Though states are strapped for cash, education would see a slight bump in federal funding if Obama's budget is approved.

Despite tough economic times, President Obama’s $3.73 trillion budget proposal for fiscal year 2012 would increase education spending by 4.3 percent in an effort to help students compete on a global level and boost citizens’ college and workforce readiness.

The administration’s 2012 budget request for the U.S. Department of Education (ED) is $48.8 billion, an increase of $2 billion, over the 2011 budget, which was not approved by Congress and is being funded through continuing resolutions.

The budget proposal requests the following funding levels:

  • $350 million for an Early Learning Challenge Fund to boost early-learning programs
  • $4.3 billion for teacher and principal preparation programs, including formula grants to states, alternative certification, minority teacher recruiting programs, and scholarships for high-achieving students to work in high-need schools
  • $300 million for the Investing in Innovation program
  • A $200 million increase for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
  • A $300 million increase for Title I
  • $900 million for the Race to the Top program
  • $150 million for the Promise Neighborhoods program, which gives children and families comprehensive support services to increase children’s chances for academic success

The Race to the Top (RTTT) program, which previously funded projects at the state level, will focus on the district level in the new fiscal year, which begins on Oct. 1.

The program would include a funding component for rural schools, but a dollar amount has not yet been specified.