President Barack Obama has identified education as one of the most important issues facing America. America’s economic future, the path to achieving the American dream, and our ability to compete in a global 21st century economy will depend on providing our children with a high quality education that fosters critical thinking, problem solving, and the innovative use of knowledge. The President has committed to provide every child in American with access to a complete and competitive education, from cradle through career. He has further set forth an ambitious goal for the country to regain its lost ground by producing the highest proportion of college graduates in the world by 2020. This will necessitate a concerted focus on early education, significant reforms and investments in K-12 education, and dramatic increases in higher education access and completion.
"We will provide the support necessary for you to complete college and meet a new goal: by 2020, America will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world."
- President Barack Obama, Feb. 24, 2009
Understanding the significant challenges we face, the Federal government has provided significant investments and continues to unveil funding opportunities for both public and private educational stakeholders.
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) invested heavily in education both as a way to provide jobs now and lay the foundation for long-term prosperity, including:
- $5 billion for early learning programs, including Head Start, Early Head Start, child care, and programs for children with special needs;
- $77 billion for reforms to strengthen elementary and secondary education, including $48.6 billion to stabilize state education budgets and encourage states to make improvements in teacher effectiveness and qualifications, make progress toward college and career-ready standards and rigorous assessments, improve low-performing schools, through intensive support and effective interventions, and gather information to improve student learning, teacher performance, and college and career readiness through enhanced data systems;
- $5 billion to spur innovation and chart reform to close the achievement gap; and
- Over $30 billion to address college affordability and improve access to higher education.
Race to the Top Fund
The ARRA provided $4.35 billion for the Race to the Top Fund, a competitive grant program designed to encourage and reward States that are creating the conditions for education innovation and reform; achieving significant improvement in student outcomes, including making substantial gains in student achievement, closing achievement gaps, improving high school graduation rates, and ensuring student preparation for success in college and careers; and implementing ambitious plans in four core education reform areas:
- Adopting standards and assessments that prepare students to succeed in college and the workplace and to compete in the global economy;
- Building data systems that measure student growth and success, and inform teachers and principals about how they can improve instruction;
- Recruiting, developing, rewarding, and retaining effective teachers and principals, especially where they are needed most; and
- Turning around our lowest-achieving schools.
The Administration has awarded the first two rounds of Race to the Top Grants to States that have demonstrated success in raising student achievement and offered the best plans to accelerate their reforms in the future. These States will offer models for others to follow and will spread the best reform ideas across their States, and across the country.
On March 29, 2010 Secretary Duncan announced that Delaware and Tennessee had won grants in the first phase of the Race to the Top competition, totaling approximately $600 million implement their comprehensive school reform plans over the next four years. On August 24, 2010 Secretary Duncan announced that Massachusetts, New York, Hawaii, Florida, Rhode Island, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Georgia, North Carolina, and Ohio were awarded nearly $3.4 billion in the second round of Race to the Top to implement their programs that will directly impact 13.6 million students, and 980,000 teachers in 25,000 schools.
The Administration’s 2011 budget requests $1.35 billion for additional Race to the Top awards, reflecting the extraordinary interest demonstrated by States in developing and implementing Race to the Top plans and the meaningful changes States are undertaking to be competitive for such grants. The Administration also will ask for authority to run a district-level competition for districts willing and able to tackle comprehensive reform.
Investing in Innovation Fund
The Investing in Innovation Fund (i3), established under section 14007 of the ARRA, provides funding to support local educational agencies (LEAs) and nonprofit organizations in partnership with consortium of schools that have a record of improving student achievement and attainment in order to expand the implementation of, and investment in, innovative practices that are demonstrated to have an impact on improving student achievement or student growth, closing achievement gaps, decreasing dropout rates, increasing high school graduation rates, or increasing college enrollment and completion rates. These grants will allow eligible entities to expand and develop innovative practices that can serve as models of best practices, work in partnership with the private sector and the philanthropic community, and identify and document best practices that can be shared and taken to scale based on demonstrated success.
On September 20, 2010 the Department of Education announced the award of approximately $600 million in i3 grants to 49 organizations (out of nearly 1,700 applicants) representing a cross-section of school districts and nonprofit education organizations, including institutions of higher education.
The Administration has requested an additional $500 million in funding for this program in FY 2011. Additional rounds of funding may offer applicants that were not selected and other potential applicants that did not participate in this year's competition an opportunity to strengthen their models and build their evidence bases, supporting a continued cycle of innovation and evaluation.
A Blueprint for Reform – Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act
On March 13, 2010 the Administration released its blueprint for revising the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The blueprint seeks to overhaul the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) and challenge the nation in embracing education standards that would put America on a path to global leadership. It provides incentives for states to adopt academic standards that prepare students to succeed in college and the workplace, and create accountability systems that measure student growth toward meeting the goal that all children graduate and succeed in college.
Obama Administration's Education Reform Plan Emphasizes Flexibility, Resources and Accountability for Results
March 15, 2010
Contact: Sandra Abrevaya
The Obama administration's blueprint to overhaul the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) will support state and local efforts to help ensure that all students graduate prepared for college and a career.
Following the lead of the nation's governors and state education leaders, the plan will ask states to ensure that their academic standards prepare students to succeed in college and the workplace, and to create accountability systems that recognize student growth and school progress toward meeting that goal. This will be a key priority in the reform of NCLB, which was signed into law in 2002 and is the most recent reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA).
Read the Full Release at: http://www2.ed.gov/news/pressreleases/2010/03/03152010.html
Watch the President Discuss the Blueprint at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2010/03/12/weekly-address-education-a-more-competitive-america-better-future
Copies of "A Blueprint for Reform" are available at: http://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/leg/blueprint/blueprint.pdf.
Effective Teachers & Leaders
Creating incentives and supports to help States, LEAs, and schools recruit, prepare, support, reward, and retain effective teachers and school leaders and to create professional learning communities in our schools is key goal of the Administration's ESEA reauthorization plan and funding requests for FY 2011. This includes:
- $3.9 billion for the new Excellent Instructional Teams program to help States and LEAs increase the effectiveness of teachers and principals.
- $450 million for the new Effective Teaching and Learning Literacy program to support State and local efforts to implement a comprehensive literacy strategy for delivering high-quality literacy instruction to students in pre-k through grade 12.
- $300 million for the new Effective Teaching and Learning Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics program to improve teaching of and raise student achievement in science, technology, engineering and mathematics through comprehensive instructional supports and innovative strategies.
- $265 million for the new Effective Teaching and Learning for a Well-Rounded Education program to support States and high-need school districts in developing and expanding innovative practices, including interdisciplinary programs, that improve teaching and learning in the arts, foreign languages, civics and government, history, geography, environmental literacy, economic and financial literacy, and other subjects.
The Administration's ESEA reauthorization seeks to support student success outside the classroom and the regular school day, understanding that this is a necessary component to supporting student success in the classroom. The Administration’s 2011 request therefore includes a total of $1.8 billion to support comprehensive services, a safe school environment, improving students' health and well-being; and additional learning opportunities outside the traditional school day. This includes:
- $210 million for Promise Neighborhoods would support neighborhood-based projects in distressed communities designed to combine effective schools with strong systems of support that address the comprehensive educational, health, and social needs of children from birth through college and career.
- $410 million for Successful, Safe, and Healthy Students, for a new program that would focus on improving school climate; reducing or preventing drug use, violence, or harassment; and supporting the health, fitness, and mental well-being of students so that schools and students can succeed.
- $1.2 billion for a reauthorized 21ST Century Community Learning Centers program that would emphasize projects involving the redesign and extension of the school day, week, or year to provide additional time for academic and enrichment activities and for teacher collaboration to improve instruction, as well as programs that support full-service community schools that coordinate access to comprehensive services.
In 2008, the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-315) was overwhelmingly passed by Congress and signed into law in August 2008. The Higher Education Act was last reauthorized in 1998 and had expired in 2003, making P.L. 110-315 five years overdue.
The Higher Education Opportunity Act aims to improve higher education by addressing the issues of affordability, quality, and accountability, reforming the federal financial aid application process, enhancing transparency in the student loan sector, helping more military veterans and their families attend college, increasing grant aid for the neediest students, enhancing programs to strengthen the college pipeline, and promoting teacher preparation programs.
The key provisions of the Higher Education Opportunity Act include:
- Requires the top five percent of colleges that have the greatest cost increases for their sector to take steps to hold costs down;
- Replaces the complex, 7-page Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) with a 2-page “EZ-FAFSA”;
- Bans lenders from offering gifts to college officials as a condition of making student loans, and requires colleges to adopt a code of conduct regarding student loans;
- Helps service members, veterans, and their families attend and pay for college by providing interest-free deferral on student loans while service members are on active duty, in-state tuition rates for service members and their families who move to a new state due to military service, and new college scholarships of up to $5,000 for children and family members of service members who have died since 9/11; and
- Allows low-income students to receive Pell Grants year-round, expands eligibility for the Academic Competitiveness and National SMART Grant programs, and expands Federal loan forgiveness for a wide variety of professions, including civil legal aid lawyers, prosecutors, public defenders and teachers.
Through the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act, the Federal Government has made historic investments in higher education that will expand educational opportunities for American students and families, including:
- More than $40 billion in Pell Grants to ensure that all eligible students receive an award and that these awards are increased in future years to help keep pace with the rising cost of college;
- $2 billion over four years to help community colleges and other institutions develop, improve, and provide education and career training programs suitable for workers who are eligible for trade adjustment assistance;
- $2.55 billion in mandatory funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities to renew, reform, and expand programming; and
- Expanding the Income Based Repayment (IBR) program to more than 1.2 million new qualified borrowers.
The Administration’s 2011 budget request seeks to continue support for minority-serving institutions, innovative postsecondary education reform activities, international education, and access and completion for disadvantaged students. This includes:
- $508.5 million for the Aid for Institutional Development program for support to improve the academic programs and administrative and fundraising capabilities of institutions that enroll a large proportion of minority and disadvantaged students.
- $123.3 million for Developing Hispanic-serving Institutions to help ensure that Hispanic students have access to high quality postsecondary education.
- $64 million for the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education, which supports innovative projects to reform and improve postsecondary education. The request includes $25 million for a STEM initiative, to be developed in collaboration with the National Science Foundation, to identify and validate more effective approaches for attracting, retaining, and teaching undergraduate students in STEM fields that can be brought to scale.
- $125.9 million for International Education and Foreign Language Studies programs to help meet the Nation's needs for individuals with expertise in foreign languages and area and international studies.
- $853.1 million for Federal TRIO programs for services to help disadvantaged students enroll in and complete college.
- $323.2 million for Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) to help an estimated 748,000 middle and high school students prepare for and enroll in college.
College Access and Completion
In keeping with President Obama's goal of restoring America's status as first in the world in the percentage of its citizens with college degrees by 2020, the Administration’s 2011 budget request would make available more than $156 billion in new grants, loans, and work-study assistance—an increase of $58 billion or 60 percent over the amount available in 2008—to help almost 15 million students and their families pay for college.
- Increasing the Pell Grant maximum award to $5,710—an increase of $160 over the 2010 level—and the maximum award in future years would automatically rise by the cost of inflation plus 1 percentage point annually. An estimated 8.7 million students would receive Pell Grants in fiscal year 2011, an increase of more than 1 million students since fiscal year 2009.
- Replacing the Federal Family Education Loans program with Direct Loans, taking advantage of low-cost and stable sources of capital and private-sector providers to efficiently process loans and repayments and save an estimated $45.6 billion through fiscal year 2020.
- $1.1 billion to expand and modernize the Perkins Loan program so that it would provide $6 billion a year in new loan volume—six times the current Perkins volume—for up to 2.4 million students at roughly 2,700 additional postsecondary education institutions. The Department would service Perkins Loans along with other Federal loans, with estimated overall savings totaling $5.5 billion over 10 years.
- $3.5 billion over 5 years for a College Access and Completion Fund, which would make grants to States, institutions of higher education, and other organizations to support innovative strategies to increase the number and percentage of students entering and completing college.
- $10.6 billion over 10 years for the American Graduation Initiative, which would support President Obama's commitment to have the best-educated, most competitive workforce in the world. The initiative would invest in promising reforms to raise graduation rates, tie courses to business needs, and improve remedial education at community colleges.
- $7.5 billion over 10 years to expand income-based repayment (IBR) options to help borrowers in the Federal postsecondary student loan programs with large loan balances and low incomes, particularly in public service careers, repay their loans.
- $100 million for College Pathways and Accelerated Learning, a new authority under the Administration's ESEA reauthorization proposal designed to increase graduation rates and preparation for college matriculation and success by providing college-level and other accelerated courses and instruction in high-poverty middle and high schools, including Advanced Placement/International Baccalaureate (AP/IB) courses, dual-enrollment programs, and "early college high schools."
- Simplifying the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by eliminating unnecessary questions and making the online application faster and easier, partly by using IRS data.
Boost for STEM Education – Educate to Innovate
The President launched an “Educate to Innovate” campaign to improve the participation and performance of America’s students STEM fields. This campaign will combine the efforts of the Federal Government with those from private-sector companies, foundations, non-profits, and science and engineering societies to work with young people across America to excel in STEM fields.
The Administration’s 2011 budget request includes several activities that support President Obama's "Educate to Innovate" campaign aimed at (1) increasing STEM literacy so that all students can master challenging content and think critically in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields; (2) moving American students from the middle of the pack to the top of the world in STEM achievement over the next decade and preparing the next generation of American scientists; and (3) expanding STEM education and career opportunities for underrepresented groups, including women and girls.
- $300 million to improve the teaching and learning of STEM subjects through the newly authorized Effective Teaching and Learning: STEM program. The new program, which would receive an increase of $119.5 million over the antecedent programs, would support professional development for STEM teachers; the implementation of high-quality assessments and instructional materials; and improved systems for linking student data on assessments with instructional supports such as lesson plans and intervention strategies.
- $150 million in STEM projects funded through the new Investing in Innovation (i3) program, which under the 2011 request would make a total of $500 million in competitive awards to develop, validate, and scale up innovative programs, practices, and strategies that are effective in improving educational outcomes for students. In addition, the emphasis of the i3 program on the use of technology across all program areas would support the President's goals for supporting STEM education.
- $25 million for a new STEM initiative in the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) to identify and validate more effective approaches for attracting, retaining, and teaching undergraduates in STEM fields that can be brought to scale. The activities supported through this initiative would be part of a coordinated Federal strategy developed in collaboration with the Institute of Education Sciences, the National Science Foundation, and other Federal agencies.
- $2.3 million for the Women's Educational Equity program, which gives priority to projects aimed at improving the achievement of women and girls in science and mathematics, with the goal of closing gender gaps in the STEM disciplines and improving the career prospects of women and girls in STEM fields.
The Administration’s 2011 budget request includes funding for a variety of programs targeting adult learners, including career and technical education, adult basic and literacy education, and vocational rehabilitation programs, that provide essential support for State and local activities intended to help millions of Americans navigate the ever-changing job market and overcome the career challenges created by the combination of global competition and the economic recession. This includes:
- $1.3 billion for Career and Technical Education (CTE) State Grants to support continued improvement and upgrading of CTE programs as part of a strategy for improving high school education and preparing high school students to enter the workplace or pursue postsecondary education.
- $612.3 million for Adult Basic and Literacy Education State Grants to help adults without a high school diploma or equivalent to become literate and obtain the knowledge and skills necessary for postsecondary education, employment, and self-sufficiency.
- $41.3 million for Adult Education National Leadership Activities to support a Workforce Innovation Fund that would be administered through a Partnership for Workforce Innovation that would involve the Department of Labor and other agencies. Funds would support projects that create strategies for delivering services in a manner designed to improve the skills and employment outcomes of individuals, particularly those from the most vulnerable populations.
- $3.1 billion for Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) State Grants to assist States and tribal governments to increase the participation of individuals with disabilities in the workforce. The request includes $56 million added from other small programs serving the same population that are proposed for consolidation into the VR State Grants program, as well as a change in the VR formula to ensure that all States receive the same level of funding under the consolidation as under the separate antecedent authorities.
- $110 million for a new Independent Living program that replaces the Independent Living State Grants and Centers for Independent Living programs and would provide formula grants to States to support the provision of independent living services through centers for independent living.
- $25 million for Supported Employment Extended Services for Youth with Significant Disabilities, a new program of competitive grants to States to assist them in expanding supported employment opportunities for youth with significant disabilities, such as youth with intellectual disabilities, as they transition from school to the workforce.
- $30 million for the Workforce Innovation Fund, which would be administered through a Partnership for Workforce Innovation, to award competitive grants to encourage innovation and identify and validate effective strategies for improving the delivery of services and outcomes for beneficiaries under programs authorized by the Workforce Investment Act.
- $112 million for the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research to support a broad portfolio of research and development, capacity-building, and knowledge translation activities. The requested increase of $2.7 million would primarily be used for activities relating to vocational rehabilitation, including both research and program evaluation.
Research, Data & Statistics
The Administration is seeking a total of $738.8 million in 2011 to support Department of Education research and development activities, which help to gather and make available a wide range of data to researchers and the public towards improving the performance of American students. The 2011 request includes the following:
- $260.7 million for Research, Development, and Dissemination to sustain and expand much-needed investments in research in order to generate solutions to critical problems in education. Funding will support new and existing research and development projects in early learning and elementary, secondary, and postsecondary education.
- $117 million for the collection, analysis, and dissemination of education-related statistics, including an equating study that would allow States to compare the performance of their 8th grade students on the National Assessment of Educational Progress in mathematics to that of students in other countries. This study would be co-funded with the $5 million increase requested for the Assessment program.
- $65 million for Statewide Data Systems to help States improve the availability and use of data on student learning, teacher performance, and college- and career-readiness through the development of enhanced data systems that track student progress, from early childhood to participation in postsecondary education and the workforce.