| Education and Human Resources
in the FY 2006 Budget
Watson Scott Swail, Educational Policy
In 2004, the President offered a FY 2005 budget that padded education and other discretionary programs. This, year, the Administration has reversed stride by making significant cuts to traditionally untouchable programs, sparking significant debate on Capitol Hill. The President has requested $56 billion in discretionary appropriations for the Department of Education (ED), a reduction of $530 million from FY 2005 and the first proposed decrease (1 percent) since he entered office in 2001. These cuts have alarmed some educators and members of Congress. 
this alarm is the proposed elimination of 150 government programs, many
of which serve low-income and other disadvantaged populations. Approximately
one third of these programs are housed in ED, representing a cut of $4.3
billion. Among the programs slated for elimination are Even Start, GEAR
UP, the two TRIO programs (Upward Bound and Talent Search), the Perkins
Loans program, Safe and
In exchange for these cuts, the Administration plans to launch a series of new programs to support the goals of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act. These include a new High School Support Initiative, funding for high school assessments, increases in funds for Striving Readers and the Advanced Placement program, and a new secondary education mathematics and science initiative.
K-12 Education in the FY 2006 Administration budget
Since President Bush took office in 2001, most of the focus in education has been at the K-12 level. The passage of NCLB in 2001 paved the way for the infusion of dollars at the elementary and secondary levels. Although critics of NCLB have argued that the federal government has used NCLB as an underfunded-mandate, Congress has provided significant funds to education since 2001. The 2006 Administration request provides continued support to key NCLB programs. FY 2006 proposals for NCLB programs total $23.6 billion, or 5 percent above last year’s budget, but $13 billion below the authorized level of $36.7 billion.
Studies by the Education Trust and the Council of Great City Schools show promising trends in reading and mathematics scores among certain student groups. The Education Trust finds that mathematics achievement had increased in 23 of 24 states, and reading achievement increased in 15 of 23 states, with three years of comparable data.  However, almost 21,000 schools failed to meet “adequate yearly progress” and 11,000 were designated as “in need of improvement.”  Additional studies show that too few high school students are completing rigorous academic courses and that half of entering college students require remedial course work.  The Administration would level fund the State Assessments program ($412 million) designed to help states pay for the development of standards and assessments required under NCLB.
The Administration has proposed several new initiatives in this year’s budget, including a High School Intervention Initiative. Designed to take the place of Upward Bound, Talent Search, and GEAR UP, this program aims to strengthen high school education through interventions aimed at at-risk and other students. The initiative provides $250 million to help states develop and implement high school assessments in reading/language arts and mathematics, $200 million (a 707 percent increase) for the Striving Readers program designed to improve reading skills for teenagers, and $120 million for a Secondary Education Mathematics Initiative. As well, $51.5 million would support the Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate programs, up $22 million, and a new State Scholars program ($12 million) will encourage high school students to complete rigorous courses during high school. Also new is the Enhanced Pell Grants for State Scholars who complete four years of rigorous high school courses ($33 million) and the Community College Access program, which provides $125 million to support dual-enrollment credit transfers for high school students taking college-level courses.
The Bush Administration continues its push for reading programs by requesting an increase in Title I funding by 4.7 percent to $13.3 billion. Two other reading-related programs would be level funded: Reading First Grants ($1.1 billion) and English Language Acquisition State Grants ($676 million). The Migrant Education State Agency Program would also stay at $390 million.
Most other education programs would be flat-funded in this year’s budget with the exception of some significant program eliminations, including Star Schools ($20.8 million), which encourages improved instruction in mathematics, science, foreign language, and other subjects via telecommunications technology; Arts in Education ($35.6 million); Parental Assistance Information Centers ($41.9 million); Elementary and Secondary School Counseling ($34.7 million); and the Dropout Prevention program ($4.9 million).
The popular Head Start program would receive a slight increase of 0.7 percent ($45 million) to $6.8 billion. This increase only provides funding for a project involving a handful of states, thus does not impact the regular Head Start agencies. Taking inflation into account, it has been estimated that 25,000 children will lose services in the FY 2006 program year. However, the Administration additionally proposes to eliminate the Even Start Family Literacy Program ($225 million), which was first authorized in 1989 under Title I. Even Start currently provides services to approximately 52,000 pre-K children and 39,000 adults.
The Administration would increase Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) funding by 3.9 percent to $12.1 billion. This was accomplished by increasing state grants by $508 million (4.8 percent). State grants for pre-school ($385 million) and grants for infants and families ($441 million) would be level funded. According to the NEA, many school districts were forced to cut programs in the last fiscal year in order to meet the legal requirements of IDEA.
In the area of teacher training, the largest teacher-directed program in the ED budget, the Improving Teacher Quality State Grants ($2.9 billion), would stay constant in FY 2006. The grant program replaced the Eisenhower Professional Development Program and Class Size Reduction Programs under NCLB. The grant program provides funds to help states and school district recruit, train, and retain highly qualified teachers and principals. A new $500 million initiative, the Teacher Incentive Fund, is designed to reward effective teachers and create incentives to attract qualified teachers to high-need schools. Another new addition is the Adjunct Teacher Corps Initiative. This $40 million program is designed as an alternative certification program to bring well-qualified content experts from business and industry into schools. The Mathematics and Science Partnership (MSP), to increase the academic achievement of students in mathematics and science through teacher professional development, would increase 50 percent to $269 million.
Programs related to school choice garnered $440 million in the budget, half of which would be in the Charter Schools Grants. The Credit Enhancement for Charter School Facilities program, zero funded in FY 2005, would get $37 million in funds, equal to the FY 2004 appropriation. The Administration requests $50 million for the new Choice Incentive Fund to provide parents with expanded opportunities for transferring their children to higher-performing schools, and $27 million (same as this year) for the Voluntary Public School Choice grants to promote public school choice.
Higher Education in the Bush Education Budget
Postsecondary education in the budget lacks the coherence and overall strategy of the framework present in K-12 requests through the addition of the high school NCLB initiative. Similar to the 2005 budget proposal, the ED postsecondary budget reflects mostly program cuts and level-funded programs that include the elimination of programs at community colleges, college access programs, and small increases or cuts to student financial aid. The Administration’s FY 2006 request includes $1.2 billion for Higher Education Programs that are proposed for reauthorization under the Higher Education Act.
The Pell Grant program, which provides aid to low-income students attending accredited institutions of higher education and is the mainstay of the federal student aid effort, would receive a 6.7 percent increase to $13.2 billion. This increase will provide a $100 increase in the maximum Pell Grant to $4,150. Approximately $4.7 billion of the total amount is allocated to make up for a budget shortfall of $4.3 billion in FY 2005 and to raise the Pell Grant maximum award by $100 for each of the next 5 years. These increases in funding are expected to be made through savings in the federal loan programs. Even with this increase in FY 2006, the maximum Pell Grant will cover only 39 percent of the cost of attendance of a four-year public college.
The U. S. Department of Agriculture would shift monies from several formula-grant programs to allow for an increase in the National Research Initiative, the main competitive grants for agricultural research, an increase of 39 percent to $250 million, with additional sums earmarked for land-grant universities. NRI goals are increased graduate level-training opportunities in interdisciplinary research areas and the diversification of graduate student participation in agricultural research. The Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service (CSREES) is the federal partner with land grant and non-land grand colleges and universities in carrying out extramural research, higher education, and extension activities. In addition to NRI, CSREES includes additional funding for Master of Science level fellowships to recruit minority graduate students, and $15 million for the Native American Endowment Fund. Extension services under the Smith-Lever Act would remain level-funded and Hatch Act grants that pay for agriculture experiment stations at land-grant institutions would be halved to $89 million. (See Chapter 11 for more on USDA.)
for the 1890 Institution Teaching and Research Capacity Building Grants
was given a 1.5 percent increase to $12.5 million, but the 1890 Facilities
Grants were reduced from $16.8 million to $14.9 million. These grants
provide funds to the historically black land-grant institutions funded
through the Morrill Act II in 1890, plus
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is working to ensure a pipeline of highly trained scientists for NASA, industry and academia by motivating students to pursue careers in STEM disciplines, developing unique educational teaching tools and teacher experiences, and engaging minority and underrepresented students, educators and researchers in the NASA education programs. The NASA Office of Education has requested $166.9 million, a sharp cut.
President’s budget was designed to send a message that it is belt-tightening
With regard to science and technology funding, we are mindful that today’s reductions in research and education programs may differentially affect disciplines and subfields for years to come. Students self-select out of careers based on perceptions of opportunities, including support for study and post-degree research. So while this budget has been about as fair as one might get given the cuts in other departments, it sends a mixed signal on STEM education—expand the K-12 talent pool but constrict options for postsecondary education and training.
 Davis, M. R. (2005). Spellings Defends President’s
Spending Plan for Education. Education Week; Davis, M. R. and S.
Cavanaugh (2005). Other Agencies’ Budgets Would Also Affect Education. Education
 Education Trust (2004). Measured Progress.
 NEA (2005). NEA Education Funding Priorities. (www.nea.org).