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Reform Elementary and Secondary School Funding

The administration’s budget proposal does a great deal to help states with many of their most pressing educational needs.

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The administration’s budget proposal does a great deal to help states with many of their most pressing educational needs. The budget invests nearly a billion dollars into helping states and districts reinvent their lowest-performing schools.

The president’s budget also requests $14.492 billion for Title I, Part A—the major vehicle by which the Department of Education distributes funds to states and districts serving concentrations of low-income children. This request is identical to the fiscal year 2010 appropriation, which makes sense in light of the $10 billion in supplemental appropriations that the program received under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. But the formulas driving Title I, Part A funds should be made simpler and fairer. The president’s budget request makes no allowance for the additional funding that would facilitate a change in the formulas, but Congress may well embrace this idea.

The administration has taken important steps in this budget to improve the current system of federal education funding. It provides significantly more funding for schools, but it also makes tough choices and both consolidates and reforms unnecessary or inefficient programs. We know from our research that wasteful and hidebound school funding systems often impede high-quality schools, and the administration has consolidated dozens of K-12 programs into 11 new programs in order improve results and effectiveness.

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