FY11 budget plan folds ed tech into new program

“Race to the Top taught us that competition and incentives drive reform,” said Duncan. “So even as we continue funding important formula programs like Title I and IDEA, we are adding money to competitive programs that are changing the landscape of our education system.”

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act would receive a $250 million boost, for a total of $11.75 billion.

A new program included in the FY11 budget proposal is Promise Neighborhoods, a $200 million competitive grant program modeled after the Harlem Children’s Zone that combines social services with school improvements in an effort to transform whole neighborhoods.

School Improvement Grants would see a $354 million spending boost, the Teacher Incentive Fund would get an additional $400 million, and charter schools would get an additional $50 million over FY10 appropriations.

Duncan said the president’s budget “sends a very clear signal to the country that this president is serious about education.”

The budget plan also notes that the administration will propose to replace the accountability system established in NCLB with a new system built around the goal of helping all students graduate from high school college- and career-ready.

Duncan said he has heard complaints from educators and school leaders about current accountability systems and will work to ensure that the revised law is “smart, fair, and useful for educators.”

When a revised education law is enacted, the president will send Congress a budget amendment that requests an additional $1 billion for education programs, Duncan said. The money would provide additional resources for low-income students, including funding to reward schools producing gains in student achievement, funding to improve the quality of assessments, and additional funding for expanded learning time.

“Our role here is to provide a common definition of success, not a prescription for success,” Duncan said in characterizing the administration’s federal role in education.

A total of $173 billion is requested for higher education, including loans, grants, and work-study programs—enough to help three out of five college students in the U.S., Duncan said.

The 2011 budget plan also assumes savings from a proposal to end federal student loan subsidies to banks and shift billions in savings into higher education and early childhood programs. That proposal, which passed the House in September and awaits Senate approval, has struck a nerve with private lenders, however.

In addition to ED’s $49.7 billion budget, $34.9 billion would go to Pell Grants, which help low-income students pay for college. The maximum Pell Grant amount would increase by $170, to $5,710, and would rise automatically by rate of inflation plus 1 percentage point annually over the next decade.

Laura Ascione

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