Education Week - May 10, 2017 - 18
GOVERNMENT & POLITICS
2017 Budget Deal Defers Fierce Fights on Education Aid
Title I, spec. ed. boosted;
battles ahead for 2018
By Andrew Ujifusa
Despite talk of significant education budget
cuts on the horizon under President Donald
Trump, the agreement reached in Congress for
the rest of the federal spending year provides
increased funding to the two largest programs
for public schools at the U.S. Department of
Education: aid for disadvantaged students and
for students with disabilities.
And several smaller line items that appeared to be on the chopping block would either escape the budget ax through Sept. 30 or
receive small increases, although the same
can't be said for a large teacher-oriented portion of the K-12 budget.
But this agreement reached late last month
wouldn't necessarily protect education and
other domestic programs from getting acrossthe-board cuts to pave the way for more defense
spending once negotiations get going in earnest
for the fiscal 2018 budget, said Julia Martin,
the legislative director at Brustein and Manasevit, a Washington law firm focused on education issues. That's the first full budget year
Trump and the GOP-controlled Congress will
have say over.
"This is not the big battle that we will worry
about," Martin said of fiscal 2017. "The big fight
on funding is going to be fiscal 2018."
Boost for Title I
The single biggest line item for K-12 in the
budget, Title I grants for disadvantaged students, would get a $100 million increase in
the rest of this budget year compared with
fiscal 2016. The total for grants in the deal
would be $15.5 billion, although that includes
$450 million in money that was already
slated to be shifted from the now-concluded
School Improvement Grant program.
And special education grants to states under
the Individuals with Disabilities Education
Act, the second-largest K-12 funding stream
at the department, would rise by $100 million,
up to $12 billion. The office for civil rights and
charter school grants would also receive relatively small increases in the deal.
Head Start-the federal preschool program,
which is run by the Department of Health and
Human Service-would get an $85 million
boost, up to $9.3 billion.
The most prominent loser in the K-12 budget
is the Title II state grant program for teacherrelated issues like professional development-
the deal would lop off $294 million from fiscal
2016 funding levels, down to about $2.1 billion.
That could be a bad sign for Title II down the
road. Although the cut doesn't match the 50
percent reduction Trump sought for Title II in
fiscal 2017, the president does want the Title II
grants eliminated for fiscal 2018.
Excluding Pell Grant college-tuition assistance, discretionary spending at the Education
Department for fiscal 2017 would be approximately $45.8 billion, virtually unchanged from
fiscal 2016, according to an analysis published
by the Committee for Education Funding. Including Pell and mandatory funding, total department funding would be $71.6 billion.
Changes for ESSA Block Grant
Lawmakers agreed to provide year-round
Pell Grants and kept Pell funding level at
$22.5 billion. In the deal, Preschool Development Grants also got $250 million, the same
amount as the program received in fiscal 2016.
For a new block grant created by the Every
Student Succeeds Act and covering K-12 technology, arts, health, and other areas, Congress
appropriated $400 million for fiscal 2017. That
is well short of the $1.6 billion authorized for
this Title IV block grant under ESSA, but
higher than an earlier proposal of $300 million
from the Senate for fiscal 2017.
The spending bill actually changes the terms
of the block grant. States could now distribute
this money competitively but must set aside
certain percentages of the grants for different
areas such as educational technology, although
districts don't have such constraints if they get
money through the process.
That change could provide state chiefs with
a decent amount of leverage to set their policy
priorities if they award Title IV funds through
competitive grants instead of through a formula. Creating a new competition, however,
can be tricky. And states might decide to avoid
the political risks of picking winners and losers
in a grant competition.
"Unless the state is very determined and has
a clear plan on how to use these funds, these
funds are still largely at the discretion of the
district," said David DeSchryver, a senior vice
president at Whiteboard Advisers, a consulting
firm, who studies federal grants. "It's likely easier to let this go forward as a formula program."
Conservative analysts weren't thrilled with
the budget agreement.
The deal reached in Congress for federal spending
through Sept. 30 increases funding for some K-12
programs that President Donald Trump wants to
reduce, while making cuts in other areas. Overall
U.S. Department of Education spending will total
$71.6 billion in fiscal year 2017, down by $60 million
from fiscal 2016. Among the budget highlights
* Title I grants for disadvantaged children get a
$100 million increase to $15.5 billion, a figure
that includes $450 million from the nowended School Improvement Grant program.
* State grants for special education get a $90
million increase, raising the total to $12 billion.
* The biggest cut is to Title II funding
for teacher and principal development,
which would lose $294 million and bring
funding down to about $2.1 billion.
* The D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program,
a voucher program in the nation's
capital, is flat-funded at $45 million.
Neal McCluskey, the director of the Center
for Educational Freedom at the libertarian
Cato Institute in Washington, said he was
"disappointed but not surprised" by the lack
of major education cuts in the fiscal 2017 deal.
He said GOP lawmakers are afraid of being accused of cutting K-12 programs, even if those
programs don't seem to be effective.
McCluskey pointed to a 2015 Brookings Institution Study of the 21st Century Community
Learning Centers program, which funds afterschool and other enrichment activities, that
reported the program "doesn't work." (Trump
wants to eliminate the program in fiscal 2018,
but the fiscal 2017 budget actually increases its
fiscal 2016 funding by $25 million.)
"You'd think there'd be more enthusiasm for
cutting K-12 with this Congress and White
House," McCluskey said.
Martin of the Brustein and Manasevit law
firm, though, said the 21st Century program
has patrons in Congress, in part because local
law enforcement likes having the after-school
programs there for children.
"It gives them somewhere productive to
be," Martin said.
* The deal extends the District of Columbia
voucher program through the rest of fiscal
2017. It also prohibits the Institute of Education
Sciences from conducting randomized
controlled trials, considered the "gold standard"
of research methods, for new studies of
the voucher program's effectiveness.
* Head Start, the federal preschool program
overseen by the U.S. Department of Health
and Human Services, gets a funding increase
of $85 million, bringing it up to $9.3 billion.
* Impact Aid funding for districts affected
by federal activities get a $25 million
increase, up to about $1.3 billion.
* There's a $9 million increase to charter school
grants, bringing funding to $342 million.
* The office for civil rights gets an increase of
$1.5 million, bringing funding to $109 million.
* The Education Innovation and Research
fund gets a $20 million cut, reducing
its funding to $100 million.
SOURCE: Office of Management and Budget
McCluskey was pleased that the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, which provides vouchers to students in the nation's
capital, will be extended through the rest of
fiscal 2017 at the same level as the previous
year, $45 million, although he added he was
hoping for an expansion of the program in the
But the deal also prohibits the federal Institute for Education Sciences from conducting
further randomized controlled trials of the
program. One such study released last month
found negative effects on academic achievement for students using vouchers compared
with those in traditional public schools and
charters in the District of Columbia. Instead,
the evaluation can be done "using an acceptable quasi-experimental research design," according to the budget deal.
In a statement, American Federation of
Teachers President Randi Weingarten praised
the increases for IDEA, Head Start, "and other
programs that help kids and strengthen our
schools and communities. Congress should follow this blueprint to invest in public schools in
the 2018 budget as well."
Cathie Rowand/The Journal-Gazette via AP
American Federation of Teachers President
Randi Weingarten, left, and U.S. Secretary of
Education Betsy DeVos, center, tour the Van
Wert Early Childhood Center in Van Wert, Ohio,
with Principal Lori Bittner. Last month's visit
came after Weingarten, the teachers' union
president, invited DeVos to tour a public school
with her. The secretary accepted, provided
Weingarten visit a "school of choice" with her
at a future date, which has yet to be scheduled.
See Education Week's interactive map tracking
DeVos' visits to schools around the country.
18 | EDUCATION WEEK | May 10, 2017 | www.edweek.org
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - May 10, 2017
Education Week - May 10, 2017
Pruning Dead-End Pathways In Career Tech. Ed.
Teachers Lace Academics With Relationship Skills
DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: Ed-Tech Leadership Hazy Under Trump
Parker Davis and Alina Lopez, right, talk about words and acts that cause happiness, in a 2nd grade classroom at Lincoln Elementary School in Oakland, Calif. Peer-to-peer conversations are part of an effort to build academic and social-emotional skills
Legislatures Tackle ESSA, Fiscal Issues
News in Brief
Record U.S. Graduation Rate Not Seen as Inflated
Obama-Era Nutrition Standards Loosened for School Meals
Mostly White Town Can Leave Diverse District, Court Says
Teacher Residencies Can Help Curb Shortages, Studies Say
Do Parents See Math as ‘Less Useful’ Than Reading?
Oregon GEAR UP Links Rural Students To Private Colleges
2017 Budget Deal Defers Fierce Fights on Education Aid
Trump Orders Hard Look At Federal Reach on K-12 Policy
Hurdles Remain for Calif. K-12 Funding Formula, Study Says
100 Days: How Three Presidents Stack Up on K-12
Rafiq R. Kalam Id-Din II: Black Teachers Matter. School Integration Doesn’t
By Robert W. Runcie & Antwan Wilson: How We Stopped Sending Students to Jail
Q&A With Peggy Orenstein: Let’s Talk to K-12 Girls About Sex
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
David Jacobson: A Purple Agenda for (Early) Education
Education Week - May 10, 2017 - Legislatures Tackle ESSA, Fiscal Issues
Education Week - May 10, 2017 - 2
Education Week - May 10, 2017 - 3
Education Week - May 10, 2017 - News in Brief
Education Week - May 10, 2017 - 5
Education Week - May 10, 2017 - Obama-Era Nutrition Standards Loosened for School Meals
Education Week - May 10, 2017 - Mostly White Town Can Leave Diverse District, Court Says
Education Week - May 10, 2017 - Teacher Residencies Can Help Curb Shortages, Studies Say
Education Week - May 10, 2017 - Do Parents See Math as ‘Less Useful’ Than Reading?
Education Week - May 10, 2017 - Oregon GEAR UP Links Rural Students To Private Colleges
Education Week - May 10, 2017 - 11
Education Week - May 10, 2017 - 12
Education Week - May 10, 2017 - 13
Education Week - May 10, 2017 - 14
Education Week - May 10, 2017 - 15
Education Week - May 10, 2017 - 16
Education Week - May 10, 2017 - 17
Education Week - May 10, 2017 - 2017 Budget Deal Defers Fierce Fights on Education Aid
Education Week - May 10, 2017 - 19
Education Week - May 10, 2017 - Hurdles Remain for Calif. K-12 Funding Formula, Study Says
Education Week - May 10, 2017 - 100 Days: How Three Presidents Stack Up on K-12
Education Week - May 10, 2017 - 22
Education Week - May 10, 2017 - 23
Education Week - May 10, 2017 - By Robert W. Runcie & Antwan Wilson: How We Stopped Sending Students to Jail
Education Week - May 10, 2017 - Letters
Education Week - May 10, 2017 - 26
Education Week - May 10, 2017 - 27
Education Week - May 10, 2017 - TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
Education Week - May 10, 2017 - 29
Education Week - May 10, 2017 - 30
Education Week - May 10, 2017 - 31
Education Week - May 10, 2017 - David Jacobson: A Purple Agenda for (Early) Education
Education Week - May 10, 2017 - CW1
Education Week - May 10, 2017 - CW2
Education Week - May 10, 2017 - CW3
Education Week - May 10, 2017 - CW4