a similar Math and Science Partnership program under the National Science Foundation (NSF).

For Vocational and Technical Education, the committee gave a budget of just over $1 billion in basic State grants, the same amount appropriated in FY2005. The President proposed to eliminate this program and transfer the funds into a high school reform program called the High School Intervention Initiative. The House ultimately denied the President's proposed $1.24 billion High School Intervention Initiative program on the grounds that the program had not yet been authorized. It did, however, choose to eliminate funding for Tech-Prep Education State Grants and the Tech-Prep Demonstration program as requested by the President.

The committee matched the President's request and FY2005 budget by providing $2.92 billion for the Improving Teacher Quality program. From this fund, the Teachers Incentives Fund received $100 million toward a pilot program to develop and implement innovative ways to provide financial incentives for teachers and principals who raise student achievement and close the achievement gap in some of the highest-need schools. The committee's budget falls $400 million short of the President's request of $500 million for this initiative.

The bill provides $1.9 billion for higher education programs, a decrease of $1.8 million from FY2005 appropriations and over $7 million more than the President's request. The Pell Grant program received an increase of $1 billion above FY2005 levels and $184 million above the President's request. Maximum awards would rise to $4100, the highest level ever seen. Matching the President's request, reading programs received a funding level of $1.2 billion. These funds will employ scientific research-based reading programs to combat reading difficulties.

The Javits fellowship program received $9.8 million in appropriations, the same as the President's request and the FY2005 budget. The Javits program provides institutions with federal support for students pursing doctoral degrees in the arts, humanities and social sciences. For the graduate assistance in areas of national need (GAANN) program, the committee recommended $30 million, matching the budget request and the FY2005 level. Also included in the bill is $27 million toward the Fund for the Improvement of Education (FIE), totaling $387 million below the FY2005 budget and $129 million below the requested budget.

For access of H.R.109-143, visit thomas.loc.gov for the full committee report.

The House of Representatives considered funding for the Department of Education in the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee. Chaired by Representative Regula (R-OH), other members include Reps. Istook (R-OK), Wicker (R-MS), Northup (R-KY), Cunningham (R-CA), Granger (R-TX), Peterson (R-PA), Sherwood (R-PA), Weldon (R-FL), Walsh (R-NY), Obey (D-WI), Hoyer (D-MD), Lowey (D-NY), DeLauro (D-CT), Jackson (D-IL), Kennedy (D-RI) and Roybal-Allard (D-CA).

Senate Action

On July 14, 2005, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed the Labor, Health and Human Services and Education spending bill. Within the bill, the Department of Education received a $118 million increase over fiscal year (FY) 2005 funding levels for a total of $56.7 billion, which is $467 million more than the President's request.

The Senate committee decided that no changes would be made to the Department of Education's Math and Science Partnership (MSP) program from the current FY2005 funding level of $178.6 million. This amount is $90.4 million less than the budget request, but does not include the Bush Administration's proposal to transfer funds from the National Science Foundation or reserve $120 million within the account for a competitive awards program designed to improve math achievement in high schools. The Senate's proposal is $11.4 million less than what the House recommended in June.

Similar to the House recommendation, the Senate committee denied the President's proposal to eliminate Vocational Education programs and transfer the funds into a new High School Intervention Initiative, primarily because this initiative is so far unauthorized by Congress. The senate restored funding for vocational education to $1.3 billion, roughly $20 million below the current fiscal year level. For other vocational and technical education programs, the Senate stuck close to FY2005 funding levels, eliminating only the Tech-Prep Education Demonstration Program based on incomplete program evaluations. Funding for national research programs, which include funds for the State Scholars program and support for vocational and technical educators, would total $9.3 million under the Senate proposal, $2 million less than the FY2005 enacted level.

The Senate also matched the $2.92 billion proposed for "Improving Teacher Quality" in the House appropriations bill and the Administration recommendations. This amount is also comparable to the FY 2005 enacted level. Established under the No Child Left Behind Act, the program is designed to help states ensure that all teachers of core academic subjects are `highly qualified' by the end of the 2005-2006 school year. The committee explains that, under the proposed amount, "funding for programs that specifically support high-quality professional development for teachers and school leadership will have increased by 40 percent since passage of the No Child Left Behind Act." The committee added that their recommendation for fiscal year 2006 includes nearly $3.6 billion "for such activities in recognition of the critical role that these individuals occupy in educating the Nation's children and the significant academic benefit that students may derive from the presence of a highly qualified teacher in their classroom."

For Pell Grant awards in the 2006-2007 academic year, the Senate committee recommended $13 billion, roughly $800 million above the FY2005 enacted level and similar to the House recommendation. The Committee indicated that it is "very supportive" of the President's proposal to increase the Pell Grant maximum award using mandatory funds, as the proposal "would have guaranteed $100 increases in the Pell Grant maximum award for each of the next 5 years."

"Unfortunately," the committee report continues, "the Budget Resolution rejected this proposal and proposed that an increase in the maximum award should compete against funding for other student aid programs, vocational and technical education and other activities funded in this bill. The Committee encourages the Administration to make this worthwhile proposal again next year and take necessary action to ensure its adoption."

For access of S.109-103, visit thomas.loc.gov for the full committee report.

The United States Senate considered funding for the Department of Education in the Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee. Chaired by Senator Specter (R-PA), other members include Senators Cochran (R-MS), Gregg (R-NH), Hutchison (R-TX), Craig (R-ID), Stevens (R-AK), DeWine (R-OH), Shelby (R-AL), Harkin (D-IA), Inouye (D-HI), Reid (D-NV), Kohl (D-WI), Murray (D-WA) and Landrieu (D-LA).

Conference Action

 

Appropriations Hearings

  • No hearings listed at this time.

Sources: Department of Education website, House of Representatives website, United States Senate website and STEM Workgroup documents.

Please send any comments or requests for information to the AGI Government Affairs Program at govt@agiweb.org.

Contributed by Emily Lehr Wallace and Katie Ackerly, Government Affairs Staff, Amanda Schneck, 2005 AGI/AIPG Summer Intern, and Anne Smart, 2005 AGI/AIPG Summer Intern.

Last Update July 18, 2005


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