On April 12, President Obama released his budget request for fiscal year 2014 (FY 14). The budget proposes a $3.1 billion, or 4.5%, increase in discretionary spending for federal education programs over last year's request. The proposal also includes mandatory funds for three major initiatives: Preschool for All ($75 billion over 10 years); Presidential Teaching Fellows ($190 million); and the RESPECT program ($5 billion), which is designed to reshape the teaching profession.
Unfortunately, as in previous years, the president's budget proposal reflects the administration's lack of vision for systemic reform of educator preparation in its lack of investments in proven practices such as clinical preparation and performance assessments. Once again, the president's proposal effectively eliminates the Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) grant program by consolidating it in a larger program called the Effective Teachers and Leaders State Grants. Obama also calls for replacing TEACH grants with the Presidential Teaching Fellows program, which closely resembles the proposals put forth by the Department of Education last spring during negotiated rule making.
Because nearly all of the programs in the president's education budget are discretionary, over the coming months, congressional appropriations committees will need to decide whether to follow the president's framework. In previous years, Congress has ignored the president's request and continued funding TQP and TEACH. AACTE will continue to advocate for this outcome. The appropriations process will be complicated by the fact that the president's proposal is predicated on the elimination of the sequester. Congress will first have to amend or repeal the Budget Control Act of 2011 to make that assumption a reality.
The chart below lists the president's budget request, alongside recent appropriations, for some of the programs that support the work of colleges of education.
|Teacher Quality Partnership Grants
|Transition to Teaching
|Elementary and Secondary School Counseling
|Improving Teacher Quality State Grants
|Math and Science Partnerships (ED)
|IDEA Personnel Prep
|Investing in Innovation
|Institute of Education Sciences
|Math and Science Partnerships (NSF)
*Program renamed STEM-C Partnerships
|Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program
Below are highlights of major initiatives in the president's budget.
Excellent Instructional Teams
The president's new Excellent Instructional Teams initiative, with a funding request of $2.96 billion, comprises three programs: Effective Teachers and Leaders State Grants; Teacher and Leader Innovation Fund; and School Leadership. Funds under these three competitive grant programs would be used to overhaul educator evaluation systems; reform certification systems; recruit, prepare, and retain educators; create professional development; and create accountability systems for educator preparation programs. Funding is derived from the consolidation of Title II, ESEA Teacher Quality state grants, TQP grants, Transition to Teaching, and many other current federal grant programs that support educator quality efforts. To find out more, see pages 21-22 of the president's budget request.
The president also proposes to replace the TEACH grant program with the new Presidential Teaching Fellows (PTF) program. PTF would fund scholarships of up to $10,000 for students attending "high-performing" teacher preparation programs. PTF would require participants to be prepared to teach a high-need subject and commit to teach in a high-need school for at least 3 years. This program, which would require states to rank preparation programs using federally determined criteria, is largely the same proposal the U.S. Department of Education put forward in last year's negotiated rule making on Title II and Title IV of the Higher Education Act. To find out more, see page 52 of the president's budget request.
STEM at ED and NSF
The administration's STEM Innovation proposal, with a funding request of $414.7 million, would see a consolidation or restructuring of 114 programs at 13 agencies, including the Department of Education and the National Science Foundation. This effort is part of the administration's goal of recruiting 100,000 effective STEM teachers over the next decade and would include a STEM Master Teacher Corps as well as a reworked Math and Science Partnership (ED) program. In addition to the new initiative, the president proposes funding two existing programs important to STEM education—the Math and Science Partnerships (NSF) and the NOYCE program—at approximately the same level as last year. To find out more, see page 17 of the president's budget requests for the U.S. Department of Education and for the National Science Foundation.
The president proposes a $77.4 million increase to the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) activities and programs including research, development, and dissemination; the National Center for Education Statistics; the Regional Educational Laboratories; the National Assessment of Educational Progress; statewide data systems; and ongoing research in special education. To find out more, see pages 66-69 of the president's budget request.
New Race to the Top Proposal
While the president's budget does not request any new funds for its PK-12 Race to the Top initiative, it proposes a new Race to the Top competition for higher education worth $1 billion. This program is intended to catalyze state efforts to pursue systemwide higher education reform and promote innovations to improve college affordability, access, completion, and quality and to achieve better student outcomes.
In the coming months, AACTE will continue to provide updates to its members as well as to ask members to weigh in with Congress on the importance of maintaining a federal investment in strengthening programs of importance to colleges of education.
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