Proposed budget aims for equal education access for all children

budget-proposalEducation technology will receive a renewed focus in President Obama’s proposed FY 2015 budget, which suggests creating a “fresh framework for delivering STEM education, supporting what works, and reducing fragmentation.”

Through the Opportunity, Growth, and Security Initiative, 100,000 teachers in 500 districts will have access to professional development to help them effectively use broadband connectivity via the ConnectEDucators program.

Having a dedicated resource to work with teachers as they have consistent and reliable access to tech can be a “game-changer,” said U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, noting that blended learning has huge potential in education.

(Next page: Budget details)

“This is an idea whose time has come,” he continued. “I continue to think that technology will either be a great equalizer or it will perpetuate the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots,’ and I want to make sure this is driving both equity and excellence, and not increasing the divide.”

As a whole, the administration’s increased efforts around ed-tech reflects the proposed budget’s focus on equity and opportunity.

A new competitive program proposed in the budget would redesign high schools to give students more rewarding and challenging learning experiences.

A new version of Race to the Top, Race To The Top Equity and Opportunity, would receive a $300 million to focus on increasing academic performance of high-need students, along with closing the achievement gap.

The budget makes huge strides around preschool education through the Preschool for All initiative, and supports universal access to high-quality preschool for low- and moderate-income families. States would have incentives to serve additional middle-class children.

Overall, the proposed budget requests about $69 billion in discretionary appropriates, which an ED.gov blog notes is an increase of almost 2 percent over last year and slightly higher than 2012 budget levels before the sequester’s impact.

The budget centers on 6 major priorities, said Duncan, including:
Increasing equity and opportunity
Strengthening teacher and school leader support
Expanding high-quality early learning opportunities
Improving affordability and quality access to postsecondary education
Promoting educational innovation
Making schools safer and creating positive learning environments

Obama’s budget proposal “focuses on expanding economic opportunity for all Americans,” Duncan said.

 

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Laura Ascione
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