Washington, DC – The Senate continues the budget battle this week with the consideration of the Labor, Health, and Human Services Appropriations bill, which sets levels for education spending, as well as other key domestic programs. President Bush has already stated he plans to veto the bill because it provides $64.9 billion for the Education Department. Bush’s proposed budget appropriates only $61 billion—$3.9 billion less than Congress’ budget and $1.3 billion less than the Education Department received last year. The Bush administration, in the same year that it is spending $50 billion each month on operations in Iraq, plans on vetoing a bill because it increases funding for American schools by $2.6 billion, among other domestic budget increases. What’s even more surprising is that Education Secretary Margaret Spellings actually announced back in February that Bush’s newly proposed budget would increase education funding by 41 percent relative to 2001. A look at the president’s budget tells a different story. As this new interactive map shows, 44 out of 50 states would see reductions in federal funding for elementary and secondary education for fiscal year 2008 if the Bush administration got its way. Rather than bold increases, states on average will see a -1.4 percent decrease in elementary and secondary school funding.
“Education funding for this administration is a shell game,” said Cindy Brown, Director of Education Policy at CAP. “At the same time they tout modest increases for the premier program targeted to low-income kids, they cut others aimed at these same kids. Not all money for schools is spent effectively in this country, but the NCLB push for transparency of achievement data for subgroups of youngsters historically underserved and inequitably treated together with accountability for results is triggering more focused and effective spending. We need substantially greater investments for disadvantaged students so that achievement gaps can finally be closed.”