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FY 2005 BUDGET RELEASED: President Opens Door to High School Initiatives, but Disappoints School Districts by Underfunding NCLB

"President Bush has once again provided record support for our nation's students, parents, schools, and teachers," Paige said.

Last week, with the release of his fiscal year 2005 budget, President Bush took the next step toward fulfilling his State of the Union promise to improve education opportunities for older students. As part of the President’s $583 million Jobs for the 21st Century proposal, the U.S. Department of Labor would receive $250 million for a community college initiative to train workers for jobs in high-growth fields, and the U.S. Department of Education would receive $333 million for several small initiatives to increase the educational achievement and attainment of middle and high school students.

In addition to the Jobs for the 21st Century program, the President’s proposal included a $1 billion increase for Title I and another $1 billion for special education. Unfortunately, the rest of the budget was largely a disappointment to the education community.

In releasing his $2.4 trillion spending plan, President Bush said that his budget reinforces the three overriding national priorities: winning the war on terror; protecting the homeland; and strengthening the economy. Specifically, the budget increases defense spending by 7 percent and homeland security funding by 10 percent. It also proposes making the President’s expiring tax cuts permanent, at a cost of $131.6 billion over five years. Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Education is slated to receive $57.34 billion, a $1.68 billion increase over last year. This proposed 3 percent increase, if enacted, would mark the smallest percentage increase for education since fiscal year 1996.

Once again, the President’s budget fails to fully fund the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). For fiscal year 2005, NCLB programs would receive $24.91 billion, an increase of $448 million. This is still $9.4 billion short of the funding authorized by Congress in the original legislative agreement. Title I funding, despite the President’s proposed increase of $1 billion, would remain at more than $7 billion below the $20.5 billion level authorized by NCLB. Currently, only 5 percent of Title I funding goes to high schools, and it is expected that any incremental increases in the program will continue to flow disproportionately to elementary schools.

The budget proposes the complete elimination of funding for thirty-eight programs in the education budget, including the Dropout Prevention program (funded at $5 million last year), the Elementary and Secondary School Counseling program ($33.8 million), the Smaller Learning Communities program ($174 million), Comprehensive School Reform ($233.6 million), and the National Writing Project ($17.9 million). In total, education programs that accounted for $1.4 billion in spending last year have been denied funding in the President’s budget.

In response to critics, U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige defended the President’s budget for education, noting that the request would cap a five-year increase in U.S. Department of Education spending of nearly $22 billion, or 61 percent. “President Bush has once again provided record support for our nation’s students, parents, schools, and teachers,” Paige said. “In the last three years, we have witnessed watershed moments in education. I believe that one day, we will look back on these years and say that this was the turning point.” He noted that the $1.7 billion increase for the U.S. Department of Education was the largest dollar increase of any domestic agency.

Read Secretary Paige’s complete statement at

Funding levels for all education programs are available in the U.S. Department of Education FY 2005 budget summary, available at

Here is a quick look at selected federal education programs that can help middle and high school students get an excellent education, and those programs’ funding levels in the President’s budget.


FY 2004 Funding Level
FY 2005 Bush Budget
Jobs for the 21st Century-
Department of Education component
$333 million
Comprehensive School Reform
$233.4 million
Eliminates program
Title II: Teacher Quality
$2.93 Billion
$2.93 Billion
21st Century Learning Centers
$999 million
$999 million
Smaller Learning Communities
$174 million
Eliminates program
Dropout Prevention
$4.97 million
Eliminates program
Elementary and Secondary School Counseling
$33.8 million
Eliminates program
National Writing Project
$17.9 million
Eliminates program
Special Education (IDEA)
$10.07 Billion
$11.07 Billion
Carl D. Perkins Vocational & Technical Program
$1.33 Billion
$1 Billion
$832.6 million
$832.6 million
$298.2 million
$298.2 million
Teacher Quality Enhancement Grants
$88.89 million
$88.89 million

Source: U.S. Department of Education FY 2005 budget summary

A Closer Look at the Jobs for the 21st Century Initiative


President Bush’s budget sets aside $333 million in new funding to help ensure that all students are prepared to succeed in postsecondary education and the workforce. The Striving Readers program would receive $100 million of the total to focus on developing and implementing research-based interventions to improve the skills of teenage students who read below grade level. The U.S. Department of Education budget summary noted, “secondary school educators currently have little information to guide their decisions about which practices and programs are effective in helping to raise the reading achievement of teenage students.” The Striving Readers initiative would test a variety of interventions through experimental studies to assess their effectiveness, and disseminate the results widely to schools and districts.

The Jobs for the 21st Century initiative also includes $120 million for a new Secondary Education Mathematics program that will provide 100 to 140 competitive grants to help ensure that secondary school math teachers are highly qualified. (To pay for this initiative, the Bush budget proposes to transfer $139 million from the Math and Science Partnership program, administered under the National Science Foundation, to the Mathematics and Science Partnership, administered by the U.S. Department of Education). Another $40 million would go toward an Adjunct Teacher Corps that would make approximately 60 to 100 awards to partnerships to place well-qualified individuals from business, technology, and other professions into secondary schools on an adjunct basis. Enhanced Pell Grants for State Scholars would provide $33 million for an additional Pell award of up to $1,000 to low-income students who participate in the State Scholars program; $12 million would be used to increase the number of states implementing State Scholars programs, which encourage low-income students to complete a rigorous four-year course of study. The final $28 million would go to the Advanced Placement (AP) program to ensure that teachers are well trained to teach AP and International Baccalaureate courses and to increase the rigor of the high school curriculum.


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