President Barack Obama’s budget request for increased education spending is likely to face a tough fight against Republicans — and even if ends up being approved, the extra money wouldn’t stave off another round of layoffs and classroom cuts expected this year as federal aid dries up and states struggle to recover from the recession..
The 4.35 percent increase that Obama proposed on Feb. 14 would go toward expanding the highlights of his education agenda: A third round of Race to the Top, the competition that awarded $4.35 billion to 11 states and the District of Columbia last year for pursuing ambitious education reforms; a 10 percent increase in grants to turn around the nation’s lowest performing school; and $4.3 billion for teacher and principal development.
Additional education spending would maintain an increase in the maximum Pell grant awards to $5,500 by cutting $100 billion through reductions in graduate and professional student loan subsidies, as well as the eliminating the “year-round Pell” that allowed students to collect two grants in a calendar year.
House Education and Labor Committee chairman John Kline, a Republican from Minnesota, derided the proposal, saying increases in education spending over the last 45 years have not yielded improvements in student achievement, and that the Democratic-led Congress overreached in expanding the Pell Grant program.
“Throwing more money at our nation’s broken education system ignores reality and does a disservice to students and taxpayers,” Kline said in a statement. “It is time we asked why increasing the federal government’s role in education has failed to improve student achievement.”