The Federal Education Budget Project maintains the Ed Money Watch blog which provides analysis and commentary on federal education funding and how it affects states and school districts.

Nov
11
2013

New America Ed Launches EdCentral Ross Van der Linde

New America education policy analysis and information is now available on a fantastic new platform: www.edcentral.org. Please update your bookmarks and head over to our new website. We look forward to welcoming you to our EdCentral community....
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Oct
17
2013

What to Think About the DC IMPACT Study Anne Hyslop

Few teacher evaluation reforms have been as contentious as the IMPACT system in D.C. Public Schools. But a new study published by Thomas Dee and James Wyckoff provides the first empirical evidence that the controversial policy could be encouraging effective teachers to stay in the classroom – and improve their practice.

Dee and Wyckoff examined teachers that scored on the cusp of various IMPACT performance levels– namely, teachers just above and just below the cutoff for effective and highly effective (HE) ratings. The idea is that teachers near the cut points share similar characteristics, ...

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Oct
17
2013

Our Long National Nightmare…Will Return Shortly Clare McCann

This post also appeared on our sister blog, Early Ed Watch.

Last night, as the 16th day of the federal government shutdown drew to a close, the House and Senate approved, and President Obama signed into law a budget deal that restored funding for federal agencies and brought the nation back from the brink of a debt default. But celebrations will be short-lived. The temporary spending bill will expire again on January 15, and the increased debt ceiling will run out again on February 7 – evidence that the last month of congressional debate had virtually no long-term implications.

The ...

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Oct
15
2013

Shutdown Got Your Data? Check Out Our Federal Education Database Clare McCann

The federal government has been officially shut down for over two weeks now, and the impact has been real: furloughed employees across the country, Head Start programs shut down (and some reopened), and confusion and delays in many federal programs. But for education experts and data geeks, another issue has been highly inconvenient, if less severe: the disabling of federal education data websites.

Fortunately, Ed Money Watch’s parent initiative, the Federal Education Budget Project, maintains one of the most comprehensive federal education databases in the country for every state, school ...

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Oct
14
2013

Tensions on Capitol Hill Driven by Spending Limits Clare McCann

Two weeks into a government shutdown, and only a few short days from reaching the federal debt ceiling, negotiations between Republicans and Democrats in Congress and the White House have gone nowhere. But the debate is not primarily about defunding or delaying the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) anymore. In fact, Democrats seem to have co-opted the fight so they can argue against their greatest nemesis of late: sequestration.

With negotiations in the House of Representatives stalled, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell entered ...

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Oct
08
2013

Zero Education Debt: The Promise of Income Share Agreements Alex Holt

Last Friday, the New America Foundation’s Education Policy Program, in partnership with the Lumina Foundation, hosted a “Zero Education Debt” event. Panelists looked at the concept of Income Share Agreements (ISA), a new financial vehicle in which a student completes school with no loans and no debt, but instead agrees to pay an investor (or the government) back a set share of his income for a set number of years.

We started off the event with comments from Jamie Merisotis, president of the Lumina Foundation. Merisotis helped contextualize the topic with a much larger question: ...

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Oct
08
2013

House Republicans Fight to Keep Loophole in For-Profit Colleges’ 90/10 Rule Clare McCann

Update 10/15/2013 2 PM: This post was edited to reflect that the proposed reform would include Tuition Assistance in the 90 percent calculation, not the 10 percent.

Congress failed to reach an agreement on funding the government for fiscal year 2014, which began on October 1, 2013, shutting down the federal government. That high-stakes budget battle has overshadowed a different disagreement between the House and Senate that could have a big effect on education benefits for members of the military – and for-profit colleges.  

The disagreement is on the Department of Defense Appropriations ...

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Oct
01
2013

Government Shutdown Strands Departments of Education, HHS with Few Staff, No Money Clare McCann

This post also appeared on our sister blogs, Early Ed Watch and Higher Ed Watch.

Congress spent the final moments of fiscal year 2013 last night in the throes of a debate over funding the government. Unable to reach agreement despite days of back-and-forth between the House and Senate, however, the government officially shut down at midnight on September 30.

Federal agencies were ordered just before midnight to begin implementing plans for a federal shutdown absent funding for fiscal year 2014, which began on October 1. Skeleton crews will remain in place at the Departments of Education and ...

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Sep
24
2013

New School District-Level Pre-K Data Reflect Drop in State Spending Clare McCann

This post also appeared on our sister blog, Early Ed Watch.

In February’s State of the Union address, President Obama outlined a new proposal to expand state pre-K programs to all low- and moderate-income children across the country. The federal funds would require state matching funds, and the state and federal dollars would both be allocated to school districts to expand access to pre-K for eligible children.

In many states, though, it’s impossible even to know the answers to basic questions about pre-K. Because pre-K is often not tracked, or not tracked at the school district ...

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Sep
23
2013

E-rate Modernization: Promoting Connectivity for 21st Century Learning Environments Lindsey Tepe

Last week, the New America Foundation’s Education Policy Program and Open Technology Institute jointly submitted recommendations to the Federal Communications Commission outlining ways to modernize the Commission’s E-rate program. Our recommendations underscore a more modern understanding of how connectivity is leveraged by schools, libraries and communities throughout the country to promote 21st century learning. As OTI’s Danielle Kehl and Sarah Morris discuss in the Dispatches from the Digital Frontier blog: Schools and libraries face enormous challenges in ensuring that they are adequately connected ...
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Sep
23
2013

Trading Transparency and Accountability Today for Better Testing Tomorrow Anne Hyslop

2013-14: the school year all American students, in all public schools, were expected to be proficient in reading and math. It’s finally here. But don’t kid yourself – nobody expects American schools to meet that goal this spring. And thanks to the U.S. Department of Education’s ESEA waivers (and waivers of waivers), most won’t have to.

Instead, 41 states, Washington, D.C. and eight California school districts have different goals for student performance. Goals that cut achievement gaps, or delay the universal proficiency deadline, or lead to college and career readiness, or something else. ...

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Sep
18
2013

What Might Ratings-Based Financial Aid Look Like? Clare McCann

Last month, President Obama stood before a crowd at the University at Buffalo to propose a new higher education affordability initiative. The plan calls for the U.S. Department of Education to rate colleges prior to the 2014-15 academic year. Then the Department would tie financial aid to those ratings by 2018 – a carrot-and-stick approach to college quality. But we wonder if the Department’s version will really have the teeth to penalize bad actors, and how feasible it really is.

So far, there’s not much information on the White House’s plan. For the most part, all we have to go off of ...

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Sep
12
2013

New Pell Grant, Federal Loan Data Reveal Changing Tides in Financial Aid Clare McCann

New data published by the U.S. Department of Education and by the Congressional Budget Office reveal changing tides in the American higher education system. And they uncover some interesting – and previously unknown – facts about federal financial aid.

The Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid (FSA) Data Center recently released data on the number of federal loan recipients and the total amount of loans disbursed in the 2012-13 academic year. (You can see those preliminary data by school in our easy-to-use database, the Federal Education Budget Project.) For the first time, the ...

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Sep
11
2013

Plausibility, Politics, and Process: What We Can Learn from Indiana and Tony Bennett Anne Hyslop

Definition of Plausible

superficially fair, reasonable, or valuable but often specious <a plausible pretext>superficially pleasing or persuasive <a swindler… , then a quack, then a smooth, plausible gentleman — R. W. Emerson>appearing worthy of belief  <the argument was both powerful and plausible>

Last week, a report commissioned by the Indiana state legislature provided more detail on just exactly what happened a year ago as then-Superintendent of Education Tony Bennett prepared to release the state’s first A-F school grades – one of many high-profile reforms Bennett ...

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Sep
06
2013

Better Data Is the Backbone of Higher Education Ratings Clare McCann

When President Obama announced last month in a major policy speech at the University at Buffalo that he intends to rate universities and colleges, he was met with a barrage of questions from policymakers, researchers, students, families, and schools. Everyone wanted to know what a system that rated institutions of higher education might look like, and what metrics the Department of Education might use to score colleges.

As I wrote on National Journal’s Education Experts blog today, a truly valuable ratings system must have its roots in another policy proposal: a student unit record data ...

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Sep
03
2013

New K-12 Achievement Data Available from Federal Education Budget Project Lindsey Tepe

The Federal Education Budget Project (FEBP) today announced new K-12 achievement data available on its website for the 2010-2011 academic year.  The data are available at the state level, as well as for each of the 13,776 traditional public school districts throughout the country. Specifically, we added in the 2011 percentage of students who scored at least proficient in mathematics and reading on state standardized tests in fourth grade, eighth grade, and high school.   To check out your local school district, visit the FEBP database and begin typing your school district name into the PreK-12 ...
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Aug
30
2013

Waiver Watch: Let the Renewal Games Begin Anne Hyslop

As Ed Money Watch previously reported, the U.S. Department of Education has placed three states – Kansas, Oregon, and Washington – on “high risk” status for their ESEA waiver plans related to new teacher evaluation systems.  If they don’t get up to speed by the end of 2013-14, these states could face a series of increasing sanctions, from losing state administrative or programmatic Title I funding, to losing ESEA flexibility entirely. With the latter, the state would again be subject to all of the requirements and provisions of No Child Left Behind.

Now, the Department has released initial ...

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Aug
23
2013

Obama: "Our National Mission Is Not to Profit on Student Loans." Jason Delisle

This week President Obama added some new details to his plan to reshape federal higher education policy. He also added that “[o]ur national mission is not to profit off student loans,” referring to a talking point that loomed large in the now-concluded debate over how the government should set interest rates on student loans. That sure sounds good, but it contradicts the president’s policies.

The president has never proposed to wring what he calls “profits” from the federal student loan program. Worse yet, the Obama administration asked Congress to let more students from low-income families ...

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Aug
20
2013

A Rapid Analysis of New Ed Department Data Clare McCann

This post also appeared on our sister blog, Higher Ed Watch.

Today, the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics released its quadrennial survey of student financial aid. We are publishing our own rapid analysis of the new data, highlighting trends in borrowing and grant aid across different incomes, institutions, and other variables.

1. High Borrowing Rates among Pell Grant Students

These latest data from the Department of Education show that students receiving Pell Grants last year still had to employ student loans to pay for their college educations. ...

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Aug
20
2013

Head Start Data Show 57,000 Children Will Lose Access to Pre-K Clare McCann

This post also appeared on our sister blog, Early Ed Watch.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) today released first-of-its-kind data exploring the effects of sequestration on early education. The study, which compiled so-called reduction plans from Head Start grantees, shows that in the current 2012-13 program year, more than 57,000 children will lose access to Head Start services.

The Head Start data offer the first comprehensive look at how education practitioners are coping with the sequester that went into effect in March of this year. The sequester, which ...

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Aug
16
2013

Waiver Watch: States, Pass Teacher Evaluation Legislation At Your Own Risk Anne Hyslop

Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Education placed three states’ No Child Left Behind waivers on “high risk” status, the first serious action to enforce flexibility requirements by the Department. All three – Kansas, Oregon, and Washington – had received waivers on the condition that they provide evidence, by the end of the 2012-13 school year, of adopting teacher evaluation guidelines in line with the flexibility policy. Specifically, each state struggled to demonstrate that they were using student growth as a significant factor in their evaluation systems. Ten states were initially granted ...

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Aug
14
2013

Clearinghouse Data Leave More Questions than Answers, and We Need Answers Clare McCann

Twenty-nine percent of first-time community college students transferred to a four-year college within six years, according to a new report from the National Student Clearinghouse. About 8 in 10 of those transfer students completed a bachelor’s degree or were still enrolled in the four-year school after six years. These are just a few of the interesting and important findings of the report, many of which were previously unknown.

The report, which looked at students who enrolled at a four-year institution for the first time in the 2005-06 academic year and had previously been enrolled in ...

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Aug
05
2013

Georgetown LRAP: In Their Own Words Alex Holt

In a blog post published on Higher Ed Watch today we describe how a loophole in two federal programs – Grad PLUS loans and Income Based Repayment for federal student loans – allows graduate and professional schools, and the students who attend them, to shift the entire cost of an advanced degree onto U.S. taxpayers. Our analysis focuses particularly on a program that Georgetown Law has set up to exploit this loophole. The school’s program, called Loan Assistance Repayment Program (LRAP), promises Georgetown Law graduates a free legal education so long as they borrow federal Grad PLUS loans ...

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Aug
02
2013

How Much Debt Will Georgetown Law Grads Have Forgiven? Jason Delisle

In a blog post published on Higher Ed Watch today, we include an estimate for the average amount of debt that a participant in Georgetown Law’s Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP) will have forgiven by the federal government under Income-Based Repayment (IBR). The amount is a shocking $158,888.

Below is an explanation of how we arrived at that figure and why it represents the lower bound of what the actual figure is likely to be. For a general explanation of how high-debt borrowers under IBR can have large amounts of debt forgiven by the federal government, even if they earn a high ...

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Aug
06
2013

The Scariest Student Loan Figure is $14,500 Clare McCann

This post also appeared on our sister blog, Higher Ed Watch.

Yesterday, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released a new set of data that give the best look to date at the repayment plans of borrowers and the status of their loans. Depending on how much you like to assert gloom and doom in the loan portfolio, the headline-grabbing figure is likely to be either: $3 out of every $10 loan dollars are in deferment, forbearance, or default or only about 20 percent of loan dollars in repayment are in income-based plans. But the figures also show how focusing on absolute debt balances ...

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Aug
06
2013

New Data Needed Despite Survey of Early Childhood Spending Across the U.S. Clare McCann

This post originally appeared on our sister blog, Early Ed Watch.

States invested slightly more money into early childhood education in 2013 compared to 2012, according to a new survey of 21 states from the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). That’s a reassuring trend, given that most states are still treading water after the financial recession. But it may not be the whole story.

NCSL’s survey looks at 21 regionally, politically, and financially diverse states. Twelve of them increased funding for child care in fiscal year 2013 (one, Ohio, did not provide information); ...

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Aug
02
2013

Twice the Price: Report Provides New Detail on Veterans in College Clare McCann

More than 60 percent of higher education benefits provided to veterans under the Post-9/11 GI Bill went to just 5 percent of schools in 2011, many of which had decidedly mixed outcomes for students, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO). The report also looked at student demographics and outcomes at the institutions that received the most funding from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

But even with all the information included in the report, it is perhaps most notable for addressing just how little we know about the $12 billion a year spent on ...

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Aug
01
2013

Do the Math: Christel House’s Grade Doesn’t Add Up Anne Hyslop

Mel Horowitz: You mean to tell me that you argued your way from a C+ to an A-? 
Cher: Totally based on my powers of persuasion, you proud? 
Mel Horowitz: Honey, I couldn't be happier than if they were based on real grades.

Turns out we’ve all been Clueless when it comes to Indiana’s A-F school grades. Former Indiana (and current Florida) schools’ chief Tony Bennett has been under fire for released emails that show he and officials at the Indiana Department of Education altered the grades for certain schools prior to the very-public release of the new accountability measures last ...

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Jul
25
2013

Did House Republicans Overreach on Education Cuts? Jason Delisle

House Republicans have spent all year gearing up for big cuts to education spending. And then yesterday they blinked.

In a last-minute move, a House Appropriations subcommittee delayed a draft fiscal year 2014 funding bill for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services (HHS), and Education. The subcommittee also delayed a scheduled vote on that bill. According to the subcommittee chair Jack Kingston (R-GA), this is all due to a scheduling problem. The Hill reports that the deep cuts in the bill may have been more than Republicans could stomach.

We’ve been warning Congress ...

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Jul
25
2013

At US News' Debate Club: Fix, Don't Eliminate, the Federal Role in Education Anne Hyslop

Yesterday, US News & World Report asked five experts in its Debate Club whether the Senate should pass the House’s No Child Left Behind rewrite – the Student Success Act. With the last week's House action, the Student Success Act is the first piece of legislation to make it to a floor vote in the six years since NCLB has been due for reauthorization. Sounds like progress, right?

Well I don’t agree. Here’s what I had to say about the Student Success Act: “Unfortunately, the Student Success Act isn't going to fix either policy [NCLB or NCLB waivers]. Because the Student Success Act doesn't ...

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Jul
23
2013

Bipartisan Student Loan Interest Rate Bill: Compromise vs. Trivial Talking Points Clare McCann

The Senate is expected to vote today to approve a bill that would change how the government sets interest rates on federal student loans. The Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act of 2013 (S. 1334) was developed by a bipartisan group of senators and is backed by the White House. But there are still a few holdouts, including student advocacy groups and some Senate Democrats, particularly Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Chair Tom Harkin (D-IA). Senator Harkin did ultimately co-sponsor the bill despite his stated misgivings.

One of their main beefs with the bill is that ...

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Jul
22
2013

First Step Toward E-Rate Reform, Not Necessarily ConnectED Lindsey Tepe

On Friday, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) took a first step toward modernizing the E-Rate program, voting that it would begin the reform process. While this is an important first step toward modernization, it remains to be seen what direction the FCC will take as it moves forward with reform.

Last week on Ed Money Watch, I posted a brief review of the latest E-Rate reform proposal put forth by FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai, which varies significantly from the ConnectED initiative introduced by President Obama. As he emphasized during his remarks, “Faced with the choice between ...

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Jul
22
2013

Storify: House 'No Child Left Behind' Debate Clare McCann

This post also appeared on our sister blog, Early Ed Watch.

On July 18 and 19, members of the U.S. House of Representatives took to the floor for a heated debate on a proposed reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. Rep. John Kline's (R-MN) bill, the Student Success Act, passed 221-207, but the Senate is not expected to take up the measure. We put together this Storify as a quick catch-up on the House debate.

[&lt;a href="//storify.com/claremccann/student-success-act" target="_blank"&gt;View the story "House 'No Child Left Behind' Debate" on Storify&lt;/a&gt;]

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Jul
19
2013

The Federal Role in Education: Mend it, Don’t End It Anne Hyslop

A few weeks ago I asked, “if Congress agrees the era of big government is over, why can’t we get an ESEA deal?” Both the Senate Democrats’ and House Republicans’ proposals to rewrite the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) scale back the federal role in school accountability and improvement and allow for more state autonomy in determining how school performance is evaluated – and what should be done about it when schools don’t measure up. And Friday, for the first time ever, Congress voted on an NCLB reauthorization proposal.

The Student Success Act, sponsored by House Education and Workforce ...

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Jul
18
2013

E-Rate Reform: What’s On the Menu? Lindsey Tepe

For many schools around the country, Internet connectivity has not yet reached the place where the greatest benefits would be realized: in classrooms. While the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has made progress over the past decade in helping to connect schools, its E-Rate Program has fallen short on connecting classrooms with high-speed broadband. To address this shortcoming, the FCC will discuss modernization of the E-Rate Program at its monthly open meeting this Friday. The E-Rate Program, formally known as the Schools and Libraries Program, is one of four initiatives financed through ...
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Jul
17
2013

Student Success Act Superlatives: the Best (and Worst) Additions to the House NCLB Overhaul Anne Hyslop

Following the world’s speediest markup, the House of Representatives could begin floor debate on the Student Success Act, the House Republican proposal to rewrite No Child Left Behind (NCLB), tomorrow. That would mark the first time (ever!) that an NCLB reauthorization bill has reached the floor in either chamber of Congress. However, the chances of the House proposal making it out of the Senate and to the President’s desk are non-existent. No Democrats supported the bill in committee, adamantly opposing its changes to accountability, school improvement, and funding requirements. And while every ...

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Jul
15
2013

Aspirations Versus Assets in Children's Savings Accounts Clare McCann

This post originally appeared on our sister blog, Higher Ed Watch.

This morning, our colleagues in the Assets Building Program at New America hosted an event around the release of Building Expectations, Delivering Results--a comprehensive bi-annual report that lays out the state of reserach around college savings accounts and presents interesting ideas around how these instruments could be used to help lower-income students. (You can read the whole report and see nice graphical representations of some of the findings at Save4Ed.com and go here to watch the video of the event.) It was an ...

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Jul
15
2013

Senate Appropriations Panel Approves 2014 Spending Bill Clare McCann

 

For more details on early education in the Senate Appropriations Committee Labor-HHS-Education bill, check out this post from our sister blog, Early Ed Watch.

The Senate Appropriations Committee voted last week to approve a fiscal year 2014 spending bill for the Departments of Labor, Health & Human Services (HHS), and Education. (Fiscal year 2014 starts this October 1.) That development is a reminder that key funding decisions for education programs are wending their way through Congress, and that the House and Senate could not be further apart in their proposals.

While ...

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Jul
11
2013

Four Corrections to Senator Blumenthal’s BuzzFeed Post Clare McCann

BuzzFeed’s lead story today is a post by Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) on 11 Reasons Why Congress Needs to Fix Student Loan Rates Now. But the post, despite its extensive use of graphics and charts, gets some very basic facts about the student loan issue wrong. Perhaps the most glaring of these is his claim that “10 million students nationwide will lose $1,000 per year from the higher [loan] rates”. Some students do stand to lose about $1,000 – but over 10 years, not annually. That’s a big difference – a monthly increase of about $9 instead of $90.

Blumenthal’s post contains a few ...

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Jul
02
2013

If Congress Agrees the Era of Big Government is Over, Why Can’t We Get an ESEA Deal? Anne Hyslop

UPDATED 7/22: The side-by-side comparison of each proposal now reflects the final version of the Student Success Act, as amended during floor debate on July 18 and 19. For full coverage of the House debate and vote, read the Storify here.

Considering Congress hasn’t figured out how to compromise on student loan interest rates (despite the fact that President Obama and a bipartisan group of Senators proposed shockingly similar plans), it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) remains at a standstill. Sure, the Senate ...

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Jul
01
2013

It’s Official: Interest Rates on Subsidized Stafford Loans Double Clare McCann

Interest rates on a subset of federal student loans officially doubled today from 3.4 to 6.8 percent. The rates apply only to newly issued Subsidized Stafford loans, affecting about 7.4 million students next year. But the increase in interest rates could have been prevented – and many members of Congress tried.

The scheduled increase has been circled on many stakeholders’ and policymakers’ calendars since Congress granted a one-year reprieve last summer. Unlike last year, though, Congress debated a host of reform proposals, many of them market-based (tied to the rate on the 10-year Treasury ...

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Jun
27
2013

Bipartisan Student Loan Interest Rate Reform Bill Released in the Senate Clare McCann

Would Senate Democrats walk away from a chance to cut interest rates and payments on student loans below where they would be if Congress enacted a one-year extension of current policy – a 3.4 percent interest rate for Subsidized Stafford loans and a 6.8 percent rate for Unsubsidized Stafford loans? Would they turn down a bipartisan plan to spend an estimated additional $30 billion over the next five years to lower rates for millions of borrowers? We will soon find out.

Today, a bipartisan group of senators officially introduced legislation, the Bipartisan Student Loan Certainty Act, that ...

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Jun
27
2013

New CREDO Charter School Study Provides Talking Points for Both Sides Conor Williams

A new report on charter school performance from Stanford’s Center for Research on Educational Outcomes is—like CREDO’s last major report, in 2009—inspiring a host of talking points. With 95 pages of findings to sift through, there is something for charter school friends and foes alike—which is why it is a mistake to use this, or any CREDO study, as an empirical justification for or argument against the charter school sector in general.

The report indicates that charter schools serve roughly double the percentage of African-American students, a higher percentage of Hispanic students, and ...

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Jun
25
2013

Harkin Interest Rate Proposal Costs Students More than Bipartisan Bill Clare McCann

Less than a week before interest rates are scheduled to double on some federal student loans, yet another proposal has surfaced in the Senate. Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, is reported to be circulating a proposal similar to one Sens. Manchin, King, Coburn, and Burr released last week, only his plan includes lower rates on Subsidized Stafford loans (but higher rates on Unsubsidized) than the bipartisan Senate proposal and Senator Harkin adds a cap on rates.

Harkin’s plan ties rates to the 10-year Treasury-note rate, plus a ...

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Jun
24
2013

Senate Interest Rate Compromise on the Way – and it Saves Students Money Clare McCann

A bipartisan group of senators (King, Manchin, Burr, and Coburn) is reportedly drafting a bill that would prevent interest rates on Subsidized Stafford loans from doubling on July 1. Their proposal would set market-based interest rates on all newly issued federal student loans. It looks similar to proposals from Senators Coburn (R-OK) and Burr (R-NC), President Obama, and the New America Foundation. How does the proposal compare to other options for setting rates? We decided to run the numbers.

The interest rates would be set at the 10-year Treasury yield plus a 1.9 percent markup for ...

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Jun
19
2013

Storify: House Ed & Workforce Committee ESEA Markup Clare McCann

Click here for the Storify of last week's Senate HELP Committee markup.

[&amp;lt;a href="//storify.com/claremccann/house-education-and-workforce-committee-esea-marku" target="_blank"&amp;gt;View the story "House Education &amp;amp; Workforce Committee ESEA Markup" on Storify&amp;lt;/a&amp;gt;]

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Jun
19
2013

Update: A New NCLB Reauthorization Cheat Sheet Anne Hyslop

After the partisan markup in the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, it is the House of Representatives' turn to debate reauthorization of No Child Left Behind. The Student Success Act, offered by Rep. John Kline (R-MN), is set for a markup Wednesday morning in the House Education and Workforce Committee. Accordingly, we’ve updated our Senate markup cheat sheet to provide a comprehensive, side-by-side comparison of current law, the Obama administration’s waiver policy, and the current legislative proposals in the Senate and House. You can download the new cheat sheet here.

Here ...

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Jun
19
2013

Waivers (of Waivers) Watch: If It Looks Like a Pause, and It Sounds Like a Pause… Anne Hyslop

Earlier today, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan weighed in on the question of whether states can delay their timeline for using Common Core assessments in accountability systems for schools and teachers. The tests are set to be fully deployed during the 2014-15 school year, and according to the original policy for offering No Child Left Behind waivers, the results from the assessments would also be used for school accountability and educator evaluations that year (except in states that applied for waivers after August 2012 – see this nifty chart for a full breakdown). Under the new policy, ...

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Jun
12
2013

Storify: Senate HELP Committee ESEA Markup Anne Hyslop

[&lt;a href="//storify.com/afhyslop/senate-help-committee-esea-markup" target="_blank"&gt;View the story "Senate HELP Committee ESEA Markup" on Storify&lt;/a&gt;]

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Jun
11
2013

When Will Classrooms Join the “Big Data” Trend? Clare McCann

“Big Data” has been launched into every area of our lives: businesses, consumer products, political campaigns, healthcare, and more. But data still hasn’t managed to penetrate the classroom in many schools.

Last week, New America’s Education Policy Program released a new paper, Promoting Data in the Classroom: Innovative State Models and Missed Opportunities, that explores K-12 teachers’ use of data to improve instruction. It focuses on two such efforts in Oregon and Delaware, both federally funded projects, and highlights key takeaways from both for state officials and policymakers.

Recently, ...

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Jun
10
2013

Harkin, Alexander, and Waivers: Your ESEA Markup Cheat Sheet Anne Hyslop

Tomorrow morning, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee will markup the Strengthening America’s Schools Act, the latest ESEA reauthorization proposal from Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA). Ed Money Watch and Early Ed Watch have already recapped many of the changes proposed to accountability for schools and educators, as well as Title I and early learning programs. But we have yet to weigh in on the alternative proposal offered by the Committee’s Republican members, led by Ranking Member Lamar Alexander (R-TN).

Here are the three biggest differences between the two bills:

1. ...

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Jun
10
2013

Podcast: Show Me the Data Clare McCann

This podcast originally appeared on New America’s In the Tankblog.

What place do data have in the classroom? Last week, the New America Foundation’s Education Policy Program produced a new report that describes how teachers can use their students’ data to improve classroom outcomes, and how states can help give teachers those skills. The report dives into two states – Oregon and Delaware – that are doing it right.

In this week’s Education Policy Program podcast, New America Managing Editor Fuzz Hogan talks with the report’s co-authors (Jennifer Cohen Kabaker, former Senior Policy ...

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Jun
07
2013

Harkin Title I Reforms Readjust Funding Allocations Clare McCann

This week, chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Tom Harkin (D-IA) released a new draft bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The bill, called the Strengthening America’s Schools Act, makes a lot of changes – you can read more about those here and here. Among those changes are some tweaks to Title I, the $14.5 billion program that provides funding to low-income children and high-poverty schools.

States’ Distribution to School Districts

The Harkin bill would require states to modify how they provide funds to ...

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Jun
06
2013

Teachers and Principals in Senator Harkin’s NCLB Reauthorization Plan Anne Hyslop

In many ways, the latest reauthorization effort from Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA)–the Strengthening America’s Schools Act (SASA)–reads like an endorsement of the administration’s NCLB flexibility plan. States that have received NCLB waivers would be able to continue with those plans in most respects. What’s more, SASA builds on the waiver process, with states’ Title I plans replacing the Department of Education’s flexibility request. Title I plans (which describe each state’s standards, assessments, and systems of accountability and school improvement) would be subject to Department approval every ...

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Jun
05
2013

First Look: Sen. Harkin’s Strengthening America’s Schools Act Anne Hyslop

Yesterday, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), Chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, released yet another attempt to reauthorize No Child Left Behind: the Strengthening America’s Schools Act of 2013 (SASA). NCLB, due for a Congressional rewrite since 2007, has few remaining fans. But all previous reauthorization bills, including a bipartisan effort from Sen. Harkin and Mike Enzi (R-WY) last Congress, have failed miserably. While every Democratic Senator on the Committee signed off on the new draft legislation, Harkin could not sway key Republicans. Sen. Lamar Alexander ...

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Jun
04
2013

New Report Explores Federal Opportunities to Promote Data in Classrooms Clare McCann

Today, the New America Foundation's Education Policy Program released a new report, Promoting Data in the Classroom: Innovative State Models and Missed Opportunities. Please click here to read the report.

 

Over the past decade, states and school districts across the United States have collected huge amounts of data on students’ academic achievement, teachers, and academic environments. Every state maintains a student-level longitudinal data system, and education stakeholders in school districts across the country have innumerable facts, figures, and statistics at their disposal. ...

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May
30
2013

Fact Checking the Student Loan Interest Rate Debate Jason Delisle

This post was updated on May 31 and June 3 with additional entries.

The White House and House Republicans are arguing over two competing proposals to reform how the government sets interest rates on federal student loans. As we wrote two weeks ago, this is a good sign and a big improvement over the debate on the exact same issue from a year ago.

But if you are scratching your head trying to understand how the House plan and the president’s plan are different, it is because they are in fact very similar. Both tie rates to the market. The president’s plan only offers borrowers fixed ...

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May
28
2013

House Could Set Education Funding Back to Year 2001 to Fund Defense Clare McCann

Last week, Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee circulated a proposal that would shift fiscal year 2014 funding from health care, job training, and education programs to military and national security programs. (Fiscal year 2014 starts October 1, 2013.) Just how big of a hit does that mean for education programs? Put it this way, the cuts the House Republicans have in mind for the upcoming fiscal year are four times larger than those under sequestration. That is, take education funding—already lower due to sequestration—and cut it again four times over.

Last month we explained ...

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May
21
2013

Subsidized Stafford Loans Come at a Cost – Even at a Higher Interest Rate Clare McCann

The student loan interest rate debate will come to a head early this summer as the 3.4 percent interest rate on Subsidized Stafford student loans nears its July 1 expiration. When that deadline hits, the rate will revert to 6.8 percent, the rate currently charged on Unsubsidized Stafford loans. Last week, we published a piece detailing the half-dozen reform proposals currently floating around Capitol Hill and produced some takeaways on each. But there are still other misconceptions to clear up.

One of the current interest rate plans, Senator Elizabeth Warren’s (D-MA) proposal to reset ...

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May
16
2013

A Divide In the Student Loan Interest Rate Debate Clare McCann

A clear divide has emerged in the debate over the interest rates on federal student loans. In one camp are House and Senate Republicans, along with President Obama; in the other are the congressional Democrats. But before explaining what makes those camps different, a quick refresher on the interest rate issue is in order.

Undergraduates are currently charged two different fixed interest rates: 3.4 percent on Subsidized Stafford loans and 6.8 percent on Unsubsidized Stafford loans. Loans issued on or after July 1, 2013, though, will carry the 6.8 percent rate. (That policy has its roots ...

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May
15
2013

Progress Seen in Increasing Data and Transparency in Higher Education Clare McCann

For more on this issue, check out this post from Amy Laitinen on our sister blog, Higher Ed Watch.

Establishing a commission to study an issue is, in the words of President Obama, “Washington-speak for ‘we’ll get back to you later.’” This week, House Education and Workforce Committee member Rep. Luke Messer (R-IN) proposed yet another to study how to collect higher education data and which data points to include. The bill falls well short of resolving the concerns of students, families, businesses, and policymakers who don’t know what they’re getting for all the time and dollars spent ...

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May
09
2013

The Higher Ed Arms Race: How the High-Tuition High-Aid Model Shuts Out Low-Income Students Alex Holt

Yesterday, the New America Foundation's Education Policy Program released "Undermining Pell: How Colleges Compete for Wealthy Students and Leave the Low-Income Behind." Author Stephen Burd reveals a full-fledged "financial aid arms-race" between private colleges and universities, and a burgeoning one among publics as well. Schools adopt a "high-tuition, high-aid” model that allows them to attract wealthy and high-achieving students to boost their rankings with significant amounts of merit aid – money that could have instead been directed to need-based aid for low-income students. That means ...

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May
06
2013

Waiver Watch: Are District Waivers Rotten to the CORE? Anne Hyslop

The California Office to Reform Education (CORE) is now one step closer to becoming the first group of school districts to receive a waiver from No Child Left Behind (NCLB). Last week, the nine CORE districts received feedback from the Department of Education after their official peer review. Moving the application to peer review sent a clear signal that the Department was considering the request seriously; remember, California’s state-level request was denied prior to the review stage.

CORE chose not to release specific comments from the peer review until their districts have addressed ...

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May
06
2013

Department of Education Light on Details for Sequestration of TEACH Grants Clare McCann

Last week, the New America Foundation’s Education Policy Program published an issue brief on the recently completed (and two months late) fiscal year 2013 budget, with an early analysis of how the 2014 budget process is likely to affect education programs. One careful reader noticed that the explanation about sequestration failed to mention two lesser-known education programs: the TEACH Grants and Iraq-Afghanistan Service Grant programs.

The former provides tuition aid to prospective teachers, but it converts to a loan if the student fails to complete four years of teaching to high-needs ...

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Apr
30
2013

Why 2014 Could Hurt As Much As Sequestration for Education Programs Clare McCann

Today, the New America Foundation’s Federal Education Budget Project released Federal Education Budget Update: Fiscal Year 2013 Recap and Fiscal Year 2014 Early Analysis, an issue brief that explores the 2013 and 2014 budgeting processes and their implications for federal education programs. The brief outlines the key benchmarks Congress and the president reached, and provides a simple, comprehensive resource to understand the broader budget picture.

As the brief notes, the fiscal year 2013 budget is now complete, and the 2014 appropriations process is officially underway. But the complex ...

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Apr
25
2013

Reforming the Teacher Profession: From Consequences to Collaboration Kristin Blagg

Much of the discussion around the President’s 2014 education budget has centered on proposed initiatives for universal pre-K and a $1 billion Race to the Top competition for college affordability and completion.

Compared to these bold new proposals, K-12 education seems to have drawn the short straw. The U.S. Department of Education could see some new or expanded programming for K-12  – additional money for the Promise Neighborhoods program, a new competitive grant competition for high school redesign, and an expanded School Turnaround Grants program – but nothing like what it has outlined ...

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Apr
23
2013

Simpson-Bowles: Reform Student Loans, Fund Pell Grants Alex Holt

Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, of the famed Simpson-Bowles commission (officially the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform) that the Obama administration tapped to generate ideas to reduce federal budget deficits, are out with a new wide-ranging proposal. Titled A Bipartisan Path Forward to Securing America’s Future, the report was published by the Moment of Truth Project, which is itself affiliated with the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, an organization previously housed at New America.

The report includes higher education reforms that they say will create ...

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Apr
19
2013

College-Ready Wars: Assessing Threats to the Common Core Anne Hyslop

Although the deadline for all students to achieve proficiency in math and reading has been lifted in most states by No Child Left Behind (NCLB) waivers, 2014 test anxiety is high as ever. That’s because the 2014-15 school year is the first time 45 states and Washington, D.C. will be fully implementing the Common Core State Standards – including new tests that will be used as part of high-stakes accountability systems for schools and, in many cases, teachers and students. But when the time comes, will states stay the course? Practical concerns along with escalating political arguments already ...

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Apr
18
2013

Does the President’s New Budget Signal a Change for Teacher Preparation? Kristin Blagg

While poring over the president’s fiscal year 2014 budget request, we noticed several subtle, but critical, shifts in the way that the administration addresses teacher preparation grants and regulations.

Just as in the fiscal year 2013 budget request, the administration is proposing to phase out the current TEACH Grants program in favor of a $190 million Presidential Teaching Fellows program. What follows is our attempt to read the tea leaves in the U.S. Department of Education’s proposed budget.

TEACH grants, started in 2008, provide $4,000 a year to eligible undergraduate or graduate ...

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Apr
17
2013

Higher Education Lobby Changes Tune on Income-Based Repayment Jason Delisle

In a hearing before the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce this week, Terry Hartle of the American Council on Education (the higher education lobby) hinted that his association has had a major change of heart on income-based repayment for federal student loans. Or so it seems. 

At issue was a proposal by Rep. Tom Petri (R-WI) that would move the entire loan program to an income-based repayment system administered through employer payroll withholding. Borrowers would make payments at 15 percent of their discretionary income and there would be no loan forgiveness. Instead, ...

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Apr
15
2013

How Income-Based Repayment Can Cap, Reduce, or Eliminate Interest Rates on Student Loans Jason Delisle

The president’s fiscal year 2014 budget request includes a proposal for setting interest rates on newly issued federal student loans. Rates would be fixed for the life of the loan and set at a rate equal to the interest rate on 10-year Treasury notes, plus 2.93 percent for Unsubsidized Stafford loans, the most widely available federal student loan. (Subsidized Stafford loans would be set at the 10-year Treasury rate plus 0.93 percent, and PLUS loans for parents of undergraduates and for graduate students set at 10-year Treasury plus 3.93 percent.)  The rate would not be subject to a nominal ...

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Apr
11
2013

Key Questions on the Obama Administration's 2014 Education Budget Request Jason Delisle

President Barack Obama submitted his fiscal year 2014 budget request to Congress on April 10, 2013. The New America Foundation has reviewed the president’s proposals and generated a list of key questions that policymakers, the media, stakeholder groups, and the public should ask about the proposals.

Early Learning and PreK-12 Education

1. The president’s budget proposes to partner with states to provide high-quality pre-kindergarten programs for all low- and moderate-income 4-year-olds, funded with $75.0 billion over 10 years through a 94-cent increase in the federal tobacco tax. ...

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Apr
10
2013

President's 2014 Budget Request Released; Increases Federal Education Spending Clare McCann

Today, President Obama released the first budget of his second term. The budget would increase overall appropriations funding for the U.S. Department of Education by about $3 million over 2012 levels, to $71.2 billion. It consolidates a number of programs and creates a few new ones -- including a broad new pre-K package.

The president’s budget comes two months behind schedule (by law, the budget request is due on the Hill in February), and both the House and Senate have already voted on budget resolutions for fiscal year 2014, although they haven’t yet agreed on a joint resolution. Still, ...

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Apr
08
2013

What to Watch for in the President’s Budget Release Clare McCann

President Obama is scheduled to submit his fiscal year 2014 budget request to Congress this Wednesday, April 10. This year’s proposal – the president’s fifth budget request and the first of his final term – will likely include education policies from his past budgets, and certainly some new ideas. It will also show how the Obama administration would allocate fiscal year 2014 funding for every federal education program, which starts October 1, 2013.

Here are a few of topics worth keeping an eye out for on Wednesday.

Pre-K Initiative: President Obama proposed in his State of the Union ...
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Apr
05
2013

New America Education Database Includes Updated Special Education Expenditures Per District Clare McCann

The Federal Education Budget Project (FEBP), Ed Money Watch’s parent initiative, maintains the most comprehensive education database available on funding, demographics, and outcomes for every state, school district, and institution of higher education in the country. This week, we’re announcing an update to the database: FEBP’s federal special education funding at the school district level is now up to-date for years 2010 and 2011.

Special education funding comprises the second-largest federal K-12 program, behind Title I grants to economically disadvantaged students. In fiscal year 2012, ...

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Apr
04
2013

Waiver Watch: District Waivers Go Off the Map Anne Hyslop

The California Office to Reform Education (CORE) is closer to becoming the first consortium of school districts to receive a flexibility waiver from No Child Left Behind (NCLB). Although the nine CORE districts -- Clovis, Fresno, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Oakland, Sacramento, Sanger, and Santa Ana Unified -- submitted a formal waiver proposal to the U.S. Department of Education in February, speculation around district-level waivers had been percolating for months, particularly in states that were reluctant to apply for a waiver or failed to meet the Department’s waiver guidelines, like California.

Naturally, ...

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Mar
27
2013

March Madness: Do Colleges Cut Down the Net on Net Price? Clare McCann

This post originally appeared on the New America Foundation's In the Tank blog.

College basketball fans across the country bemoaned ruined brackets as they watched Harvard unseat the University of New Mexico in the first round of the NCAA March Madness tournament.  Of all the teams in this year’s bracket, Harvard graduates the highest percentage of its student body, and we've been thinking about how the other tournament schools stack up on this front, as well as on how they treat their lower-income students. Some of the traditional basketball powerhouses aren’t too shabby. ...

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Mar
26
2013

New Maintenance of Effort Provision Removes Protection for Special Education Students Clare McCann

A legislative provision, buried eight hundred pages into the continuing resolution passed by the House and Senate last week and signed into law by President Obama, could hold significance for states that have reduced their spending on special education in recent years.

Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the federal law that governs special education policy, states are required to meet maintenance of effort every year to continue receiving federal education spending. Maintenance of effort (MOE) forces states to provide levels of funding for special education that are ...

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Mar
24
2013

Friday News Roundup: Week of March 18-22 Lindsey Tepe

Colorado legislators review revisions to school funding Texas House adds extra $1 billion to schools in budget Washington state senators pledge $300 million more for higher education Kansas state senators vote to restore $5 million in grants for KU, K-State program Colorado legislators review revisions to school fundingFor years, the Colorado legislature has considered revisions to the state’s complicated public education funding scheme. This week, the state legislature is debating broad changes to that funding formula, as well as close to $1 billion in tax increases across the state. Supporters ...
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Mar
21
2013

Few Education Programs Spared Cuts Under Congressional Continuing Resolution Clare McCann

This post also appeared on our sister blog, Early Ed Watch.

The House joined the Senate Thursday morning to approve a continuing resolution (CR) that will fund federal programs through Sept. 30, the end of the current fiscal year. The continuing resolution that has funded these programs since October 2012 is set to expire on March 27, which would have triggered a government shutdown if no further funding were in place by then.

The CR, which takes the place of annual appropriations bills, funds most education programs for fiscal year 2013. It sets funding according to the levels provided ...

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Mar
20
2013

Murray Budget and Student Loans: Where’s the Money? Jason Delisle

Education advocates have been lauding the budget resolution wending its way through the U.S. Senate. They praise the Senate budget resolution (aka the “Murray budget,” so named for Budget Committee Chair Patty Murray) for rolling back the increases in origination fees for student loans and for addressing the July 1 expiration of the 3.4 percent interest rate on Subsidized Stafford loans for undergraduates. These advocates have either been duped or are simply giving Senate Democrats a free pass: The Murray budget does not include funding for any changes to student loans – or any education programs ...

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Mar
19
2013

Doing the Math: The Cost of Publicly Funded ‘Universal’ Pre-K Alex Holt

The post originally appeared on our sister blog Early Ed Watch.

During the media frenzy that followed President Obama’s unprecedented call for expanding pre-K to all four-year-olds in the United States, we estimated that the additional cost to states and the federal government, combined, to be somewhere between $10-15 billion per year. We estimate that the feds and the states currently spend about $9 billion on pre-K for four-year-olds.

We wanted to explain exactly how we came to that conclusion.

According to the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER), there ...

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Mar
15
2013

Benefits of Income-Based Repayment Surprise House Education Committee Members Lindsey Tepe

Earlier this week, the House Workforce and Education Committee met for a hearing on student loan programs, “Keeping College Within Reach: Examining Opportunities to Strengthen Federal Student Loan Programs.” The Committee asked Jason Delisle, Director of the Federal Education Budget Project (FEBP) at the New America Foundation, to testify about his proposal for setting interest rates on federal student loans and his analysis of recent changes to the Income-Based Repayment (IBR) plan that will provide large subsidies to graduate students. You can read Jason Delisle’s testimony submitted to the committee ...
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Mar
08
2013

Waiver Watch: Deep in the Heart of Texas Anne Hyslop

Texas has joined Pennsylvania, Wyoming, and 46 other states (including Washington, D.C.) in seeking waivers from No Child Left Behind (NCLB). With Nebraska and Montana sitting out, Vermont and North Dakota withdrawing, and California flat-out rejected, the pool of non-waiver states continues to shrink. But despite jumping on the waiver bandwagon, Texas breaks the mold in many respects.

Although the Lone Star State’s refusal to adopt the Common Core is one important distinction from other waiver winners, this wasn’t the detail I was most keen to uncover in their formal request. Texas’ plan ...

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Mar
08
2013

Friday News Roundup: Week of March 4-8 Lindsey Tepe

Alabama Accountability Act would punish higher-ed for failing K-12 schools California Dream Act: 20,000 illegal immigrant students apply for state financial aid for the first time Iowa Senate advances version of education reform with more money and more options for schools Missouri Rep. Barnes’ bill would fund online education at expense of schools Alabama Accountability Act would punish higher-ed for failing K-12 schoolsAlabama House Democrats filibustered the controversial accountability act making its way through the state legislature. The legislation offers parents of children in low-performing ...
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Mar
07
2013

House Passes Continuing Resolution, Locks Spending Cuts In Place Clare McCann

The House of Representatives voted on Wednesday to approve a stopgap appropriations bill that will fund federal programs for the remainder of fiscal year 2013, once the current continuing resolution (CR) expires on March 27. The big news from the bill, though, is that the House Republicans who wrote the bill missed an opportunity to effectively blunt or cancel the effects of the sequester on education programs.

The House-passed bill provides funding for education programs at the same levels signed into law at the start of fiscal year 2013, minus the March 1 across-the-board cuts that occurred ...

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Mar
04
2013

Student Loan Fees Increase Under the Sequester Jason Delisle

Way back on August 1st, 2011, Ed Money Watch told readers that the debt ceiling agreement Congress and the President had just passed could affect federal student loans. The post explained the changes that the sequestration process set up:

Such across-the-board cuts [sequestration] would also affect student loans. The law [Budget Control Act of 2011 referencing the Deficit Control Act of 1985] requires that the federal government increase origination fees on all student loans to reduce the costs of the programs under a sequester, should Congress and the president fail to enact legislation ...

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Mar
01
2013

Friday News Roundup: Week of February 25-March 1 Lindsey Tepe

Proposed education budget cuts could slash Arkansas pre-K funds Rutgers wants at least $425 million in New Jersey State funding for renovation, construction projects  University of Pennsylvania fund-raising campaign exceeds goal by nearly $1 billion Texas Senate budget panel adds additional $1.5 billion for schools  Proposed education budget cuts could slash Arkansas pre-K fundsThe Arkansas House Finance Education Subcommittee proposed cutting $5.7 million from Governor Sean Parnell’s education budget for fiscal year 2014. This amounts to a 1.6 percent reduction to the state’s $357 million education ...
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Feb
27
2013

Report: We’re Building a Grad Nation, but Challenges Remain Anne Hyslop

While many education advocates prepare for the looming sequester on March 1, the education policy news in D.C. wasn’t all bad this week. The nation is now on track – for the first time– to reach a 90 percent high school graduation rate by 2020, according to the fourth annual Building a Grad Nation report. Released at the Grad Nation Summit, hosted by America’s Promise Alliance, the report analyzes trends in the national graduation rate, which increased from 71.7 percent in 2001 to 78.2 percent in 2010, and celebrates the significant advances states have made.

States’ progress has accelerated ...

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Feb
26
2013

Sequestration Deadline Imminent, but 2013 Funding Remains a Question Mark Clare McCann

Everyone wants to know the latest news on sequestration, the spending cuts slated for Friday, March 1. Back in January, we ran a post that explained the unknowns and the knowns about sequestration; the latest news is that there is nothing new to report in either camp. We also explained that March 27, with the expiration of all appropriations funding, is where all the action will be – not at the March 1 sequestration deadline.

It seems the White House didn’t read our post, because the Obama administration this week released a series of fact sheets detailing by state the jobs that will be ...

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Feb
21
2013

Free Money for Graduate Students Won't Go Unnoticed Jason Delisle

Last year, we demonstrated in painstaking detail that the Obama administration’s new Income-Based Repayment (new IBR) program for federal student loans, known as Pay-As-You-Earn, will be a boon to graduate students and the schools that enroll them. Because graduate students can take out federal student loans to pay for the full costs of their educations (including living expenses) using the Grad PLUS program, even students who go on to earn six-figure incomes will qualify for low payments under IBR and have substantial debt forgiven after 20 years.

Some observers might dismiss those warnings, ...

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Feb
20
2013

What to Think About AEI’s Cage-Busting Leadership Event Kristin Blagg

Last week, the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) hosted a panel of education reform leaders to discuss the role of transformational mindsets and management in celebration of Rick Hess’ new book, Cage-Busting Leadership. Hess argues that most would-be education reform leaders feel hemmed-in by a cage of regulations, policies, and collective bargaining agreements that prevent them from implementing real change. However, most of these perceived roadblocks are the result of group mindsets – “a culture of can’t” – rather than actual restrictions.

“Cage-busting” education leaders, like those ...

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Feb
14
2013

SOTU: A Career-Ready Race to the Top or a Call for Perkins Reauthorization? Anne Hyslop

Yesterday, President Barack Obama reiterated his call from the State of the Union to provide universal pre-K to all children in America. But tucked in with his remarks was a pitch for another proposal from Tuesday's speech: to reward high schools that are preparing their students to be not only college-ready, but also career-ready. The competition would be aimed at high schools that have reimagined how they operate: partnering with colleges and businesses, focusing on emerging fields in science, technology, and engineering, and even offering students valuable industry credentials or an associate ...

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Feb
14
2013

Waiver Watch: The Real Lessons Learned from the Senate Waiver Hearing Anne Hyslop

Tuesday was a big night for early education and higher education. But what about all the education that happens in between? Teachers were mentioned once, but in the context of deficit reduction, not education. No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and waivers fared even worse, with nary a word. But never fear, waiver watchers got all the coverage they needed last week from the Senate HELP Committee and Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). In a hearing and subsequent CCSSO panel, policymakers and experts debated the early lessons from the waivers and implications for a near- or distant-future ...

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Feb
14
2013

Financial Alchemy: Call Student Loan Refinancing Proposal What It Is Jason Delisle

Yesterday, the Center for American Progress (CAP) released a paper arguing that Congress should reduce the interest rate on outstanding federal student loans, a concept it refers to as “refinancing.” Congress sets the rate on federal student loans – somewhat arbitrarily – at a fixed 6.8 percent, and CAP is calling on lawmakers to re-set it lower for existing loans.

Leaving aside CAP’s rationale for the policy, which is critiqued in an earlier post, it is worth pondering why CAP goes to so much trouble to describe how the refinancing program would work. The paper walks through byzantine ...

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Feb
12
2013

Court Ruling Finds Texas Public Schools Funding Inequitable, Unconstitutional Clare McCann

Last week, a district court in Texas ruled in favor of more than 600 Texas school districts, finding that the state’s education finance system is unconstitutional. This is nothing new for Texas – all told, six school finance lawsuits have been tried against the state since 1984, the last in 2005. Each round of lawsuits has prompted the legislature to tinker with the funding formulas. That has added complexity and apparently exacerbated underlying inequities.

Using data and statistics from the New America Foundation’s Federal Education Budget Project (FEBP), we were able to reveal that ...

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Feb
08
2013

Friday News Roundup: Week of February 4-8 Lindsey Tepe

Alabama lacks funds for $200 million of Department of Education requests UF, FSU face off over Governor Rick Scott's proposed $15 million bonus Iowa Senate panel OKs more school aid spending bills Governor Nixon reverses $8.5M in cuts to Missouri higher education Alabama lacks funds for $200 million of Department of Education requestsAlabama state Superintendent Thomas Bice this week submitted a $4.1 billion budget request for fiscal year 2014, a $405.5 million increase from fiscal year 2013. Alabama state officials have indicated that they will only be able to fund around half of the requested ...
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Feb
07
2013

New Pell Grant Estimates Buy Time, Long-Term Fix Still Needed Clare McCann

The Congressional Budget Office this week released updated cost projections for the Pell Grant program – and the estimates show an unexpected surplus over the past several years. The figures are much awaited because they dictate what lawmakers must allocate to the program in the upcoming fiscal year 2014 appropriations process if they want to keep the program running at its current level of benefits and with existing eligibility rules.

In 2010 and 2011, those estimates sparked panic. The program was burning through money faster than anyone expected, prompting Congress and the Obama administration ...

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Feb
06
2013

Schools Don’t Need Fewer Regulations, They Need Smarter Ones Anne Hyslop

Last week was National School Choice Week, a celebration that tends to make strange bedfellows of education policy advocates. The broad appeal of the movement – parents should be able to choose a high-quality school for their children – belies the volatile political reality. However, two recent reports add empirical evidence to the frequently emotional and personal discussions surrounding school choice.

The cleverly-titled School Choice Regulations: Red Tape or Red Herring?, from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, examines the assertion that state-imposed regulations and accountability measures ...

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Feb
01
2013

Friday News Roundup: Week of January 28-February 1 Lindsey Tepe

New Mexico faces loss of up to $93M in federal special ed funds for violating grant terms Controversial California school bonds create ‘debt for the next generation’ Cost-cutting measures could save University of Texas $490 million in 10 years, panel says Education reform aims to expand Ohio voucher program, reduce funding gaps New Mexico faces loss of up to $93M in federal special ed funds for violating grant termsBetween $43.5 million and $93.0 million could be withheld from New Mexico’s federal special education grants in future years. The state has reduced spending in recent years on special ...
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Feb
01
2013

College-Ready Wars Update: Alabama Leaves Test Consortia Anne Hyslop

It seems that the stakes in the college-ready war have been raised. Today, Education Week broke the news that Alabama was pulling out as a participant in both Common Core testing consortia, PARCC and SmarterBalanced. Previously on Ed Money Watch, I noted that Alabama was getting ahead of the curve by implementing more rigorous assessments to measure students’ postsecondary preparedness before the new Common Core tests were ready to be delivered in the 2014-15 school year. I still believe this is a practical move for states that want better indicators now that their students are college- and ...

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Jan
31
2013

Why March 27 Matters for Education and Sequestration Doesn't Jason Delisle

Sequestration is going to happen, at least according to prognostications in the news headlines. How should the education policy community make sense of this latest budget development? It is really hard to say, but here are a few key facts and dates to keep in mind. Follow them and you’ll know as much as can be known in this uncertain budgeting world.

Fiscal Year 2013 Funding, the “CR”: Congress provided federal education programs with fiscal year 2013 funding temporarily at the same level as the prior year on what is called a “continuing resolution,” or CR. The CR provides funding from ...

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Jan
31
2013

Latest Higher Education Data Now Available from Federal Education Budget Project Clare McCann

The Federal Education Budget Project (FEBP) today announced new higher education data available on its website from the 2011 year.  The data are available for more than 7,500 institutions of higher education, as well as every state across the country, and include college prices, financial aid, demographics, and outcomes data.

We also added a new data point: graduate student enrollment at institutions of higher education for 2009 through 2011. As graduate school – with its students’ substantial debt burdens – continues to inch its way into the higher education debate, a greater understanding ...

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Jan
28
2013

Setting Student Loan Interest Rates: Income-Based Repayment IS the Cap Jason Delisle

Congress and the president need a more rational way to set interest rates on federal student loans. The 6.8 percent rate on the most widely-available type of loan was set in 2001 and based on what student advocates and lawmakers thought sounded good then. Years later, lawmakers lowered the rate to 3.4 percent, but only for some undergraduates, and only on a portion of their loans, and only for loans made during the 2011 school year. President Obama wanted that policy extended for just one year, and Congress obliged. Rather than extend that policy further, lawmakers should consider a comprehensive ...

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Jan
25
2013

Friday News Roundup: Week of January 21-25 Lindsey Tepe

Cal State system has $250 million funding gap

Bill giving Colorado illegal immigrants in-state tuition passes test

Michigan school funding proposal would seek more financial equality among districts

Federal funding cuts threaten Nevada Department of Education

 

Cal State system has $250 million funding gap

California State University officials indicated that they are $250 million short on their 2014 budget after Governor Jerry Brown only allocated $125 million in state funds. Even that allocation comes with strings attached -- $10 million must go to expanding ...

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Jan
20
2013

Waiver Watch: Forecasting Obama's Second Term Anne Hyslop

Much like the rest of President Obama’s signature education programs from the first term, the policy around ESEA flexibility seems to be shifting. The focus is no longer on how to win a waiver, but rather, on how to implement and monitor the commitments states made. Most states have secured their waiver, with only a handful waiting for approval from the Department of Education. While I’d encourage states to continue to refine their waivers based on lessons learned during implementation, no one has forced states (besides Virginia) to change their plans mid-course. Further, the Department has ...

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Jan
18
2013

Friday News Roundup: Week of January 14-18 Clare McCann

Lindsey Tepe | Clare McCann

Brewer: Make performance part of formula for Arizona school funding

Public universities want more state funding, improved relationship with New Hampshire lawmakers

Nevada state funding increase may not cut Clark County class sizes

Governor Mike Pence, Indiana House GOP seek vouchers, pre-kindergarten aid

Brewer: Make performance part of formula for Arizona school funding
During her ‘State of the State’ address, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer called for a change in school funding allocations. Brewer’s proposal would adjust the state’s ...

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Jan
17
2013

What to Think about the MET Project Results Anne Hyslop

What can you do with $45 million and three years? Well, if you’re the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, you can confirm, empirically, what educators have always known implicitly: great teaching matters, it can be measured, and it improves student learning.[1]

That was one of the many findings released last week in the final report from the MET Project (Measures of Effective Teaching). MET has generated buzz in education and popular media alike, so I won’t provide a full synopsis here. For a basic summary, check out the Washington Post or Huffington Post rundown; for more thoughtful ...

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Jan
15
2013

What to Think about StudentsFirst’s State Policy Report Card Anne Hyslop

Everyone from U.S. News to David Letterman knows that a surefire way to get attention is to produce a ranking. Few – including my colleagues – can resist their clear-cut simplicity (or the opportunity to be judgmental). Add a controversial figure like former DCPS Chancellor Michelle Rhee to the mix, and it’s no surprise that StudentsFirst’s State Policy Report Card has received so much attention.

Love or hate Rhee, these rankings matter – at least to policymakers, the media, and wonks. Two-thirds of states couldn’t muster a ‘C’ on their report card, which examined twenty-four policies ...

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Jan
15
2013

Federal Student Loan Refinancing: Are the Best Terms Around Really Not Enough? Jason Delisle

The Center for American Progress yesterday issued a preview of its upcoming proposal, which argues that Congress should allow people to refinance their student loans. The authors point out that the interest rate on the most widely-available federal student loan is a fixed 6.8 percent, but interest rates on other types of debt, like home mortgages and U.S. Treasury securities, are lower. Thus, they argue, borrowers with federal student loans should be able to take advantage of the lower rates. This line of reasoning is alluring, but it belies some key facts about federal student loans and lending ...

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Jan
04
2013

Friday News Roundup: Week of December 31-January 4 Alex Holt

Despite surplus, Michigan may need to cut school spending in 2013

Connecticut task force recommends significant changes to district funding formula

California Governor Jerry Brown to propose major changes to district funding allocation

Maine governor orders $35.5M in temporary state spending cuts, including $12.6M in school aid

Despite surplus, Michigan may need to cut school spending in 2013
In spite of a $1.04 billion dollar surplus for fiscal year 2012, Michigan may have to cut education funding for 2013 by $150 per student, according to a new report from the ...

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Jan
02
2013

Education Tax Benefits Extended, Fiscal Cliff Delayed Into a New Session of Congress Clare McCann

Congress pulled the country back from the edge of the fiscal cliff late Tuesday night when the U.S. House of Representatives voted to pass an agreement urgently negotiated and passed by the Senate on New Year’s Day. The agreement, set to become law this week, addresses some, but not all, of the policies that make up the fiscal cliff. It deals mainly with expiring tax policies, but only postpones for a few weeks the automatic spending cuts set to take effect on January 2 and does not increase the limit on the national debt. The pending law – titled the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 – extends ...

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Dec
19
2012

Fiscal Cliff Could Have Severe Effects for Certain School Districts Clare McCann

Rumors swirling around Washington, D.C. suggest President Obama and Speaker of the House John Boehner are close to reaching a deal to head off the expiration of current income tax rates and across-the-board spending cuts scheduled for January 2013. This is the dreaded “fiscal cliff.” But if they can’t reach a deal soon, the effects will be felt at public schools across the country – particularly at so-called “federally impacted” schools. Using data published annually by the National Association of Federally Impacted Schools (NAFIS), we calculated the anticipated effects of the across-the-board ...

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Dec
14
2012

Friday News Roundup: Week of December 10-14 Clare McCann

Indiana higher ed commission wants tuition increase held at inflation

Louisiana’s Jindal administration to announce $129 million in cuts; colleges and health care expected to take big hits

Alabama’s two-year college system seeks $478 million in state funds for next year

Missouri lawmakers consider higher ed funding formula

Indiana higher ed commission wants tuition increase held at inflation
The Indiana Commission for Higher Education this week recommended that the state’s seven public universities hold their increases in tuition and fee costs at or below the rate ...

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Dec
13
2012

Barclays Student Loan Report: New Income Based Repayment Enrollment to Balloon, $235 Billion Hidden Cost Jason Delisle

Note: This post has been updated. The original version mischaracterized figures on the cost of IBR from the Barclays report.

In October the New America Foundation released Safety Net or Windfall, which explains how Obama administration changes to the Income-Based Repayment plan for federal student loans set to take effect this month dramatically expand the benefits the program offers, particularly to graduate students. Now Barclays has issued a report that measures just how big those changes will be.

The report, Student Loans: An Educated Mess, argues that the government has underestimated ...

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Dec
07
2012

Friday News Roundup: Week of December 3-7 Alex Holt

Connecticut budget cuts stall plan to hire additional college faculty

Judge deals a setback to Louisiana’s voucher program

Wyoming governor's budget plan cuts $11.4M from UW

Iowa regents freeze tuition for in-state undergrads

Connecticut budget cuts stall plan to hire additional college faculty
Connecticut’s largest college system, the Connecticut State Colleges & Universities, has suspended its plan to hire 47 new faculty members because its budget was cut last week when Governor Dan Malloy included $14.4 million in higher education cuts to the system as part ...

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Dec
05
2012

How Much Student Loan Forgiveness Would Senator Rubio Qualify for Under New IBR Repayment Plan? Jason Delisle

Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) just announced that he paid off his student loans early with the proceeds from a book deal. Paying down debt ahead of schedule is generally a prudent financial move. But if the Obama administration’s new Income-Based Repayment (IBR) plan had been in place when Senator Rubio graduated from law school, his decision to pay down debt early would have been a sucker bet. Why pay early when your unpaid loans will be forgiven? That’s the financial choice countless graduate students will face in the coming years thanks to a now more-generous IBR plan that took effect on November ...

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Dec
04
2012

Waiver Watch: Time for ED to Get Serious about Graduation Rates Anne Hyslop

Last week on Ed Money Watch, Clare McCann reported on the new, comparable, statewide high school graduation rates released by the U.S. Department of Education. The bottom line: graduation rates are lower than previously reported, and achievement gaps are a huge challenge for states. But even though the news is grim, the fact that the data exist is a major achievement. The more accurate rates are the result of years of negotiations and efforts by governors, state education agencies, the U.S. Department of Education, and advocacy groups. It’s been no secret that previous graduation rate numbers ...

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Nov
30
2012

Friday News Roundup: Week of November 26-30 Clare McCann

Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy shrinks deficit with cuts to social services, colleges

Alabama prepaid tuition program will run out of money in 2015 without lawsuit settlement, report estimates

West Virginia state higher ed chief says no cuts to financial aid

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber’s budget offers 500 more teachers, cap on PERS increases

Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy shrinks deficit with cuts to social services, colleges
In response to a $363 million deficit, Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy this week announced a $123 million round of emergency cuts. Most ...

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Nov
28
2012

New, More Accurate Statewide Graduation Rates Released by Department of Education Clare McCann

This week, the U.S. Department of Education released the first comparable, statewide high school on-time graduation rates. The results from the 2010-2011 school year show more students failed to complete high school in four years than was previously thought, especially when examined by subgroup.

The Bush administration’s Department of Education mandated the new measure – the adjusted four-year cohort graduate rate – in 2008, so states reported data from their first cohort this year. This year’s rates, therefore, refer to students who were 9th graders in 2008 and earned a high school diploma ...

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Nov
19
2012

PARCC Defines College and Career Readiness, But Will It Matter? Anne Hyslop

46 states and Washington, D.C. have adopted and pledged to implement the Common Core standards and assessments, but authentic implementation of the standards remains elusive. And it’s not because states lack aligned curriculum materials or technical capacity. Rather, states have not yet enacted policies to legitimize the standards within higher education. The college and career readiness goal embedded throughout the Common Core is hollow unless universities and employers accept the premise and buy in to the notion that students mastering these standards are prepared for success.

Recognizing ...

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Nov
20
2012

What We Can (and Can’t) Learn from the Early SIG Results Anne Hyslop

Release the kraken data! The U.S. Department of Education has finally revealed some of the results from its research on the effectiveness of the School Improvement Grant (SIG) program, or rather, the one-time, $3 billion infusion to the SIG program included in the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The controversial program, which was re-tooled by the Obama administration, has supported intensive turnaround efforts – up to $2 million per school – in over 1,300 of the nation’s chronically low-performing schools.

The sliver of data released this week includes 2009-10 and ...

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Nov
16
2012

Friday News Roundup: Week of November 12-16 Alex Holt

Board of Minnesota higher ed institutions requests additional funding from state legislators

State university presidents in Indiana request increase after years of flat funding

Idaho teachers will receive bonus pay based on performance

Republicans criticize outgoing North Carolina governor for pre-K expansion

Board of Minnesota higher ed institutions requests additional funding from state legislators
The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Board of Trustees this week offered to cap tuition increases at three percent, decrease administrative expenses by $44 million, ...

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Nov
15
2012

Subsidized Stafford Loans Obsolete and Regressive Due to New Income Based Repayment Jason Delisle

Back in 2010, the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform (aka the Simpson-Bowles commission) recommended as part of its deficit and debt reduction proposal that policymakers end the interest-free benefit on Subsidized Stafford student loans. These loans are a subset of student loans awarded to borrowers who meet an income and cost-of-attendance formula test. The proposal was met with howls from student and borrower advocates who rushed to point out that students would leave school with more debt if policymakers eliminated the interest benefit, which stops the interest clock ...

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Nov
15
2012

Election Aftermath: An Uncertain Future for Education Policy? Anne Hyslop

Conventional wisdom may say that the federal government should make way for states in education reform, but a week ago, voters didn’t seem to agree. In Idaho, voters rejected merit pay for teachers, limits on unions’ collective bargaining powers, and an expensive contract to provide one-to-one mobile computing devices to students and teachers. South Dakotans voted down similar measures to eliminate tenure and adopt merit pay. And in perhaps the biggest upset, Glenda Ritz, a teacher, defeated Indiana’s incumbent Superintendent for Public Instruction, Tony Bennett, an education reform superstar. ...

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Nov
14
2012

How the Pell Grant Program Overtook PreK-12 Education Programs Clare McCann

In 2009, President Obama and a Democratic Congress passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), an economic stimulus package that included large, one-time cash infusions for some of the federal government’s largest education programs.  But since then, Congress and the president reset funding for key PreK-12 programs back to their prior funding levels and haven’t increased it since. Meanwhile, they’ve ensured that the Pell Grant program for undergraduate students from low-income families maintained the one-time funding gains and then some. Will a second-term Obama administration ...

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Nov
05
2012

Jason Delisle Interviewed in Businessweek on New Income-Based Repayment Plan Alex Holt

Last week, the Obama administration finalized regulations for Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE). The program is an update to the existing Income-Based Repayment (IBR) plan, and it allows federal student loan borrowers to pay ten percent of their income every month and receive loan forgiveness after 20 years, changed from 15 percent of borrowers’ monthly incomes and 25-year loan forgiveness under the old version of IBR. The Federal Education Budget Project released a report last month demonstrating that PAYE will provide windfall benefits to graduate and professional students, even if they end up earning ...

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Nov
02
2012

Friday News Roundup: Week of October 29-November 2 Clare McCann

After years of cuts, big spending increase in proposed Colorado budget

Despite rough economy, school spending climbs in Illinois

Parents informed of additional spending cuts needed for the Birmingham school system

Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval fails to resolve school district, union grant feud

After years of cuts, big spending increase in proposed Colorado budget
After a series of cuts to the state education budget, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper (D) has proposed big spending increases for education in his fiscal year 2014 budget proposal. Under the proposed ...

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Nov
01
2012

The Benefits of Income-Based Repayment for High-Income Borrowers Alex Holt

The Obama administration announced today that its redesigned Income-Based Repayment (IBR) regulations for federal student loans are now final. The plan, called Pay-As-You-Earn, is meant to help struggling borrowers repay their loans, but according to the Federal Education Budget Project report, Safety Net or Windfall? Examining Changes to Income-Based Repayment for Federal Student Loans, it also will provide substantial benefits to borrowers earning high incomes.

Ed Money Watch has published several posts detailing that finding and recommending changes to the policy that would prevent ...

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Oct
25
2012

College Board Report Shows Fertile Ground for Deficit Reduction in Tax Credits Clare McCann

This week, The College Board released its annual Trends in College Pricing and Trends in Student Aid reports for the 2012-13 school year. This year, the headline of the reports has been that 2012-13 in-state tuition at public four-year colleges rose from last year’s tuition levels at a slower rate than it did in the previous two years. (Even that comparison fails to note the real news, though, that tuition rose by more than three times inflation this year. See this post from our sister blog, Higher Ed Watch, for more.)

Given that lawmakers are sure to plunge into a deficit-cutting frenzy ...

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Oct
23
2012

Waiver Watch: Making Sense of Thirty-Five Shades of Grey Anne Hyslop

Ever since the first waivers were submitted last November, there has been an inherent dilemma in the Obama administration’s No Child Left Behind (NCLB) flexibility plan: the tension between comprehension and precision in states’ accountability systems.

On one hand, NCLB set a goal so high – 100 percent proficiency by 2014 – that it became meaningless. And its blunt measure of school quality (student proficiency only) and prescriptive, top-down improvement activities (based on the number of years a school failed to meet Adequate Yearly Progress, regardless of why the school missed those ...

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Oct
22
2012

New America’s Recommendations for a Better Income-Based Repayment Plan Clare McCann

Last week, the New America Foundation released the policy paper Safety Net or Windfall?: Examining Changes to Income-Based Repayment for Federal Student Loans, which demonstrates that the Obama Administration’s pending changes to the Income-Based Repayment plan for federal student loans, called Pay As You Earn (PAYE), will provide windfall benefits to high-debt, high-income borrowers and could allow graduate and professional schools to raise tuition with impunity. The report also recommends that the Obama Administration make a few tweaks to its proposed changes to IBR before the regulations ...

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Oct
19
2012

Jason Delisle Featured on Yahoo Finance: Obama's Student Loan Program Is a Windfall for the Rich Clare McCann

This week, the Federal Education Budget Project, Ed Money Watch's parent initiative, released a report that shows how the Obama Administration's proposed changes to Income-Based Repayment (a federal student loan repayment plan designed to help struggling borrowers) will offer the biggest increase in benefits to high-debt graduates -- even once their incomes rise to six figures. Director of the Federal Education Budget Project and co-author of the report Jason Delisle sat down with Yahoo! Finance's Aaron Task this week to explain the key points of the paper, and to review how the Administration ...

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Oct
17
2012

New America's Numbers on IBR: Setting the Record Straight Jason Delisle

Yesterday, the New America Foundation’s Federal Education Budget Project released Safety Net or Windfall?: Examining Changes to Income-Based Repayment for Federal Student Loans, a report detailing how pending changes to the Income-Based Repayment (IBR) plan for federal student loans will affect different types of borrowers. The New York Times highlighted the report and noted that other policy experts agree with the report’s findings – namely that high-debt borrowers will receive the biggest increase in benefits even if they earn a high income. But one of those experts, FinAid.org founder Mark ...

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Oct
15
2012

New Paper Highlights Perverse Benefits of New Income-Based Repayment Formula Clare McCann

In today’s tough economy, many recent college graduates are looking for ways to shrink their federal student loan payments. Income-Based Repayment (IBR), which allows students to pay a monthly amount based on their earnings, not their federal student loan balances, provides significant relief. However, a new report, Safety Net or Windfall? Examining Changes to Income-Based Repayment for Federal Student Loans, from the Federal Education Budget Project (Ed Money Watch's parent initiative) shows that pending changes to IBR are far more generous than previously thought. Borrowers with high student ...

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Oct
09
2012

College-Ready Wars: Common Core vs. ACT and the College Board Anne Hyslop

As I wrote last week on Ed Money Watch, states are so concerned over Common Core implementation that many have not established the necessary policy structures to ensure the effort will deliver on its college- and career-ready promise. Most states have adopted curriculum standards that incorporate the knowledge and skills students need to meet postsecondary expectations, and two state consortia, PARCC and SmarterBalanced, are developing assessments that accurately measure student mastery of these competencies. But the majority has only begun to fight the battle for performance standards that ...

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Oct
10
2012

New America Releases Income-Based Repayment Calculator For Forthcoming Report Jason Delisle

Update: New America has released Safety Net or Windfall? Examining Changes to Income-Based Repayment for Federal Student Loans. The paper can be accessed here.

Next week, the New America Foundation will release a paper examining pending changes to the Income-Based Repayment (IBR) program for federal student loans. Today, we are releasing the calculator we used to develop our findings.

The pending changes to IBR are the result of an Obama administration proposal to change the federal student loan program’s existing Income-Based Repayment (IBR) plan—which caps borrowers’ payments at ...

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Oct
09
2012

Teacher Incentive Fund 2012 Awards Granted by U.S. Department of Education Clare McCann

Last week, the U.S. Department of Education announced thirty-five new grants that it will make through the Teacher Incentive Fund. The $290 million in grants will go to school districts and non-profit organizations that won a competition to implement teacher compensation systems based on pay-for-performance principles. There were twenty-nine winners in the general competition, and another six in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) competition. The TIF program is certainly small compared to other federal programs, but it’s worth keeping an eye on because Congress and the Obama ...

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Oct
05
2012

Friday News Roundup: Week of October 1-5 Alex Holt

North Carolina state board of education may not comply with state officials' budget request

Texas Governor Rick Perry pushing tuition freeze, $10,000 degrees

Kansas Democrats foresee $900 million in education cuts

Idaho suit takes on school fees

North Carolina state board of education may not comply with state officials' budget request
The North Carolina State Board of Education plans to ignore a request from state budget officials that the agency design a series of budget proposals that both increase and decrease spending by 2 percent in the 2013-2014 biennium from ...

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Oct
05
2012

Presidential Debate Included Mentions of Education, but Candidates Raised More Questions Clare McCann

In the first presidential debate this week, both Governor Romney and President Obama gave education a bigger spotlight than anticipated. Both candidates approached education reform as a way to drive job creation and improve workforce training for American workers. Their comments, however, brought up a few lingering questions. (For more on the debate, check out this post from Maggie Severns at our sister blog, Early Ed Watch.)

Governor Romney’s Record: The Massachusetts Bubble

Governor Romney touted his record in Massachusetts, saying the state’s schools “are ranked number one in ...

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Oct
02
2012

Waiver Watch: What is College-Ready and Who Gets to Decide? Anne Hyslop

It goes without saying these days that there is a lot of angst around Common Core implementation among state officials, local administrators, educators, and policy insiders. Many worry about the kinds of questions that will be on the new assessments, the quality of instructional materials, curricula, and training for teachers, the lack of technical capacity to handle online testing, and the possibility that federal involvement in Common Core will erode state political support. These are all significant, valid concerns within the K-12 community.

But no matter how well these issues are addressed, ...

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Oct
02
2012

3-Year Student Loan Cohort Default Rates Reveal Concerning Graduation Rate Trend Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Yesterday, the Federal Education Budget Project, Ed Money Watch’s parent initiative, published the latest two- and three-year cohort default rates for every institution on its comprehensive higher education database. The percentage of students who enter repayment in a given year and default on their loans within either two or three years—the cohort default rate—is meant to ensure that institutions whose graduates cannot repay their loans are ineligible for federal student aid. What do the latest data tell us about institutions with particularly high default rates?

Currently, schools with ...

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Sep
28
2012

Friday News Roundup: Week of September 24-28 Alex Holt

Louisiana Governor proposes paying for pre-K with federal hurricane recovery dollars

California Governor stumps for tax increase to avoid massive education budget cuts

Expansion to University of Missouri’s medical program dependent on tobacco tax hike

Former Pennsylvania governor says surplus should have gone to education budget instead of Rainy Day fund

Louisiana Governor proposes paying for pre-K with federal hurricane recovery dollars

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has proposed paying for part of the state’s free preschool program for at-risk youth with federal ...

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Sep
26
2012

At Education Nation, Two Visions for Federal Education Policy Anne Hyslop

Presidential politics made its way into the final day of NBC News’ third annual Education Nation summit Tuesday, with an appearance by Governor Mitt Romney and a taped interview between Today show co-anchor Savannah Guthrie and President Barack Obama. Finally, both candidates got a little wonky and explained their education policy proposals, along with the underlying philosophy that informed them.

After nearly four years of watching President Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan in action, the president’s interview offered few revelations to education stakeholders, beyond an interesting ...

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Sep
27
2012

Low-Need States Benefited the Most from ARRA Spending Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 provided an unprecedented $100 billion in additional funding for education over fiscal years 2009, 2010, and 2011. It has been notoriously difficult to interpret how states used those funds, despite promises of “transparency” from the Obama Administration. Did the money go to support the states that needed the most help? According to a recent U.S. Department of Education report, no—on average states with high per pupil spending and high student achievement received the most.

The report examines distributions of ARRA funds per pupil at ...

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Sep
24
2012

Congress Passes Continuing Resolution to Fund Government for Six Months Before Leaving Town Clare McCann

This weekend, the Senate voted 62-30 to approve a continuing resolution (CR) that will fund the government for the first six months of fiscal year 2013, which begins on October 1. The bill, which the House of Representatives passed last week, maintains spending at fiscal year 2012 levels, plus a 0.612 percent increase across the board. This will bring total spending for Department of Education discretionary programs to about $68.5 billion. With that final business accomplished, both chambers of Congress agreed to recess until after the November elections.

The CR maintains overall spending ...

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Sep
21
2012

Friday News Roundup: Week of September 17-21 Clare McCann

Kansas Board of Regents recommends $47.1 million budget increase for higher education

Term-limited Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer says successors should use some surplus to freeze tuition

Mississippi lawmakers question school funding formula

Iowa Regents to seek $40 million financial aid program

Kansas Board of Regents recommends $47.1 million budget increase for higher education
The Kansas Board of Regents voted this week to propose a 6.2 percent spending increase for higher education, although Kansas Governor Sam Brownback had requested that state agencies submit ...

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Sep
19
2012

FEBP Expansion Provides New Pre-K Data Resource, But Challenges Remain Clare McCann

This post also appeared on our sister blog, Early Ed Watch.

Even as the availability of data on K-12 education programs has exploded over the past decade, the American education system suffers from an acute lack of some of the most basic information about publicly funded programs for young children. Data on funding and enrollment for these programs at the local level have not been publicly available, obscuring the public and policymakers’ basic understanding of these services. Until now.

Today, the New America Foundation’s Early Education Initiative and Federal Education Budget Project ...

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Sep
18
2012

Districts Return Teacher Incentive Fund Dollars, Unable to Reach Agreement with Unions Clare McCann

The Chicago Public Schools (CPS) teachers strike that started last week – the first in the district in 25 years – is not the first time this year that CPS’s administration has been thwarted by the teachers union.  Earlier this year, the school district voluntarily cancelled its $35 million, five-year Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF) grant when it failed to obtain buy-in from the Chicago Teachers Union.

The Teacher Incentive Fund program, conceived under President Bush but dramatically reformed and expanded by the current administration, provides large grants to school districts to support ...

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Sep
14
2012

Sequestration Will Mean Significant Cuts for Needy School Districts Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Last Friday, the Office of Management and Budget at the White House released a sequestration report, confirming the impact of the automatic, across-the-board funding cuts scheduled for January 2013. Sequestration resulted from the “supercommittee’s” failure to find $1.2 trillion in 10-year cuts to federal spending (or tax increases) last year. According to the report, the majority of Department of Education spending programs will face an 8.2 percent cut as a result of the sequester. Unless Congress and the President agree to turn off the sequester, school districts across the country will face ...

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Sep
14
2012

Romney Education Plan Would Face Significant Political Hurdles Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Several months ago, the Romney campaign released a document titled “A Chance for Every Child” that outlined the candidate’s education platform. Buried in the document is a proposal to “voucherize” the two largest federal programs for K-12 education: Title I and Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) state grants. The proposal would allow eligible students to take that funding with them to the public or private school or district of their choice. While such student-based funding is gaining popularity, can a student really just show up at a school with federal vouchers in hand and ...

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Sep
13
2012

Waiver Watch: Can States Go Their Own Way? Anne Hyslop

With fresh, third round ESEA flexibility requests from Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Maine, New Hampshire, North Dakota, and West Virginia, along with Puerto Rico and the Bureau of Indian Education, the U.S. Department of Education has received 47 waiver proposals since last November. Thirty-three states and Washington, D.C. have been approved to date, leaving only Illinois, Idaho, and Iowa with outstanding requests from the second round. Initial concerns about the “strings attached” to the waivers – i.e. college- and career-ready standards and assessments, differentiated accountability and improvement ...

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Sep
11
2012

Fiscal Year 2013 Continuing Resolution Neglects to Address Sequestration Clare McCann

With fewer than two weeks left before Congress leaves Washington for a pre-election recess, lawmakers appear to have reached a deal to avoid a government shutdown that would have occurred October 1st absent a temporary funding bill.

Fiscal year 2013 begins on October 1, 2012, but Congress has so far failed to pass any of the dozen annual appropriations bills that will fund discretionary programs. In response, lawmakers appear set to adopt a six-month continuing resolution (CR) that will maintain virtually all discretionary spending at fiscal year 2012 funding levels, plus a 0.612 percent ...

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Sep
07
2012

Friday News Roundup: Week of September 3-7 Clare McCann

Georgia tech schools raise tuition 13 percent

Connecticut learns price of universal preschool: $264 million

Snyder: Michigan will appeal ruling striking down 3 percent retirement deduction for teachers

Luna seeks 5 percent more for Idaho schools

Georgia tech schools raise tuition 13 percent
The board that governs Georgia’s 25 public technical colleges voted this week to increase tuition from $75 to $85 per credit hour next semester, a 13 percent increase. The tuition increase will take effect for the spring semester, which begins in January. The board is also ...

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Sep
06
2012

Race to the Top-District Competition Draws Nearly 900 Applications Clare McCann

Nearly 900 local educational agencies (LEAs) – 893, to be exact – recently notified the Department of Education of their intent to apply for the Race to the Top-District (RTT-D) competition. RTT-D is the newest incarnation of the Race to the Top franchise, which was previously only available to states. It now allows school districts to compete for a chunk of the $383 million in federal money appropriated in 2012 based on their plans to personalize students’ education. That doesn’t mean all of those applicants will necessarily complete a full bid for the grants, or that other districts won’t ...

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Sep
06
2012

Waiver Watch: Yes, Virginia, There Is an Achievement Gap Anne Hyslop

Reporters, bloggers, eduwonks, public officials, and civil rights leaders have been weighing in on Virginia’s separate – and very unequal – achievement goals for student subgroups in their ESEA waiver request in droves. And many rightfully cheered the U.S. Department of Education’s announcement last week that Virginia would be revising its achievement targets by month’s end to make them more ambitious for disadvantaged students. The tremendous coverage of Virginia’s AMO (annual measurable objective) debacle undoubtedly encouraged the Department to take action. But unfortunately, they got part ...

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Sep
05
2012

Ryan Proposed Budget Cuts Could Mean Millions Lost for Some Districts Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Paul Ryan’s proposal to cut federal spending by 20 percent has been impossible to ignore – especially what that might mean for education programs. Federal spending currently makes up about 10 percent of annual spending for education, so a 20 percent cut to that spending would only translate to 2 percent of total spending, on average. But what about the impact on non-average school districts?  As it turns out, more than 1,500 districts rely on federal funds for 20 percent or more of their annual revenue, and those districts would take a big hit.

Last week, Ed Media Commons showcased data ...

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Aug
20
2012

Why Some New Retirees See Social Security Benefits Reduced for Unpaid Student Loans Clare McCann

An NPR story that aired last week underscored a familiar narrative that student loan debt follows borrowers for the rest of their lives. It looked at a new Wall Street Journal report that shows the federal government garnishing monthly benefits for some Social Security recipients because they owe back payments on federal student loans. That’s a growing problem, the story says – but is this problem further proof that student loans are spiraling out of control, or something completely unrelated?

The story, produced by Wall Street Journal’s SmartMoney, shows that the number of Social Security ...

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Aug
20
2012

Summer Break Clare McCann

Ed Money Watch will be on summer break for the next two weeks. We will return the week of September 3. Enjoy the rest of your summer!

...
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Aug
17
2012

Friday News Roundup: Week of August 13-17 Clare McCann

Kansas Board of Regents makes budget recommendations

West Virginia colleges address requested budget cuts

North Dakota governor proposing $545 million in tax relief

Louisiana university will lose 130 jobs in historic budget cuts

Kansas Board of Regents makes budget recommendations
The Kansas Board of Regents this week agreed to narrow its budget requests for fiscal year 2013 and will submit its budget to Governor Sam Brownback’s office next month. The request was reduced from $194 million to $78 million during its meeting. Kansas University’s request for $2.5 million ...

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Aug
16
2012

School Funding Report Finds Inequities in State Allocation Formulas Clare McCann

Here at Ed Money Watch, we frequently write about the federal distribution of funds to states, but what states actually do with those funds once they get them is somewhat clouded by a lack of transparency. A new report published this summer by the Education Law Center and Rutgers University Graduate School of Education argues that inequities at the district level are perpetuated by the formulas states use to allocate federal, state, and local funds to school districts.

The Education Law Center report, “Is School Funding Fair? A National Report Card,” measures ‘fairness’ in school funding ...

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Aug
14
2012

Revisiting Ryan Versus Obama on Pell Grants Clare McCann

This post was updated August 18th to reflect possible higher costs for the Ryan Pell proposal

All eyes are back on the Pell Grant proposal in the Ryan budget (the House-passed fiscal year 2013 budget resolution) now that Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) will be Governor Mitt Romney’s running mate. It goes unmentioned, however, that when it comes to Pell Grant funding, both Ryan and Obama are making promises that they cannot possibly keep.

The plan Rep. Ryan included in his fiscal 2013 budget resolution would make a series of eligibility changes to the program, end the portion of the program’s ...

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Aug
09
2012

Was Milton Friedman a Higher-Ed Progressive? Alex Holt

Conservatives have been gushing praise for Milton Friedman on what would have been his 100th birthday last week. For some liberals, though, Friedman is a more controversial figure, especially in education policy – he proposed what we now know as school vouchers. Yet liberals do thank Milton Friedman for one thing: he proposed the idea of an income-contingent student loan program.

Yes, in case you haven’t heard, many sources cite Milton Friedman as the father of income-contingent loans, including a 2010 Inside Higher Ed op-ed. Income-contingent loans vary by program, but all involve the ...

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Aug
03
2012

Friday News Roundup: Week of July 30-August 3 Clare McCann

Alabama education fund revenue on pace to meet expenses

Sending more money to classroom part of Ohio Governor John Kasich’s plan to revamp school funding

University of Hawaii Foundation raises $66.9 million during fiscal year for public university system

California reaches deep into special funds to pay for schools, prisons, social services

Alabama education fund revenue on pace to meet expenses
Alabama finance officials said this week that they expect the state’s Education Trust Fund will collect enough revenue to meet its fiscal year 2012 target and avoid across-the-board ...

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Aug
02
2012

Education Tax Credits Set to Expire at Year’s End Await Congressional Action Clare McCann

Last week, The New York Times published an article on the Coverdell savings account, calling it controversial because earnings in these accounts are tax-free if used to send students to private or religious K-12 schools. The article also pointed out that the K-12 component of the tax credit expires at the end of this year, making the issue ripe for further debate. We think they may have missed the bigger picture. Some education-related tax benefits have expired already, more will expire soon, and some (maybe all of them) will ultimately be extended at the last minute. So Coverdell accounts are ...

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Jul
31
2012

CBO Issues Fresh Evidence That Student Loan Defaults Cost Taxpayers Clare McCann

Ed Money Watch has run a number of posts over the past two years debunking the myth that the federal government profits when borrowers default on their student loans (see here and here). This well-worn myth holds that the penalties, fees, and interest the government charges defaulters, coupled with its extraordinary collection powers (tax refund offset, wage garnishment, etc.) means the government stands to collect more on a student loan when a borrower defaults than if he had paid it off in full and on time. This simply isn’t true – and new evidence that it is not was just released.

Back ...

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Jul
27
2012

Friday News Roundup: Week of July 23-27 Clare McCann

Missouri public school aid formula facing $700 million shortfall

Texas financial aid program to fall well short of need

Louisiana school officials face aid freeze challenges

Board vote means $300 million less for Texas schools

Missouri public school aid formula facing $700 million shortfall
Missouri public schools, assured that they will receive a set per-pupil amount each year from state and local funding, will instead collect about $250 million less than the full funding amount in the current 2013 fiscal year. By fiscal year 2014, the shortfall is expected ...

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Jul
25
2012

Department of Education Tips Its Hat on Planned Sequesters, but Still Little Information Available Clare McCann

Members of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health & Human Services (HHS), and Education huddled today with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and several school officials for a hearing to examine how sequestration – the automatic, across-the-board budget cuts coming in January – might affect education programs. Virtually everyone agreed: The impact on schools would be severe. Still, education stakeholders have been asking how sequestration might affect schools, and until this past week they lacked good estimates of those effects.

First, a quick review: Last summer, ...

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Jul
20
2012

Friday News Roundup: Week of July 16-20 Clare McCann

Mississippi schools to seek $320 million more in 2014

New Jersey’s Rutgers University raises in-state tuition 2.5 percent despite protests

South Carolina Senate overrides veto of $10 million for teachers

Audit: Colorado tuition up, state stipend decreases

Mississippi schools to seek $320 million more in 2014
The Mississippi State Board of Education this week released its official request to legislators for the amount of funding public K-12 schools will require in the 2014 fiscal year. The formula, known as the Mississippi Adequate Education Program, requires the ...

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Jul
19
2012

Department of Ed Gets It Wrong on New Pay As You Earn Calculations Alex Holt

On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Education proposed regulations for its new Pay as You Earn (PAYE) student loan repayment plan. The Obama Administration announced the new repayment option for federal student loans last year and the newly-released rules detail how it will work and who is eligible. But a quick look at the document reveals a few problems in how the Department is explaining this new program.

First, some background. The new Pay As You Earn plan adds to the two existing repayment options (Income Contingent Repayment, or ICR, and Income Based Repayment, IBR) that allow borrowers ...

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Jul
17
2012

Are No Child Left Behind Waivers Really Giving States Flexibility? Clare McCann

As of July 6, the U.S. Department of Education has granted more than half of states waivers from the most punitive provisions of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act.  The Obama Administration is issuing the waivers to address unworkable parts of the 2002 law as key deadlines near and a legislative solution is unlikely. States granted waivers will no longer be subject NCLB’s accountability rules and must instead meet their own benchmarks for student achievement. However, the Obama Administration is taking steps to preserve a key piece of NCLB that has made it harder for schools to hide their ...

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Jul
13
2012

Friday News Roundup: Week of July 9-13 Alex Holt

Corbett signs bill to help troubled Pennsylvania school districts

Nevada school district: Race to the Top money not worth the effort

Kansas Board of Education recommends $440 million increase in base state aid to schools

Arizona governor opposes initiative to make education sales tax permanent

Corbett signs bill to help troubled Pennsylvania school districts
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett signed into law this week a bill that helps financially distressed school districts balance their budgets. Under the new law, the state secretary of education will appoint a chief ...

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Jul
12
2012

College Net Price Information Not Exactly What it Seems Clare McCann

Earlier this week, the Federal Education Budget Project (FEBP, Ed Money Watch’s parent initiative) released an update to the higher education data displayed in its database. The FEBP database, which includes federal funding, demographic, and outcomes data for over 7,500 institutions of higher education and nearly 14,000 school districts, also now includes a few new variables – notably, the average net price institutions charge undergraduate students from low-income families.

Net price by income level can be a valuable tool for potential students because it estimates what potential students ...

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Jan
29
2013

The Waiver Wire: Interventions for Some, Improvement for All Anne Hyslop

The fallout from last week’s news that Washington and Wisconsin can join 24 other states with flexibility from NCLB has centered on the New York Times’ front-page coverage and whether ESEA waivers represent A) sensible relief to states from an impossible task or B) an all-out retreat from school accountability, particularly for disadvantaged and underserved students.

State education officials tend to go with option A) — like Tennessee DOE spokeswoman Kelli Gauthier: “There was a general feeling that there were these goals that no one was ever going to meet.” Unsurprisingly, national policy ...

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Jul
09
2012

Congress Uses July 2012 Student Loan Changes to Pay for Pell Grants Jason Delisle

July 1st always marks the start of a new year for federal student loan rules. Any changes lawmakers make to the programs almost always affect only newly issued loans issued after July 1st of the year that those changes are put in place. This year that deadline received a lot of attention. After months of negotiating, Congress and the president finally agreed to extend the 3.4 percent interest rate on newly issued Subsidized Stafford loans issued as of July 1st, for the 2012-13 school year. But that’s not the only change to take effect.

Last year, lawmakers made three other changes to federal ...

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Jul
09
2012

Federal Education Budget Project Announces Updates to Education Funding Database Clare McCann

The New America Foundation's Federal Education Budget Project (FEBP) this week published an update to its education funding database, www.edbudgetproject.org. The update includes the most recent data available for virtually all of the nation’s institutions of higher education. The FEBP database features information on federal funding, student demographics, and student achievement for all 50 states and nearly 14,000 school districts, as well as more than 7,500 institutions of higher education. FEBP is the only centralized source of these data available to the public, the media, and education ...

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Jun
29
2012

Did Congress Cut Interest Rates on the Wrong Student Loans? Jason Delisle

Congress and the president are about to get an earful from angry college students and parents. Lawmakers just cut the interest rate on the wrong type of federal student loans. At least, that’s one take on a new Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report.

The CBO announced yesterday that most federal student loans made this coming school year will charge interest rates high enough to earn the government a profit. The only exception: Subsidized Stafford loans for undergraduates. Those loans still provide enough benefits to borrowers to show a cost to the government – and that was before Congress ...

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Jun
29
2012

Friday News Roundup: Week of June 25-29 Alex Holt

New California budget crafted to persuade voters to support Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax hike

Kansas colleges and universities told to prioritize budget requests

Insolvency threat to New York school districts

Louisiana state-run colleges work out budgets including nearly $66 million less from general fund

New California budget crafted to persuade voters to support Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax hike
California Governor Jerry Brown this week signed into law a fiscal year 2013 budget that relies on voters to approve new taxes that will fund public services, including education. ...

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Jun
28
2012

Student Loan Interest Rate Fix Raises Questions Jason Delisle

Congress appears set to pass a bill tomorrow that allows certain undergraduate students to borrow up to $5,500 for the coming school year at a fixed interest rate of 3.4 percent instead of 6.8 percent.  The president spent months making the case for the one-year, low-rate extension, and Congress spent almost as much time debating how to pay for it. The whole episode raises a lot of questions that students, reporters and policymakers should have been asking all along.

For all the effort the president went to in arguing for the lower rate, why did he ask Congress for only a one-year fix? ...

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Jun
27
2012

Senators Ask What Sequestration Would Mean for Education Programs Clare McCann

While most of the Senate is focused on the impending July 1 deadline at which time  the interest rate on loans issued this coming school year will be set at 6.8 percent, up from 3.4 percent rate on loans made last year, other senators see another deadline, one that has far bigger ramifications for education programs. January 2nd is the day that across-the-board cuts known as sequestration, established in last summer’s debt ceiling agreement, kick in.

Last week, during deliberations on the farm bill that the Senate passed on Thursday, Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and John McCain (R-AZ) ...

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Jun
22
2012

Friday News Roundup: Week of June18-22 Clare McCann

Mississippi’s public colleges seek $72 million more

Pennsylvania state House panel acts to restore college spending cuts in budget

New Mexico state spending on special education to drop by $7M

New Jersey Democrats introduce budget, but some lawmakers threaten not to vote

Mississippi’s public colleges seek $72 million more
Mississippi Commissioner of Higher Education Hank Bounds this week asked the state’s College Board to consider additional funding for public colleges in fiscal year 2014. Next year’s 2013 budget will cut spending for state universities by $32 million ...

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Jun
20
2012

Senate Committee Approves Some Increases, Changes for 2013 K-12 Education Spending Clare McCann

We wrote last week about the Senate Labor-Health and Human Services (HHS)-Education Appropriations Subcommittee’s vote to approve fiscal year 2013 appropriations for programs administered by those agencies. Later that week, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved the bill, clearing it for the full Senate’s consideration—though that may not happen—and made its text and report language public so we can view the full details. (For an explanation of how the bill would address the Pell Grant funding cliff in fiscal year 2014, check out this earlier post.)

Many factors will influence the ...

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Jun
19
2012

Senate Subcommittee Nearly Solves the 2014 Pell Grant Funding Cliff Clare McCann

Last week a subcommittee in the Senate passed an appropriations bill to fund nearly all federal education programs for fiscal year 2013, which starts October 1, 2012. That isn’t big news because the details of a final bill that would be viable in both the House and Senate are contingent on some major roadblocks: It’s an election year; the Labor, Health & Human Services, and Education Appropriations bill is the most contentious funding bill; automatic, across-the-board spending cuts loom in January; and so on. The bill is even less newsworthy because the Pell Grant program is temporarily ...

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Jun
15
2012

Friday News Roundup: Week of June 11-15 Clare McCann

University of Alabama System poised to raise tuition

Georgia’s zero-based budgeting program to focus on education

North Carolina Senate budget plan spends less on K-12 than House proposal

Louisiana colleges poised to raise tuition

University of Alabama System poised to raise tuition
The Finance Committee of the University of Alabama System Trustees this week issued its tuition recommendations for the 2012-13 school year. Under its proposal, in-state students would pay between 7 and 8.6 percent more in tuition and fees this coming fall than they did in the 2011-12 ...

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Jun
14
2012

Senate Appropriations Subcommittee Votes to Approve Fiscal Year 2013 Education Budget Clare McCann

The Senate took another step this week towards passing fiscal year 2013 funding for education programs when the Labor, Health & Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee voted to approve an appropriations bill for those agencies. While the subcommittee hasn’t yet made the bill text available, a summary document reveals some (though not all) key details.

Nearly all federal education programs are funded one year at time through the annual appropriations process, and the Senate Subcommittee vote is a first step in that process. Yet this action is a far cry from the end ...

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Jun
12
2012

Student Loan Proposal Means Low Interest Rates Now, Cost Savings Later Clare McCann

Last week Senators Coburn (R-OK) and Burr (R-NC) introduced a bill that would replace the arbitrary interest rates on newly-issued federal student loans with rates linked to 10-year U.S. Treasury notes, plus 3.0 percentage points. We explained in an earlier post how the proposed policy would make interest rates on student loans more responsive to changes in the market and allows student loans to reflect today’s low interest rate environment.  Fixed rates on all loans issued this coming school year would be about 4.75 percent. What’s more, the proposal is budget neutral in the long run, even ...

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Jun
11
2012

States Sit on Education Jobs Funds While President Asks for More Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Last week, President Obama made a somewhat controversial comment about the need to support jobs in the struggling public sector. Then this weekend in his weekly address, the president called on Congress to do just that by passing the American Jobs Act, a $450 billion bill that would help states support public sector jobs. For education jobs the proposal would create a Teacher Stabilization Fund to provide $30 billion directly to school districts to help pay for employment-related expenses like salaries and benefits. The program is quite similar to the existing Education Jobs Fund of 2010, which ...

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Jun
08
2012

Friday News Roundup: Week of June 4-8 Clare McCann

Michigan Senate finalizes 2013 budget, education outlays

Plaintiff school districts, state battle in Kansas school finance hearing

Schools take heavy hit in new Illinois budget

Missouri officials seek fix for school funding formula

Michigan Senate finalizes 2013 budget, education outlays
Michigan lawmakers voted this week to approve fiscal year 2013 K-12 and higher education budgets, the final piece of the state’s full budget. The legislature approved the budgets four days after the legislature’s voluntary deadline of June 1, which Sen. Roger Kahn, chairman of the ...

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Jun
07
2012

New Bill Would Link Student Loan Interest Rates to Treasury Note Rates Clare McCann

Last night, Senators Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Richard Burr (R-NC) introduced the Comprehensive Student Loan Protection Act, S. 3266.  The bill draws from a proposal Ed Money Watch’s Jason Delisle issued last month.  It would set fixed student loan interest rates – for all federal student loans – that are linked to the borrowing rates on 10-year U.S. Treasury notes.

Congress has been locked in debate over a one-year extension of the 3.4 percent interest rate available for newly-issued Subsidized Stafford student loans.  Legislators are divided on how to offset the $6 billion price tag.  Delisle’s ...

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Jun
05
2012

Place-Based Strategies for Federal Programs Could Ease Burdens on Local Communities Clare McCann

Academic challenges are just the tip of the iceberg for many schools that serve low-income communities: many of their students lack access to safe living situations, healthy, well-balanced meals, and healthcare, among other quality-of-life factors. Though many federal programs exist to address these concerns, they are currently disjointed and uncoordinated. In 2010, the Obama administration launched an effort to evaluate how federal programs are concentrated in high-need communities and encourage greater cross-agency cooperation. Last week, the U.S. Department of Education released a progress ...

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Jun
01
2012

Friday News Roundup: Week of May 28-June 1 Clare McCann

North Carolina House seeks to add millions to schools

New Hampshire education funding amendment deal reached

Rhode Island House committee approves $8.1 billion budget plan that boosts school aid

Louisiana Senate panel restores $340 million to state budget cut by House

North Carolina House seeks to add millions to schools
The North Carolina state House of Representatives this week released a fiscal year 2013 budget totaling $20.3 billion. The budget, designed by the Republican-controlled House, includes one-time $250 bonuses and an extra week of vacation for all teachers, ...

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May
31
2012

Waiver States with Race to the Top Grants Slow to Reform Clare McCann

Since No Child Left Behind expired in 2007, Congress has shown only fits and starts of reauthorization activity for the most recent incarnation of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). In response, the Obama administration announced last year that it would exempt states from some of the most punitive provisions of NCLB – including one that requires all students to achieve proficiency on state reading and math exams by 2014 – if states proposed, and the Department approved, their own reform plans. The Department approved 11 states’ waivers in the first round of applications. Another ...

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May
29
2012

Romney’s Tortured Logic On Reinstating the Guaranteed Student Loan Program Jason Delisle

Last week, Mitt Romney’s campaign released a document outlining the candidate’s proposed education policies. Student loans are still making headlines, and Congress remains deadlocked over a one-year extension of the 3.4 percent interest rate on some loans, so readers were no doubt eager to see what the Republican presidential candidate has in mind for the federal student loan program. Front and center is a proposal to reinstate guarantees and subsidies to private lenders making federal student loans, or as the document reads, “Reverse President Obama’s nationalization of the student loan market ...

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May
25
2012

Friday News Roundup: Week of May 21-25 Clare McCann

University of Wyoming reveals more than $15 million in budget cuts

Governor O’Malley signs Maryland tax increase legislation

Kansas tax cuts worry education advocates

New Jersey university planning costs hit $566,000

University of Wyoming reveals more than $15 million in budget cuts
This week, University of Wyoming president Tom Buchanan released a budget proposal that would reduce the state’s operating budget from current fiscal year 2012 levels by $15.7 million annually, beginning at the start of the new fiscal year in July 2013.  The proposal is a response to ...

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May
23
2012

Race to the Top Could Mean a Spotlight on Under-Served Students Clare McCann

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan yesterday released the draft of the Department’s proposed application requirements for the Race to the Top-District (RTT-D) grant competition. Congress provided nearly $550 million for Race to the Top in its fiscal year 2012 appropriations; the Department dedicated $133 million of that to another round of the Early Learning Challenge, and the remainder to the new district-level RTT-D. According to the draft application, the Department would award districts or consortia of districts grants ranging from $15 million to $25 million depending on the number ...

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May
22
2012

Proposed 3.4 Percent Interest Rate Not the Best Deal for Students or Taxpayers Jason Delisle

Two weeks ago Ed Money Watch explained an alternative to the one-year extension of the 3.4 percent interest rate on newly-issued Subsidized Stafford loans for undergraduates pending in Congress. It would peg fixed rates on all new federal student loans to the 10-year Treasury rate plus 3.0 percentage points in the year the loans are issued. While the Congressional Budget Office says that extending the 3.4 percent interest rate on Subsidized Stafford loans by one year will cost $6 billion, this alternative proposal cuts spending by $52 billion. How have lawmakers and student aid advocates responded ...

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May
18
2012

Friday News Roundup: Week of May 14-18 Clare McCann

North Carolina House GOP considers merit pay money for schools

Dispute over college tuition roils flagship Texas campus

Alabama education trust fund budget approved

Alaska Governor Sean Parnell vetoes $66 million from Alaska budget

North Carolina House GOP considers merit pay money for schools
North Carolina House Republicans voted in a closed-door meeting this week to reallocate some 2013 funds previously designated for merit pay raises for teachers and other state employees to support teacher salaries and general public K-12 education funding. With $258 million ...

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May
17
2012

House's Sequester Alternative's Effect on Education Spending Still Unknown Clare McCann

The deadline for sequestration—the automatic, across-the-board spending cuts that were triggered last fall when the “supercommittee” failed to reach a deficit reduction agreement—is drawing near. It takes effect January 2013, part-way through fiscal year 2013. Experts and onlookers have been trying to figure out if and how lawmakers will cancel sequestration before that deadline. The Republican-led House of Representatives now has its answer.

First, a refresher on how Congress got here: As part of an agreement to increase the limit on the national debt last summer, legislators passed the ...

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May
15
2012

Focusing the Student Loan Conversation on the Average Borrower, Not the Average Loan Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

These days, anyone who follows the news can recite statistics on student debt. The media has repeated countless times phrases like “there is $1 trillion in outstanding student debt” and “borrowers have an average of $23,300 in loans.” But do these numbers really mean what the media, policymakers and advocates think they mean? Which is, do these numbers tell how much debt the typical student carries? Not at all.

First and foremost, it’s important to clarify that “$1 trillion” refers to the total outstanding balance of the entire universe of student loans. That’s all loans from federal and ...

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May
11
2012

Friday News Roundup: Week of May 7-11 Clare McCann

Pennsylvania Senate approves alternative to governor’s budget

Missouri legislature sends budget to governor

Kansas House rejects state employee raises, allocates funds for disabled

University of Minnesota regents take wary look at proposed pay, tuition increases

Pennsylvania Senate approves alternative to governor’s budget
The Pennsylvania Senate this week passed a fiscal year 2013 budget plan that restores many of the cuts laid out in Governor Tom Corbett’s proposed budget. The budget, which must be signed by the governor by July 1 according to state law, passed ...

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May
10
2012

Capped Variable Interest Rate Proposal Comes with a Hefty Price Tag Clare McCann

While Congress has debated extending the 3.4 percent interest rate on Subsidized Stafford loans issued this year to undergraduates, advocacy groups are gearing up for a debate on longer-term reforms. They know the odds don’t favor Congress adopting a one-year extension of the lower rate again next year. Besides, spending $6 billion to save college graduates $9 a month isn’t a great deal for borrowers or taxpayers. So it’s good that student aid advocates want a better plan. But they aren’t off to a great start. They are gathering support for an outrageously expensive proposal that turns a blind ...

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May
09
2012

Applying Lessons Learned from SIG to RESPECT Dani Greene

This year, the president and the Department of Education (ED) have taken on a new challenge — re-imagining the teaching profession through the Recognizing Educational Success, Professional Excellence, and Collaborative Teaching (RESPECT) program. The White House rolled out RESPECT on February 15 of this year with the mission of transforming the teaching profession into a highly respected, effective, and well-paid career. Last week, ED released additional details about RESPECT, focusing on strategies to elevate teachers, which were developed after consulting teachers, school leaders, analysts, ...

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May
08
2012

No-Cost Solution to Student Loan Interest Rates Hidden in Plain Sight Jason Delisle

Update: For the most recent post on this topic, check out "Proposed 3.4 Percent Interest Rate Not the Best Deal for Students or Taxpayers."

Congress is now officially deadlocked over how to pay for a one-year extension of the 3.4 percent interest rate offered on newly-issued Subsidized Stafford student loans. The disagreement isn’t over extending the rate, but where to find the extra $6 billion needed to pay for it. In the midst of all the partisan bickering, wouldn’t it be great if Congress could magically lower interest rates for all borrowers without cutting other programs or raising ...

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May
04
2012

Friday News Roundup: Week of April 30-May 4 Dani Greene

Hawaii teachers union leader wants to revisit contract members rejected earlier this year

Who would pay for proposed Michigan free-tuition plan with annual price tag in the billions?

University of Wyoming trustees hear that Gov. Mead’s request for 8 percent budget cuts will cost $15.6M

Louisiana panel rejects testing bill

Hawaii teachers union leader wants to revisit contract members rejected earlier this year
Facing the threat of losing $75 million in Race to the Top funds this year, the Hawaii State Teachers Association (HSTA) is asking teachers to reconsider a ...

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May
03
2012

Will ED Take a Stand on Subgroups in ESEA Waivers This Time? Dani Greene

Ever since the Department of Education (ED) released guidance on the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) waivers, policymakers have debated the merits and problems surrounding the new accountability systems that states proposed. The waivers, if ED approves them, allow states to replace the accountability system Congress put in place under No Child Left Behind (NCLB) – Adequate Yearly Progress – with their own rules.  ED just released letters from their peer reviewers to each of the 27 states that submitted waiver applications in the second round. After comparing these letters to the ...

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May
03
2012

Subsidized Stafford Student Loans are Already Interest-Free for the Unemployed Jason Delisle

This post was first published as a response to a prompt on the National Journal’s Education Experts Blog on May 1, 2012. The prompt and responses from other experts can be viewed on the National Journal’s website here.

It’s important to think about “what protections [for borrowers] would be needed,” if Congress made changes to the interest rates on federal student loans. Even so, it seems hardly anyone understands the protections borrowers already get under the current federal loan system. What else could explain President Obama and Mitt Romney’s mutual misunderstanding that charging ...

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May
01
2012

More Transparency Needed for Veterans Education Benefit Programs Clare McCann

Every year the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) directs a huge chunk of federal spending to higher education for veterans education benefits — more than $1.7 billion in the 2009-10 school year alone. But VA education benefits are often overlooked in education policy discussions. This is largely because of a lack of transparency in the VA budget. The agency doesn’t make good accounting information readily available. On top of these opaque budgeting practices, little information is available on the effectiveness of the current iteration of the GI Bill, how schools spend that money, or the degree ...

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Apr
27
2012

Friday News Roundup: Week of April 23-27 Clare McCann

Fewer students mean less Washington state money for schools

More layoffs for massive California school district

Nebraska college system raises tuition 3.5 percent

Nevada legislators question higher education funding formula

Fewer students mean less Washington state money for schools
Though Washington state lawmakers passed a fiscal year 2013 budget that does not include any new cuts to K-12 education, lower-than-anticipated growth in student enrollment means that overall spending levels for public schools will decline by $61 million from 2012 levels. The most recent ...

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Apr
26
2012

2013 Appropriations Process Underway, but Far from Complete Clare McCann

Washington is gearing up for the fiscal year 2013 appropriations process, and lawmakers face major obstacles to completing the process before the new fiscal year begins on October 1, 2012. Republicans in the House want lower overall spending limits than those they passed in the debt ceiling agreement reached less than a year ago. And for their part, Senate Democrats have proposed a slightly smaller budget for the Labor-Health and Human Services-Education Appropriations Subcommittee to divide across the agencies under its jurisdiction. Nearly all federal education programs are funded one year ...

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Apr
24
2012

The 'Small' Numbers on the Student Loan Interest Rate Hike Clare McCann

Yes, the interest rate on some federal student loans is set to double this July from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent unless Congress acts. And every news story and sound bite on the issue tells us the big numbers at stake. Seven million borrowers will be affected… The rate hike will cost borrowers an additional $1,000… Outstanding student loans total $1 trillion… Maintaining the lower rate will cost taxpayers $6 billion a year. But now consider the small numbers at stake, the numbers that no one is talking about.

One year. That’s the number of years for which students have been able to take ...

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Apr
24
2012

Substantial Obstacles Exist to Implementing New Community College Graduation Rate Measures Clare McCann

The U.S. Department of Education this month announced that it has developed a preliminary plan to increase reporting requirements for graduation rates at colleges and universities. The “Action Plan for Improving Measures of Postsecondary Success” was developed around input from the Committee on Measures of Student Success (CMSS), a committee appointed by the Department of Education as required by the passage of the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008. The pending regulations, which the Department is crafting both for two-year and four-year colleges, are intended to provide a fuller picture ...

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Apr
20
2012

Friday News Roundup: Week of April 16-20 Clare McCann

Florida Gov. Rick Scott signs $70 billion state budget bill

Mississippi college tuition could grow by 14 percent

Idaho state Board of Education OKs tuition hikes

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signs education bills that tweak state funding

Florida Gov. Rick Scott signs $70 billion state budget bill
Florida’s fiscal year 2013 budget, signed into law this week, adds an additional $1 billion for public K-12 schools over 2012 levels. This $1 billion will go towards covering the cost of over 30,000 new students and to fill the shortfall caused by reduced local revenue and ...

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Apr
19
2012

Fiscal Year 2013 Appropriations Taking Shape, Sequestration Looms Jason Delisle

Normally, Congress uses a budget resolution to set the overall limit on appropriations funding that lawmakers then divvy up among subcommittees and individual programs later in the year. (Nearly all federal education programs are funded entirely through the annual appropriations process, requiring Congress to pass funding for those programs one year at a time.) In that regard, the budget resolution is a key step in the education funding process. But last year’s debt ceiling agreement – the Budget Control Act – took some of the surprise out of fiscal year 2013’s appropriation levels, as the law ...

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Apr
17
2012

State and District Capacity Undermines School Improvement Grant Implementation Dani Greene

The Obama administration has made improving struggling schools a major part of its education agenda. One piece of that effort is the School Improvement Grant (SIG) program, which received a large one-time influx of  $3 billion through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).

This SIG funding came with a host of new regulations for the program, including a requirement that schools use the funds to implement one of four strictly-defined reform models. The models range from replacing some principals and teachers at schools, to complete school closure. But although schools ...

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Apr
13
2012

Friday News Roundup: Week of April 9-13 Clare McCann

Legislators plan lawsuit to trim aid to shrinking Pennsylvania schools

California teachers’ pension faces $65 billion shortfall

Missouri Senate panel endorses roughly $24 billion budget plan

Idaho State University, University of Idaho to seek smaller tuition increases

Legislators plan lawsuit to trim aid to shrinking Pennsylvania schools
Ten Pennsylvania state legislators are planning to file a lawsuit in Commonwealth Court to end a section of the state’s education finance formula that they argue is unconstitutional.  The “hold harmless” provision guarantees districts ...

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Apr
12
2012

State NCLB Waiver Plans Lax on Subgroup Accountability Dani Greene

Under the accountability structure put in place by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB), states are required to bring all of their students to proficiency in math and reading by 2014. Schools and districts are held accountable for the performance of students in particular “subgroups” as determined by race, socio-economic status, and participation in certain programs like special education. Because states aren’t going to achieve this goal, the Department of Education announced in November 2011 that states could apply to have the requirements waived if they proposed – and the Department ...

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Apr
10
2012

Obama Budget Punts on Tough Choices for Pell Grants Jason Delisle

Many student aid advocates and pundits have panned the House Budget Committee’s loosely outlined funding plan for Pell Grants. The plan was part of the fiscal year 2013 budget resolution (aka the “Ryan Budget”) that the House passed a few weeks back. Critics say it would make deep cuts to Pell Grants and kick a million students out of the aid program. Indeed, the House Republican proposal would make some changes to the program to permanently address a $7 billion funding cliff that the program will face in 2014. But where were these critics when President Obama outlined his Pell Grant funding ...

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Apr
06
2012

Friday News Roundup: Week of April 2-6 Clare McCann

Montana settlement in funding lawsuit means $4.6 million more for public schools

$30 million ‘bullet’ targets New York aid gap

Penn State students, alumni rally against proposed 30 percent cut in state support

Dayton vetoes GOP bill on Minnesota school IOUs

Montana settlement in funding lawsuit means $4.6 million more for public schools
A lawsuit settled this week between the Montana Quality Education Coalition and the state of Montana yielded $4.6 million in additional funding for public K-12 schools for the 2013 school year.  Another lawsuit, filed in 2002 by the ...

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Apr
05
2012

House Democrats’ Data on Student Loan Interest Rates Misrepresent the Problem Clare McCann

Democrats on the House Education and the Workforce Committee this week released a document detailing the increased costs to borrowers if interest rates on Subsidized Stafford loans increase from 3.4 to 6.8 percent, as they are scheduled to for loans issued as on or after July 1st, 2012. The post provides some big numbers, stating that “more than 7 million students will incur an additional $6.3 billion in repayment costs for the 2012-2013 academic school year if student loan interest rates double on July 1.” But the committee staff’s claim buries the real story: Whatever the vitriol surrounding ...

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Apr
03
2012

Unpacking Pell Grant Reforms in the House-Passed (“Ryan”) Budget Jason Delisle

As we wrote last week, congressional budget resolutions are always light on details. At best, lawmakers include vague descriptions of policies that Congress could enact to meet spending goals. That’s exactly what House Republicans did for Pell Grant reforms in the fiscal year 2013 budget resolution that passed the House of Representatives last week. The document offers only a few hints about how lawmakers might fund Pell Grants as the program nears a major funding cliff in fiscal year 2014.

Using those hints, we’ve done some detective work to put together what we think the House Republicans ...

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Mar
30
2012

Friday News Roundup: Week of March 26-30 Clare McCann

Connecticut governor’s education plans take hit in revised budget

Idaho House passes public schools budget for 2013

Concerns hover over California illegal school fee legislation

Senate panel considers New Jersey education budget

Connecticut governor’s education plans take hit in revised budget
Connecticut lawmakers scaled back Governor Dannel Malloy’s education reform proposals for fiscal year 2013 this week as the Democratically-controlled joint House-Senate budget committee issued a recommendation for a more constrained budget proposal. For example, Malloy recommended ...

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Mar
29
2012

Some Concerns About the IPEDS State Data Center Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

These days, education stakeholders are constantly clamoring for data – data on student achievement, data on spending, data on teachers – you name it, they want it.

The Federal Education Budget Project (FEBP), Ed Money Watch’s parent initiative, houses a database on its website that provides much of these data for both K-12 and higher education. In addition to relying on state sources, FEBP relies heavily on the U.S. Department of Education for data, particularly for higher education data at the state and institutional level. The primary source for these data is the Integrated Postsecondary ...

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Mar
27
2012

House Republicans Release Limited Details on 2013 Budget Resolution Clare McCann

Congressional budget resolutions are notoriously light on details. That is by design. Congress uses the budget resolution as a framework for overall funding and revenue guidelines for 10 years out. And Congress may or may not follow that framework as it writes actual spending and revenue bills later in the year. The budget committees need not specify any tax policies, program cuts, or the like in their resolutions; instead, they just set broad targets.

Of course the budget committees do have to develop a sense of which types of policies they could enact to keep spending, revenue, debts, ...

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Mar
23
2012

Fair-Value Accounting Shows Switch to Guaranteed Student Loans Costs $102 Billion Jason Delisle

This week the Republican majority on the House Budget Committee released a fiscal year 2013 budget resolution. For the second year in a row, the document includes a so-called “fair value” rule that applies to cost estimates for federal loan programs—including student loans. While the rule went largely unnoticed last year (except by us here at Ed Money Watch), this year it has attracted a bit more attention. And with any budget rule, added attention begets added confusion.

Many have mischaracterized fair-value accounting as a Republican gambit to reinstate some version of a guaranteed student ...

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Mar
23
2012

Friday News Roundup: Week of March 19-23 Clare McCann

Georgia State Senate adopts $19.2B state budget plan

Missouri House budget proposal comes with no higher education costs

More funding proposed for Mississippi public schools in separate plans

New Mexico estimates 2 percent increase in key funding factor for public schools next year

Georgia State Senate adopts $19.2B state budget plan
A fiscal year 2013 budget proposal passed unanimously by the Georgia State Senate this week allocates $19.2 billion for state programs, a slight increase over fiscal year 2012. According to State Senator Jack Hill (R), legislators had ...

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Mar
21
2012

ED Stands Its Ground on IDEA Maintenance of Effort Waivers Dani Greene

The economic recession that began in 2008 hit state and local tax revenues hard and has had a lasting effect. Many states targeted education budgets—often their largest expenditure—to make up for budget shortfalls in the past few years. Although some states cut general K-12 funding, the federal government has a mechanism to prevent states and districts from making disproportionate cuts to special education services. And for the most part, the strategy has worked.

Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the federal government provides annual grants to states to help ...

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Mar
20
2012

Education Jobs Fund Maintenance of Effort Data Raises Some Red Flags Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

In August of 2010, Congress passed and the president signed into law the Education Jobs Fund, a $10 billion program meant to fill gaps in state funding for K-12 education salaries and benefits. The funds, which were intended for use in the 2010-11 school year, are available through September 30th, 2012. Much like the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund, a similar program created in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, Congress required that the Department of Education distribute the funds among states based on population. Lawmakers also included a maintenance of effort (MOE) provision ...

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Mar
19
2012

National Review Post Explains that Student Loans are Costly for Taxpayers Clare McCann

Interest rates on federal Subsidized Stafford student loans for undergraduates are scheduled to increase this year to 6.8 from 3.4 percent for newly-issued loans. This has caused an outcry among students and advocates who want Congress to extend or make permanent the 3.4 percent rate. The Obama Administration has proposed a one-year extension. At the same time, many stakeholders are convinced that the federal government profits from student loans due to the way the government measures the cost of loan programs. They use this claim as further evidence to support extending the reduced interest ...

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Mar
16
2012

Friday News Roundup: Week of March 12-16 Clare McCann

Minnesota House GOP approves payment to schools

More than 20,000 California teachers pink-slipped

Texas schools face bigger classes and smaller staff

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s budget would boost state spending by $2.1 billion

Minnesota House GOP approves payment to schools
A Minnesota fiscal year 2012 budget agreement the state legislature reached last year withheld $770 million in funding intended for public K-12 schools to be paid later. Added to a previous delay of K-12 payments, the state owed schools $2.7 billion as of last month; that total has since ...

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Mar
15
2012

Examining the Impact of the All Children are Equal Act on District Title I Allocations Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Late last month, Ed Money Watch wrote about the variation in Title I allocations in rural, urban, and suburban school districts. That analysis showed that rural school districts typically receive far less Title I funding per poor pupil than urban districts due to a variety of factors. This topic has been at the forefront of Elementary and Secondary Education Act (currently known as No Child Left Behind) reauthorization discussions as a broad base of constituents have banded together to encourage lawmakers to rewrite the Title I funding formulas. Our previous analysis unintentionally glossed ...

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Jan
29
2013

The Waiver Wire: The Only Game in Town (besides that basketball thing) Anne Hyslop

Two weeks ago, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce reported out two of Chairman John Kline’s ESEA reauthorization bills, the Student Success Act and the Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teaching Act, on a party-line vote, 23-16.Democrats, led by Ranking Member George Miller, offered just two (unsuccessful) amendments, both substitute bills. These would have required states to maintain achievement targets for student subgroups as part of accountability systems – a major issue for civil rights’ groups opposed to Kline’s bills. On the teacher side, Miller proposed that states ...

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Mar
13
2012

CBO Releases 2013 Pell Grant Funding Target Jason Delisle

Lately, it has seemed like every year brings yet another funding crisis for the Pell Grant program. Not so this year.

Today the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its March baseline, which the agency will use to measure (i.e. “score”) the spending and revenue effects of any legislation Congress considers this year. The March baseline also establishes how much funding lawmakers will need to provide for Pell Grants in the fiscal year 2013 appropriations process to maintain the scheduled maximum grant of $5,645. The appropriations process will officially get underway this spring—although ...

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Mar
09
2012

Friday News Roundup: Week of March 5-9 Clare McCann

Kentucky House approves $19.5 billion budget bill

No agreement on Washington State budget; special session is called

Alaska Governor Sean Parnell adds $30.3M for school funding

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad warns Republicans against college funding cut

Kentucky House approves $19.5 billion budget bill
Legislators in the Kentucky House this week voted to approve a $19.5 billion biennial budget for fiscal years 2013 and 2014. The proposal includes 8.4 percent cuts to many state programs, as well as a 6.4 percent cut to state public universities. Governor Steve Beshear’s ...

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Mar
08
2012

The Real Student Loan Interest Rate: Don't Forget About Tax Deductions Alex Holt

Here’s an added wrinkle in the debate on federal student loan interest rates that has gone entirely unmentioned. Middle and lower income borrowers don’t actually pay the 6.8 percent interest rate on Unsubsidized Stafford loan or the 3.4 percent rate that is set to expire for Subsidized Stafford loans issued later this year. They pay something lower because the federal government rebates a portion of their payments in the form of a tax deduction. We at Ed Money Watch aren’t sure why this important point is largely ignored or dismissed in the policy debates.

Is it because the benefit is ...

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Mar
06
2012

Florida Data Shine A Light On Teacher Comparability’s Shortcomings Clare McCann

Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (currently known as No Child Left Behind) has been fraught with obstacles and years of delay – lawmakers have been fighting over many aspects of the law from fiscal responsibility for state governments and school districts to academic standards. Many stakeholders have weighed in on this still-evolving policy debate. In the latest development, the Center for American Progress (CAP), in partnership with the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), released an issue brief this week that summarizes recommendations for fixing Title I, the ...

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Mar
02
2012

Friday News Roundup: Week of February 27-March 2 Clare McCann

$323M surplus forecast for Minnesota state budget, but…

Missouri House budget funds higher ed, cuts aid for the blind

Ohio school districts await funding formula

Idaho lawmakers boost state support for higher education

$323M surplus forecast for Minnesota state budget, but…
An economic forecast released this week for Minnesota predicts a $323 million surplus in tax revenue for the current 2012 fiscal year, among other signs of positive growth. The legislature will use the funds to both completely replenish state reserves used to complete the 2011-2012 biennial budget ...

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Mar
01
2012

Event Reveals New Fiscal Realities for Public Higher Education Clare McCann

The Federal Education Budget Project, Ed Money Watch’s parent initiative, held an event today examining the future of funding for public postsecondary institutions, given that American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds are no longer available. The event was inspired by a recently-completed series of FEBP research papers that explored how states utilized ARRA money to support state higher education institutions through the recession.

After FEBP senior policy analyst Jennifer Cohen framed the discussion with conclusions from her research, Nick Johnson of the Center on Budget and ...

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Feb
29
2012

Not a Reason to Raise Student Loan Interest Rates Jason Delisle

Earlier this month, the Federal Education Budget Project (FEBP) released an issue brief, Federal Student Loan Interest Rates: History, Subsidies, and Cost, meant to provide context to the debate over an increase in the interest rate charged on a subset of federal student loans schedule to occur this year. Without congressional action, interest rates on Subsidized Stafford loans for undergraduates issued for the 2012-13 school year will increase from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. President Obama wants to postpone the increase, letting borrowers take out loans at 3.4 percent for one more year. Some ...

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Feb
28
2012

A Closer Look at Title I Funding in Urban versus Rural Districts Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

At Ed Money Watch, we have often encouraged Congress to consider changing the Title I funding formulas to more logically target disadvantaged students in states and school districts. That’s why we were glad to learn that today the House Committee on Education and the Workforce will likely vote on an amendment to the Student Success Act (HR 3989) that would change the Title I funding formula to more equitably fund rural school districts.

Known as the All Children are Equal (ACE) Act, Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson’s (R-PA) amendment would phase out the number weighting provision in the Title ...

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Feb
27
2012

Upcoming Event: Funding Public Higher Education Post-Stimulus Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Over the past three years, state funding for higher education has changed dramatically in the face of a weak economy. Many states cut their higher education spending, forcing colleges and universities to replace those lost funds with large increases in tuition and fees. Meanwhile, states have quietly spent over $8 billion in federal funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to fill gaps in state support for higher education. Few have paid attention to how states used these funds – part of the $48.6 billion State Fiscal Stabilization Fund – leaving a gap in our understanding ...

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Feb
24
2012

Friday News Roundup: Week of February 20-24 Clare McCann

New Jersey Governor aims at school aid

Arizona lawmakers advance minimum tuition bill

North Carolina Governor Perdue finds funding for more pre-K classes

Bill to give top Florida universities tuition-setting power gets thumbs-up in the House

Briefly Noted

New Jersey Governor aims at school aid
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie this week released a proposal to overhaul the state’s funding formula for public K-12 schools in fiscal year 2013. Under the new plan, the 31 low-income Abbott Districts at issue in a school finance lawsuit from last year would receive ...

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Feb
23
2012

Who Gets the 3.4 Percent Student Loan Interest Rate? Jason Delisle

In his State of the Union address, President Obama called on Congress to postpone for one year the scheduled increase in student loan interest rates for loans issued for the upcoming school year. Without congressional action, interest rates on Subsidized Stafford loans for undergraduates will increase from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent for newly issued loans. The president’s fiscal year 2013 budget, released last week, reiterated the proposal to postpone the rate increase.

The rate increase is the product of a 2006 Democratic campaign promise to cut student loan interest rates in half. Due ...

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Feb
21
2012

Will President's Proposal Fix TEACH Grants? Clare McCann

The federal government funds several programs that seek to improve the quality of teachers in low-income schools, focusing mostly on training, compensation, and evaluation. But few of these programs provide a benefit directly to teachers. The president’s budget request, released last week, would phase out and replace one such program, TEACH Grants, with a new one called Presidential Teaching Fellows. Under the proposal, the Department of Education would provide funds to states via a formula and states would then distribute the grants to students at eligible, high-quality teacher training programs. ...

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Feb
16
2012

President's Budget Shows Student Loan Defaults Cost Taxpayers Jason Delisle

Countless journalists, advocates, and lobbyists claim that the government profits when students default on their federal loans. But this week’s release of President Obama’s fiscal year 2013 budget brings further evidence that nothing could be further from the truth. The budget includes a new section that explains more fully the estimated recovery rates on defaulted federal student loans. The recovery rate refers to the percentage of defaulted loan volume the government expects to eventually collect.

This newly-released information also contradicts those who argue that the government doesn’t ...

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Feb
16
2012

Summary and Analysis of President Obama's 2013 Education Budget Request Clare McCann

President Barack Obama submitted his fourth budget request to Congress on February 13th, 2012. The detailed budget request includes proposed funding levels for federal programs and agencies in aggregate for the upcoming ten fiscal years, and specific fiscal year 2013 funding levels for individual programs subject to appropriations. Congress will use the president's budget request to inform its consideration of tax and spending legislation later this year, including the fiscal year 2013 appropriations bill that will set specific funding levels for federal education programs. Fiscal year 2013 ...

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Feb
14
2012

Key Questions on the Obama Administration's 2013 Education Budget Request Clare McCann

President Barack Obama submitted his third budget request to Congress on February 13th, 2012. The budget request includes proposed funding levels for all federal programs and agencies in aggregate for the upcoming 10 fiscal years, and specific fiscal year 2013 funding levels for programs subject to the annual appropriations process.

It is important to remember that the president's budget request is a policy and budget proposal, but not legislation or law. Actual fiscal year 2013 funding levels for nearly all federal education programs will be determined through the congressional appropriations ...

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Feb
10
2012

Friday News Roundup: Week of February 6-10 Clare McCann

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett’s budget plan would give more money to schools, but most would go to pensions

Michigan’s 3% proposed funding hike for public universities tied to performance

Florida House approves $69 billion state budget

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon adds $40 million to proposed higher education budget

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett’s budget plan would give more money to schools, but most would go to pensions
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett this week released his fiscal year 2013 budget proposal. The plan would include $10 billion for public ...

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Feb
09
2012

A Closer Look at the History, Subsidies, and Cost of Federal Student Loan Interest Rates Clare McCann

In his State of the Union address, President Obama called on Congress to prevent federal student loan interest rates from doubling later this year. This is the culmination of decades of legislative changes to the federal student loan program. Few people are aware of the policies that led to the pending student loan interest rate increase and many question whether the 6.8 percent fixed interest rate charged on the most widely-available loans provides a real benefit to students.

The Federal Education Budget Project today released an issue brief regarding federal student loan interest rates. ...

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Feb
07
2012

Uncertain Futures for President's STEM Proposals Clare McCann

Science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) have featured prominently in the Obama administration’s education policy priorities, most recently as the focus of the third round of Race to the Top funding. And it looks like it will play a big role moving forward: An announcement from President Obama at today’s White House Science Fair offers a peek into the administration’s fiscal year 2013 budget proposal, which will apparently include a spotlight on STEM learning. But the real story is buried behind the budget rhetoric – the president also proposes a new STEM focus to the existing Teacher ...

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Feb
03
2012

Friday News Roundup: Week of January 30-February 3 Clare McCann

University of Missouri campuses seek tuition increases

Scene set for an Iowa school financing fight

Washington House GOP’s budget spends $580M more on education

Mississippi universities say financial aid running short

University of Missouri campuses seek tuition increases
A meeting of the University of Missouri Board of Curators held this week yielded difficult news. Facing a proposed 12.5 percent cut to state funding in the 2013 fiscal year, the campuses are proposing tuition hikes that will help make up the shortfall. The smallest increase requested is for three ...

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Feb
02
2012

A Closer Look at Small State Minimums in Federal Education Formulas Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

At Ed Money Watch we talk a lot about funding formulas for various federal grant programs. We’ve written about proposed changes to the ESEA Title II funding formula in the House Students Success Act, the need for improvements to the Title I formula, and even idiosyncrasies in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act formula. Congress has designed each of these formulas to account for factors such as population size and poverty rates or numbers when distributing federal funds to states and school districts. But another factor – something known as “small state minimums” – always seems to ...

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Jan
31
2012

Cost Looms Large for Obama's Student Loan Interest Rate Cut Jason Delisle

Note: This post was updated on 02/02/2012 with new cost estimate information.

Last week President Obama called on Congress in his State of the Union address “to stop the interest rates on student loans from doubling in July.” That line surely left a lot of people (Washington’s education policy circles not included) wondering what in the world the president was talking about. Is Congress really planning to double the interest rate on federal student loans this summer? The answer is yes, no, and maybe. In other words, it’s complicated. What’s more, a newly released estimate from the Congressional ...

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Jan
27
2012

Friday News Roundup: Week of January 23-27 Clare McCann

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley warns of ‘tough’ state budget
Alabama Governor Robert Bentley plans to release two fiscal year 2013 budget proposals – one for education funding and another to lay out the state’s general operating budget – early next month.  However, Governor Bentley says, the plan will not reallocate any money from the Education Trust Fund to the general fund as he had originally proposed last month; a statutory change to combine the budgets would allow funds currently earmarked for education to be used for other budget items. New caps on spending from the Education Trust ...

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Jan
26
2012

New Census Estimates Show Increases in Student Poverty Across the Country Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

When the federal government distributes education funding via formulas, it typically takes several things into account. Chief among the data typically used are state- and school district-level poverty rates as determined through the Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates the Census Bureau conducts annually. These poverty rate estimates show the percentage of children age 5-17 living in families with total income below the poverty rate. Recently, the Census Bureau made those estimates available for 2010, providing a unique look into how poverty rates have shifted as a result of the economic ...

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Jan
24
2012

House ESEA Bill Would Lift Title I Spending Requirements Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

The recently-released House ESEA draft reauthorization bill makes substantial changes to the federal role in public education. Among other changes, the proposal significantly loosens requirements on how states and local school districts can spend education dollars. While more state and local control is a popular mantra, we would like to offer a few words of caution on a few provisions in the House bill. Mainly, these changes to existing law would essentially allow states and school districts to use federal funds previously intended to benefit specific, high-need populations however they see ...

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Jan
20
2012

Friday News Roundup: Week of January 16-20 Clare McCann

Virginia Governor McDonnell added millions to shrink class sizes, correct error

Missouri lawmakers may buck higher education cuts

Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe proposes $163 million budget increase for next fiscal year

Maryland Governor O’Malley reveals 2013 budget

Virginia Governor McDonnell added millions to shrink class sizes, correct error
Previously, advocates for education spending expressed disappointment in Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell’s fiscal year 2013 budget proposal that cut education spending – including failing to keep pace with inflation, cutting ...

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Jan
19
2012

Some States Still Lagging in ARRA Title I Spending Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Though fiscal year 2011 – the year most education funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 were set to expire – has come and gone, some states are still clinging to their ARRA Title I funds. These funds are intended to provide additional services for low-income students and are distributed by formula among states and school districts. In an effort to give states the opportunity to use all of their Title I funds from the stimulus bill, last September the Department of Education gave states permission to apply for waivers that would allow them to obligate any remaining ...

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Jan
17
2012

House Proposed Title II Formula Takes Emphasis Away from Poverty Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

As we discussed last week, the House Education and Workforce Committee recently introduced two new bills as part of its piecemeal approach to reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA, currently known as the No Child Left Behind Act). The first bill provides new language for Title I of the law, while the second revamps Title II and several other programs. Among the changes to Title II, which authorizes federal programs focused on teacher quality, the House’s “Encouraging Innovation and Effective Teachers Act” would alter the way the federal government distributes formula ...

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Jan
13
2012

Friday News Roundup: Week of December 9-13 Clare McCann

Nevada lawmakers begin discussion about allocation of higher ed dollars

$700 million in New York school aid put at risk

$30.5 million funding hike sought for Mississippi colleges

Governor Brownback proposes tight Kansas budget

Nevada lawmakers begin discussion about allocation of higher ed dollars
This week, Nevada lawmakers held the first meeting of the state’s Committee to Study the Funding of Higher Education. The committee, established last year by the legislature, will look at how the state allocates funds to its colleges and universities and reframe the formula ...

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Jan
12
2012

Glaring Omissions in the House Title I Proposal Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA, currently known as No Child Left Behind) has been an on again, off again proposition in Congress. The 2002 law expired in 2007 and Congress has extended it a number of times while lawmakers debate some sort of longer term policy.  Meanwhile, the Obama Administration has given states the opportunity to waive some of the provisions of the law. In the latest development, House Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) announced that House Republicans would be moving forward with several pieces of legislation ...

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Jan
11
2012

Pell Grant Eligibility Changes Bring Savings for the Program Clare McCann

When Congress passed the fiscal year 2012 appropriations for education programs last month, it managed to eke out sufficient funds to maintain the maximum Pell award at $5,550 for the 2012-13 school year. But lawmakers also cut the cost of the program to make their budget task a bit easier. They did so by making a number of changes to the eligibility rules for Pell Grant recipients, starting with the 2012-13 school year. These changes will reduce the grant awards students will receive in the upcoming school year, Ceteris paribus, though some students will not be affected by the changes at all.

The ...

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Jan
10
2012

Alternative Teacher Training Programs Better at Attracting Male and Minority Trainees Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Teacher training and quality has long been a topic of discussion among policymakers, especially as states have expanded access to alternative teacher training programs outside of traditional schools of education. While many remain skeptical about the effectiveness and worth of such programs, 45 states have implemented alternative routes to certification and 11 percent of teacher trainees attend such programs. The issue was no doubt important enough that in 2008 Congress required that the U.S. Department of Education collect and report data on participation in various types of teacher training ...

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Jan
06
2012

Friday News Roundup: Week of January 2-6 Clare McCann

Washington education funding ruling stirs glee, concern locally

AP survey: South Dakota lawmakers ready to boost state financial aid to school districts

California schools will be cut $4.8 billion if taxes don’t pass, Gov. Jerry Brown says

New Alabama Education Association head says no cuts expected for public schools, but danger remains

Washington education funding ruling stirs glee, concern locally
The Washington state Supreme Court this week issued a ruling that will require the state to fully fund public education. The suit, originally filed four years ago, argued ...

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Jan
05
2012

Understanding the Full Benefits of Subsidized Stafford Loans Jason Delisle

In the Budget Control Act of 2011 (aka the debt ceiling agreement) Congress provided the latest round of supplemental funding for the Pell Grant program. The law included $10 billion for fiscal year 2012 for the program and another $7 billion for fiscal year 2013. The law offset the cost of that one-time supplemental  funding by eliminating a type of federal student loan available to graduate and professional students — Subsidized Stafford loans.  These loans will no longer be issued to borrowers as of July 1, 2012. While this is old news to some, it’s come to our attention that Ed Money Watch ...

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Jan
03
2012

FEBP Releases Issue Brief on 2012 Education Appropriations Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

The fiscal year 2012 appropriations process has been a frequent topic here on Ed Money Watch since the process first got started early in 2011. This year’s process came to an end in December 2011, months into the fiscal year which started October 1st, 2011. Today, the Federal Education Budget Project (FEBP), Ed Money Watch's parent initiative, released an issue brief that analyzes and explains the recently finalized fiscal year 2012 federal education appropriations.

The issue brief (2012 Education Appropriations Guide) breaks down the key developments in the budget process that shaped ...

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Jan
30
2013

The Waiver Wire: College-Ready Data "Progress" Anne Hyslop

States, listen up: Want to win an ESEA waiver? Like getting money from the federal government? Then you need to collect and report high schools graduates’ college outcomes – and not just for in-state, public colleges and universities, but for all postsecondary institutions.

Just as the administration has used multiple platforms (School Improvement Grants, Race to the Top, ESEA Waivers) to promote its ideas for effective school turnarounds, Secretary Duncan is turning to multiple initiatives to reinforce the need for states to do a better job with linking K-12 and higher education data. ...

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Dec
22
2011

Friday News Roundup: Week of December 19-23 Clare McCann

Texas schools grapple with big budget cuts

In-state University of New Hampshire system tuition set to go up again

Colorado Governor Hickenlooper wants to restore $89M for education

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder says school cuts may be over

Texas schools grapple with big budget cuts
State funding for Texas schools was cut by more than $4 billion in the 2012 school year, precipitating teacher and staff layoffs of over 12,000 employees and cuts to academic programs and transportation. To help school districts cope with the tight budgets, the state has offered waivers ...

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Dec
16
2011

Friday News Roundup: Week of December 12—16 Clare McCann

$1 billion in California budget cuts to kick in soon

Utah governor unveils $12.9B budget proposal

Illinois could shoulder debt from faltering tuition program

Oklahoma Education Board requests $158 million budget increase

$1 billion in California budget cuts to kick in soon
A budget plan passed by the California legislature in June established a system of automatic cuts to state programs should tax revenue fail to meet expectations. Now, those cuts have been triggered, necessitating almost $1 billion in state spending reductions in Governor Jerry Brown’s fiscal year ...

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Dec
16
2011

Education Funding Details Emerge in 2012 Omnibus Bill Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Late last night, Congress filed the conference report for the fiscal year 2012 omnibus bill which would provide appropriations funding for all federal agencies including education. The most recent version is currently available on the House Appropriations Committee’s website. Congress will vote on the bill today, as temporary fiscal year 2012 funding expires.

Though the comparable spending amount for the Department of Education will not be illuminated until the Department releases its congressional action budget table, the legislative text and joint statement provide many of the details. ...

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Dec
15
2011

Pell Grant Funding Deal Ends Student Loan Benefit... Temporarily Jason Delisle

Congress is finally poised to vote on an omnibus spending bill that covers multiple federal agencies and finalizes fiscal year 2012 funding for the U.S. Department of Education. The bill, which is posted on the House Rules Committee’s website here, is expected to pass. As we wrote earlier this week, the pending omnibus bill funds the Pell Grant program at a maximum grant of $5,550 in part by tweaking  eligibility rules for the program and by reallocating subsidies for student loans.  That latter provision was part of a Senate proposal floated earlier this year and has undergone a rather odd ...

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Dec
13
2011

Congress Reaches Pell Grant Funding Agreement for Fiscal Year 2012 Jason Delisle

This post was updated December 16th.

The House and Senate have reached an agreement on fiscal year 2012 funding for the U.S. Department of Education as part of an omnibus spending bill that covers multiple federal agencies. Many education supporters have been waiting to see how Congress will fund the Pell Grant program for fiscal year 2012 (which will support grants in the 2012-13 academic year) given that the House and the Senate had previously proposed very different plans for the program. Although both chambers proposed maintaining the current maximum grant of $5,550, a House draft ...

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Dec
09
2011

Friday News Roundup: Week of December 5-9 Clare McCann

New Mexico governor proposes $17 million in more spending to help kids read

Indiana Governor Daniels says state found untouched $300M

Florida governor calls for more education spending, less on Medicaid

University of Missouri Board of Curators talks tuition, system finances at December meeting

New Mexico governor proposes $17 million in more spending to help kids read
New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez proposed this week a new state reading initiative that would direct $17 million to identifying first- through third-grade students struggling to read, and providing ...

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Dec
08
2011

GAO Report Highlights Research Gap on Postsecondary Student Success Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Over the past two years, the higher education policy discussion has been chock full of debate over for-profit institutions. Are they high quality? Do students gain valuable skills? Should the students who attend them be eligible for federal grants?

At the request of Congress, this week the GAO released a report that focuses on student outcomes at for-profit institutions compared to their non-profit and public counterparts. The GAO’s findings mostly conform to the criticisms leveled against the industry in recent years – students from for-profit schools tended to have lower bachelor graduation ...

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Dec
07
2011

ARRA's Actual Per Pupil Expenditure Data Reveals Inequities in School Funding Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

A little-known provision of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 is starting to bear fruit.

Deep in the legislative text of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, Congress buried a school-level data collection requirement. Every state had to submit school-level data on state and local per-pupil expenditures for school personnel in 2008-09. Once collected, these data would show the degree to which school districts comparably fund their Title I and non-Title I schools, as required in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

The Department of Education ...

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Dec
06
2011

A Rare Bit of Good News for Pell Grants: A Surplus Jason Delisle

Here’s some good news for Pell Grants. Budget analysts expect the program to run a small surplus in fiscal year 2012. It turns out that Congress overfunded the program ever so slightly over the past few years, and as lawmakers look to finalize fiscal year 2012 funding in the coming days, they are likely to overshoot just a bit on Pell Grant funding. This is particularly good news because for the past few years Congress has done just the opposite—lawmakers have knowingly underfunded the program, throwing fuel on the Pell Grant funding fire.

Because Pell Grants operate like an entitlement, ...

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Dec
02
2011

Friday News Roundup: Week of November 28 – December 2 Clare McCann

Illinois budget deal averts closures, layoffs, Quinn says

Short on cash, Minnesota school districts will borrow to meet expenses

Alabama’s prepaid college tuition plan to run short of money by 2017

Audit seeks policy on funding for Idaho colleges

Illinois budget deal averts closures, layoffs, Quinn says
Governor Pat Quinn and the Illinois state legislature this week reached and passed an agreement to prevent – at least for the moment – layoffs of nearly 2,000 state employees due to state facility shut-downs. The $273 million plan reallocates money from other areas ...

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Dec
01
2011

No Child Left Behind Waivers Spur State-Level Education Reforms Clare McCann

Eleven states just took one step closer to the post-No Child Left Behind era.

In the absence of Congressional action to reauthorize No Child Left Behind (NCLB), the current incarnation of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, and the law’s looming requirement that all students be proficient in math and reading by 2014, the Obama administration announced in August that the U.S. Department of Education would permit states to waive the more punitive provisions of NCLB. In return, states must meet standards set forth by the administration. The deadline for a first round of waiver applications ...

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Nov
29
2011

Post Supercommittee Failure: Back to 2008 Education Funding Levels? Jason Delisle

Note: This post was updated December 12, 2011. The update clarifies that if Congress follows the scenario outlined below, it must still pass a law overriding across-the-board cuts mandated by the Budget Control Act. If not, the cuts will occur anyway on the already-reduced appropriations. (We thank the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities for suggesting the clarification.)

Here’s a simple (albeit imperfect) way to understand what the federal education budget will look like in 2013 now that the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (aka the supercommittee) has failed to reach an ...

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Nov
22
2011

Congress Passes Third 2012 Continuing Resolution: No Changes, More Delay Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Last Friday, Congress passed a new Continuing Resolution to temporarily fund fiscal year 2012 appropriations through December 16, 2011. Fiscal year 2012 began on October 1st, 2011 but Congress has not yet finalized funding for the U.S. Department of Education. This is the third Continuing Resolution (CR) Congress has passed so far. It was added to the 2012 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, also known as the “mini-bus,” which made several funding and legislative changes to programs overseen by those agencies.  Outside of those ...

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Nov
21
2011

What Happens to Higher Education Funding When the Supercommittee Fails? Jason Delisle

The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (the supercommittee), which is charged with finding ways to cut the budget deficit over 10 years by at least $1.2 trillion, looks set to miss its deadline. The Budget Control Act of 2011, the law that increased the debt ceiling and created the supercommittee, set November 23rd as the date by which the committee must vote on a deficit cutting bill. With two days to go, no such vote is expected to happen. What might become of federal education programs in the wake of a supercommittee failure?

Today the Washington Post highlighted key K-12 education ...

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Nov
18
2011

Friday News Roundup: Week of November 14-18 Clare McCann

California budget cuts could shorten school year

Connecticut task force reviews ECS formula

College students in Nevada face more fee increases

Delaware State University, DelTech seek fund hike

Briefly Noted

California budget cuts could shorten school year
California revenue is rolling in at levels substantially below what the state anticipated in designing the fiscal year 2012 budget. To make up for the revenue shortfall, automatic spending cuts to California public schools could total up to $1.4 billion in the middle of the current 2012 school year. When the ...

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Nov
17
2011

ED Reveals Details on Third Round of Race to the Top Competition Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Yesterday, the Department of Education released the details for the third round of the Race to the Top competition. The first two rounds of Race to the Top (RttT) were created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to help spur systemic education reform in states. Though RttT did not receive any funding in the regular 2010 appropriations, this third round is made possible by $698 million in hard-won funding for the program from fiscal year 2011 appropriations. While the majority of that $698 million will go towards a separate $500 million early learning competition, $198 million ...

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Nov
15
2011

Congress Posed to Gut Nutritional Improvements from School Meal Program Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Yesterday, Congress introduced the final conference report on the fiscal year 2012 Agriculture, Commerce/Justice/Science (CJS), and Transportation/Housing and Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations bills (HR 112-284). Anyone interested in education policy should note that this is the annual funding bill that covers Child Nutrition Act programs like school lunch and school breakfast. And this year’s bill is particularly important. Lawmakers have inserted provisions that would all but tie the Department of Agriculture’s hands as it attempts to set nutritional guidelines for school meals.

Provisions ...

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Nov
11
2011

Friday News Roundup: Week of November 7-11 Clare McCann

University of California to seek state funds to avoid tuition hike next year

Georgia voters approve $3.2 billion worth of educational funding

Equity issues cited in Kansas Governor Sam Brownback’s school finance plan

Kentucky budget outlook bleak

University of California to seek state funds to avoid tuition hike next year
The University of California president announced this week that he would request additional state funding and increasing student enrollment by one percent instead of the previously proposed plan to raise tuition by 8 to 16 percent annually over ...

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Nov
10
2011

i3 Finalists Give Insight Into Cost Per Student of Innovative Reforms Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

What is the ideal cost per student for an innovative education project?   At this point, no one can really say for sure; we don’t have enough evidence on successful reforms. Hopefully, that will soon change.

Today, the Department of Education announced the 23 highest-rated applicants for the second round of the Investing in Innovation fund (i3) grant competition. i3 is helping to grow local, mostly untested innovative reform efforts and collecting data on their effectiveness. As a result, the i3 grantees should make a big contribution to our knowledge about what education reforms work, ...

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Nov
08
2011

Senate 2012 Pell Grant Funding Bill Hits a Snag Jason Delisle

The Senate’s plan for funding the fiscal year 2012 Pell Grant hit a snag last week – the Republican-controlled House Budget Committee blocked a provision in the Senate proposal that would use fiscal year 2013 funding to support the fiscal year 2012 grant. The House and Senate have each staked out a Pell Grant funding plan for the upcoming school year, but a final compromise bill is still weeks or even months away. Suffice it to say the two proposals are very different (see our earlier post here) so the recent budget ruling on the Senate bill will only complicate a final compromise bill.

The ...

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Nov
04
2011

Friday News Roundup: Week of October 31-November 4 Clare McCann

In Texas, Proposition 6 would tap trust fund for more education dollars

South Carolina agency seeks to restore funds cut from colleges

Colorado voters reject tax hikes for education

University of Alaska regents vote to ask state for more funding

In Texas, Proposition 6 would tap trust fund for more education dollars
The Texas trust fund for public education is, at $25 billion, the largest in the nation, but payments have remained fairly stable over time. In spite of a fiscal year 2012-2013 budget that will cut $4 billion over two years from education, lawmakers have ...

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Nov
03
2011

Education Budget Gimmick Backfires, Cuts Funding for 2011 Jason Delisle

Earlier this week, Education Week reported that the stopgap funding bill (continuing resolution) Congress passed for fiscal year 2012 inadvertently cut funding for K-12 programs by $329 million. How did this happen?

It turns out Congress funds four K-12 education programs (Title I grants, IDEA special education grants, Improving Teacher Quality grants, and vocational education grants) annually with a budget gimmick called “advance appropriations.” Normally the gimmick goes off without a hitch, but not this year.

In the 1990s, Congress used spending caps like the ones put in place ...

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Nov
01
2011

Department of Education Waivers May Bring an End to NCLB Tutoring Program Clare McCann

With Congress still a long way from reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the Department of Education plans in the meantime to waive some of the law’s provisions in exchange for getting states to undertake reforms. The Department might issue such a waiver for one No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act program that is unpopular among states and school districts: supplemental educational services (SES).

Failing schools under NCLB must provide students with supplemental educational services, primarily implemented as tutoring outside of school time. Those schools are required ...

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Oct
28
2011

Friday News Roundup: Week of October 24-28 Clare McCann

Despite slashed budget, Alabama school leaders target some programs for increased funding

Washington State governor Chris Gregoire outlines grim choices for budget cuts

Nevada colleges feel economic pinch

Iowa regents discuss proposed tuition increase

Despite slashed budget, Alabama school leaders target some programs for increased funding
A new Alabama law constrains the state’s ability to increase spending on education, but that isn’t stopping state education officials from requesting increased funding for some programs. The law will reduce the state’s fiscal year ...

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Oct
27
2011

Ignore the Hype: Federal Student Loans Aren't Profitable for the Government Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

This week everyone has been talking about student loans. The Obama administration announced some minor changes to the Direct Loan program. Separately, the House Education and Workforce Committee held a hearing to examine the program’s performance since Congress ended the bank-based guaranteed loan program last year. At the same time, some “Occupy Wall Street” protestors have been demanding relief from student loans. With all this attention on federal student loans, the direct-loans-are-profitable-for-the-government argument has been out in full force.

For example, at the House hearing ...

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Oct
27
2011

New Data on 2011 Title I Allocations Available on FEBP Website Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

While states and school districts can typically count on federal support to remain stable after Congress passes and the President signs an annual appropriations bill, that is not the case this year. Earlier this month, the Department of Education released revised fiscal year 2011 Title I Part A allocations to states and school districts to be spent during school year 2011-12. Title I Part A provides grants to school districts to provide additional services to low income students. The revised allocations reflect a $163 million decrease in support resulting from the Fiscal Year 2012 Continuing ...

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Oct
25
2011

Harkin/Enzi ESEA Bill Would Formalize Rewards for High-Performing Schools Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB), the current incarnation of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, often is characterized as enforcing a punitive and inflexible accountability system. Few education stakeholders ever discuss the provisions in the bill meant to provide rewards to schools that succeed in improving student achievement, particularly among low-income students. And there is good reason for this – the sections of the law that provide for such rewards are mostly buried in the bill and ignored by states because they are not mandatory.

But Senators Harkin and Enzi ...

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Oct
21
2011

Friday News Roundup: Week of October 17-21 Clare McCann

Brownback school funding plan intrigues some Kansas districts

Advocates: Iowa schools reform could cost millions

Kansas regents approve salary increases for university chiefs; hefty ones for some

Utah lawmakers consider private school tax credits

Brownback school funding plan intrigues some Kansas districts
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback has begun to raise ideas for overhauling the state’s school finance system. Although the plans remain nebulous, the governor hopes to submit a proposal to the state legislature in the next session. The proposal, as it has been laid ...

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Oct
20
2011

The Good and Bad for State and District Report Cards in the Harkin/Enzi ESEA Bill Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, the current incarnation of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, is almost universally unpopular with lawmakers, state officials, and principals and teachers for a variety of reasons. But it does retain some favor with civil rights groups, particularly because it requires states, school districts, and schools to ensure that minority students and students enrolled in special programs like free and reduced price lunch, special education, and English language learners are reaching performance targets. Further, it requires states and districts ...

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Oct
18
2011

FEBP Releases New Report on State Fiscal Stabilization Fund Spending for Higher Education Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

The State Fiscal Stabilization Fund, a program created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to help states maintain state spending for education and other services, provided $39 billion in Education Stabilization funds specifically to support education spending. While most media reports focus on how the funds were used to support K-12 education, little is known about how states used the funds to support higher education.

Today, the Federal Education Budget Project (FEBP), Ed Money Watch’s parent initiative, released a policy paper, The State Fiscal Stabilization and Higher ...

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Oct
14
2011

Friday News Roundup: Week of October 10-14 Clare McCann

7,000 teachers laid off in New York State cuts

Florida state tax collections down $1.5 billion

Deal launches Georgia college financing study

Utah schools chief laments wilting funding

7,000 teachers laid off in New York State cuts
A survey released this week by the New York State Council of School Superintendents showed the state to be in dire financial straits.  In the 2011 school year, nearly 3 percent of teachers and more than 4 percent of school administrators were laid off in New York. According to the state teachers union, more than 7,000 teachers lost their ...

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Oct
13
2011

Harkin ESEA Reauthorization Bill is Silent on Title I Funding Formulas Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Earlier this week, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) released his proposal for reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (currently known as No Child Left Behind). Much has already been said about the various changes proposed in the bill, including a move to college and career ready standards, changes to accountability provisions, and changes to school improvement interventions. (For some good summaries and analyses see here and here.) But few have mentioned a reform clearly missing from the proposed legislation: Any discussion of funding formulas for Title I.

Back in August, Ed ...

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Oct
11
2011

Harkin's ESEA Reauthorization Bill Makes Strides in Fixing Title I Teacher Comparability Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Today, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) proposed a draft piece of legislation for reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (currently known as No Child Left Behind). The current law expired in 2007 (though it has been extended) and education stakeholders have been impatiently waiting for Congress to take up a real reauthorization attempt. While the bill is full of interesting new proposals for the law, we thought we would first take a look at how the law deals with teacher comparability, a hot button issue among teachers unions, civil rights groups, and researchers. The Harkin bill ...

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Oct
07
2011

Friday News Roundup: Week of October 3-7 Clare McCann

13 West Virginia counties could lose federal school funding

Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education to seek a 2.1 percent increase in state funding for 2012-2013

Texas facing at least two school funding lawsuits

Iowa lawmakers: We’re open to more school spending

13 West Virginia counties could lose federal school funding
A federal program implemented in 2000 to provide relief for rural counties with declining forestry revenues as a result of restrictions on harvesting timber on federal land expired at the end of fiscal year 2011. The Secure Rural Schools and ...

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Oct
06
2011

House Proposed Changes to Pell Grant Eligibility Have Unexpected Effects on Cost Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

As we wrote earlier this week, the House Appropriations Committee’s Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations bill for fiscal year 2012 makes numerous changes to eligibility rules for the Pell Grant program. These changes lower the cost of the program by $3.6 billion in 2012, meaning Congress needs to the fund the program at only $20.7 billion to maintain the maximum grant of $5,550 for the 2012-2013 school year. That’s down $2.3 billion from 2011 levels. Naturally, some of the eligibility changes affect the cost of the program more than others. According to a preliminary Congressional Budget Office ...

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Oct
04
2011

Pell Grant Funding: House vs. Senate Proposals for 2012 Jason Delisle

How Congress will fund the fiscal year 2012 Pell Grant is finally starting to come into focus. While fiscal year 2012 officially began on October 1, 2011, Congress still hasn’t finalized any appropriations funding for the year – and when it does, it will likely be through an omnibus appropriations bill covering every federal agency later this year. In the meantime, lawmakers passed a continuing resolution to keep agencies and programs operating at fiscal year 2011 levels until they enact a final year-long bill. Last week, both the House and Senate gave a few hints as to how they are likely to ...

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Sep
30
2011

Friday News Roundup: Week of September 26-30 Clare McCann

Washington State superintendent’s office won’t comply with Governor’s budget-cut order

Arizona group seeking way to sustain K-12 funding

Oklahoma lawmakers discuss higher education funding

Rural schools in New Jersey sue for funding

Washington State superintendent’s office won’t comply with Governor’s budget-cut order
Washington State Governor Chris Gregoire has ordered all state agencies to submit new budget proposals for the remainder of the 2011-13 biennium with a 10 percent cut over current levels.  Agencies have already significant cuts seen in recent years as ...

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Sep
30
2011

House Appropriations Committee Introduces 2012 Labor-HHS-Education Bill Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Yesterday, a subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee released a draft version of a fiscal year 2012 Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill. This comes shortly after the Senate Appropriations Committee approved its version of the bill earlier this week. Unsurprisingly, the House Appropriations Committee’s bill differs from the Senate Committee’s bill in some pretty significant ways, setting Congress up for a drawn out appropriations process. Funding for nearly every federal education program is decided each year through the appropriations process. (A table comparing both Committees' ...

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Sep
29
2011

GAO Checks In on ARRA Education Funding Clare McCann

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 represented an unprecedented federal investment in education, with nearly $100 billion provided to states and local school districts from 2009 to 2011, mostly through the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund. Given the magnitude of this funding (the regular annual appropriation for the U.S. Department of Education is about $68 billion) Congress and the Obama Administration have subjected states and local school districts to an unusual amount of scrutiny.  A report released by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) this month offers an ...

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Sep
27
2011

Senate Appropriations Committee Passes Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Bill Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Last week, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved a fiscal year 2012 Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations bill. Though this action is a little late, given that Congress is already considering a Continuing Resolution to temporarily extend 2012 appropriations at 2011 levels, it does give us a sense of what Department of Education appropriations could look like in 2012, at least according to Senate Democrats. The bill provides the Department of Education with $68.4 billion in funding, $81 million more than in 2011. Given that the Budget Control Act of 2011 requires an overall cut in discretionary ...

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Sep
23
2011

Friday News Roundup: Week of September 19-23 Clare McCann

13% Mississippi education budget hike unlikely

Pennsylvania survey: State lost more than 14,000 school jobs

Cash-strapped Texas districts increase class sizes

Montana education group sues state over $8 million in public schools money

13% Mississippi education budget hike unlikely
During budget hearings this week, the Mississippi state Department of Education requested a 13 percent increase for the 2013 fiscal year from 2012 levels. This would increase current K-12 funding by $289 million. Most of that request is intended for the Mississippi Adequate Education Program, ...

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Sep
22
2011

Obama's Teacher Stabilization Funding Adds to Billions in Previous Education Jobs Support Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

A couple weeks ago, President Obama announced the American Jobs Act, a mix of tax cuts and new spending totaling $447 billion over ten years, intended to stimulate job creation in the country. Unsurprisingly, the bill includes a sizeable chunk of money - $30 billion – to help pay the salaries and benefits of K-12 teachers and prevent layoffs throughout the nation’s school districts. But the president’s proposed Teacher Stabilization fund isn’t the first time the Obama administration has supported providing a big pot of funding to help support state education budgets.

Back in 2009, Congress ...

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Sep
20
2011

Information Needed on ARRA School Construction Funds Before Congress Acts on Obama's Proposal for More Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Last week, the Obama administration released its American Jobs Act of 2011, a set of proposals it wants Congress to enact to spur more job creation. A big part of proposal is $25 billion in new federal grant aid to fund K-12 school construction, renovation, and modernization throughout the country. There’s little doubt that many school districts are in need of funding for construction and maintenance, but before Congress moves to enact the president’s $25 billion proposal, the Obama administration needs to show lawmakers (and the public) how schools are using $22 billion in federally subsidized ...

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Sep
16
2011

FEBP Website Releases 2009 Cohort Default Rate Data Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of Education released data by institution of higher education on the federal student loan cohort default rate. These data show the percentage of a school's borrowers who entered repayment on federal loans in fiscal year 2009 (October 1, 2008 through September 30, 2009) and defaulted on those loans in either fiscal year 2009 or 2010 (ending September 30, 2010). These data are now available on the Federal Education Budget Project’s website, http://www.edbudgetproject.org, where users can easily search the data by institution and view data on price, demographics, ...

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Sep
16
2011

Friday News Roundup: Week of September 12-16 Clare McCann

University of California Regents recoil at idea of 16% tuition increase

Hawaii provides $6M over 3 years for preschool

Washington State’s school districts brace for even more cuts

Kansas colleges request budget hike of nearly $19 million

University of California Regents recoil at idea of 16% tuition increase
A proposal to increase tuition in the University of California (UC) system by 8 to 16 percent annually through the 2016 school year to make up for projected budget shortfalls has become highly contentious. Under the plan, tuition (not including room, board, and ...

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Sep
15
2011

House Appropriations Committee Introduces 2012 Continuing Resolution Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

It’s hard to tell if Congress is getting any closer to the end of the fiscal year 2012 appropriations process, through which Congress will set funding levels for almost every federal education program for the upcoming year. Fiscal year 2012 starts on October 1, 2011 and so far Congress has not passed any of the 12 appropriations bills that typically make up the appropriations process. So, yesterday the Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee introduced a Continuing Resolution (CR) for fiscal year 2012 appropriations, a stop-gap funding measure that allows federal agencies and programs ...

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Sep
13
2011

FEBP Releases Brief on Latest Developments in 2012 Education Funding Clare McCann

The fiscal year 2012 budget process has been anything but typical or predictable. While fiscal year 2012 starts in just a few weeks on October 1, 2011, the annual appropriations process is far from complete, and funding for federal education programs has not yet been finalized. Nevertheless, congressional action in the months that have led up to the start of fiscal year 2012 will have important effects on education funding levels set in the appropriations process as well as for other programs, such as student loans and education tax benefits.

The New America Foundation’s Federal Education ...

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Sep
09
2011

Friday News Roundup: Week of September 5-9 Clare McCann

Bigger classes, fewer sections possible result of reduced Minnesota state funding for higher education
Reductions in state funding for public colleges in Minnesota may, in turn, affect students’ academic experiences, with bigger class sizes and fewer course sections available.  The state shut down temporarily this summer until a budget compromise was reached, and the deal left the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system with 10 percent less over the next two years than they received in the previous two years. University of MN President Eric Kaler ...

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Sep
08
2011

FY 2012 Appropriations Process Now Moving in the Senate Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

After a long summer of debt ceiling negotiations, and a stalled appropriations process, the fiscal year 2012 appropriations process is finally moving again. That’s good news given that fiscal year 2012 starts on October 1st, 2011 and not a single appropriations bill has been signed into law yet.

With the adoption of the Budget Control Act of 2011 (the debt ceiling agreement) back in August, the Senate finally had agreed on an overall limit on fiscal year 2012 appropriations. That cleared the way for the next step in the annual appropriations process.

Yesterday, the Senate Committee ...

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Sep
06
2011

Are Higher Ed Tax Expenditures in the Supercommittee's Crosshairs? Clare McCann

As Congress returns from its summer recess this week, all eyes will be on thecongressional “supercommittee,” the joint House-Senate committee established under the Budget Control Act of 2011 and charged with drafting a bill that will reduce the federal deficit by $1.5 trillion over a ten-year time frame.  The supercommittee has already begun deliberations on the subject and must report a bill to Congress by November 23. The committee’s twelve members could propose changes to both spending and tax policies to meet their savings target, and proposals that raise more revenue are likely to include ...

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Aug
23
2011

Ed Money Watch is on Summer Vacation Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

In honor of the end of summer, Ed Money Watch will be on vacation for the next two weeks. Check back after Labor Day for analysis of the latest developments in federal education policy including No Child Left Behind waivers, the pending Title I formula fight, and the on-going Pell Grant spending debate.

...
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Aug
19
2011

Friday News Roundup: Week of August 15-19 Clare McCann

Feds punish South Carolina on lack of spending, but $36 million cut to education delayed

Land board approves $31M for Idaho public schools

Brownback tells Kansas Regents to improve higher education but not to expect extra funding

California loses $11.5 million in federal funding for charter schools

Feds punish South Carolina on lack of spending, but $36 million cut to education delayed
South Carolina obtained a reprieve this week from the U.S. Department of Education’s threat to withhold federal funding for students with disabilities as a penalty for the state’s ...

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Aug
18
2011

President's Jobs Proposal May Include Money for School Construction, Teacher Salaries Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Yesterday, several news outlets published articles about President Obama’s forthcoming new jobs proposal. Some sources suggest that, in addition to including tax breaks for companies that hire new employees, the plan will include money for school renovations and possibly more money to keep teachers in their jobs. While it’s impossible to know the details of the president’s proposal, past efforts to achieve similar ends may give some insight.

This isn’t the first time the President has pushed for such education-specific economic stimulus. Of course, the American Recovery and Reinvestment ...

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Aug
15
2011

House-Passed Budget Resolution May Supersede Debt Ceiling Spending Limits in Appropriations Process Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Earlier this month, Ed Money Watch wrote about how the debt ceiling agreement will likely affect education funding in fiscal year 2012 and beyond. The agreement included a $1.043 trillion cap on total 2012 spending, $7 billion below 2011 levels. But now the House Budget Committee is claiming that it will still be held to the House-passed budget resolution spending limit of $1.019 trillion, unless the House votes to replace that limit with the higher limit defined in the debt ceiling agreement.

To recap: This past May, the House passed a budget resolution for fiscal year 2012 that set total ...

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Aug
12
2011

Friday News Roundup: Week of August 8-12 Clare McCann

Illinois Gov. Quinn moves to abolish controversial legislative scholarships

Joplin, Missouri schools to get up to $1.5M from state

Dome: $100 million in leftovers sought for North Carolina education

Austin, Texas schools’ 2012 budget shortfall narrows; state of emergency still in place

Illinois Gov. Quinn moves to abolish controversial legislative scholarships

An Illinois scholarship program, called the General Assembly legislative scholarships, may be near its end. After the state Assembly passed legislation to alter the program and make it less vulnerable to scandal, ...

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Aug
11
2011

Taking a Closer Look at Talent Search Stephen Burd

Federal policymakers have long recognized the importance of raising the college aspirations and improving the academic preparation of students from low-income families so they can enroll in and succeed in college. However, the multiple college outreach and early intervention programs that the government currently supports suffer from significant overlap and redundancies.

To achieve this goal more effectively, policymakers need to develop a more coherent and coordinated strategy than what currently exists. But before they can start, they need a better understanding of the current programs ...

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Aug
09
2011

Congress Gearing Up for a Title I Formula Fight Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Last week, the Title I-derland blog wrote that Congress is gearing up for a Title I formula fight as part of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA – currently known as No Child Left Behind) reauthorization process. Given the complicated legacy of the current Title I funding formulas, this is likely to further delay the introduction of a complete ESEA reauthorization bill.

A formula fight is exactly what it sounds like – congressional staff members gather around a table and work out a funding formula (or in this case formulas) that distributes Title I funds among states and school ...

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Aug
08
2011

Administration to Move Forward on NCLB Accountability Waiver Plan Clare McCann

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced on Friday that the administration plans to proceed with its proposal to issue waivers for states struggling to meet some education accountability standards, including the proficiency targets laid out in No Child Left Behind (NCLB).

Congressional action on reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act has stalled as a result of partisan gridlock and lawmakers distracted by other legislative issues, including the recent debt ceiling bill. While the administration had hoped to reauthorize the legislation by the start of the 2011-2012 ...

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Aug
05
2011

Friday News Roundup: Week of August 1-5 Clare McCann

New York tuition costs head higher

California loses federal funds for teacher database

Ohio voters reject 85 percent of new school taxes

Major education groups in Colorado back proposed state tax hike for K-12

New York tuition costs head higher
New York State’s fiscal year 2012 budget agreement included deep cuts (6 percent over fiscal year 2011) to the state’s community college network. Counties have maintained their contributions to the schools, but with increasing enrollment numbers, students at the community colleges will feel the pinch this year when schools ...

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Aug
02
2011

GAO Report Reveals Wide Variation in State Implementation of School Improvement Grants Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Since the Obama administration reshaped the School Improvement Grant program, it’s been hard to pin down what exactly states and schools are doing with the funds. The program, which received an infusion of $3 billion through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, provides funds that states award to school districts to support school turnaround efforts. Though the new program is more prescriptive than it previously was, the Department of Education allowed states considerable flexibility in structuring how local school districts apply for and receive funds. A recent GAO report seeks ...

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Aug
01
2011

Debt Ceiling Agreement a Mixed Blessing for Education Programs Jason Delisle

Last night congressional leaders and President Obama reached an agreement on legislation to raise the federal debt limit. The bill—which could pass the House and Senate by Tuesday—also includes limits on federal spending and directs Congress to pass additional legislation to reduce spending by the end of 2011. With respect to federal education programs, the pending bill looks most like the proposal that House Speaker John Boehner released last week. (Ed Money Watch detailed the competing proposals in a post last week.)

The pending bill would cap annual appropriations funding for 10 years ...

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Jul
29
2011

Friday News Roundup: Week of July 25-29 Clare McCann

Colorado governor, attorney general stand against education-funding challenge

Lack of pay for Illinois regional superintendents threatens start of school

Florida charters get $55 million for upkeep, other schools get zero

UC budget lacks transparency, state audit says

Colorado governor, attorney general stand against education-funding challenge
A trial challenging Colorado’s education funding formula as falling short of the state’s constitutional requirement that funding be “thorough and uniform” is scheduled to start next week. The lawsuit, Lobato v. State of Colorado, ...

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Jul
28
2011

A Temporary, Albeit Tenuous, Reprieve for Pell Grants Stephen Burd

As Ed Money Watch reported on Tuesday, the two competing federal debt reduction plans offered by House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) include supplemental funding that should shore up the Pell Grant program for the next two years. These proposals, if enacted, would make it significantly easier for Congress to maintain the maximum Pell Grant at $5,550 in fiscal year 2012 and the projected $5,620 in fiscal year 2013.

These plans, however, provide the program with only a temporary and tenuous reprieve. First off, Congress will still need to provide ...

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Jul
27
2011

Innovation in the i3 Competition Clare McCann

The Investing in Innovation Fund (i3), a $650 million federal grant program created in 2009 to encourage innovative school reforms, announced its first-round winners in August 2010 (giving those applicants an additional month to raise the matching private sector funds needed to implement their plans). The program, created through the administration’s stimulus program and administered by the Department of Education, distributed 49 grants to LEAs and nonprofits based on their descriptions of plans to design and execute novel proposals to reform K-12 education. But how ground-breaking were the ...

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Jul
26
2011

Debt Ceiling Plans Converge: Reid and Boehner Include Pell Grant Funding Jason Delisle

Negotiations over raising the debt ceiling—and what legislative changes should be adopted to reduce the deficit—are now centered around competing proposals from House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. At this time, it seems likely that one of these proposals, or some mid-point, will be passed by Congress in the coming days.

As we wrote last week, any proposal that Congress ultimately adopts to reduce federal spending would include caps on annual appropriations for future years, and would be enforced by across-the-board spending cuts called “sequestration.” We ...

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Jul
22
2011

Friday News Roundup: Week of July 18-22 Clare McCann

Tennessee plan to open Memphis schools on time has majority of board in support

Most New Jersey school districts keeping restored state aid for 2013 budgets, not 2012 property tax relief

Out-of-state students in Virginia shouldering more costs

Minnesota school officials ponder funding, policy changes in budget

Tennessee plan to open Memphis schools on time has majority of board in support
The Memphis City school board voted this week to delay the start of the 2012 school year, slated to begin on August 8th,until it receives $55 million from the Memphis city government. ...

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Jul
21
2011

Spending Caps in Debt Ceiling Deal will Squeeze Education Programs Jason Delisle

Negotiations between the White House and Congress over raising the debt ceiling appear to be moving forward—but with few details other than what congressional staff have scribbled on a cocktail napkin. Despite the lack of details, whatever legislation emerges to reduce federal spending (and raise revenue?) will likely impose caps on annual appropriations. Most education policy stakeholders have missed this key issue and what it means for federal education programs, focusing instead on the changes to federal student loan subsidies that are also imminent in any agreement.

Yet the cap on ...

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Jul
19
2011

Study of Title I Expenditures Reveals Unique Needs of Low-Income Districts Clare McCann

Title I, Part A, the largest federal K-12 education program, is often considered sacred during budget negotiations. The program, which will provide $14.5 billion to school districts in fiscal year 2011, was created in 1965 by the original Elementary and Secondary Education Act to boost funding in school districts with high concentrations of low-income students. Despite the program’s status in budget negotiations, though, champions of the program rarely discuss how the funds are actually used in schools and whether they have a significant impact. Last week, the Government Accountability Office ...

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Jul
15
2011

Friday News Roundup: Week of July 11-15 Clare McCann

Idaho ends fiscal 2011 with $85 million surplus

It’s official: Ohio schools lose $780 million

New York Governor Cuomo wields first veto on school bonding for pensions

University of California tuition hits $12,192 – a 9.6 percent increase

Idaho ends fiscal 2011 with $85 million surplus
Fiscal year 2011 revenues in Idaho topped the state’s expectations by about $85 million. For the 2012 fiscal year, which began July 1st, much of that extra money -- about $68 million -- will be allocated to public K-12 schools and community colleges to help fill schools’ budget gaps ...

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Jul
14
2011

CPI Change Would Affect Education Benefits and Eligibility Clare McCann

As the drama of ongoing negotiations between the president and Republican Congressional leaders to raise the debt ceiling and cut the deficit wears on, one arcane idea seems to come up over and over again: Revising the government’s measure of price inflation—the Consumer Price Index—to use a more sensitive and arguably more accurate formula, known as the chained Consumer Price Index. That change could reduce spending by $300 billion over ten years. (The New America Foundation’s Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget and the Moment of Truth Project have made the case for this change in a ...

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Jul
12
2011

Assessing the Progress of Race to the Top Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Race to the Top, a $4 billion competitive grant program created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to encourage states to undertake systemic education reform, has been the topic of much celebration—and scrutiny. At first, many heralded the program as one of the most effective school reform efforts ever passed by Congress. After the program was enacted, states legislatures made a number of historic changes to education policies to qualify for the funds. Now, many stakeholders think the program represents excessive federal meddling in education that will likely waste billions ...

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Jul
08
2011

Friday News Roundup: Week of July 4-8 Clare McCann

Maine Governor LePage signs education funding reform bill into law

UNC system lines up budget cuts

Illinois veto raises questions as new school year nears

South Carolina Education Department cuts 50 jobs

Maine Governor LePage signs education funding reform bill into law
A new education bill in Maine, signed into law by Governor Paul LePage this week, overhauls the state’s school funding formula. The new formula will provide additional funding to rural school districts in the state. President of the State Senate Kevin Raye, heralding the bill’s passage in a ceremony ...

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Jul
07
2011

Competition Between GEAR UP and TRIO’s Talent Search Have Left Both Programs at a Standstill Stephen Burd

At Ed Money Watch, we have written recently about how federal programs that aim to raise the college aspirations of low-income student lack coordination and suffer from significant redundancies. Of all these efforts, GEAR UP and Talent Search (part of the long-standing TRIO programs), have the greatest overlap. While there are significant differences between the two programs, they both provide college outreach services to low-income students at middle schools and high schools. Each works closely with students to prepare for college admissions tests, and helps them fill out college applications ...

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Jul
05
2011

States Lagging in Drawing Down ARRA Title I and IDEA Funds Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Last Friday, July 1st, marked the beginning of fiscal year 2012 for many states. For all states, it marked the beginning of the last quarter of federal fiscal year 2011 – the final three months that most funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 will be available. Last month we wrote that many states have or almost have spent all of their State Fiscal Stabilization Funds. Unfortunately, that is not the case for the additional Title I and Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) funding provided through the ARRA.

According to data made available by the Department of ...

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Jul
01
2011

Friday News Roundup: Week of June 27-July 1 Clare McCann

Minnesota judge orders most services to go dark

California Governor Jerry Brown signs ‘honest but painful’ budget

Georgia committee begins to scrutinize public school funding

South Carolina legislature overrides school spending vetoes

Minnesota judge orders most services to go dark
Minnesota’s ongoing budget negotiations collapsed last night before the state’s midnight deadline to reach an agreement. Without a budget deal between Democratic Governor Mark Dayton and Republican leaders in the legislature, the state shut down on July 1, 2011 – the first day of the 2012 ...

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Jun
30
2011

Net Price Data Provides Only a Limited Picture of Colleges’ Institutional Aid Practices Stephen Burd

As we recently wrote at Ed Money Watch, data from the Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) on colleges’ net price provides a glimpse on how campuses are spending their institutional financial aid -- aid they provide students from their own resources. But the view is far from complete. The net-price information (the average price students and their families are expected to pay after all sources of grant and scholarship aid are taken into account) for students who receive federal financial aid is available by income quartile only, rather than for the student ...

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Jun
28
2011

Colleges Beginning to Take on Student Completion Rates Clare McCann

With the United States slipping in international rankings of college degree attainment, policymakers and administrators of institutions of higher education (IHEs) have begun to focus on college completion and student retention—not just student access. To that effect, a new College Board report examines the ongoing efforts by colleges to improve student retention, and evaluates the efficacy of several alternative solutions in use around the country. The report dovetails with President Obama’s own calls for colleges to boost completion rates among their students.

The report, How Four-Year ...

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Jun
24
2011

Friday News Roundup: Week of June 20-24 Clare McCann

New Jersey Democrats’ Budget Allocates $1.6 Billion to Public Schools

Colorado to End Fiscal Year with $325 Million More than Budgeted

Oklahoma Board of Education Approves Leaner Budget

Idaho Schools Could Get Some Relief amid Budget Cuts

New Jersey Democrats’ Budget Allocates $1.6 Billion to Public Schools
Democratic leaders in the New Jersey legislature offered an alternative to Republican Governor Chris Christie’s proposed fiscal year 2012 budget this week. Governor Christie proposed a $29.4 billion budget, but since introducing it, the state Supreme Court has ...

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Jun
23
2011

Using the FEBP Comparison Function to Mine Higher Education Data Clare McCann

Last week, the Federal Education Budget Project, Ed Money Watch’s parent initiative, announced the launch of a new version of its website. The new site includes four years of higher education data on federal financing, demographics, outcomes, and financial aid use for every state and institution in the country. These data expand upon FEBP’s already rich array of K-12 data. In addition to providing the data in an easy-to-read format, the FEBP site also provides a comparison function that allows users to compare data for states, school districts, and institutions of higher education. Today, we ...

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Jun
21
2011

UPDATE: Budget Rule May Kill President's Perkins Loan Proposal Jason Delisle

Note: This post has been updated to clarify that the recently released CBO estimate is an alternative to the official estimate and was produced at the request of a member of Congress. It is up to the chairman of the House Budget Committee to decide how the alternative estimate will be used for budget enforcement.

Last month, we wrote about how a new budget rule adopted earlier this year in the U.S. House of Representatives would make passage of President Obama’s Perkins Loan proposal unlikely. The rule changes how budget analysts calculate the costs of federal loan programs to fully incorporate ...

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Jun
17
2011

Friday News Roundup: Week of June 13-17 Clare McCann

Washington Gov. Gregoire signs budget while bemoaning deep education cuts

South Carolina Legislature reaches $6 billion spending plan

Keeping Texas full-day public pre-K alive, with fees

Iowa Dems still hope to shift money to education

Washington Gov. Gregoire signs budget while bemoaning deep education cuts
Under the strain of substantial fiscal constraints, Washington State Governor Chris Gregoire this week signed a biennial spending plan for fiscal years 2011-2013 that will cut spending statewide by $4.5 billion over two years, compared to what the state had ...

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Jun
16
2011

Examining the Data: Taking a Closer Look at Private Loan Borrowing at Individual Schools Stephen Burd

At which colleges are the largest share of students taking out non-federal private student loans? That’s a question that we at Ed Money Watch set out to determine using Department of Education data now available on the Federal Education Budget Project (FEBP) website (www.EdBudgetProject.org). The FEBP website now includes a host of higher education data on every state and institution including information on federal financing, demographics, outcomes, and financial aid use, making it easy to compare the proportion of students taking out private loans at different colleges and universities.

Understanding ...

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Jun
15
2011

FEBP Website Now Includes Higher Education Data for Every State and Institution Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Over the past five years, policymakers across the country have turned their focus to the availability and use of education data. These data, whether they focus on funding, demographics, or outcomes, can be important and powerful tools in the policymaking process. Despite national calls for improved access to data (by policymakers, researchers and the public, alike), much of today’s education data are still buried deep inside state and federal agencies or available in inaccessible formats.

The Federal Education Budget Project (FEBP), an initiative of the New America Foundation and Ed Money ...

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Jun
14
2011

New Report Shows Opportunity in K-12 Budget Shortfalls Clare McCann

Rarely do tight budgets and funding cuts—like the ones states across the country are experiencing—lead to proclamations of opportunity. But a recent report from Education Resource Strategies (ERS) takes that tack. In Restructuring Resources for High-Performing Schools: A Primer for State Policymakers, the authors envision the adoption of serious school reforms in K-12 education, forced by state budgetary constraints and a sluggish national economy.

Using education funds efficiently is an imperative for school districts given state budget cuts and stagnant property tax revenues, not to ...

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Jun
10
2011

Friday News Roundup: Week of June 6-10 Clare McCann

Alabama Legislature approves education budget, operating budget for non-education agencies

$8 Million cut from Hawaii pupil fund

Minnesota GOP offer to increase K-12 spending not paired with more revenue

Texas House passes school funding measure

Alabama Legislature approves education budget, operating budget for non-education agencies
This week, the Alabama legislature passed an education budget that increases state funding for public K-12 schools, colleges, and universities by 4.5 percent over the 2012 fiscal year. That growth, however, will not be enough to make ...

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Jun
09
2011

New Report and Data Provide a Window on Financial Hurdles Low-Income Students Face at Specific Colleges Stephen Burd

Despite the federal government’s substantial investment in federal student aid, low-income students still face extraordinarily high financial barriers in their efforts to obtain a higher education, the Education Trust, a research and advocacy group, states in a new report. The organization puts much of the blame on colleges for increasingly devoting their institutional aid dollars to attract the students they desire, rather than for meeting the financial need of the low-income students they enroll.

The report, “Priced Out: How the Wrong Financial Aid Policies Hurt Low-Income Students,” ...

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Jun
07
2011

Most States Close to Spending All Their SFSF Allocations Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Ever since the U.S. Department of Education first released the State Fiscal Stabilization Funds (SFSF) to states in April of 2009, stakeholders across the country have expressed concern that the funds were not getting used fast enough. The $48.6 billion program was created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to help states fill budget gaps in the wake of the economic recession. Of that $48.6 billion, $39.5 billion was slated specifically for education programs. While some states spent the money right away, as ED encouraged them to do, others stalled on distributing the funds ...

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Jun
03
2011

Friday News Roundup: Week of May 30-June 3 Clare McCann

Texas Senate panel OKs school bill over objections

New Jersey Senate Democrats debate next moves on state budget

Iowa Republican lawmakers make new budget proposal

Wealthy Ohio schools get most budget relief under Senate plan

Texas Senate panel OKs school bill over objections
Texas lawmakers are considering cuts to K-12 public education this week in a special session called by Governor Rick Perry after Democrats killed a school funding bill with a filibuster. The measure, which would cut approximately $4 billion – 6 percent per district – in K-12 funding in fiscal ...

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Jun
02
2011

Distribution of School Improvement Grants among Schools Varies Widely by State Clare McCann

School Improvement Grants (SIG), a federal program that provides funding to states to help support struggling schools, has been a topic of much discussion in the education policy community ever since Congress and the Obama Administration made it the target of major restructuring and a big funding boost under the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Now there is new insight into the effects of the policy and funding changes.

A new report from the American Institutes for Research (AIR), Baseline Analyses of SIG Applications and SIG-Eligible and SIG-Awarded Schools, follows the flow ...

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May
31
2011

Lack of Coordination Harms Federal College Outreach Efforts Stephen Burd

Since the creation of the Higher Education Act in 1965, federal policymakers have supported multiple programs aimed at raising the college aspirations and improving the academic preparation of disadvantaged students. However, as we recently reported, these programs suffer from significant redundancies, potentially wasting resources and undermining what should be a coordinated effort to carry out this important goal.

The government has four main programs that aim to better prepare and motivate low-income students for college – the long-standing Talent Search and Upward Bound, both of which ...

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May
27
2011

Friday News Roundup: Week of May 23-27 Clare McCann

N.C. Senate puts forth its budget

Michigan Senate OKs plan cutting university funding by 15 percent

Pennsylvania House passes budget

South Carolina Senate approves $6 billion budget

N.C. Senate puts forth its budget
The North Carolina Senate released this week its budget, slightly raising education funding for public K-12 schools, colleges, and universities over the levels proposed by the state House.  North Carolina Governor Bev Perdue continued her push for increased education spending, taking issue with cuts made by the Senate and House budgets.  The Senate proposal ...

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May
26
2011

FY2012 Education Appropriations Development: Senate Fails to Adopt a Budget Resolution Clare McCann

All eyes have been on the U.S. Senate in the past few weeks for clues about what might become of the fiscal year 2012 appropriations process. Nearly all federal education programs are funded through the annual appropriations process, and a new fiscal year starts each October 1st.

As we wrote a few weeks back, the appropriations process for fiscal year 2012 has been well underway in the House of Representatives, but no action has been taken in the Senate. That changed yesterday. The Senate voted on several different proposals for a fiscal year 2012 budget resolution, which would establish ...

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May
25
2011

House Republican Budget Cutters Take Aim at Spending in Last Year’s Student Loan Reform Bill Stephen Burd

As part of its efforts to cut the federal budget deficit, Republican leaders in the House of Representatives are considering trying to rescind spending on programs that Congress included in the student loan reform legislation it approved last year. In a report accompanying the House-passed fiscal year 2012 budget resolution, the budget committee’s leaders argue that the legislation, which eliminated the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) program and shifted the federal student loan program to 100 percent direct lending, did not produce enough savings to fully finance these initiatives. [Our ...

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May
20
2011

Friday News Roundup: Week of May 16-20 Clare McCann

TX schools may lose $4B, but budget deal elusive

UC tuition might jump 32% if tax proposal fails, official says

Michigan budget agreement restores $330 million in state aid for schools

Nevada Democrats vote to increase state aid to higher education

TX schools may lose $4B, but budget deal elusive
Texas legislators, seeking to reach a budget deal before the end of the session on May 30, may have reached a compromise that would cut funding for public schools by $4 billion over the next two years.  These cuts represent about half of the spending reduction ...

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May
17
2011

FEBP Releases Issue Brief on Fiscal Year 2011 Education Appropriations Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

The fiscal year 2011 appropriations process has been a frequent topic here on Ed Money Watch since the process first got started early in 2010. The prolonged process finally came to an end in mid-April of 2011, resulting in some significant changes to education funding. Today, the Federal Education Budget Project (FEBP), Ed Money Watch's parent initiative, released an issue brief that explains the recently finalized fiscal year 2011 federal education appropriations.

Congress completed the fiscal year 2011 appropriations process on April 14th, 2011, finalizing annual funding for nearly ...

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May
13
2011

Friday News Roundup: Week of May 9-13 Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Nevada Democrats pass K-12 spending bill over GOP protests

Washington State universities given tuition control

Despite ed funding boost, some Utah schools will get less money

Pennsylvania higher ed notes relief at plan for smaller cuts

Nevada Democrats pass K-12 spending bill over GOP protests
Nevada Democrats passed a K-12 funding bill this week that would restore previously cut funding for education and increase per pupil spending far above the governor’s recommended level. The Democrats’ plan rejects a 5 percent pay cut for teachers, provides previously cut educational ...

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May
12
2011

House Takes Another Step in FY2012 Education Appropriations Jason Delisle

Last week we wrote that the fiscal year 2012 appropriations process is well underway—at least in the U.S. House of Representatives. Yesterday the House Appropriations Committee passed another key milestone in the fiscal year 2012 appropriations process that has important implications for federal education funding.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a fiscal year 2012 budget resolution in April that set a total limit on appropriations funding for the fiscal year 2012 spending bills, known as the 302(a) allocation. It sets a limit of $1.019 trillion, or about $31 billion less than ...

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May
10
2011

Budget Rule May Kill President's Perkins Loan Proposal Jason Delisle

In case you missed it, it looks like the Budget Committee in the House of Representatives has effectively nixed President Obama’s new Perkins Loan program. The president’s Perkins Loan proposal would revamp the existing program, which is a revolving federal loan fund administered by individual schools, and replaces it with a new direct loan program that lets the most financially needy students take out larger federal Stafford loans. According to official budget estimates, this would free up federal funds that could be directed to the Pell Grant program. But a little-known provision in the fiscal ...

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May
09
2011

FEBP Releases New Issue Brief on the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund and Higher Education Spending Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Since Congress passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) in 2009, many policy researchers and the media have focused their attention on the law’s funding for K-12 education. As a result, much of the reporting and analysis on the ARRA has overlooked the significant funding that the law provided for higher education. In response to this lack of coverage, the New America Foundation's Federal Education Budget Project recently released an issue brief titled The State Fiscal Stabilization Fund and Higher Education Spending in the States, Part 2 that explores how states chose to divide ...

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May
06
2011

News Flash: Student Loan Subsidy Savings Could Go to Deficit Reduction, Not Pell Grants Jason Delisle

Yesterday Vice President Biden kicked off a series of meetings with members of Congress aimed at producing a bi-partisan deficit reduction bill. Many Republicans—and a growing number of Democrats—want such a bill passed in tandem with an increase in the national debt ceiling. The debt ceiling needs to be raised in the coming weeks. According to the Washington Post, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) says the elimination of the in-school interest subsidy for federal student loans for graduate students (known as Subsidized Stafford loans) is on a “menu” of proposals that could be ...

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May
05
2011

House Budget Committee Lays Out Options on Pell Grants Stephen Burd

Some clues are emerging about how House Republican leaders plan to deal with the budget crisis in the Pell Grant program in fiscal year 2012. In the report accompanying the fiscal year 2012 budget resolution that the House of Representatives approved last month, the House Budget Committee lays out policy options for lawmakers to consider as the appropriations process moves forward.

Perhaps most significantly, the budget committee’s Republican members make clear that they want to deal with the program’s budget crisis with both cuts to the maximum award and targeted changes within the program ...

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May
03
2011

FY 2012 Appropriations Debate Begins Jason Delisle

On April 14th, Congress finally passed a fiscal year 2011 appropriations bill that funds federal education programs subject to the annual appropriations process. After the drawn out process involving seven Continuing Resolutions (CRs), Education policy stakeholders are no doubt suffering from budget fatigue. That’s why many of them haven’t yet realized that the fiscal year 2012 appropriations process is already well under way. Fiscal year 2012 starts October 1st, 2011. What’s more, there are some early portents that the fiscal year 2012 appropriations process will be as messy and drawn out as ...

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Apr
29
2011

Friday News Roundup: Week of April 25-29 Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Reconciling House and Senate Washington State budgets will take some work

North Dakota legislature approves higher education budget

New Pennsylvania tuition voucher bill would expand eligibility

Tuition at West Virginia public schools may increase

Reconciling House and Senate Washington State budgets will take some work
The Washington State House and Senate budget bills 2012-13 differ in some significant ways. One of the most challenging disparities is the way each bill makes cuts to the education budget. The Senate bill would cut K-12 teacher salaries by 3 percent, ...

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Apr
28
2011

Budget Cutters Take Aim at TRIO and GEAR UP Stephen Burd

Has the federal government reduced its commitment to supporting programs that aim to prepare and motivate low-income students for college?

That’s a question that some champions of the government’s main college outreach and early intervention programs are asking now that the dust has settled on the final spending bill for the remainder of the 2011 fiscal year. With so much attention on Pell Grant funding and the programs that were eliminated, little notice has been paid to the fact that the Obama administration and Congress agreed to make significant reductions to the budgets of the federal ...

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Apr
26
2011

Mining Ed Sector's Data on School Improvement Grants Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

School Improvement Grants have become a point of contention in Washington and across the country. Many believe that the $4 billion program, which provides grants to help turnaround struggling schools, has become too rigid and represents intrusive federal meddling in local affairs. But few proponents or opponents of the program ever discuss in detail where the funds are actually being used and what the schools receiving them look like. Today, Ed Sector released a report, accompanied by a new data tool, which fills in some of those details. The tool, which provides an interactive map of School ...

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Apr
22
2011

Friday News Roundup: Week of April 18-22 Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

South Carolina Senate committee defeats private school tax credit plan

Oklahoma House approves bill intended to generate savings for teachers’ pension plan

Kentucky State agency to consider tuition increases

Indiana State Senate approves school voucher program

South Carolina Senate committee defeats private school tax credit plan
This week the South Carolina Senate Education Committee defeated a bill that would provide tax credits to parents that send their kids to private school. The bill would have also provided scholarships to low-income students to attend private ...

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Apr
21
2011

Another Voice in the On-going Comparability Discussion Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Here at Ed Money Watch, we have written extensively about the Title I comparability provision. This provision seeks to ensure that Title I schools receive equitable state and local resources compared to non-Title I schools. Comparability has been a popular topic lately, from a recent conference at the Center for American Progress and a new bill that would strengthen the provision introduced in the Senate. The Fordham Institute recently added its divergent voice to the chorus of proposals related to comparability in its new ESEA Briefing Book. Instead of suggesting Congress strengthen the provision, ...

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Apr
19
2011

Let's Not Forget About the Education Jobs Fund Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

States have been very vocal about the coming end of the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund (SFSF), a $48.3 billion fund to help states fill budget gaps created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The SFSF expires at the end of this fiscal year (September 30, 2011). But few are discussing the Education Jobs Fund, a $10 billion program created in August 2010 to help states pay K-12 education employment-related expenses like salaries and benefits. The Education Jobs Fund expires at the end of fiscal year 2012, a full year after the SFSF. Though the Education Jobs Fund is much smaller ...

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Apr
15
2011

Friday News Roundup: Week of April 11-15 Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Oregon House approves schools budget amid cries that it’s ‘too little’ or ‘too much’

Future unsure for drive to grow Arizona tuition tax credit

Ohio public universities seek ways to hike tuition beyond Kasich’s cap

Illinois Senate OKs sweeping education changes

Oregon House approves schools budget amid cries that it’s ‘too little’ or ‘too much’
This week, the Oregon House of Representatives passed a 2011-12 schools budget bill that would provide $5.7 billion in state aid to schools. The state Senate passed the bill earlier this week and Governor John Kitzhaber announced ...

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Apr
14
2011

Final Budget Deal Leaves Maximum Pell Grant in Place, but at a Price Stephen Burd

After months of drama, the White House and Congressional leaders found the money to keep the current maximum Pell Grant in place for the upcoming school year. But this victory did not come without a price -- Congress is on the verge of eliminating a popular policy that allows low-income students to collect two grants in a single award year with the second grant generally used to pay for summer school.

For Obama administration officials, this trade-off was a no brainer. With the Pell Grant program running huge deficits, and House Republicans threatening to significantly cut the maximum ...

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Apr
12
2011

Congress Close to Finalizing Fiscal Year 2011 Appropriations Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Following intense bipartisan negotiations, Congress has released a compromise bill that would fund all federal agencies and programs subject to the annual appropriations process through the end of fiscal year 2011. (Fiscal year 2011 began on October 1st, 2010 and ends on September 30th, 2011.) Until now, lawmakers have not been able to agree on a year-long appropriations bill for any federal agency and instead have passed a series of Continuing Resolutions to temporarily fund federal programs in fiscal year 2011 (see timeline here). This compromise bill, which Congress is expected to pass later ...

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Apr
08
2011

Friday News Roundup: Week of April 4-April 8 Maggie Severns

Colorado lawmakers approve $250 million in education cuts for FY12

N.J. treasurer lists range of cuts if Supreme Court rules against Christie in schools funding case

Mississippi Gov. Barbour signs $423 million bond bill

Ohio Universities face an average 13 percent drop in funding next year

University of Arizona to use reserve funds to offer students $750 tuition rebate

Colorado lawmakers approve $250 million in education cuts for FY12
Colorado lawmakers reached an agreement on the 2012 state budget on Tuesday. The budget would restore some tax breaks for businesses, ...

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Apr
07
2011

The Surprising Survival (at least for now) of an Unpopular Federal Student Aid Program Stephen Burd

President Obama in his fiscal year 2012 budget request put two federal student aid programs for college students on the chopping block: the Leveraging Educational Assistance Partnership (LEAP) program, which provides states with money for need-based aid for undergraduates, and the Robert C. Byrd Honors Scholarship program, which provides funds to states for merit scholarships. In their efforts to reduce federal spending in the current fiscal year, federal lawmakers have already killed the LEAP program but have so far left the Byrd scholarship program in place.

This may prove to just be ...

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Apr
05
2011

House Appropriations Committee Proposes Yet Another Continuing Resolution Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Yesterday the House Appropriations Committee introduced yet another Continuing Resolution to temporarily provide fiscal year 2011 appropriations for another week. Fiscal year 2011 began on October 1, 2010 and thus far Congress has not finalized a year-long funding bill. Instead, Congress has passed a series of temporary Continuing Resolutions (CR) that have extended fiscal year 2010 funding levels temporarily, with a few notable exceptions. The current CR funding federal programs will expire Friday, April 8th. If the CR just released by the House Appropriations Committee passes the House and ...

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Apr
04
2011

Title I Comparability Fix Gains Traction in the Senate Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Last week, Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Thad Cochran (R-MS) introduced a bill, called the Fiscal Fairness Act, which would close the Title I comparability loophole. This bill is the companion to a similar bill introduced in the House of Representatives by Congressman Chaka Fattah (D-PA). Closing the comparability loophole is an important step towards ensuring equitable state and local funding between Title I and non-Title I schools and one that should become a permanent part of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

Current law allows school districts to meet the federal comparability ...

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Apr
01
2011

Friday News Roundup: Week of March 28-April 1 Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Washington State’s prepaid tuition plan declared financially sound

All Connecticut public universities, colleges likely to limit tuition, fees hikes to 2.5 percent next year

New York State budget eases school aid cut to 3.5 percent

K-12 funding overhaul bill clears Minnesota Senate

Washington State’s prepaid tuition plan declared financially sound
A new report from the Washington State actuary says that the state’s prepaid tuition program, called the Guaranteed Education Program (GET), is financially sound for the next 50 years. The report gives the GET program ...

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Mar
31
2011

Two Senators Propose Commission on Education Regulation Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Local school and district leaders have long complained about the competing and duplicative regulations from the federal, state, and local level. In many cases, these regulations – from financial reporting to resource accounting – create additional burdens for districts and schools. While many leaders have chalked up the redundant nature of these regulations as a necessary evil of the way public education in America is currently funded, two U.S. Senators put forth legislation to form a commission that would help identify and eliminate ineffective and redundant regulations.

Senate bill 622, ...

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Mar
29
2011

A Closer Look at Race to the Top Delays Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Education stakeholders across the country have been closely following developments in the 12 states that received Race to the Top grants through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Race to the Top (RttT) is a $4.35 billion competitive grant program to help states implement reform strategies focused on teacher effectiveness, standards and assessments, supporting struggling schools, and data usage. Since the awards were made in April and August of 2010, many winning states have been slow to draw down their Race to the Top funds. An Ed Week article published today highlights some ...

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Mar
25
2011

Friday News Roundup: Week of March 21-25 Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Florida Governor Scott signs teacher pay, tenure bill

Most Ohio school districts will see funding increase

Tennessee Governor’s tenure reform bill for teachers passes House

Nebraska Committee faces possible showdown with governor over state aid to schools

Florida Governor Scott signs teacher pay, tenure bill
Florida Governor Rick Scott signed a teacher pay and tenure bill that would implement a test-based merit pay system and eliminate tenure for teachers hired after July 1 of this year. Proponents believe the bill will allow schools to get rid of ineffective teachers ...

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Mar
24
2011

New Evidence on Investments in Improving Teacher Quality Emilie Deans

States and school districts across the country have been trying to figure out new and innovative ways to attract high quality teachers into their schools. Washington state, for example, has a policy of providing national board certified teachers (NBCT) with $5,000 bonuses each year and an additional annual bonus of $5,000 to NBCTs who work in “challenging” (low-income) schools. This week, the Center on Reinventing Public Education (CRPE) released a report that studied these efforts, titled What Does Washington State Get for Its Investment in Bonuses for Board Certified Teachers? by Jim Simpkins. ...

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Mar
22
2011

What is Happening with the ARRA Teacher Incentive Funds? Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) provided $100 billion for Department of Education programs that could be used through the end of fiscal year 2011. This included $200 million for the Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF), a competitive grant program that provides five-year grants to states and school districts to implement performance-based teacher compensation systems. The ARRA funds were combined with regular appropriations for fiscal year 2010 for the program and distributed to 62 recipients in September of 2010, more than a year and a half after the ARRA funds were originally ...

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Mar
18
2011

Friday News Roundup: Week of March 14-18 Emilie Deans

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

North Carolina Legislators Consider Merging Preschool Programs

Florida Senate Proposes Suspending Prepaid College Program

Iowa House Votes for More Flexibility for Charter Schools

North Carolina Legislators Consider Merging Preschool Programs
Republicans in the North Carolina legislature ...

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Mar
17
2011

ED Answers Some of the Senate's Questions On Education Policy Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

On March 1st, the Senate Budget Committee held a hearing on the Obama administration’s fiscal year 2012 budget request for the Department of Education featuring U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. During the hearing, Senators are able to ask Secretary Duncan various questions about the administration’s plans for education policy and spending. After the hearing Senators often choose to submit formal questions to the Department of Education to get further details on a specific program. The Department composes formal responses to these questions and compiles them in one document. This year, ...

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Mar
16
2011

House Passes a New Continuing Resolution Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

UPDATE: The Senate passed this Continuing Resolution on March 17th

Yesterday the House of Representatives passed a new Continuing Resolution bill that would extend fiscal year 2011 appropriations for another three weeks until April 8th (fiscal year 2011 began October 1st, 2010). If the Senate takes up and passes this bill, it would replace the existing Continuing Resolution (CR) that is set to expire on March 18th. If Congress does not pass a new CR before then, the federal government will shut down until a new appropriations bill is passed.

Congress so far has passed five CRs to ...

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Mar
15
2011

Fixing Title I Should Start with Supplement, Not Supplant and Comparability Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

This post has been updated.

Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (currently known as No Child Left Behind) is the largest federal K-12 grant program at $14.5 billion annually. The program aims to provide additional funding for services for low-income students, and approximately 17 million children receive Title I services. As Congress prepares to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), Title I is likely to play a starring role in the debates over changes to the law. Last week, the Center for American Progress and the American Enterprise Institute ...

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Mar
11
2011

Friday News Roundup: Week of March 7-11 Emilie Deans

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

North Carolina Republicans Lay Out Potential Spending Cuts

Alabama Legislature Approves Spending Cap for Education Budget

Pennsylvania Governor Proposes Deep Cuts to Education Budget

North Carolina Republicans Lay Out Potential Spending Cuts
This week, the North Carolina legislature’s ...

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Mar
10
2011

Exclusive: CBO’s New Pell Grant Estimates Complicate Budget Negotiations Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

As Congress and President Obama continue to negotiate over a final fiscal year 2011 spending bill, things are about to get a lot more complicated for the 2011-12 academic year Pell Grant.

Back in January we wrote that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) had revised its estimate for what lawmakers must appropriate to maintain a maximum grant of $5,550 for the upcoming school year. The figure had previously been $23.2 billion based on estimates done in 2010. In January of this year the CBO said it actually needs to be $28.2 billion, $5.0 billion more, based on the latest projections of ...

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Mar
08
2011

The Real Cause of Pell Grant Cost Increases Emilie Deans

It’s certainly no secret that the costs of the Pell Grant program have been growing at a rapid rate. The cost of the program, which gives undergraduate college students from low-income families’ grants to cover tuition and other expenses, has more than doubled from $16 billion in 2008 to nearly $40 billion in fiscal year 2011. Compare that to the largest federal program for K-12 education, Title I grants for local school districts, which Congress has consistently funded at about $14 billion over the same time period.

Most policymakers and stakeholders have attributed the rise in Pell Grant ...

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Mar
04
2011

Friday News Roundup: Week of February 28-March 1 Emilie Deans

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

Kansas House Speaker Proposes Constitutional Amendment on School Funding

New Jersey Governor Proposes Changes to Teacher Evaluation, Compensation

Mississippi Governor Vetoes Community College Funding Bill

Bill in Washington Legislature would Allow School Districts to Shorten School Year, ...

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Mar
03
2011

Comparability is About More than Transferring Teachers Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

One of the most controversial rules under the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act is the comparability provision of Title I. This provision is intended to ensure that school districts provide schools that receive funding under Title I ($14.5 billion in fiscal year 2010) and those that do not with equitable state and local resources before the addition of federal Title I funds. Yet statute still allows resource inequities to persist, undermining the goal of Title I funding and disadvantaging low-income students and the schools they attend. Earlier this week, the Government Accountability ...

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Mar
01
2011

House Appropriations Committee Proposes Another Continuing Resolution Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Last Friday, the House Appropriations Committee released another Continuing Resolution bill that provides more temporary 2011 funding for federal programs subject to appropriations. Though fiscal year 2011 began October 1, 2010, Congress has yet to finalize appropriations for discretionary programs (including most education programs) and has instead passed a series of Continuing Resolutions that temporarily extend last year’s spending levels.

Last month the House passed a full-year CR for fiscal year 2011 that would have reduced funding for a number of education programs compared to last ...

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Feb
25
2011

Friday News Roundup: Week of February 21-25 Emilie Deans

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

Kansas Legislature Struggles to Resolve Special Education Funding Issue

Idaho Passes Two Bills Reforming Teacher Pay

Georgia House Will Consider Cuts to HOPE Scholarship

Kansas Legislature Struggles to Resolve Special Education Funding Issue
Kansas state legislators this week debated ...

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Feb
24
2011

School Improvement Grants and Struggling High Schools Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

The federal School Improvement Grant program, which provides funds to school districts to help turnaround their lowest performing schools, has been a point of contention among state governments and education stakeholders since the U.S. Department of Education released new regulations for the program in 2010. The Department of Education developed the regulations in response to $3 billion in new funding provided for the program in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. States have been distributing these grants to school districts via a competitive grant process since the funds became ...

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Feb
22
2011

State Progress on Race to the Top Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Late last August, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced ten winners of the second round of the Race to the Top grant competition. Race to the Top—a program enacted in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act—provided $4.0 billion in three-year competitive grants to states to implement education reform strategies. A total of 11 states and the District of Columbia received Race to the Top (RttT) grants in that initial round of funding. This means that states have had between 6 and 11 months to implement their grant proposals thus far. What is their progress?

Based on reports ...

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Feb
18
2011

Friday News Roundup: Week of February 14-18 Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

UW-Madison could see hefty tuition increase because of budget cuts

Maine schools face loss of state funding

Delaware governor proposes raise for teachers in state budget

Connecticut Governor proposes budget that would preserve state education aid for towns

UW-Madison could see hefty tuition increase because of budget cuts
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker recently proposed a plan that would allow the University of Wisconsin – Madison more independence from state regulations. This flexibility would allow the university to by-pass some state controls like tuition limitations ...

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Feb
17
2011

House Appropriations Committee Proposes New Continuing Resolution Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

This post and table have been updated.

Last Friday, the House Appropriations Committee (now under Republican control) proposed a Continuing Resolution bill that would provide funding for discretionary programs through the end of fiscal year 2011. This Continuing Resolution (CR) is the most recent in a host of bills that have been presented starting last summer in either the House or Senate to finalize appropriations for 2011, which began October 1 of 2010. Until now, a CR has been in place that provides 2010 levels of funding for the majority of education programs. That CR expires March ...

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Feb
16
2011

FEBP Releases Issue Brief on President Obama's Fiscal Year 2012 Budget Request Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

President Barack Obama submitted his third budget request to Congress on February 14th, 2011. The detailed budget request includes proposed funding levels for federal programs and agencies in aggregate for the upcoming 10 fiscal years, and specific fiscal year 2012 funding levels for individual programs subject to appropriations. Congress will use the president's budget request to inform its consideration of tax and spending legislation later this year, including the fiscal year 2012 appropriations bill that will set specific funding levels for federal education programs. Fiscal year 2012 begins ...

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Feb
14
2011

Key Questions on the Obama Administration's 2012 Education Budget Request Emilie Deans

President Barack Obama submitted his third budget request to Congress on February 14th, 2011. The budget request includes proposed funding levels for all federal programs and agencies in aggregate for the upcoming 10 fiscal years, and specific fiscal year 2012 funding levels for programs subject to the annual appropriations process.

It is important to remember that the president's budget request is a policy and budget proposal, but not legislation or law. Actual fiscal year 2012 funding levels for nearly all federal education programs will be determined through the Congressional appropriations ...

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Feb
11
2011

Friday News Roundup: Week of January 7- January 11 Maggie Severns

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

North Dakota Governor Proposes Commission on Higher Education Funding

IndianaLawmakers Begin Work on Teacher Merit Pay Bill

Missouri Colleges to Cut Degree Programs to Save Money

 

North Dakota Governor Proposes Commission on Higher Education Funding

North Dakota Governor ...

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Feb
08
2011

What is Happening with the Education Jobs Fund? Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Almost six months ago to the day, President Obama signed into law the Education Jobs Fund, a $10 billion program that provides funding to states to support employment related expenses for K-12 education. Congress and the president believed that the $10 billion program would be necessary to keep public schools afloat as states confronted the end of the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund, a similar program created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. So what has happened with the new money provided by the Education Jobs Fund over the last six months?

As could be expected, ...

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Feb
04
2011

House Republicans Reveal Spending Limits for Fiscal Year 2011 Emilie Deans

Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives just launched the latest salvo in what has become a year-long debate over fiscal year 2011 appropriations. Yesterday the Budget Committee and the Appropriations Committee in the House announced self-imposed spending caps for the yet-to-be-completed fiscal year 2011 appropriations.

Although fiscal year 2011 began in October, Congress hasn’t enacted any full-year spending bills for programs subject to annual appropriations, which includes nearly all education programs. These programs are on temporary funding until March 4th at 2010 levels.

When ...

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Feb
04
2011

Friday News Roundup: Week of January 31-February 4 Emilie Deans

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

Delaware to Limit Spending on SEED Scholarship

Nevada Education Officials Grapple with Governor’s Proposed Cuts

Missouri Governor Releases $10 for School Transportation

Idaho Legislature Considers Reform Plan that Would Cut Teacher Force

Delaware to Limit Spending on SEED Scholarship
Delaware ...

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Feb
03
2011

State Education Chiefs Impatient for ESEA Reauthorization Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

No Child Left Behind, the current version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, has been up for reauthorization since 2007. President Obama made education a central tenet of his recent State of the Union Address, encouraging Congress to reauthorize the law. And many education stakeholders have been speculating as to whether Congress will find enough common ground to pass a new bill this year. As Ed Week recently reported, the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) has joined the choir of organizations pushing Congress to undertake reauthorization this year through a letter to ...

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Feb
01
2011

Recovery.gov Releases Newest ARRA Jobs Numbers Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

It has been nearly two years since the President signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). As part of the law, states and other recipients of these federal funds were required to submit data to the federal government on funds received and expended under each program. For education programs, this included Title I and Individuals with Disabilities Education Act grants and the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund, among other programs. Additionally, recipients had to report how many jobs had been saved or created by those expenditures in each fiscal quarter. This information ...

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Jan
28
2011

Friday News Roundup: Week of January 24-28 Emilie Deans

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

Delaware Governor Proposes Increases in State Higher Education Aid, Won’t Make Up for Loss of Stimulus Funds

Iowa Governor Proposes Ending Free Preschool Program

Texas Senate Considers Slashing Aid for Schools, Medicaid in 2012 Budget

Delaware Governor Proposes Increases in State Higher ...

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Jan
26
2011

Breaking News: CBO Says 2011 Pell Grant Costs Still Rising Emilie Deans

Today the Congressional Budget Office released its Budget and Economic Outlook: Fiscal Years 2011 Through 2021 (aka the January 2011 Baseline) and delivered some bad news for the Pell Grant program.

Lawmakers, students and education advocates alike have been fixated on the fiscal year 2011 Pell Grant, which will cover the 2011-12 academic year. Congress hasn’t finalized any 2011 funding yet (programs are on temporary funding until March), so the Pell Grant for the upcoming school year is up in the air. What’s more, supplemental funding from the 2009 economic stimulus is all but gone, putting ...

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Jan
25
2011

Exploring the Rural Competitive Preference in the Investing in Innovation Program Emilie Deans

In the Blueprint for Reform, the Obama administration set support for rural schools as one of its “cross-cutting priorities” for education reform. In that document, the administration pledged to include rural schools in new competitive grant programs, ensuring that they are not at a disadvantage compared with other schools, consortia, nonprofits, and institutions in these grant programs. Toward that end, the administration included a rural competitive preference in the recent Investing in Innovation (i3) grant program created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. This meant ...

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Jan
21
2011

Friday News Roundup: Week of January 17-21 Emilie Deans

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

New Hampshire Bill Would Narrowly Define ‘Adequate Education’

Faced with Deep Cuts, South Dakota Universities Consider Layoffs

Arizona Lawmakers Propose Cutting the School Year for Cost Savings

Colorado Budget Panel Votes to Deny Supplemental Funding for School Breakfast Program

New ...

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Jan
20
2011

Examining the Data: Where do Federal TEACH Grants Go? Emilie Deans

This blog post has been updated to reflect TEACH grant data for the entire 2009-10 award year. The previous version reflected data from quarter 4 of the same year. The overall trends remain the same.

In 2007 Congress created a new grant program that helps cover the cost of students’ undergraduate or graduate education if they serve as a teachers in high-needs schools after graduating. The program’s second year is now underway – the first grants didn’t go out until the 2008-09 academic year – so we at Ed Money Watch decided it was time to take a look at which schools are using this new ...

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Jan
18
2011

Misleading Numbers: Feds Don't Profit On Student Loan Defaults Emilie Deans

This post also appears on Higher Ed Watch.

In a few weeks the president will issue his budget proposal to Congress for the upcoming fiscal year. While all eyes will be on President Obama’s funding requests for major education programs like Pell Grants and Stafford loans, we’re hoping the Office of Management and Budget and the Department of Education take the opportunity to finally set the record straight on the most misused, misunderstood, and misleading numbers that appear every year in the federal education budget. We’re talking about the numbers buried in the appendix and supplemental ...

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Jan
14
2011

Friday News Roundup: Week of January 10-14 Emilie Deans

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

Missouri Governor Restores Education Funds, Increases Scholarship Maximums

Kansas Governor’s Spending Plan Would Mean Cuts for School Funding

Indiana Colleges and Universities Brace for More Cuts

Missouri Governor Restores Education Funds, Increases Scholarship Maximums
Missouri ...

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Jan
13
2011

Pell Grants and Proprietary Schools, Take Two Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

It’s no secret that the costs of the federal Pell Grant program, which provides tuition grants to college students from low-income families, have exploded over the past few years and that Congress is struggling to fund the program. Costs have risen from about $16 billion in 2008 to over $34 billion 2010. There are three main reasons for the increase: Congress broadened eligibility for the program in recent years and boosted the maximum grant to $5,550 in 2010, up more than $1,000 increase from 2007, while the weak economy has created an unprecedented wave of applicants. But some in the education ...

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Jan
11
2011

How States Can Help Schools Make Smart Budgeting Decisions Emilie Deans

The newspapers are full of stories about school districts in financial straits and state budget cuts coming down hard on education spending. Despite the fiscal stress, policymakers still have a lot of opportunities to make good budgeting decisions according to Stretching the School Dollar, a policy brief released last week by the Fordham Institute.

Authors Michael Petrilli and Marguerite Roza outline the common problems with state education policies that lead to harmful cuts and explain how smart policies can blunt the impact of tight budgets. With several states facing lawsuits regarding ...

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Jan
07
2011

Friday News Roundup: Week of January 3-7 Emilie Deans

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

Texas Legislators Consider New Eligibility Requirements for State Higher Ed Grants

New Jersey Supreme Court Hears Case on School Funding Constitutionality

Hawaii Department of Education Requests Restoration of $129 million in Budget Cuts

Governor Sanford’s Final Budget Plan Would Mean ...

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Jan
06
2011

OIG Concerned about the Maintenance of Effort Provision of the SFSF Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

At the end of every year, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) at the U.S. Department of Education releases a publication that details expected management challenges for the coming year. For fiscal year 2011, the OIG anticipated several challenges for the Department of Education (ED), many of which focused on the continued implementation and oversight of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). Of particular interest to Ed Money Watch were the OIG’s concerns over the maintenance of effort provision of the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund, a new program to help stabilize ...

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Jan
04
2011

ESEA and the 112th Congress Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Yesterday, the Washington Post published an op-ed by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. In the op-ed, Secretary Duncan sets the stage for a potential bi-partisan reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), currently known as the No Child Left Behind Act. Indeed, education is considered to be one of the few policy areas where Democrats and Republicans may find some points to agree on, though previous attempts at reauthorization have fizzled. The Obama administration has made its priorities for reauthorization somewhat clear, particularly through a document it released ...

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Dec
23
2010

Happy Holidays from Ed Money Watch! Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Ed Money Watch will be taking a break for the holidays. We hope everyone has a great holiday season and new year. Check back for new posts on the on-going federal appropriations process and its affect on the Pell Grant program, new developments in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and the Education Jobs Fund of 2010, and reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, starting Tuesday, January 4th.

...
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Dec
22
2010

Counting Pell Grant Chickens Before They Hatch Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

It started out as a precarious year for the Pell Grant program and it looks like the year will end that way too. Despite media reports to the contrary, Congress just left town without providing any funding for the program in the 2011-12 school year. Congressional staff and the news media have done a major disservice to students and parents by claiming that the program is now in the clear. Here’s why:

Pell Grants are funded mostly through the annual appropriations process, which is supposed to be completed by the time the fiscal year starts on October 1st. This deadline is rarely met, so ...

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Dec
21
2010

Senate Uses Omnibus to Sneak in Change to School Improvement Grants Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Last week Democratic leaders in the Senate proposed and then retracted an omnibus appropriations bill that would have funded all federal education programs subject to the annual appropriations process through fiscal year 2011 (which began on October 1st). Though the bill was never brought to a vote, and Congress looks set to put a decision on fiscal year 2011 funding off until early next year, it does give us some insight into things to come for education policy. For example, Congress buried language in the bill that would overturn a key Obama Administration rule affecting the School Improvement ...

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Dec
17
2010

Friday News Roundup: Week of December 13-17 Emilie Deans

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

Oklahoma Superintendent Asks for $381 million Increase in State Aid

Nebraska Lawmakers Propose Deep Cuts to K-12, Higher Education

Montana Governor Says Tax Revenues are Better than Expected

Oklahoma Superintendent Asks for $381 million Increase in State Aid
Oklahoma state schools ...

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Dec
15
2010

UPDATED: Latest Developments for Fiscal Year 2011 Federal Education Funding Emilie Deans

Yesterday we wrote that the fiscal year 2011 appropriations process is coming to a close and funding levels for federal education programs could be finalized in the next few days, albeit nearly three months late. Earlier this year the U.S. House and Senate made halfhearted attempts to pass a Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations bill, but neither chamber ever brought a bill up for debate or a vote. As the 111th Congress gets set to adjourn in the next few days, the pressure is on to pass some sort of fiscal year appropriations bill for education programs – and all the other federal programs and ...

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Dec
14
2010

Congress in Flux Over 2011 Education Spending Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

The annual appropriations process may be coming to a close and it’s well overdue as fiscal year 2011 began on October 1st, 2010. Nearly all federal education programs are funded one year at a time through the annual appropriations process (student loans are the notable exception). As is the case almost every year, the new funding levels haven’t yet been set in law so Congress has instead funded federal education programs – and most other programs – temporarily until lawmakers adopt full-year funding. But time is running out. The current session of Congress isn’t likely to go past December 24th, ...

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Dec
10
2010

Friday News Roundup: Week of December 6-10 Emilie Deans

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

Washington Supreme Court Rules that State Special Education Funding is Constitutional

Colorado Schools Will Likely See Cuts to Funding in 2012

Wisconsin State Agencies Request Increase in Funding

South Dakota Supreme Court Set to Hear Case on Education Funding

Washington Supreme ...

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Dec
09
2010

FEBP Releases Issue Brief on the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund and Higher Education Spending Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

CORRECTED

While many policy researchers and the media have focused their attention on K-12 education in their reporting on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), few have focused on the law's effect on higher education funding. Today, the Federal Education Budget Project, Ed Money Watch’s parent initiative, released an issue brief titled The State Fiscal Stabilization Fund and Higher Education Spending in the States that explores how state funding for higher education fluctuated as a proportion of total state spending during the implementation of the ARRA.

The ...

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Dec
07
2010

Estimating Student Performance on the Common Core Standards Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

The Common Core State Standards has caused quite a stir. This effort to build a set of academic standards for the nation – led by the National Governor’s Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers and endorsed by the Obama Administration – has many stakeholders wondering how students will stack up according to the new benchmarks. Now a recent report released by ACT, called A First Look at the Common Core and College and Career Readiness, seeks to estimate how today’s students are likely to perform on assessments of the Common Core Standards. The results show that states, school ...

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Dec
03
2010

Friday News Roundup: Week of November 29-December 3 Emilie Deans

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

Louisiana Colleges and Universities Consider Fee, Tuition Increases to Cover Decreasing Aid

New Mexico Budget Forecast Bleak Despite Uptick in State Tax Revenue

Washington Governor Wants Special Legislative Session

Louisiana Colleges and Universities Consider Fee, Tuition Increases ...

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Dec
02
2010

Conflicting Priorities under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Emilie Deans

Bellwether Education Partners this week released a report, Conflicting Missions and Unclear Results: Lessons from the Education Stimulus Funds. The report examines how states and school districts used federal stimulus funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) and how federal lawmakers could have made their priorities clearer to stimulate reform. The authors found that, absent clear guidance from federal lawmakers and the U.S. Department of Education, many states and school districts simply used the funds to fill holes in their budgets from lagging state aid and property ...

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Nov
30
2010

Uncertain Future for Education Technology Grants Emilie Deans

Earlier this month, the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) released a report, ARRA Investments in Technology, Innovation, and K-12 Reform. The report examines how states are using $650 million in Enhancing Education through Technology Program (EETT) funds provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). The authors found that states and school districts have been slow to spend the ARRA EETT funds because of uncertainty over the program’s future in 2011 and beyond.

EETT was authorized in 2002 under Title II, Part D of the Elementary and Secondary ...

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Nov
23
2010

Happy Thanksgiving from Ed Money Watch Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Ed Money Watch will be taking the week off in honor of turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, and gathering friends and family around the table to enjoy them. Check back for new posts on November 30th. Happy Thanksgiving!

...
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Nov
19
2010

Friday News Roundup: Week of November 15-19 Emilie Deans

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

Montana Governor’s Proposed Budget Includes Increase for Higher Education

South Carolina Legislators Consider Cutting 10 Days from the School Year

Outgoing Ohio Governor Worries that Race to the Top Funds Are in Jeopardy

Texas Schools No Longer Spared from Budget Cuts

Montana Governor’s ...

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Nov
18
2010

Education Jobs Funds on the Move, Sort of Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

A couple months ago, Ed Money Watch discussed the status of the Education Jobs Fund, which provides $10 billion in formula-based federal grant aid that is distributed to states based on their school age and total population. At that time, 47 states and the District of Columbia had been approved for the funds, though none of them had actually drawn down and disbursed any of their allocations. Luckily, there has been some movement with the Education Jobs Fund since mid-September.

According to data reported by the states on their usage of the Education Jobs Fund, states had received $1.2 ...

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Nov
16
2010

NEA Encourages Move to Growth Models for AYP Emilie Deans

This week, the National Education Association (NEA) added its voice to a group of organizations calling for relief from the regulations of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), the most recent version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The NEA and other groups (like the American Association of School Administrators and the National School Boards Association) are calling on the U.S. Department of Education (ED) to ease regulations under the law, giving schools, districts, and states increased flexibility as they await reauthorization.

Citing increased financial pressure ...

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Nov
12
2010

Friday News Roundup: Week of November 8-12 Emilie Deans

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

University of Missouri President Warns of Likely Tuition Increases

Florida Voters Reject Class Size Flexibility Measure, Costing the State About $1 Billion

Kansas Schools Face $50 Million Budget Shortfall

Teacher Evaluation Plan Hiccup Could Cost Maryland its Race to the Top Award

University ...

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Nov
11
2010

Is it Time to End the In-School Interest Subsidy on Student Loans? Emilie Deans

The latest salvo has been fired in a long-running debate over the in-school interest benefits on federal student loans. Yesterday the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, a bipartisan panel President Obama created to identify policies that will improve the country’s fiscal situation, issued its draft proposal to shrink the deficit. The proposal includes eliminating the in-school interest benefit on federal student loans which would save $5 billion a year. This is one of over 50 suggestions that would achieve nearly $4 trillion in deficit reduction through 2020. The commission ...

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Nov
10
2010

Wyoming and the Education Jobs Fund Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

In August of 2010, President Obama signed into law the Education Jobs Fund, a $10 billion in grant aid to help state governments prevent K-12 teacher layoffs. State governments had to submit applications for the funds by September 9, 2010, and most applied immediately with two exceptions – Wyoming and South Carolina. South Carolina was not eligible for the funds in the first place because it had made cuts in its higher education budget last year.[1] Wyoming Governor Dave Freudenthal decided not to apply for the funds even though his state was eligible, because he did not believe the state had ...

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Nov
05
2010

Friday News Roundup: Week of November 1-5 Emilie Deans

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

Oklahoma Officials Seek New Sources for Education Funding

Wisconsin Governor-Elect Asks University Regents for Help Creating Jobs

Washington Governor Considers Special Session to Close Budget Gap

Colorado Governor Submits Budget Proposal that is Hard on Schools

Oklahoma Officials ...

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Nov
04
2010

Exploring the ARRA 4th Quarter Jobs Numbers Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Since President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, states and other recipients of the federal funds have had to comply with fairly rigorous data and reporting requirements. At the end of every fiscal quarter, recipients would compile and submit data to the federal government on funds received and expended under each program funded by the ARRA. For education programs, this included Title I and Individuals with Disabilities Education Act grants and the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund, among other programs. Additionally, recipients had to report how many jobs had been ...

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Nov
02
2010

Federal Spending on College Aid is Nowhere Near $145 Billion Emilie Deans

Has federal spending on student aid for higher education really reached $145 billion under President Obama? In the run-up to today’s mid-term elections for the U.S. House and Senate, the news media has repeatedly trotted this number out – as a statement of fact, accomplishment or a sign that spending in Washington is out of control:

For example, an article in The Chronicle of Higher Education last month gave President Obama credit for keeping his word on increasing student aid:

President Obama campaigned on a promise to provide billions more dollars to students and colleges, and ...

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Oct
29
2010

Friday News Roundup: Week of October 25-29 Emilie Deans

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

Alabama Education Officials Call for Change to Education Funding Structure

Oregon Higher Education Enrollment Rising Along with Costs

Texas Higher Education Agency Calls for Reinvention of Public Higher Education

Louisiana Governor Orders Cuts to Higher Education, Other Agencies to Rebalance ...

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Oct
28
2010

Key Challenges in Implementing Race to the Top Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

In late August, 2010, the U.S. Department of Education announced the winners of Phase Two of the Race to the Top grant competition. Including the two winning states from Phase One, 11 states and the District of Columbia have been awarded $4 billion in federal grants to implement extensive education reform plans. But ever since the final winners were announced, education stakeholders have expressed concerns about the actual implementation of the proposed programs in each state’s grant applications: Do states have the capacity to do what they promised? Will the Department hold them accountable? ...

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Oct
26
2010

Improving Teacher Performance Assessments Emilie Deans

The Obama Administration has repeatedly stressed the importance of measuring teacher effectiveness as part of a reform agenda for K-12 education. In both the Blueprint for Education Reform - Obama’s platform for K-12 education policy - and subsequent policy proposals, the Administration has made clear that they want to strengthen the federal government’s role in supporting teacher evaluation systems. The Administration’s focus on teacher evaluation makes last week’s report, Evaluating Teacher Effectiveness, by the Center for American Progress especially timely.  It discusses how rigorous teacher ...

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Oct
22
2010

Extending the American Opportunity Tax Credit Shouldn’t be a Slam Dunk Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

This article was originally posted on Ed Money Watch's sister blog, Higher Ed Watch.

Last week the U.S. Treasury Department issued a report on the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC), a $2,500 income tax credit for college students’ higher education expenses that was included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The credit expires at the end of this tax year and the Obama Administration has proposed a permanent extension. The report includes a lot of information on the benefits families are getting from the credit, yet there is no mention of the inherent problems in ...

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Oct
22
2010

Friday News Roundup: Week of October 18-22 Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

West Virginia Schools Waiting on Federal Education Jobs Fund Monies

Louisiana Board of Regents Recommends $35 million in cuts from State College and University System

Recently Passed California Budget Includes Increases for Higher Education Funding

Some New York Charter Schools are ...

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Oct
21
2010

FEBP Releases Updates to National Rankings Pages Emilie Deans

This week, Ed Money Watch’s parent initiative – the Federal Education Budget Project (FEBP) – released updates to its National Rankings pages. The updated pages provide in-depth analysis of the most up-to-date data on per-pupil spending, student demographics, and student achievement in the 50 states and the District of Columbia and how these factors interact.

The state rankings pages use FEBP data to rank the states based on 2008 data on per-pupil expenditures, student poverty rates, school finance inequity, and nationally defined graduation rates, and 2009 data on student proficiency ...

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Oct
19
2010

Afterschool Meal Program Could Reach All 50 States Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Last month, the U.S. Census Bureau announced that the nation’s poverty rate had reached 14.3 percent, the third consecutive increase in the poverty rate. This means that 43.6 million people in America are living in poverty and many of them are children. The federal government provides several programs to help support children living in poverty, including Title I Education for the Disadvantaged grants, the School Lunch Program, and McKinney-Vento Homeless Education program. But one rarely discussed program is becoming more important than ever – the Child and Adult Care Food Program’s At-Risk ...

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Oct
15
2010

Friday News Roundup: Week of October 11-15 Emilie Deans

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

Federal Funds Arrive Too Late in New Jersey School Districts to Avert Layoffs

Pennsylvania Senate Approves School Employee Pension Overhaul

Michigan Governor Vetoes Stimulus Fund Distribution Formula

Federal Funds Arrive Too Late in New Jersey School Districts to Avert Layoffs
New ...

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Oct
14
2010

Paygo Won't Affect Higher Education Tax Credit Emilie Deans

Yesterday, the U.S. Treasury Department issued a report on the American Opportunity Tax Credit, a $2,500 income tax credit for college students’ higher education expenses that was included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The report is the Obama Administration’s opening salvo in the push to make the tax credit permanent. Under current law, the credit is only a temporary expansion through 2010 of the less-generous Hope tax credit. There has been a flurry of media attention over the report, including extensive information about the number of people claiming the credit, their ...

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Oct
12
2010

Still Trying to Measure School Funding Equity Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Equitable funding for public schools is an often discussed topic in education policy circles. Every state uses a different school funding formula for its K-12 schools and many of them result in an inequitable distribution of funds across school districts and schools. On top of that, local funding, which is often based on property tax collections, also vary widely across school districts, adding greater funding disparities. Today, researchers from Rutgers University and the Education Law Center released a report that grades or ranks every state on four different measures of education funding ...

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Oct
08
2010

Friday News Roundup: Week of October 4-8 Emilie Deans

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

Colorado Universities Submit Budget Plans Including Big Tuition Increases

University of Minnesota Prepares to Request Funding Increase

California Budget Deal: Good News for Higher Ed, Bad News for K-12

Colorado Universities Submit Budget Plans Including Big Tuition Increases
Colorado’s ...

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Oct
07
2010

OMB Releases Updated Guidance on Stimulus Reporting Requirements Emilie Deans

Since the President signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) more than a year and a half ago, recipients of the spending portion (as opposed to tax benefits) of the $862 billion in federal funds distributed under the law have been required to fulfill strict reporting requirements. Though these reporting requirements have been somewhat controversial, they represent one of the most significant efforts undertaken by the government to track federal funds. Late last month, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released new guidance on those requirements to make them more ...

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Oct
05
2010

ARRA SLDS Grants Off to a Slow Start Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) included $250 million for Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems (SLDS) grants, a competitive federal grant program that provides three-year grants to states to help build and improve their data systems. These data systems are used for school and district accountability purposes, as well as to better understand how state and local inputs affect individual student achievement. At the end of May 2010, the U.S. Department of Education distributed the SLDS funds to 20 states through in grants ranging from $5.1 million for Ohio to $19.7 million ...

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Oct
01
2010

Friday News Roundup: Week of September 25-October 1 Emilie Deans

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

District of Columbia Public Schools Face $30 Million Special Education Budget Shortfall

Texas Budget Shortfall Will Likely Cost Schools Millions

Michigan Higher Education Institutions Will See 2.8 Percent Budget Cut in Fiscal Year 2011

South Carolina Bans New Construction at Colleges ...

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Sep
30
2010

Congress Passes Continuing Resolution for Fiscal Year 2011 Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

As Ed Money Watch readers know, the fiscal year 2011 appropriations process for federal education programs has been complicated and drawn out – and it looks like we will have to wait until December for any resolution.

Fiscal year 2011 starts tomorrow, October 1st, 2010, but Congress has yet to pass any of the 12 separate fiscal year 2011 appropriations bills that will fund about one-third of the U.S. government for the next year. Democratic leaders in Congress have decided to bring up the bills in a lame-duck session after the November election. In the meantime, the House and Senate sent ...

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Sep
28
2010

The Clock is Ticking on Reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

In early August, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, a bill that would reauthorize the Child Nutrition Act. Now it is up to the House to pass the bill before the existing law expires on Thursday, September 30th. Although the Senate bill won strong bi-partisan support, things are not going so smoothly in the House mostly because of competing priorities for programs that address nutrition and hunger.

Currently, the Child Nutrition Act provides funding for school meal and after school food programs, benefits for low-income women and infants, and adult ...

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Sep
24
2010

Friday News Roundup: Week of September 20-24 Emilie Deans

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

Texas Files Lawsuit over EduJobs Money

Alabama School Systems Borrow Money to Make Ends Meet

Oregon Emergency Board Votes to Avoid Cuts to Education

Montana School Districts May Not See the Expected Bump in Funding from EduJobs Money

Texas Files Lawsuit over EduJobs Money
Texas ...

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Sep
23
2010

GAO Releases Report on Uses of Education Stimulus Funds Emilie Deans

Earlier this week, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released “Recovery Act: Opportunities to Improve Management and Strengthen Accountability over States’ and Localities’ Uses of Funds.” The new report examines how states and local education agencies (LEAs) are using federal stimulus funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) for K-12 education. On the whole, the GAO finds that LEAs have used ARRA funds primarily to retain jobs, preventing them from engaging in much reform activity.

For the report, GAO researchers collected and reported data from 16 ...

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Sep
21
2010

The Status of the Education Jobs Fund Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

On Friday, August 13th, the U.S. Department of Education released the application for the Education Jobs Fund, shortly after the President signed the program into law. Since then, many states have been scrambling to get their applications approved so they can begin to use this new source of federal funding.

The Education Jobs Fund provides $10 billion in formula-based federal grant aid that is distributed to states based on their school age and total population. To receive the funds, governors were required to submit a simple application by September 9th in which they committed to using ...

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Sep
17
2010

Friday News Roundup: Week of September 13-17 Emilie Deans

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

Proposed Oregon Budget Would Mean Special Education Cuts

University of Missouri Braces for Ten Percent Budget Cut

California Colleges and Universities Will Receive Federal Stimulus Funds to Fill Budget Holes

Texas Projected Budget Shortfall Reaches $21 Billion

Proposed Oregon Budget ...

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Sep
16
2010

Examining the Data: State Per Pupil Expenditures and State Graduation Rates Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

States across the country are always trying to figure out how they compare to other states on educational outcomes. Which state does the best on the National Assessment of Education Progress? Which states spends the most on education? Which state gets the most return on each education dollar it spends? The Federal Education Budget Project, Ed Money Watch’s parent initiative, collects and analyzes data on exactly these kinds of questions. Today, we will take a closer look at how state graduation rates (as defined and calculated by the U.S. Department of Education) vary with state per pupil spending ...

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Sep
14
2010

Recalculating Race to the Top Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Since the first round of Race to the Top winners were announced in March of 2010, many stakeholders have voiced criticisms of the grant application scoring process. They have claimed that the scores are biased or extremely subjective and that the winning states are not always the ones that are most deserving of the money. But the Department of Education stuck with the complicated five reviewer process for the second round of applications, eventually awarding a total of 12 states (including the round one winners) a total of nearly $4 billion to support reform-oriented activities. In the aftermath ...

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Sep
10
2010

Friday News Roundup: Week of September 6-10 Emilie Deans

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

Texas Loses Out on Edujobs Funds

Missouri School Districts Left Waiting for Edujobs Money

Oklahoma Higher Education Costs Set to Rise

Texas Loses Out on Edujobs Funds
The U.S. Department of Education this week denied Texas’s application for $830 million for the recently passed ...

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Sep
09
2010

Senate Democrats Shortchange the Pell Grant Emilie Deans

This post originally appeared on the Higher Ed Watch blog.

While many people were on summer vacation, Senate Democrats were hard at work trying to cover up an embarrassing decision they’ve made about the Pell Grant program. After finally giving up on the formal budget process in June, Democrats on the Senate Appropriations Committee adopted a set of self-imposed spending limits to govern the fiscal year 2011 appropriations bills. Almost immediately thereafter, they then began looking for ways to get around their self-imposed spending cap of $169.6 billion for the Labor-Health and Human ...

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Sep
08
2010

Examining the Data: Using Achievement Data to Compare State Standards Emilie Deans

Whether we like it or not, student performance on standardized tests under the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act is the most widely available method of determining school district quality and success. Typically, this information is difficult to find all in one place – every state stores its school district student achievement data on a separate, but publically accessible, website. Luckily, the Federal Education Budget Project (FEBP), Ed Money Watch’s parent initiative, compiles achievement data from all 50 states for nearly 14,000 school districts and makes it available all in one place on its ...

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Sep
03
2010

Friday News Roundup: Week of August 30-September 3 Emilie Deans

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

Utah Attorney General’s Office Says State Can’t Block Edujobs Money

Illinois School Districts Raise Fees to Make Up for Late State Payments

Alabama Schools Turn to Bank Loans to Keep Doors Open

Texas Education Agency Proposes Cutting Spending on English Textbooks, Science Labs

Utah ...

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Sep
02
2010

GAO Report Finds Flaws in ARRA Reporting Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

More than a year ago, Congress passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) providing almost $100 billion for federal education programs including Title I, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and a new program called the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund (SFSF). But this new money, which was channeled through states and distributed to school districts and institutions of higher education, came with a major caveat – schools were required to extensively track and report on the use of these funds through a new federal website called Recovery.gov. These reporting requirements ...

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Aug
31
2010

A Closer Look at The Phase Two Race to the Top Scores Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Reactions to the recently announced winners of Phase Two Race to the Top grants – new federal grants to fund education reform at the state level – have ranged from excitement to shock and dismay. Not all policymakers and stakeholders approve of all of the winning states and some supposed shoe-ins were denied grants entirely. Of the 19 finalists in Phase Two, nine states and the District of Columbia won grants. These states include Massachusetts, New York, Hawaii, Florida, Rhode Island, Maryland, Georgia, North Carolina, and Ohio.

This means that previously favored states like South Carolina ...

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Aug
17
2010

Ed Money Watch is Going on Vacation Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Ed Money Watch will be on vacation for the next two weeks and back on Tuesday, August 31st. Be sure to come back in the fall for more reporting and analysis on the new Education Jobs Fund, continuing distribution of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds, and the round two Race to the Top winners. We will also provide extensive coverage of the on-going fiscal year 2011 House and Senate appropriations processes, including the Pell Grant funding debate, and how they will affect the federal education budget.

Have a great summer!

...
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Aug
13
2010

Friday News Roundup: Week of August 9-13 Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

Indiana on Track to Avoid More Education Cuts

Pennsylvania Governor Rendell Proposes Wide-ranging Cuts to Fill $280 Million Budget Gap

Revised Nebraska State Budget Proposal Would Restore Gifted Education Funding

Texas Budget Crunch Dashes UT System Hopes

Indiana on Track to Avoid ...

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Aug
12
2010

Some More Wrinkles for the Education Jobs Fund Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

This past Tuesday, President Obama signed HR 1586 into law, providing a $10 billion Education Jobs Fund to help states avoid teacher layoffs. Congressional leaders claim that the program will save as many as 160,000 K-12 education jobs that otherwise would be lost because of state budget cuts. However, that number is now being called into question by policymakers and stakeholders because of various implementation issues.

As Ed Money Watch discussed earlier this week, school districts in some states have already taken action to avoid teacher layoffs by freezing salaries or eliminating programs ...

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Aug
10
2010

Education Jobs Fund Passes in the House Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

The U.S. House of Representatives just passed HR 1586, a shell bill that is being used as a vehicle for a $10 billion Education Jobs Fund – money meant to help states avoid teacher and staff layoffs in the coming school year – and a $16 billion increase in funding for Medicaid reimbursements. The full Senate passed the bill last week after much debate and it will now go to the president for his signature. Congressional leaders have said that the $10 billion for the Education Jobs Fund will save as many as 140,000 K-12 jobs by helping to fill gaps in state education budgets. Recently, however, ...

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Aug
06
2010

Friday News Roundup: Week of August 2-6 Emilie Deans

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

TexasLeaders Threaten to Sue Federal Government over EduJobs Provision

Illinois Governor’s Budget Cuts Hit Schools, Social Services Hardest

Tuition Rising at Louisiana Colleges


Texas Leaders Threaten to Sue Federal Government over EduJobs Provision
The U.S. Senate this week ...

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Aug
05
2010

Department of Education Announces the Investing In Innovation Grant Winners Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Yesterday, the Department of Education accidentally released the list of winners in the Investing in Innovation grant competition -- a day ahead of the scheduled announcement. The Investing in Innovation (i3) program provides competitive grants to school districts, consortia of schools, or partnerships between schools and non-profits to implement new innovative practices and programs. Thanks to Ed Week’s Michele McNeil, who posted ED’s list of winners on her Politics K-12 blog, and some earlier-released information, we can get some insight into who the winners are and which types of grants received ...

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Aug
04
2010

And the Education Jobs Fund is Back…Again Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Earlier today, legislation that would provide aid to states and local government cleared a key procedural hurdle in the U.S. Senate. The measures would provide $16.1 billion to extend increased Medicaid funding and $10 billion for an Education Jobs Fund. Sixty-one senators – including Republicans Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins - voted to cut off debate on the pending measures. This latest development means the Education Jobs Fund may soon be a reality if it ultimately passes in the Senate. (The House has already passed its own version.) The Education Jobs Fund, which first appeared in House ...

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Jul
30
2010

Friday News Roundup: Week of July 26-30 Emilie Deans

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

Missouri Reveals Maximum Need-Based Scholarship Awards, Cut From Last Year

New Jersey Schools Should Not Expect State Aid Increases in 2011

Passage of New York Budget Held Up By SUNY Tuition Measure

Missouri Reveals Maximum Need-Based Scholarship Awards, Cut From Last ...

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Jul
29
2010

Some Information on Promise Neighborhood Grant Applicants Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Last week, the Department of Education released data on the 339 applicants for the 2010 Promise Neighborhood competitive grant program. Congress included $10 million in 2010 appropriations for Promise Neighborhood planning grants, a particular priority of President Obama. The Promise Neighborhood program is a new program that was first funded in 2010. These grants provide funds to support the development of a plan to implement a comprehensive approach to education in a high-need area that includes a focus on community and family involvement in education. Promise Neighborhoods seek to break down ...

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Jul
28
2010

More Movement on the Fiscal Year 2011 Appropriations Process Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Yesterday, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education released some of the details on their marked up fiscal year 2011 appropriations bill for the Department of Education. These appropriations bills determine nearly all funding for the Department of Education for fiscal year 2011 which begins on October 1st, 2010. Much like the information on the House Appropriations Subcommittee mark up, the details currently available on the Senate Subcommittee mark up are less than thorough. However, we can draw some conclusions from the available information.

The ...

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Jul
27
2010

Secretary Duncan Announces Race to the Top Finalists Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Today, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced the finalists for Round Two of the Race to the Top competition – 18 states and the District of Columbia. Race to the Top is a $4.35 billion program created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that provides competitive grants to states to implement education reform programs. The 19 finalists will have a chance to present their Race to the Top proposals to a panel of judges. Final scores will be assessed after the presentations and the top states will receive grants. There is $3.4 billion available for this round of awards after ...

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Jul
23
2010

Friday News Roundup: Week of July 19-23 Emilie Deans

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

Tuition at Pennsylvania’s State-Run Universities set to Rise

West Virginia Education Pilot Programs Approved in Special Legislative Session

Texas Charter Schools Seek Building Funds from State

Tuition at Pennsylvania’s State-Run Universities set to Rise
The Pennsylvania ...

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Jul
22
2010

A Closer Look at the House's Education Earmarks Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Earlier this week, Ed Money Watch provided details on the Labor-Health and Human Services-Education Appropriations Subcommittee bill for fiscal year 2011. In total, the subcommittee provided $72.0 billion for Department of Education discretionary spending. But the subcommittee also released another document detailing an entirely different kind of discretionary spending – Congressional earmarks.

Earmarks are funds Congress provides to projects and programs under a budget account that do not require a formula-based or competitive allocation process. Essentially, this means that members of ...

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Jul
21
2010

FEBP Releases Issue Brief on the Federal Budget Process Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Yesterday, the House Committee on Appropriations adopted spending limits, known as 302(b) allocations, for fiscal year 2011 for each of its 12 subcommittees. The 302(b) allocation for the Labor-Health and Human Services-Education subcommittee is $176.4 billion. The 302(b) allocations are the most recent in a string of annual budget actions that mark the start of the appropriations process – under which funding for nearly all federal education programs will be determined. Fiscal year 2011 starts October 1st, 2010 and all appropriations bills are supposed to be completed by this date. The fiscal ...

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Jul
20
2010

Congress Makes First Steps in the Federal Education Budget Process Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Last Thursday the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education passed its fiscal year 2011 funding bill – the first step in the annual appropriations process that will determine funding levels for all but a few federal education programs. Fiscal year 2011 begins October 1st, 2010. Overall, the chairman’s mark included total funding of $176.4 billion, $1.5 billion less than the president’s 2011 budget request. This includes $72.0 billion for the Department of Education, $1.5 billion less than the president’s request and $7.7 billion more than the current ...

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Jul
16
2010

Friday News Roundup: Week of July 12-16 Emilie Deans

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

Virginia Ends FY 2010 with Budget Surplus

Rutgers University Board Approves Tuition and Fee Hike

Many of California’s Largest School Districts Plan to Shorten School Year

Virginia Ends FY 2010 with Budget Surplus
Due to higher-than-expected individual and corporate ...

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Jul
15
2010

More Information on the Expenditure of ARRA Funds Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

At Ed Money Watch we have been tracking the expenditure of funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) as closely as possible. Until now, the best source of information on this topic has been Department of Education accounting data that track the obligation and outlay of funds under each ARRA program. But this data only tells us when the ARRA funds leave the federal coffers and are disbursed to states. It doesn’t indicate when the school districts actually spend the funds.

Of course, there is also recipient reported data on ARRA spending which was mandated by the ...

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Jul
13
2010

Keeping Higher Ed in the Debate on State Education Spending Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

The Education Jobs Fund, a $10 billion program passed in the House to support state K-12 education budgets, has been a common topic of conversation in the policy world. Debates surrounding proposed cuts to Race to the Top to pay for the program, along with discussions about whether the Education Jobs Fund is even necessary, have dominated recent media publications. But little has been said about the condition of higher education spending at the state level, a sector explicitly excluded from the version of the Education Jobs Fund passed in the House – though earlier House and Senate versions ...

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Jul
09
2010

Friday News Roundup: Week of July 5-9 Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

Despite Cuts, North Carolina Budget Would Save Teacher Jobs

State Aid for School Districts in Michigan Lagging

Four Pennsylvania State Schools’ Funding Remains

Indiana Could Save $450 Million on School Insurance

State Aid for School Districts in Michigan Lagging
...

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Jul
08
2010

Comparing Education Jobs Fund and Race to the Top Allocations Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Yesterday, Ed Week’s Michele McNeil published an interesting analysis comparing states’ potential allocations under the Education Jobs Fund to their potential maximum winnings under Race to the Top. The Education Jobs Fund is a $10 billion program pending in Congress to help states avoid K-12 teacher layoffs, while Race to the Top is a $4.4 billion competitive grant program enacted in 2009 to support states implementing reform initiatives. A bill that passed the U.S. House of Representatives last week and now awaits Senate consideration cuts $500 million from the remaining $3.4 billion for Race ...

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Jul
06
2010

More Twists in the Education Jobs Fund Saga Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Much has happened since Ed Money Watch wrote about the Education Jobs Fund last Thursday. First and foremost, the House passed the amended version of the war supplemental bill that included $10 billion for the Education Jobs Fund. This program would provide additional funding to states to save jobs in K-12 education. The passed version also includes $800 million in education program rescissions including $500 million from Race to the Top, $200 million from the Teacher Incentive Fund, and $100 million from Charter School Grants.

But the move to pass the new version of the Education Jobs ...

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Jul
02
2010

Friday News Roundup: Week of June 28-July 2 Emilie Deans

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

Despite Cuts, North Carolina Budget Would Save Teacher Jobs

Illinois Public School Funding Cuts

Massachusetts Governor Signs Trimmed Budget

Despite Cuts, North Carolina Budget Would Save Teacher Jobs
North Carolina legislative Democrats this week reached a deal ...

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Jul
01
2010

House Discusses Changes to the Child Nutrition Act Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Today, the House Committee on Education and Labor is holding a hearing on the Improving Nutrition for America’s Children Act. This bill, which was introduced earlier in June, aims to improve access to quality meals served in and out of schools to children. The proposed legislation would also implement food safety standards and establish nutrition standards for all food served in schools, not just those associated with the federally subsidized school nutrition program.

Currently, student eligibility for federally subsidized school meals is determined by either direct certification using ...

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Jun
30
2010

Details on the New House Version of the Education Jobs Fund Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Last night the House Committee on Rules released a new amendment to a supplemental appropriations bill to fund overseas military operations. Democratic Leaders, including Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (D-WI), have been working to get a bill that can pass in the House after an early version failed to win support in committee when some Democrats balked at spending for domestic programs in the bill. (The Senate passed its version in May, without any of the contentious spending provisions.) The latest amendment includes a revamped version of the Education Jobs Fund.

The Education ...

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Jun
29
2010

Better Understanding Federal K-12 Teacher Programs Emilie Deans

We’ve been hearing a lot lately about teachers. State budget crises have forced school districts to pink slip thousands of teachers across the country and teacher union contracts require inexperienced teachers to be let go first. This has left many, primarily low-income, schools to increase class sizes or rely on substitutes to fill teaching gaps.

At the same time, much media attention has been focused on the two Obama administration one-time competitive grant programs signed into law as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The $4.4 billion Race to the Top (RttT) ...

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Jun
25
2010

Friday News Roundup: Week of June 21-25 Emilie Deans

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

Pennsylvania Lawmakers Challenge Governor on Education Spending

New Jersey Supreme Court Upholds Teacher Pension Payment Ruling

Oregon Could Lose Federal Stimulus Aid Under Governor’s Budget Cuts

Wisconsin State Superintendent Proposes Funding Formula Change

...
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Jun
23
2010

Mining the Investing in Innovation Grant Data Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) released some detailed data on the Investing in Innovation (i3) grant applications they received last month. The i3 program is a new $650 million program that was created in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to provide grants to local education agencies (LEAs), partnerships between nonprofits and consortia of schools, and partnerships between non profits and LEAs to fund innovative reform programs. Applications were due on May 12, but more than 2,400 organizations and LEAs submitted intent-to-apply notices on April 1st. ...

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Jun
22
2010

ARRA Funds and State Budget Gaps Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Congress Passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 almost a year and a half ago, providing nearly $50 billion for education programs like Title I, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and Pell Grants. Additionally, the law included $48.6 billion for the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund, a new program meant to help states shore up education budget shortfalls. Since then, state budget shortfalls have continued to grow, causing lawmakers and interest groups to call for additional money to help support state education funding. But little discussion has focused on how ...

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Jun
18
2010

Friday News Roundup: Week of June 14-18 Emilie Deans

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

Hawaii Enacts Law Mandating 180-Day School Year

Missouri Governor Approves Slim Budget

University of Michigan Announces its Lowest Tuition Increase Since 1984

Hawaii Enacts Law Mandating 180-Day School Year
Hawaii Lieutenant Governor James Aiona, acting on ...

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Jun
17
2010

Straight Talk About Student-Teacher Ratios Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

On Monday, the Washington Post’s PostPartisan blog published an opinion piece attempting to dispel myths about the “teacher layoff crisis.” Opinion writer Charles Lane tells readers not to believe the hype about the drastic consequences of 100,000 to 300,000 teachers losing their jobs in the coming school year. He says a proposed $23 billion Education Jobs Fund pending in Congress, which would help states avoid teacher lay offs, is both unnecessary and not enough to stimulate the economy anyway. He claims that even if 300,000 teachers lost their jobs, the student-teacher ratio in the country ...

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Jun
15
2010

EXCLUSIVE: Budget Rule Jeopardizes Supplemental Pell Grant Funds Jason Delisle

In May we wrote that the Pell Grant program for low income college students has been weighing on Democratic Congressional leaders’ minds. Supplemental funding for the program under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 is running out and Congress is now faced with the costly challenge of maintaining the maximum grant level of $5,550 in future years. We also reported that the House Appropriations Committee intended to include $5.7 billion in supplemental funding for Pell Grants in its version of the fiscal year 2010 emergency supplemental appropriations bill. If this funding were ...

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Jun
14
2010

Please Take our FEBP Survey Emilie Deans

In an effort to make the Federal Education Budget Project (FEBP) as valuable as possible, we have prepared an online survey to get your feedback on how we can improve our website and products.
 
Please click here to take our brief 10-question survey.

If you have any additional questions or comments, please contact Emilie Deans at deans@newamerica.net.

...
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Jun
11
2010

Friday News Roundup: Week of June 7-11 Emilie Deans

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

Michigan School Aid Fund Sees Unexpected Surplus

University of Wisconsin Regents Agree to 5.5 percent Tuition Hike

Proposed Budget Cuts would Devastate University of North Carolina System

Michigan School Aid Fund Sees Unexpected Surplus
State officials expect that ...

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Jun
10
2010

Redirecting ARRA Funds to Save Teacher Jobs Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

The Education Jobs Fund, a $23 billion fund requested in legislation in both the House and the Senate to help states pay for teacher salaries and benefits, appears to be dead due to lack of Senate support. But that House leaders and Appropriations Committee Chairman Dave Obey (D-WI) are looking for creative alternatives to the spending program. Yesterday, Politico reported that House leaders and Congressman Obey are exploring the possibility of redirecting “idle” funding provided under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) to help states avoid significant teacher layoffs.

The ...

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Jun
08
2010

OMB Requests Budget Reduction Plans Emilie Deans

On Tuesday, White House Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag announced that the White House is requesting all nonsecurity federal agencies (all those other than the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security) submit plans to reduce their discretionary spending (all spending subject to the Congressional appropriations process) by 5 percent for the fiscal year 2012 budget request. Citing President Obama’s determination to freeze federal nondefense spending over the next three years, Orszag noted that some cuts will have to be made to make room for “inevitable ...

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Jun
04
2010

Jennifer Cohen on School Budget Cuts, Reform Efforts on PBS Newshour Emilie Deans

On Thursday, Ed Money Watch's Jennifer Cohen appeared on PBS Newshour to discuss the effect of education budget cuts in school districts and classrooms alongside Jay Matthews of The Washington Post's Class Struggle blog. The discussion focused on teacher layoffs and class size increases as ways to shore up budgets in struggling school districts, as well as reform efforts like the teacher contract ratified by the teachers union in Washington, DC.

Cohen described how teacher layoffs often affect low-income schools, where more inexperienced teachers work, more than higher-income schools because ...

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Jun
04
2010

Friday News Roundup: Week of June 1-4 Emilie Deans

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

California Community College Turn Students Away from Summer Courses

Louisiana Budget Crisis May Mean Campus Closures

Tired of Waiting on Legislature, New York Governor Takes on Budget Cuts

 

California Community College Turn Students Away from Summer Courses
Students ...

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Jun
03
2010

Making Tough Choices About Teacher Compensation During Hard Times Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Over the past several weeks, news media outlets have been buzzing about potential drastic teacher layoffs ranging from between 100,000 and 300,000 nationwide if the Education Jobs Fund isn’t passed in Congress. The Education Jobs Funds is a $23 billion program that has been proposed in both the House and the Senate that would help states pay for teacher salaries and benefits during the economic downturn. The fate of the proposal is unclear at this time. But the news media has framed the story as a false choice. The large estimated numbers of teacher layoffs cited by the media and advocates assume ...

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Jun
02
2010

State Legislative Changes and Race to the Top Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Race to the Top, a new federal competitive grant program that provides funds to states to engage in reform activities, has been praised for its early impact on state education legislation. In fact, the Obama Administration has repeatedly discussed the program’s success due to the large number of states that have made legislative changes to improve their likelihood of winning a piece of the $4.35 billion pot. Though only two states won awards in the first round of the competition, 35 states and the District of Columbia just submitted their Phase 2 applications for 10-15 remaining awards. There ...

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May
28
2010

Friday News Roundup: Week of May 24-28 Emilie Deans

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

Illinois Lawmakers Leave Tough Budget Questions for Governor Quinn

Louisiana Lawmakers Begin Budget Work Despite Dispute

Oregon Lawmakers Clash Over How to Balance State Budget

Illinois Lawmakers Leave Tough Budget Questions for Governor Quinn
Unable to agree on how ...

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May
27
2010

20 States Receive State Longitudinal Data Systems Grants Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

On Monday, the Department of Education announced that 20 states had been awarded State Longitudinal Data Systems grants for the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grant cycle. The ARRA provided $250 million for the State Longitudinal Data Systems program which provides three-year competitive grants to states to help design and implement Pre-K–16 education data systems. The 20 new grants range from $5.1 million for Ohio to $19.7 million for New York. These grants are vital to the continued advancement of state education data systems, particularly as states and schools begin to ...

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May
25
2010

Pell Grant Budget Maneuver Aims to Placate Deficit Hawks Jason Delisle

The Pell Grant program, the federal government’s largest source of financial aid for undergraduate students from low-income families, has been weighing on Democratic Congressional leaders’ minds for months now as supplemental funding for the program under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act starts to run dry. But the issue could be addressed shortly. Ed Money Watch has learned that the House Appropriations Committee is likely to include $5.7 billion in funding for Pell Grants in its version of the fiscal year 2010 emergency supplemental appropriations bill Congress is expected to pass ...

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May
21
2010

Friday News Roundup: Week of May 17-21 Emilie Deans

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

California School Districts, Students, Parents Sue State Over Education Funding

Error in Kansas Budget Amendment Could Cost Higher Education Budget

Massachusetts Budget Would Reduce State Aid to Schools

Oklahoma Legislators Reach Budget Deal

California School Districts, ...

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May
20
2010

Department of Education Releases Applications for Teacher Incentive Fund Grants Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Today, the U.S. Department of Education announced the release of applications for $437 million in Teacher Incentive Fund grants (TIF). TIF grants are competitively awarded federal grants that local education agencies (LEAs), state education agencies (SEAs), and partnerships between either of these entities and non-profit organizations can use to implement programs that address the distribution of high quality teachers among high-need schools and subject areas. These grants are made possible through both a fiscal year 2010 appropriation of $300 million and a carryover appropriation of $137 million ...

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May
18
2010

Some Details on the Investing in Innovation Fund Grant Applications Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Last week, school districts, non-profits, and consortia of schools submitted their applications for the federal Investing in Innovation (i3) grant program. i3 is a new $4.35 billion program created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 that provides competitive grants to school districts, schools, and non-profits implementing successful innovative practices. As of Wednesday, May 12th, 1,669 applications had been submitted with more potentially coming in from applicants in the federally-declared disaster area in Tennessee. Though the Department of Education (ED) has not yet released ...

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May
14
2010

Friday News Roundup: Week of May 10-14 Emilie Deans

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

In Bid for Race to the Top Success, New York Agreement Will Alter Teacher Evaluations

Kansas Legislature Passes Sales Tax Increase to Help Schools Avoid Deeper Cuts

Michigan Sweetens Teacher Retirement In Hopes of Saving on Teacher Salaries

 

In Bid for Race to ...

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May
13
2010

Senate Struggles to Find Funds for Better School Lunches Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Yesterday, the Obama Administration released a report on child nutrition titled “Solving the Problem of Childhood Obesity within a Generation” which outlines the findings and recommendations of the White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity, including ways to improve the quality and healthfulness of food served in schools. The report’s release has reignited debate over the pending renewal of the Child Nutrition Act, which funds the National School Lunch Program as well as School Breakfast, Milk and Afterschool Snack. These federal programs contribute over $13 billion annually to schools across ...

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May
11
2010

FERPA and Education Data Availability Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

This past weekend, the Chronicle of Higher Education published an opinion piece titled “Ferpa Frustrations: It's Time for Reform” by Frank D. LoMonte. In it, LoMonte, the executive director of the Student Press Law Center, discusses the many pitfalls of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Specifically, he complains that the prevailing interpretation of FERPA allows colleges and universities to deny requests from journalists for information, even if the information does not identify individual students. That’s a good point, but FERPA has broader implications for more than just ...

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May
07
2010

Friday News Roundup: Week of May 3-7 Emilie Deans

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

New Jersey Education Chief Plans Reforms to Help in Race to the Top Competition

Vermont Lawmakers Will Likely Extend Session to Finalize Cost Savings Bill

Minnesota Legislature Passes Supplemental Budget Bill, But More Cuts May Loom

Illinois Cigarette Tax Proposed ...

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May
06
2010

Comparing NCLB and the Obama Administration's Blueprint Emilie Deans

In mid-March, the Obama Administration released its “Blueprint for Reform,” a lengthy document that outlined the President’s platform for reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Yesterday, the Department of Education released a series of documents outlining the research that supports this Blueprint including a specific document on their plans for the future of standards and accountability under Title I. The research presented in the document demonstrates the shortcomings of the current No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law and how the Blueprint improves on these policies.

...
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May
05
2010

Pell Grants and Proprietary Schools Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Over the past several years, Congress has upped the maximum Pell Grant considerably from $4,731 in 2008 to $5,550 this year, and a big part of the increase was funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The program, which provides college tuition grants for students from low-income families, now costs $33 billion, up from about $18 billion in 2008. Given the current scarcity of jobs, this increased funding for post-secondary education is important for low-income individuals that need a leg up in the job market. These funds can be used at both two-year and four-year public, ...

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Apr
30
2010

Friday News Roundup: Week of April 26-30 Emilie Deans

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

New York School Districts Propose Tax Increases to Offset Expected Cuts to State Aid

Georgia Legislature Passes Balanced Budget, Cuts Education Funding

Colorado Governor Signs State Budget Bill with Reductions for Education Funding

California Governor Warns Lawmakers Not ...

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Apr
29
2010

Comparing Alternative and Traditional Teacher Certification Programs Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Today, the National Research Council released a report titled “Preparing Teachers:Building Evidence for Sound Policy.” According to Ed Week, the report concludes that current evidence does not suggest that teachers who participate in alternative training pathways like Teach for America are any more or less effective than those who attend traditional training programs. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that alternative certification programs are no better or worse than traditional ones. It means that we don’t know enough about those programs or the teachers they produce to make a definitive call ...

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Apr
27
2010

Whatever Happened to the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund? Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Last week, Ed Money Watch published a post about the impact of the proposed Education Jobs Fund, a $23 billion fund pending in Congress that would help states pay for salaries and benefits in schools and institutions of higher education. However, most of the debate over the Education Jobs Fund assumes that states have already used all of the State Fiscal Stabilization Funds (SFSF) they received through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in 2009 and 2010. While some states have used up all of their funds, and would be the main beneficiaries of the proposed Education Jobs Fund, our analysis ...

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Apr
23
2010

Friday News Roundup: Week of April 19-23 Emilie Deans

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

Oklahoma Governor’s Revenue Plan Could Save Schools from Drastic Cuts

Sluggish State Revenues in Missouri Lead to More Cuts for Schools

End of Nebraska Legislative Session Brings No Relief to Lawmakers

California Report Highlights Need to Graduate More Students from State ...

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Apr
22
2010

Estimating the Impact of the Proposed Education Jobs Fund Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Last week, Ed Money Watch wrote about the resurrection of the Education Jobs Fund, a proposed $23 billion fund to help states maintain both their K-12 and higher education labor forces. The bill, proposed by Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), is nearly identical to a similar program passed by the House in December of 2009. These additional funds could be key to keeping teachers in classrooms over the next two fiscal years. To better understand the potential effect of this program on education jobs, the Education Commission of the States (ECS) released a report estimating the number of jobs that could ...

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Apr
21
2010

Congress Begins to Tackle Title I Teacher Comparability Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

When the Obama Administration released its Blueprint for the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, Ed Money Watch published a post bemoaning the lack of details about teacher comparability provided in the document. Teacher comparability refers to a current provision of Title I that requires school districts to provide equitable state and local resources to both their low-income (Title I schools) and their higher-income (non-Title I schools). We have long supported strengthening teacher comparability provisions, so we were glad to see that a bill recently proposed in the House seeks to dramatically ...

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Apr
20
2010

The Case for Need-Based College Aid Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

A couple weeks ago, The New York Times’ Freakonomics blog posted a research study about who gains the most from college. The study, published in the most recent edition of the American Sociological Review, uses demographic, academic achievement, and income data to determine the effect of a college degree on income. Buried in the dense technical study is a significant finding: individuals who are least likely to go to college benefit the most economically from a college degree. It provides, in other words, more evidence that the need-based financial aid the federal government, states, and colleges ...

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Apr
16
2010

Friday News Roundup: Week of April 12-16 Emilie Deans

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

Florida Governor Will Veto Controversial Teacher Pay Bill

Confusion over Washington, D.C. School Budget Stalls Teacher Contract

Louisiana Lawmakers Must Make Serious Cuts to Current Budget


Florida Governor Vetoes Controversial Teacher Pay Bill
Florida Governor Charlie ...

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Apr
15
2010

A Promising Community College Remediation Program Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Community college advocates had high hopes for the president’s American Graduation Initiative, a proposed $12 billion program to strengthen these accessible institutions of higher education. A full year after the President’s proposal, Congress finally passed a major higher education reform bill in March, but only $2 billion was included for community colleges, far less than earlier versions of the legislation. Moreover, the final bill didn’t include the new funding streams to stimulate state policy changes and improve student outcomes like college persistence and graduation rates that had been ...

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Apr
14
2010

The Education Jobs Program Lives Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

As we’ve mentioned before, the House of Representatives passed a $23 billion education jobs bill as part of its Jobs for Main Street Act back in December 2009. That program never went anywhere, and Congress went on to pass the HIRE Act, a law that provides tax incentives for businesses and makes some changes to the Qualified School Construction Bond program. After education funding was left out of the most recent jobs bill, states and school districts have been begging for additional federal support to keep schools open and teachers in classrooms. According to reports from Ed Week and the Washington ...

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Apr
13
2010

FEBP Releases New Federal Funding Data Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Yesterday the Federal Education Budget Project (FEBP), Ed Money Watch’s parent initiative, released updates to its education funding, demographic, and achievement database (http://www.edmoneywatch.org). These new data include:

District-level funding for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Part B, Title I Part A, and Impact Aid basic support payments, through 2009 with estimates for 2010;State-level funding for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Part B, Title I Part A, Impact Aid basic support payments, and federal school nutrition programs, through 2009 with estimates ...
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Apr
09
2010

Friday News Roundup: Week of April 5-9 Emilie Deans

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

Missouri Senate Committee Approves Slimmed-Down Budget Plan

New Jersey Governor Seeks to Slash State Aid for Higher Education While Capping Tuition and Fee Increases

Oklahoma Business Groups Oppose Education Spending Initiative

Pennsylvania Governor Seeks to Increase ...

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Apr
08
2010

Schools Continue to Struggle with Budget Cuts Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Today the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) released its seventh report based on surveys of school administrators and the effect the economic downturn has had on school operations, employment, and other aspects. This report, titled “A Cliff Hanger: How America’s Public Schools Continue to Feel the Impact of the Economic Downturn,” focuses on the difficult choices schools will have to make in the 2010-11 school year given the on-going funding cuts occurring at the state and local level. Federal stimulus funds are slated to expire in 2011, presumably because legislators expected ...

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Apr
06
2010

Some Details on the Teacher Quality Partnership Grant Recipients Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

THIS POST HAS BEEN UPDATED

Last week the Department of Education announced the recipients of the $100 million in Teacher Quality Partnership grants made available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). This program aims to build partnerships between local school districts and teacher colleges to improve and reform teacher training programs. According to the press release, 12 grants were awarded. Seven of those grants will go towards teacher residency programs, three will focus on more traditional licensing programs, and two will do both. Additionally, five grants will ...

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Apr
02
2010

Race to the Top, March Madness Style Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

In honor of the men’s college basketball Final Four games this weekend, Ed Money Watch has put together a bracket based on the Race to the Top competition. We divided the top 32 states that applied for the grant money (based on their RttT scores) into four regions and then seeded them based on their perceived “reformy-ness” and the frequency with which they were mentioned as likely RttT winners. Then we used their final RttT scores to determine which state won in each pairing. There were few upsets with the exception of Tennessee besting the favored Florida in the South. Of course, take this ...

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Apr
02
2010

Friday News Roundup: March 26-April 2 Emilie Deans

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

Illinois State House Approves 4-day School Week

Florida House, Senate Work to Agree on Education Budget

Minnesota Legislature Works through Weekend to Agree on Supplemental Budget Deal

Alabama Education Budget Picture not as Bleak as Predicted

 

Illinois ...

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Apr
01
2010

Breaking Down the Race to the Top Scores Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Much has been said about the Department of Education’s recent announcement of the winning states in the first round of Race to the Top grants. Only two of the 16 finalists states – Delaware and Tennessee – were selected to win the competitive grant aimed at encouraging innovation at the state level. These states received the most points from the panel of reviewers out of the 500 possible – 455 for Delaware and 444 for Tennessee. The resulting discussion has centered on the two states’ abilities to garner widespread stakeholder support – particularly from teachers unions – for their Race to the ...

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Mar
30
2010

The Status of State Fiscal Stabilization Fund Phase 2 Applications Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Back in November of 2009, the Department of Education released the Phase 2 application for the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund (SFSF), a $48.6 billion fund created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to help states fill budget gaps. This extensive application required states to declare the public availability of specific education data or devise plans for making that data available by September 2011. Since then, we haven’t heard much about the outcomes of those applications besides a few press releases from the Department of Education (ED). But it turns out, even ED is a little ...

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Mar
26
2010

Friday News Roundup: Week of March 22-26 Emilie Deans

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

Idaho Legislature Approves Cuts to Education Budget

Alabama House Committee Approves Education Budget Proposal

Iowa Lawmakers Work to Finalize Budget that Includes Increase for Education

 

Idaho Legislature Approves Cuts to Education Budget
Both houses ...

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Mar
25
2010

Comparing NAEP Achievement Data and State Spending Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Yesterday, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) released the results of the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) test in reading. This biennial test attempts to measure how the nation’s students are performing on a uniform set of standards. This test is completely separate from the reading standards defined by each state under No Child Left Behind. Much has been said about the nation’s stagnating 4th grade reading scores since the results were released (no growth in scores was demonstrated from 2007 to 2009). But little has been mentioned about how state NAEP ...

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Mar
23
2010

Are Federal Stimulus Funds Saving Education Jobs? Emilie Deans

The Center on Reinventing Public Education at the University of Washington recently released a report, K-12 Job Trends Amidst Stimulus Funds: Early Findings by Marguerite Roza, Chris Lozier, and Christina Sepe. The report attempts to determine whether federal stimulus funds distributed through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) have met the bill’s stated goal of saving and creating K-12 education jobs. They found that the federal stimulus funds have saved states from making massive cuts to the education workforce, but have not led states to create new jobs.

The authors ...

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Mar
19
2010

Friday News Roundup: Week of March 15-19 Emilie Deans

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

Cuts to New Jersey School Aid Much Deeper than Expected

Kansas Budget Plan Would Cut School Budget to Avoid Tax Increase

Louisiana Universities Brace for More Cuts

South Carolina Cigarette Tax Increase Isn’t Enough, Say State Education Leaders

 

Cuts ...

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Mar
19
2010

Pell Grant Emergency Seals Student Loan Reform Deal Emilie Deans

This post was originally posted on our sister blog, Higher Ed Watch.

Will Pell Grant funding save the student loan reform bill, or will the student loan reform bill save the Pell Grant program? With Congress set to vote in the coming days on a final version of health care and education legislation that Democratic leaders will move through filibuster-proof budget reconciliation, it looks like the answer is both.

Last week it looked like the education bill was dead -- too much weight to add to an already complex and fragile health care bill. But then, Democratic leaders realized what ...

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Mar
18
2010

What's Going on with SAFRA? Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Congress has been considering the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act (SAFRA) since July 2009. Over that time, Democrats have watched the bill go from low hanging fruit – previous estimates of more than $80 billion in savings over 10 years were difficult to say no to – to a near political casualty. Complaints from Republicans about government “takeovers” and from loan companies about huge job losses, as well as changes in savings estimates, have forced supporters to dramatically lessen the bill’s scope and cut out some key programs. But not all is lost in SAFRA. In addition to switching ...

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Mar
16
2010

Fleshing Out Title I Comparability in Obama's Blueprint Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Last weekend the Obama Administration released its “Blueprint for Reform,” a document that discusses the president’s proposal for reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). On the whole, the document provides some additional, though hardly thorough, details for programs the Administration already alluded to in its fiscal year 2011 budget request. These include the consolidation of several K-12 education programs and the inclusion of a state definition of a “highly effective” teacher and principal as part of the accountability structure. But the document also briefly ...

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Mar
12
2010

Friday News Roundup: Week of March 8-12 Emilie Deans

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

Illinois Lawmakers Faced With Choice between Education Budget Cuts or Higher Taxes

Missouri Governor Calls for Large Budget Cuts, “Right-Sizing” State Government

Utah Lawmakers Manage to Spare Education Budget from Deep Cuts

Idaho Lawmakers Approve Steep Reduction ...

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Mar
11
2010

The Status of ARRA Education Funds Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

It’s been a while since we last looked at the status of the education funds allocated through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). As we have discussed before, the ARRA allocated nearly $100 billion for education programs such as Title I, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) State Grants, and a new program called the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund. Last we looked at U.S. Department of Education data on the obligation and disbursement of these funds in September, things were moving a bit slow. Six months later, it appears that while some funds have gone out quickly, ...

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Mar
09
2010

High School Dropout Recovery Efforts Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

These days, stakeholders across the education arena are talking about the nation’s low high school graduation rates. According to an Education Week publication, three out of every ten high school students do not graduate on time. Thus far, the Obama Administration has talked about activities that seek to prevent students from dropping out in the first place like individualized learning plans and at risk indicators. But little has been said about pulling students that have already dropped out back into high school to complete their degree or even enter college until now. Last week, Senator Debbie ...

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Mar
05
2010

Friday News Roundup: Week of March 1-5 Emilie Deans

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

‘Financial Emergency’ Provision in Idaho Education Budget Would Add Flexibility on Teacher Pay

Nevada Governor Pushes Reforms for Higher Education

Alabama Lawmakers Have Yet to Begin Budget Work

Kentucky Legislators Will Try to Avoid Cuts to Higher Education


...
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Mar
04
2010

How High School Teachers View Students and Instruction Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Earlier this week, Scholastic and the Gates Foundation released the results of an extensive survey aimed to bring teachers’ voices into the discourse on education policy that was administered to over 40,000 teachers across the country. Much has been made of the results, including the revelation that many teachers would prefer more integrated and meaningful reform over higher salaries. But few education stakeholders are talking about the interesting discrepancies the survey reveals between the opinions of elementary and middle school teachers and high school teachers. These discrepancies suggest ...

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Mar
02
2010

A Closer Look at Race to the Top Front-Runners Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

The U.S. Department of Education is expected to release the names of the first round of Race to the Top finalists sometime this week. Race to the Top is a new $4.35 billion competitive grant program that provides states with funding to support innovative reform practices. Since the program was signed into law as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, there has been much anticipation of this announcement, and no shortage of speculation on which states are most likely to come out on top.

Ed Week’s Michele McNeil and Lesli Maxwell think that Florida, Louisiana, Massachusetts, ...

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Feb
26
2010

Friday News Roundup: Week of February 22-26 Emilie Deans

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

California Community Colleges Lose Students to Budget Cuts

Illinois Schools Struggle with State Payment Backlog, Uncertainty for Next Year

Idaho Lawmakers Approve Rainy Day Fund for Higher Education

South Carolina Budget Committee Approves Measure to Furlough Workers, ...

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Feb
25
2010

Examining the Data: How the IDEA Funding Formula Fails to Target Funds to Students with Disabilities Emilie Deans

The Federal Education Budget Project (FEBP), Ed Money Watch's parent initiative, provides a wealth of state and school district level data on federal funding, demographics, and achievement through its website www.edbudgetproject.org. These data can tell important stories about how federal education funding interacts with student demographics and achievement. Moreover, the data often reveal rarely discussed idiosyncrasies in federal funding and education. From time to time, Ed Money Watch will take a close look at one aspect of the data available through FEBP to highlight the value of this information.

...
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Feb
23
2010

What the Senate Jobs Bill Means for Education Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Yesterday the U.S. Senate passed its version of what has come to be known as the “Jobs Bill,” called the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act. The House of Representatives passed its version of the bill (H.R. 2847), called the Jobs for Main Street Act, in December with significant provisions for education. What does the Senate’s bill mean for education? Initial analysis suggests not much.

The largest provision of the Hiring Incentives to Restore Employment Act is a tax incentive program for businesses that hire previously unemployed workers. The provision would allow businesses ...

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Feb
19
2010

Friday News Roundup: Week of February 15-19 Emilie Deans

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

Oregon Lawmakers, Facing Bleak Budget Outlook, Call for Second Stimulus

New Jersey’s Poorest School Districts Would Lose Most Under Budget Freeze

Pennsylvania Governor’s Budget Proposal Generous to Education

Louisiana Governor Proposes Cuts Across Nearly All State ...

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Feb
18
2010

"Private" Public Schools and Title I Distributions Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Today, the Fordham Foundation released a report titled “America’s Private Public Schools” that describes the phenomenon of public schools that serve virtually no poor students.[1] The four states with the highest proportions of private public schools are New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Arizona. The first three states also have relatively low free and reduced price lunch participation rates (less than 30 percent) and poverty rates (11 percent or less). Arizona, however, is the outlier. Though 12 percent of schools in Arizona are considered private public schools through this analysis, ...

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Feb
17
2010

Happy First ARRA-versary! Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

One year ago today, President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) into law. This economic stimulus bill included nearly $100 billion for education programs including Title I grants to local education agencies, Pell Grants, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and a new program called the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund.

Since then, $69.7 billion has been obligated to states and school districts and $33.2 billion of those funds have been disbursed for expenditure (47.6 percent).

Additionally, according to data reported by recipients of ARRA ...

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Feb
16
2010

The Challenges of Measuring Teacher Effectiveness Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Learning Point Associates and Public Agenda recently released a report titled “Retaining Teacher Talent: Convergence and Contradictions in Teachers’ Perceptions of Policy Reform Ideas” that focuses on how teachers define effectiveness in contrast to policy makers and researchers. The report concludes that teachers disagree with each other and with policy makers and researchers on good indicators of effectiveness. These findings are significant as Congress begins to consider Obama Administration proposals that seek to more clearly define teacher effectiveness under the Elementary and Secondary ...

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Feb
12
2010

Friday News Roundup: Week of February 8-12 Emilie Deans

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

Michigan Governor Proposes New Service Tax to Maintain Education Funding

In Fiscal Crisis, New Jersey Governor Freezes Education Spending

Nevada Governor Proposes Cuts to Education Funding to Balance Budget

Virginia Governor Proposes Change to School Funding Index

...
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Feb
11
2010

Education Stabilization Funds Haven't Stimulated Reform Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Yesterday, Ed Week reported on a conference hosted by Teachers College at Columbia University and the Campaign for Educational Equity about the impact of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds on low-income students. The findings, Ed Week journalist Michele McNeil notes, were less than promising. Most researchers found that the use of ARRA funds has actually increased inequities in educational services in many states and will have significant consequences moving forward.

A study by Michael Rebell, Jessica Wolff, and Daniel Yaverbaum titled “Stimulating Equity? A Preliminary ...

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Feb
09
2010

Winners and Losers of Rewriting Title I Formulas Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Last week the Center for American Progress (CAP) released Bitter Pill, Better Formula, its second report on the funding formulas used under Title I, Part A, the largest federal K-12 education program. Funding for Title I, Part A ($14.5 billion in 2010) is currently distributed via four separate formulas defined in federal law. The formulas were designed by Congress mainly to distribute funding to school districts based on the number or concentration of students living in poverty, but other factors are also included in the calculations, such as hold-harmless provisions, small-state minimums, ...

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Feb
05
2010

Friday News Roundup: Week of February 1-5 Emilie Deans

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

Utah Lawmakers Pass “Worst-Case” Initial Education Budget

New York Governor’s Proposed Education Budget Would Mean More Cuts

Virginia Education Officials Warn Against Reductions to Education Budget

Oklahoma Governor Insists on Full Funding for Education

Utah Lawmakers ...

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Feb
04
2010

A Closer Look at the President’s Proposed K-12 Education Program Consolidations Emilie Deans

In his fiscal year 2011 budget request released on Monday, President Obama proposed some major changes to programs under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The proposal would take 38 existing K-12 programs, many with very narrow focuses, and combine them into nine new programs. The new programs would direct more funding to states and local education agencies (LEAs) through competitive grants than the current structure, which operates mostly through formula grants. The Obama Administration believes this will give school districts greater flexibility in how they use the funds and ...

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Feb
03
2010

Summary and Analysis of President Obama's Education Budget Request - Fiscal Year 2011 Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Today, the Federal Education Budget Project released Summary and Analysis of President Obama's Education Budget Request - Fiscal Year 2011, an issue brief that provides a summary of the President's education budget request, released on Monday, February 1st.

This instant summary and analysis covers key parts of the president’s proposed education budget, including funding levels for K-12 programs, policy changes for the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, and details on higher education programs, such as student loans and Pell Grants. Additionally, the issue brief ...

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Feb
01
2010

Key Questions on the Obama Administration's 2011 Education Budget Request Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

President Barack Obama submitted his second budget request to Congress on February 1st, 2010. The detailed budget request includes proposed funding levels for all federal programs and agencies in aggregate for the upcoming five to ten fiscal years, and specific fiscal year 2011 funding levels for programs subject to the annual appropriations process. It is important to remember that the president's 2011 budget request is a policy and budget proposal, but not legislation or law. Actual fiscal year 2011 funding levels for nearly all federal education programs will be determined through the Congressional ...

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Jan
29
2010

Friday News Roundup: Week of January 25-29 Emilie Deans

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

Missouri Lawmakers Disagree on Education Budget

Arizona Educators Fear Deep Cuts to Education Budget

Mississippi Governor Announces Across-the-Board Cuts

Kansas Legislators Trying to Avoid Cuts to Higher Education Budget


Missouri Lawmakers Disagree on Education Budget
Missouri ...

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Jan
28
2010

How Poverty Estimates Affect Title I Allocations Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

In this month’s issue of the Title I Monitor (subscription needed), former Congressional Research Service analyst Wayne Riddle describes the effect new 2008 Census poverty data will have on Title I State Grants in 2010.[1] He finds that though some states experienced significant changes in the number of school-age children living in poverty from 2007 to 2008, the impact of these changes on actual Title I allocations will be small. This occurs because Title I formulas take into account how a state’s share of the impoverished population changes relative to other states’ shares, not how a state’s ...

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Jan
27
2010

Obama Administration Annouces Program Consolidations and Eliminations Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Today, the Washington Post reports that the Obama Administration will request an additional $4 billion in funding for the Department of Education in fiscal year 2011. The increase will include an additional $1.35 billion for Race to the Top - a new competitive grant program for states, and $1 billion for the overhaul of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. This would bring the 2011 Department of Education budget up to $67.72 billion from $63.72 billion in 2010. Given the previous announcement that the administration will seek a spending freeze on all domestic programs, this suggests that ...

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Jan
26
2010

Updated Demographic Data Available on FEBP Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

The Federal Education Budget Project (FEBP), Ed Money Watch’s parent initiative, recently made available updated state and district-level student demographic data on its website http://www.edbudgetproject.org. FEBP maintains an extensive database of state and school district level funding, demographic, and achievement data that is continuously updated as new information becomes available.

Now users can view, download, and compare student demographics including enrollment, race, poverty, and participation in special programs in 2008 for all 50 states and nearly 14,000 school districts ...

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Jan
22
2010

Friday News Roundup: Week of January 18-22 Emilie Deans

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

California Study Finds Poorest Kids are Hit Hardest by Recession

Kentucky Contemplates Slots to Avoid Budget Cuts

Arizona Universities Receive Overdue State Aid

Georgia Governor Proposes Teacher Furloughs to Balance Budget


California Study Finds Poorest Kids are Hit ...

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Jan
21
2010

What’s Happening with ARRA’s Qualified School Construction Bonds Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Last February when the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was passed, school facilities advocates across the country celebrated what was considered a victory for school construction – $22 billion in federally subsidized bonds for school repair, renovation, and construction over two years. But in the almost year since the law was passed, the Qualified School Construction Bond (QSCB) program has proved to be somewhat less revelatory than expected. Specifically, schools and school districts that were allowed to issue the bonds are having trouble finding buyers for the bonds.

The QSCB ...

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Jan
19
2010

It's Too Soon to Measure the Success of Race to the Top Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Today, Ed Week reported that President Obama plans to expand Race to the Top by $1.35 billion in fiscal year 2011 and include school districts in the competition for additional funds to support reform practices. While details for the expanded program have yet to be released, a White House official interview in the story stated that the administration considers Race to the Top (RttT) a successful program it hopes to continue. But we at Ed Money Watch believe that the indicators of success mentioned, primarily state legislative changes like lifting charter school caps and strengthening school ...

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Jan
15
2010

Friday News Roundup: Week of January 11-15 Emilie Deans

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

Alabama Governor Releases 2011 Budget Proposal, Assumes Second Federal Stimulus

Colorado Lawmakers Work to Close Budget Gaps, Rush to Qualify for Race to the Top

Iowa Education Committee Approves School District Budget Regulation, Charter School Shift

Maryland Governor Calls for ...

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Jan
14
2010

The Truth about Funding Cliffs and the ARRA Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

As soon as the Department of Education released American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds for the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund (SFSF), Title I, and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), they urged states and school districts to use the funds for one-time investments in education like professional development and instructional materials. Recurring or on-going expenses, like teacher salaries, would create “funding cliffs” or expenses the states and school districts would be unable to cover after the ARRA funding ran out. At the same time, however, the Department ...

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Jan
13
2010

Using Per Unit Cost to Make Difficult Budget Decisions Emilie Deans

Earlier this week, the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and the Thomas B. Fordham Institute hosted a research conference entitled “A Penny Saved: How Schools and Districts Can Tighten Their Belts While Serving Students Better.”

Marguerite Roza, a researcher at the Center for Reinventing Public Education, presented her paper, Now is a Great Time to Consider the Per Unit Cost of Everything in Education, where she discusses the benefits to school districts of breaking down education costs to the per unit – in most cases per pupil – level. This is particularly relevant ...

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Jan
12
2010

What's Fueling the Redirection of Special Education Funds Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Last week, the Wall Street Journal published an article highlighting the large number of school districts that will opt to take advantage of an Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) provision that allows them to reduce state and local special education spending when their federal funding under the law has increased from the year before. This provision is particularly relevant in 2010 because supplemental IDEA funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has dramatically increased the funding each district will receive. The article, unfortunately, does not fully discuss ...

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Jan
08
2010

Friday News Roundup: Week of January 4-8 Emilie Deans

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

Idaho Lawmakers Struggle with Education Budget Cuts, Hope for Federal Relief

Florida Teachers Unions Fight Race to the Top Application

Massachusetts Legislators Pass School Improvement Bill in Midnight Vote

California Governor Pledges to Spare Education from Budget Cuts


Idaho ...

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Jan
07
2010

What the Recession Really Means for School Districts Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Much has been said about dramatic increases in federal funding for public education via the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), which more than doubled the Department of Education’s budget in fiscal year 2009. Similarly, news reports around the country have lamented large cuts to state education budgets with detrimental effects for school districts. But it is just as important to understand what is happening with local education budgets and what fluctuations in each funding source mean for schools.

A recent report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reveals that ...

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Jan
05
2010

Rural Report Highlights Inequities Faced by Rural School Districts Emilie Deans

The Rural School and Community Trust – a national nonprofit organization addressing the crucial relationship between good schools and thriving communities – recently released Why Rural Matters 2009: State and Regional Challenges and Opportunities, a study documenting important rural education issues in all 50 states. The report provides interesting and comprehensive data on the little discussed issue of rural school districts and the students they serve, ranking states on the relative importance and urgency of rural education. It also points to an issue we’re interested in at Ed Money Watch ...

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Jan
05
2010

What Race to the Top Tells Us About the Future of the ESEA Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

On Monday Ed Week published an article positing that the priorities outlined in Race to the Top, a $4.35 billion competitive grant program created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, could be a template for the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). One former Department of Education official interviewed for the story suggested that these priorities - including improving supports for struggling schools, quality and distribution of teachers, state data systems, and standards and assessments – could become compulsory for states receiving ESEA Title I funds, ...

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Dec
22
2009

Happy Holidays from Ed Money Watch Emilie Deans

In honor of the holiday season, Ed Money Watch will be taking a break for the next to weeks. We'll be back on January 5th with more coverage of education finance issues.

...
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Dec
18
2009

Friday News Roundup: Week of December 14-18 Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

Mississippi School Districts Prepare for Funding Cuts

Ohio Legislators Pass Budget Repair Legislation

Indiana Education Board to Give Districts Options on Budget Cuts

Kansas Governor Says Education Funds Will Not Be Cut Further

 

Mississippi School Districts Prepare ...

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Dec
17
2009

The House's Education Jobs Fund: State Fiscal Stabilization Fund 2.0? Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed the Jobs for Main Street Act, a bill that repurposes already appropriated TARP funds for jobs programs. Although the Senate is unlikely to begin considering the bill until January 2010, some are already calling it the second stimulus. Much like the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), the Jobs for Main Street Act includes additional funding for school construction bonds and college work study grants. The biggest education program, however, is a $23 billion “education jobs fund” which sounds suspiciously similar to the ARRA’s $48.6 billion ...

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Dec
15
2009

Fiscal Year 2010 Education Funding Finalized Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

This past weekend the Senate passed the fiscal year 2010 omnibus appropriations bill, setting out spending levels for the majority of Department of Education programs for the spending period that began October 1st, 2009. The House of Representatives passed the same bill last Thursday and the president is expected to sign it into law shortly. Today, the Federal Education Budget Project published its “2010 Education Appropriations Guide,” a helpful tool for interpreting the otherwise complex appropriations process.

Unsurprisingly, the now finalized fiscal year 2010 appropriations for Department ...

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Dec
11
2009

Friday News Roundup: Week of December 7-11 Emilie Deans

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

Washington Higher Ed Budget Could See More Cuts

Alabama Schools Spending More Than They Receive

Stalemate in Ohio Legislature Could Mean Deep Cuts to Schools

Minnesota Education Budget to See Cuts in Upcoming Fiscal Year


Washington Higher Ed Budget Could See More Cuts
Washington ...

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Dec
10
2009

Pell Grants: It's Not the Shortfall, It's the Funding Jason Delisle

There’s buzz around Capitol Hill and within Washington’s education policy community that the Pell Grant program faces serious funding challenges. Much attention has incorrectly fallen on a possible “shortfall” in funding, which occurs when Congress accidentally underfunds the program one year and has to backfill it in the next. A close look at the numbers, however, suggests a shortfall isn’t the main cause for concern. The real funding challenge stems from increased student eligibility, college enrollment trends, and a higher maximum grant that have brought program ...

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Dec
08
2009

States Struggle with Managing Federal Stimulus Funds Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

The federal government made nearly $100 billion available to states and school districts for various education programs through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA.) Since the Department of Education first made the funds available in early April, states have been disbursing ARRA funds to their local education agencies (LEAs) at varying rates and through different processes. While some states have implemented extensive applications and oversight to ensure that the funds are disbursed when they are needed and spent quickly, others have pushed out the funds to LEAs as quickly as possible ...

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Dec
04
2009

Friday News Roundup: Week of November 30-December 4 Emilie Deans

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

Kentucky Education Department Submits Outline for Potential Cuts

Nevada Governor Preparing for More Budget Cuts, Race to the Top Change

Rhode Island Lawmakers Propose Raise in Charter School Budget

Georgia Lawmakers Consider Increased Fees, Lower Teacher Salaries


Kentucky ...

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Dec
03
2009

Education Stimulus Recipient Reported Data Set for Your Use Jennifer Cohen Kabaker

When the first round of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act federal recipient reported data was released on www.recovery.gov in early November, we discussed the lack of comprehensive data available for sub-recipients of funds such as local education agencies. In fact, the original data available on-line does not include codes identifying the program source of sub-recipient funds in each record, let alone what the funds were used for. Thanks to help from the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board (RATB), the organization that oversees the data collection, we were able to separate out ...

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Dec
01
2009

Check Out Our New Look Emilie Deans

As you may have noticed, Ed Money Watch has a new look. Today the New America Foundation launched a brand new website – complete with new graphics, easier to navigate archives, and a great new look for our blogs.

Come see us again on Thursday for our regular coverage of the breaking federal education budget news. In the meantime, take a look around! And if you use our RSS feed, please update it to http://edmoney.newamerica.net/blogmain/feed.

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Nov
23
2009

Happy Thanksgiving from Ed Money Watch admin

Ed Money Watch will be taking the week off in honor of turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, and gathering friends and family around the table to enjoy them. Check back for new posts on December 1st. Happy Thanksgiving!

 

 

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Nov
20
2009

Friday News Roundup: Week of November 16-20 admin

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

Alabama Considers Charter Schools in Pursuit of Federal Race to the Top Funds

New York Plans to Reform Teacher Preparation Efforts

Missouri Freezes Higher Education Tuition

Florida Will Request $1 Billion in Federal Race to the Top Funds

 

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Alabama ...

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Nov
20
2009

The Proliferation of Federal High School Intervention Programs admin

The dismal state of America's high school graduation rates - less than 75 percent nationally and below 50 percent in some areas - has become a key federal public policy issue in the last decade. Existing federal programs, including TRIO and GEAR UP, already seek to improve high school graduation and college going rates in underserved populations. But recent developments, the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act, and President Obama's 2010 Budget Request, have brought new high school intervention programs to the table. Are these programs really all that different? And what resources could ...

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Nov
18
2009

Comparing House and Senate School Facilities Programs in the Student Loan Bill admin

In July we analyzed funding for K-12 school facilities in the student loan reform bill, the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act, as passed by the House Education and Labor Committee. The full House passed the bill in September and preserved the $2.0 billion per year school repair program. Although the Senate has not yet acted on a similar student loan reform bill, a version drafted by the Senate Health, Labor, Education and Pensions Committee was leaked a couple of months ago. The leaked bill suggests the Senate is headed in a different direction than the House when it comes to funding ...

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Nov
13
2009

Friday News Roundup: Week of November 9-13 admin

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

New Mexico Lawmaker Proposes Budget Fix Using Endowment Fund

Colorado Cuts to Education Bigger than Expected

More Cuts for South Carolina Schools

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New Mexico Lawmaker Proposes Budget Fix Using Endowment Fund
New Mexico State Senate Majority Leader Michael ...

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Nov
12
2009

Race to the Top and the Status of Education Innovation admin

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, with Center for American Progress and Rick Hess of the American Enterprise Institute, on Monday released the report "Leaders and Laggards: A State-by-State Report Card on Educational Innovation." The report evaluates states based on several indicators of innovation including school management, finance, and technology and identifies significant shortcomings in nearly all categories. In fact, most states received Cs and Ds with a few exceptions that earned As and Bs in one or two categories. In all, it paints an underwhelming picture of the status of education innovation ...

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Nov
11
2009

Department of Education Releases Phase 2 State Fiscal Stabilization Fund Application admin

Yesterday the Department of Education released the finalized applications for Phase 2 of the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund (SFSF). The SFSF, a major component of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), provides $48.6 billion in federal funds to states so that they can fill gaps in their education budgets. States that successfully complete the Phase 2 application process will receive the remaining 33 percent of their SFSF monies (unless the state was eligible to receive more than 67 percent during Phase 1). Much like the Phase 1 applications, the Phase 2 applications require state ...

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Nov
06
2009

Friday News Roundup: Week of November 2-6 admin

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

As Enrollment Grows in Utah, Budget Shrinks

Arizona Budget Shortfall Forces Cuts

Pennsylvania Universities Anxiously Await Decision on Gambling Taxes

Nebraska Legislators Propose Cuts to School Aid

Kentucky Higher Education Council to Vote on Budget Plan

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As ...

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Nov
06
2009

Comparing Department of Education and Recipient Reported Stimulus Data admin

When Congress passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), they included extensive data reporting requirements so that the public could closely track expenditures. Now that the recipient reported data on expenditures is publically available, tracking education funds should be easy. But as we discussed earlier this week, data reported by school districts and institutions of higher education is lacking in comprehensive information and is difficult to decipher. Unfortunately, state-level recipient reported data does not match previously available Department of Education (ED) reported ...

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Nov
04
2009

Recipient Reported Education Stimulus Data a Challenge to Decipher admin

Last Friday, the first round of recipient reported Recovery Act grant and loan data was made available on the Recovery.gov website. Much like the previously released federal contract data, this wave of data lacks the comprehensive information needed to truly determine how the funds are being spent and from what source. The data are both difficult to decipher and include several instances of human error.

While working with the data we discovered several issues that make the data difficult to understand. For example, less than half of all education-related data are tagged with the funding ...

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Oct
30
2009

Friday News Roundup: Week of October 26-30 admin

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

Montana Education Officials Doubtful About Race to the Top Chances

Colorado Governor Unveils Plan to Close Budget Shortfalls

School Districts in Oklahoma Face Steep Cuts as Funding Streams Dry Up

New York Governor Proposes New Cuts as Deficit Climbs

Massachusetts Governor ...

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Oct
30
2009

Comparing State and Nationally Defined Graduation Rates admin

Earlier this month the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) released a preliminary report on graduation rates in the 50 states and the District of Columbia for the high school class of 2006-07. The report shows that graduation rates vary widely by state - from as high as 88.6 percent to as low as 52.0 percent - and by student race or ethnicity. Interestingly, the NCES figures differ from the graduation rates most states report under the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act. In fact, 14 states claim to have graduation rates at least 10 percentage points higher than what the national standard ...

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Oct
28
2009

ARRA Reporting Soon to Include School-Level State and Local Expenditures admin

State education agencies across the country just completed the first round of reporting for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) programs, an onerous and massive undertaking. Unfortunately, the quarterly reporting process is not likely to get any easier for states from here - on December 1st, 2009 the Department of Education (ED) will require districts to report local and state expenditures at school-level for the 2008-09 school year, the first time such data has ever been required for any program. Rather than tracking federal funds like the majority of ARRA reporting, the school-level ...

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Oct
23
2009

Friday News Roundup: Week of October 19-23 admin

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

Michigan Governor Signs Education Budget, Vetoes Some School Funding

Education Not Spared in Iowa Governor's Budget Cuts

Lawsuits Filed Over Hawaii Teacher Furloughs

Massachusetts Disputes Pew Report on Early Education Spending

Mississippi Contemplates School District Consolidations

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Michigan ...

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Oct
22
2009

What the First Round of Recipient Reported Stimulus Data Tells Us: Not Much admin

Late last week the federal government released the first round of data on economic stimulus spending through the new website Recovery.gov. This preliminary data, which is reported by stimulus funds recipients, included data only for federal contracts as opposed to grant and loan programs. Very few education contracts have been awarded thus far because the majority of education stimulus funds go directly through local education agencies and institutions of higher education. However, the data does include information on 16 contracts made through Department of Education programs. Unfortunately, ...

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Oct
20
2009

Educational Effect of the Stimulus, Through Rose-Tinted Glasses admin

The White House Domestic Policy Council (DPC) with the U.S. Department of Education (ED) this week released the report "Educational Impact of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act." The report paints a rosy picture of the effect of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds on state education spending and reform.

ARRA funds have no doubt helped states make ends meet during the economic downturn. But our work (here and here) suggests that, despite a positive impact on education spending, the full effects of ARRA remain to be seen due to the slow rate at which states have ...

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Oct
16
2009

Friday News Roundup: Week of October 12-16 admin

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

Study Finds that California Furloughs Don't Save As Much As Expected

Big Ten Schools Suffer from State Budget Cuts

Louisiana State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education Passes Tentative Budget

Pennsylvania Finalizes Budget, School Districts Adjust

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Study ...

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Oct
16
2009

Bringing the Research Back to Research-based Evidence admin

Since the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) first came on the scene in 2001, research-based evidence has become a major focus for federal, state, and local policymakers. Despite this, many Bush and Obama Administration policies were not strongly backed by such evidence. This haphazard attention to research evidence isn't unusual in the policymaking world according to a recent report by the Northwest Regional Education Laboratory (NWREL). In fact, the research-policy gap may be one of the most important factors keeping American academic achievement stagnant and one the Obama Administration will ...

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Oct
13
2009

Examining the Data: Understanding Title I Funding Distributions admin

THIS POST HAS BEEN UPDATED.

The Federal Education Budget Project (FEBP), Ed Money Watch's parent initiative, provides a wealth of state and school district level data on federal funding, demographics, and achievement through its website www.edbudgetproject.org. These data can tell important stories about how federal education funding interacts with student demographics and achievement. Moreover, the data often reveal rarely-discussed idiosyncrasies in federal funding and education. From time to time, Ed Money Watch will take a close look at one aspect of the data available through FEBP ...

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Oct
09
2009

Friday News Roundup: Week of October 5-9 admin

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

New York Governor Slashes Higher Education Budget

Florida Lawmaker Asks Attorney General to File School Funding Lawsuit

Indiana Governor Hints that Education Cuts Are Likely

Higher Education Costs Continue to Rise in Rhode Island

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New York Governor ...

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Oct
09
2009

Much Ado About State Education Spending and the SFSF admin

In late September the Department of Education's (ED) Office of Inspector General released a report warning ED officials that many states may be using certain provisions of the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund (SFSF) in a manner that could prevent the realization of many of the education reform ideals Congress outlined in the SFSF. Specifically, the report warns that states could use the maintenance of effort provision (MOE) in the SFSF to significantly lower state education spending as a percentage of total spending. While education reform is an important outcome under the American Recovery ...

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Oct
08
2009

ED Announces Draft Specifics on the Investing in Innovation Fund admin

On Tuesday, The Department of Education (ED) released proposed priorities and selection criteria for the Investing in Innovation Fund (i3), a new $650 million pot of funds created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to support the development and expansion of innovative models to improve student achievement and narrow achievement gaps.

Today's announcement confirms that i3 grants would be made in multiple "tiers" based on the presence of evidence of effectiveness for a particular innovation:

Scale-up grants will support innovations with the strongest ...
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Oct
06
2009

Fiscal Year 2010 Education Funding… Still Waiting admin

Last Thursday, October 1st, federal fiscal year 2010 officially began. Technically speaking, Congress and the President should have wrapped up the annual appropriations bills by that date, providing fiscal year 2010 funding for about a third of the federal government and nearly all federal education programs.

Only one of the 12 separate appropriation bills -- the bill funding the operations of the legislative branch -- actually made it to the President's desk by the start of the new fiscal year. So, as is common practice, Congress passed a bill called a continuing resolution (CR) to ...

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Oct
02
2009

Friday News Roundup: Week of September 28-October 2 admin

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

Michigan Governor to Veto Budget Cuts

States Are Not Using Stimulus to Boost Aid for Schools

Education Professionals Ask Illinois to Fund Programs

Alabama Budget Cuts Loom as Tax Revenues Shrink

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Michigan Governor to Veto Budget Cuts
Michigan Governor ...

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Oct
01
2009

Ed Projections Suggest Shifting Enrollment Patterns admin

Last week, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) released "Projections of Education Statistics to 2018," a report predicting enrollment and expenditure increases in education over the coming decade. These projections can provide important information to states and school districts as they seek to invest new funds available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Strategic investments today can help states and school districts cope with rapidly increasing populations, postsecondary institutions prepare for the shifting needs of those seeking higher education, and policymakers ...

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Sep
30
2009

Race to the Top Funds and State Spending on Student Assessments admin

A recently released study by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) suggests that states have been spending increasingly more money - over $640 million in 2007-08 - on creating and implementing academic assessment tests associated with the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). While some federal funds have gone to support these efforts, states have provided most of the funds in the past. The findings from this report have particularly important implications now that Education Secretary Duncan has allocated $350 million of the $4.35 billion for Race to the Top grants for improving standards and ...

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Sep
25
2009

Friday News Roundup: Week of September 21-25 admin

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

No Middle Ground on New Mexico Schools Budget

Oklahoma Amendment Could Mean Tax Hikes

Ohio Slots Ruling Puts Budget Up in the Air

California Community Colleges will Receive Less Stimulus Money than Expected

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No Middle Ground on New Mexico Schools Budget
New ...

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Sep
24
2009

Using Stimulus IDEA Funds to Improve Teacher Distribution admin

In early September the Department of Education (ED) released additional guidance that provides details on how states and school districts can use Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) stimulus funds for reform activities. This guidance seeks to ease some of the inherent tension in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) goals of saving jobs and promoting education reform - a tension that likely has slowed the speed with which states and districts have been able to spend funds. However, one piece of the outlined reform efforts can bridge the gap between these two ...

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Sep
22
2009

Examining the Data: Assessing Poverty Through School Nutrition Funding and Participation admin

The Federal Education Budget Project (FEBP), Ed Money Watch's parent initiative, provides a wealth of state and school district level data on federal funding, demographics, and achievement through its website www.edbudgetproject.org. These data can tell important stories about how federal education funding interacts with student demographics and achievement. Moreover, the data often reveal rarely-discussed idiosyncrasies in federal funding and education. From time to time, Ed Money Watch will take a close look at one aspect of the data available through FEBP to highlight the value of this information.

This ...

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Sep
18
2009

Friday News Roundup: Week of September 14-18 admin

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

Virginia Prepares for Cuts to Higher Education Budget

Michigan Budget Deal Would Mean Cuts for Education

Funding Cuts For DC Area Colleges Mean Higher Tuition, Fewer Classes

Massachusetts Lawmakers Seek to Review State Education Funding Formula

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Virginia ...

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Sep
17
2009

State Stimulus Spending Does Not Necessarily Reflect Financial Straits admin

Last week we examined the rate at which stimulus funds for different programs have been disbursed by states for spending. Despite encouragement from the Department of Education to spend funds quickly, the majority of education stimulus funds have not yet left the bank. However, this is not the case in all states. While some states are moving quickly to disburse their stimulus funds, others have not, emphasizing the lack of connection between the funds allocated to states and their financial need. Today we will explore the disbursement of stimulus funds at the state level with a close look at ...

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Sep
15
2009

GAO Releases Report on State Uses of Stimulus Funds admin

Earlier this month, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a new study, "Recovery Act: States' and Localities' Current and Planned Uses of Funds While Facing Fiscal Stresses," examining how 16 states[1] and the District of Columbia have spent and plan to spend American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds provided under a variety of programs. The study is a follow-up to two earlier reports on the subject, released in April and July. This post discusses the findings in the latest GAO report.

State Fiscal Stabilization Fund
The State Fiscal Stabilization Fund (SFSF) ...

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Sep
11
2009

Friday News Roundup: Week of September 7-11 admin

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

Arizona to Face School Funding Lawsuit

West Virginia Schools Turn to Stimulus Money to Fill Funding Gaps

Higher Education Targeted in Colorado Budget Cuts

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Arizona to Face School Funding Lawsuit
An Arizona charter school advocacy group will file a lawsuit ...

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Sep
11
2009

California's Policymaking Reaction to the Race to the Top Priorities admin

Since the release of the Race to the Top grant priorities in late July, states across the country have been scrambling to ensure their eligibility for their share of the $4.35 billion in federal funds to encourage innovation in education reform. Several states, including California, Nevada, Wisconsin, New York, Alaska, Missouri, and Texas, were immediately identified as ineligible for the program due to student data "fire walls" or unwillingness to participate in the common standards process. But California's Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, is unwilling to let as much as $500 million slip through ...

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Sep
09
2009

The Majority of Education Stimulus Funds Haven't Left the Bank admin

It has been nearly seven months since President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) with the hopes of stimulating the economy and encouraging education reform across the states. While some pundits have already declared the bill a failure, others claim that the stimulus funds are hard at work. At the heart of this discussion are both whether the stimulus funds are available to be spent and whether they have actually been obligated and disbursed to states for spending. Below we discuss the major programs funded through the stimulus and the status of their funds as of ...

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Sep
04
2009

Friday News Roundup: Week of August 31 - September 4 admin

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

California Scales Back Class Size Reduction Program

More Cuts Could Coming in Mississippi

Pennsylvania Governor Urges Adequate Funding for Schools as State Grapples with Budget Standoff

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California Scales Back Class Size Reduction Program
Many of this ...

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Sep
03
2009

Interest Group Complaints Over Race to the Top's Stringency Miss the Point admin

In late July the Department of Education (ED) released the draft priorities for the Race to the Top grant funds for public comment. The document outlined 19 criteria on which states' applications will be judged, including the existence of charter school caps, laws preventing the use of student achievement data to determine teacher compensation, and approved alternative pathways to teacher certification. As of August 28th, ED received over 1,100 comments, with many stakeholder groups voicing concern that the criteria were overly prescribed and stringent, requiring states to improve public education ...

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Sep
01
2009

Further Targeting School Meal Programs But Missing the Bull's Eye admin

In mid-August the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its 2009 Budget Options, a bi-annual publication estimating the cost or savings associated with numerous possible changes to federal programs. Last November Ed Money Watch discussed problems with a proposal to change the Child Nutrition Program (CNP) analyzed in previous Budget Options (2003, 2005, and 2007). While the Child Nutrition Program proposal analyzed in this year's publication differs significantly from the one included in the past, it still misses out on an important improvement to the program - including Medicaid data as ...

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Aug
17
2009

Ed Money Watch on Vacation admin

Ed Money Watch will be on vacation for the next two weeks and back on Tuesday, September 1st. Be sure to come back in the fall for reporting and analysis on the continuing distribution of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (stimulus) funds including the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund and Race to the Top Grants. We will also provide coverage of the federal education budget as it is shaped by the on-going fiscal year 2010 House and Senate appropriations processes, as well as the budget reconciliation bill likely to pass this fall.

Have a great summer!

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Aug
14
2009

Friday News Roundup: Week of August 10-14 admin

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

Pennsylvania Budget Impasses Leaves Grant Recipients in Limbo

Schools Dealing with Oklahoma's 5 Percent Budget Cut

GAO Releases Teacher Quality Report

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Pennsylvania Budget Impasse Leaves Grant Recipients in Limbo
Lawmakers in Pennsylvania have yet to pass ...

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Aug
14
2009

State Eligibility for Race to the Top Grants admin

Much speculation about state eligibility for Race to the Top funds has been circulating in the education arena since the draft guidelines and priorities for the funds were released in late July (final guidelines will be released in the fall with funds going out in early 2010). Race to the Top, a new competitive grant program authorized by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), provides $4.35 billion to states to support advances in standards and assessments, state data systems, teacher distribution, and assistance to struggling schools (the four assurances required in the ARRA). ...

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Aug
12
2009

Teacher Salary Tradeoffs admin

School districts around the country are engaging in some tricky budget tactics to make ends meet during these tough economic times. Current teacher salary schedules, which provide salary increases in "steps" based on experience and credentials, provide obstacles to simply lowering teacher compensation to prevent layoffs. While some districts have been able to use stimulus funds to rehire previously laid-off teachers, many have not been so lucky.

A recently released study by Marguerite Roza from the Center on Reinventing Public Education outlines several options districts can use to ...

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Aug
07
2009

Friday News Roundup: Week of August 3-7 admin

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

Mississippi Early Education Program Could Receive Federal Funding

Missouri Districts Grapple with How to Spend Stimulus Money

Governor Richardson Announces Plan to Turn Around New Mexico Dropout Problem

North Carolina Raises Taxes, Cuts Budget for Schools

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Mississippi ...

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Aug
06
2009

Will Even Start Get the Ax in FY2010? admin

Earlier this week, Ed Money Watch compared House and Senate versions of the fiscal year 2010 Labor - HHS - Education appropriations bills and showed that there are significant differences among the President's request and House- and Senate-proposed education funding levels. These funding differences might spell the end of the Even Start program when the 2010 appropriation becomes law later this year.

Even Start is a small education program ($66.5 million in fiscal year 2009) that has been under fire since early in the Bush Administration. It is intended to integrate early education, ...

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Aug
04
2009

Preliminary 2010 Education Appropriations Comparison admin

Funding legislation for most federal education programs has been advancing in both the House and Senate in the past weeks. The fiscal year 2010 Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill has been approved by the full House and has been cleared by the Appropriations Committee in the Senate. It appears that the full Senate will take up the bill when it returns in September from recess. Then, both Chambers will still need to work out any differences among their respective versions before the appropriations bill can be sent to the President for his signature. Fiscal year 2010 begins October 1st, 2009, ...

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Jul
31
2009

Friday News Roundup: Week of July 27-31 admin

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

State Budget Includes Major Cuts to Ohio Grant Program

Pennsylvania Budget Deadlock Prevents Payment to Schools

Faculty Union in California Accepts Furloughs

New GAO Report: State Implementation of Career and Technical Education

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State Budget Includes ...

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Jul
30
2009

House Student Aid Bill Spending and Savings admin

The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education and Labor last week approved legislation, the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2009, that would eliminate the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) program and use much of the savings to increase funding for other education programs. The full House may vote on the bill soon, but the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee is not likely to release its companion proposal until the fall. Let's take a look at some of the new spending proposed in the bill.

Congress is using the budget reconciliation process ...

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Jul
28
2009

State Fiscal Stabilization Fund Application Update #6 admin

Over the past couple of weeks, the Department of Education has approved the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund (SFSF) applications of 14 more states. These states join the 36 states/territories that have already begun to receive funds. As of July 17th, nearly $8.7 billion in SFSF monies have been disbursed to states. (Previous posts analyzing the applications of the first 36 states/territories can be found here, here, here, here, here, and here.)

The full table of all approved states/territories can be accessed here.

These five additional states make up another $7.9 billion ...

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Jul
24
2009

Friday News Roundup: Week of July 20-24 admin

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

Separation of Degrees - A Report on Teacher Compensation

Illinois Cuts Millions from Education Budget

Budget Plan Approved in California Senate

Maryland Faces Budget Cuts, Preserves Money for K-12

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Separation of Degrees - A Report on Teacher Compensation
The ...

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Jul
23
2009

Proposed Pell Grant Formula Explained admin

On Tuesday, the House Education and Labor Committee approved a bill that makes major changes to federal higher education assistance programs. The full House may vote on it as early as next week. At the core of the bill is one of President Obama’s priority education issues: shifting all federal student loans to the Direct Loan program, generating significant administrative savings that are redirected to expand student aid. The House, however, breaks with the President’s proposal on how the savings will be spent, particularly with respect to Pell Grants.

The ...

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Jul
21
2009

School Facilities Funding in the Student Loan Bill admin

Much has been said about the recent student loan bill authored by Congressman George Miller (D-CA). The bill makes some major changes to the existing federal student loan program and provides significant funds for early learning programs. But little has been said about the $5.0 billion the bill provides for modernization, renovation and repair of public school facilities including early learning facilities.

The bill provides school facilities funding through two separate pots. One funding pot, $2.5 billion in both 2010 and 2011, will be distributed to states based on their share of total ...

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Jul
17
2009

Friday News Roundup: Week of July 13-19 admin

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

In Massachusetts, Charter School Limit Could Double

Arizona Stimulus Mix-Up Leaves Schools with a $250 Million Windfall

Ohio Education Plan Is a Mixed Bag

Avoiding Tax Hikes, Pennsylvania Democrats Drop Some Higher Ed Funding From Budget

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In Massachusetts, ...

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Jul
16
2009

House Labor, HHS, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee Approves 2010 Bill admin

Last Friday the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education approved its version of the 2010 appropriations bill for programs under its jurisdiction. Overall, the bill increases the total Department of Education appropriation by more than $6.0 billion from 2009 levels with large increases for several major programs. However, the House bill does not fulfill all of the President's requests.

Most notably, the House Subcommittee did not honor the President's request to increase the allocation for School Improvement Grants under Title I of the Elementary ...

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Jul
14
2009

New Report on Federal Student Loan Guaranty Agencies admin

In February, President Obama proposed eliminating the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program and shifting all new federal student loans to the Direct Loan Program. Both programs provide the same loans to student borrowers (i.e. Stafford loans), although they are administered in different ways. While media coverage has focused on the lenders that operate the FFEL Program, federal student loan guaranty agencies have been largely ignored. Guaranty agencies are private non-profit or state government entities that administer federal insurance and collect on defaulted student loans. Yet any ...

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Jul
10
2009

Friday News Roundup: Week of July 6-10 admin

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

Education Budget Higher Overall, but Other Districts See Cuts in Indiana

Budget Shifts in North Carolina

California's Governor's Borrowing Plan Risks Stimulus Funds

Texas Stimulus Application for Education Draws Concerns

 

Indiana Education Budget Higher Overall, ...

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Jul
09
2009

Details on the Maintenance of Effort Provision of the SFSF admin

As states have been submitting their State Fiscal Stabilization Fund (SFSF) applications, questions have arisen regarding Maintenance of Effort (MOE) provisions. In order to receive SFSF monies, states must maintain fiscal year 2006 spending levels in 2009, 2010, and 2011 for both K-12 and public institutions of higher education, or apply for a waiver. Recent guidance from the Department of Education (ED) provides insight into what the MOE provision actually means for state spending and how states can apply for waivers if necessary.

According to the American Recovery and Reinvestment ...

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Jul
07
2009

Guidance on ARRA Reporting Requirements from OMB admin

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) mandates significant reporting and record-keeping for states and school districts that accept funds. Recent guidance released by the White House's Office of Management and Budget (OMB) details those requirements, including the newly developed online system that will be used to collect the data. While the Department of Education (ED) will soon release further guidance on education-specific stimulus fund reporting, the OMB guidance provides good insight into the effort that will be involved in maintaining public records of stimulus funds and their ...

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Jul
02
2009

State Fiscal Stabilization Fund Application Update #5 admin

The Department of Education recently approved the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund (SFSF) applications of five more states - Alaska, Nebraska, North Dakota, New Mexico, and New Hampshire. These states join the 31 states/territories that have already begun to receive funds. As of June 26th, nearly $6.2 billion in SFSF monies have been disbursed to states. (Previous posts analyzing the applications of the first 31 states/territories can be found here, here, here, here, and here.)

The full table of all 31 states/territories can be access here.

These five additional states ...

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Jul
02
2009

Follow Us on Twitter! admin

New America Foundation's Education Policy Program is now on twitter. For blog posts, event notifications, and press releases, follow us here:

http://www.twitter.com/EdPolicyatNAF

 

 

 

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Jun
30
2009

State Fiscal Stabilization and Higher Ed in Pennsylvania admin

Something funny is happening in Pennsylvania. Last Friday, Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell submitted the state's State Fiscal Stabilization Fund (SFSF) application to the U.S. Department of Education. Although the application allocates funds to K-12 education, community colleges, a college of technology, and the state university system, it purposely leaves out the state's four "state-related universities." These four institutions - Pennsylvania State University, University of Pittsburgh, Temple University, and Lincoln University - expected to receive more than $41.9 million under the state's ...

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Jun
26
2009

Friday News Roundup: Week of June 22-26 admin

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

Indiana College Leaders Urge Lawmakers Not to Cut Higher Ed Budget

Louisiana Lawmakers Approve Spending Plan, End Session

Federal Stimulus Money Will Stave Off Cuts from Classrooms in Delaware

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Indiana College Leaders Urge Lawmakers Not to Cut Higher Ed Budget
As ...

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Jun
25
2009

Common State Standards and Common State Assessments admin

Last week Education Secretary Duncan announced that $350 million of the $4.35 billion in Race to the Top funds for states will be dedicated to competitive grants to help states improve assessments of student achievement. This announcement was well timed with a forum held by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers (NGA/CCSSO) to introduce their Common Core State Standards Initiative. Combined, these two efforts could mean a significant change in both the expectations students are held to and the way in which their performance is measured.

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The ...

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Jun
23
2009

Explaining Negative Funding for Higher Ed admin

Every year the federal government provides billions of dollars worth of grants, loans, and other forms of assistance through mandatory funding to students pursuing a postsecondary education. Yet, according to the president's 2010 budget request, total mandatory funding (funding not provided through the appropriations process) for education programs in 2009 is negative $20.3 billion. Although a negative funding level is counterintuitive, it can be explained by the budgeting methods required for federal student loan programs.

The way the federal government reports the costs of new student ...

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Jun
19
2009

Friday News Roundup: Week of June 15-19 admin

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

Connecticut Student Loan Foundation Cannot Make New Loans

North Carolina Governor Proposes $1.5 Billion Tax Hike

In Hawaii, Governor Proposes Cuts to Education, Suggests Volunteerism

Oregon Governor Threatens to Veto Measure to Guarantee Reserve Money to Schools

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Connecticut ...

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Jun
18
2009

State Fiscal Stabilization Fund Application Update #4 admin

The Department of Education recently approved the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund (SFSF) applications of five more states - Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, New Jersey, and Ohio - the District of Columbia. These states join the 26 states/territories that have already begun to receive funds. As of June 12th, nearly $3.9 billion in SFSF monies have been disbursed to states. (Previous posts analyzing the applications of the first 26 states/territories can be found here, here, here, and here.)

These five additional states and one district make up another $4.5 billion in Education Stabilization ...

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Jun
16
2009

State Fiscal Stabilization Funds and Kentucky’s Loan Forgiveness Program admin

Two weeks ago, our sister blog Higher Ed Watch published a post uncovering the truth behind Kentucky's terminated teacher loan forgiveness program, "Best in Class." Although the Kentucky Higher Education Student Loan Corporation (KHESLC), the state's nonprofit student loan agency that administered the program, blamed federal subsidy cuts for the program's demise, Higher Ed Watch showed that the agency had engaged in questionable practices to collect these subsidies. Now, many Kentucky teachers enrolled in the program are in a financial bind and many stated their outrage in comments on the blog. ...

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Jun
16
2009

In Urban Classrooms, the Least Experienced Teach the Neediest Kids admin

The following op-ed originally appeared in U.S. News & World Report on Friday, June 12th and can be accessed here. The full report, Equitable Resources in Low Income Schools: Teacher Equity and the Federal Title I Comparability Requirement, can be read here.

Imagine for a moment that you are driving your child to the hospital. She has a high fever and is suffering from severe abdominal pain. It's unclear what's wrong but she is in definite need of medical attention.

Now imagine that the only doctor on call is a recently graduated medical student. It's her first day on the job<!--[if ...

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Jun
12
2009

Friday News Roundup: Week of June 8-12 admin

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

Arizona Schools Receive Federal Stimulus Funds

Pennsylvania Education Secretary, Local Officials Push for Proper Use of Stimulus Funds

Teachers in Arizona Recalled After April Layoffs

California Legislative Committee Rejects Cal Grant Cuts

Data-Driven Schools See Improvements

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Arizona ...

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Jun
11
2009

House Releases 302(b) Suballocation for Labor, HHS, and Education Subcommittee admin

The U.S. House of Representatives has taken another step in the annual process to determine fiscal year 2010 funding levels for most federal education programs. Fiscal year 2010 begins this October 1st. This week, the House Appropriations Committee released the 302(b) suballocations to each of its subcommittees so that they may begin drafting fiscal year 2010 appropriations bills. While this development means little for federal education programs, it is the second step in a long process of narrowing funding decisions down to specific education programs.

Back in April, Congress adopted ...

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Jun
09
2009

The State Fiscal Stabilization Fund Mess in California admin

It is no secret that California is in a heap of budget trouble for fiscal years 2009 and 2010, let alone the years after that. Thus far, California has taken its fiscal woes seriously with respect to federal education funding. It submitted and won approval for its State Fiscal Stabilization Fund (SFSF) application in the very first round to ensure a quick flow of federal economic stimulus dollars. But a $2.0 billion dollar accounting mistake has led the state to submit a revision to its application that could enable Governor Schwarzenegger to cut education funding further.

Essentially, ...

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Jun
05
2009

Friday News Roundup: Week of June 1-5 admin

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

$100 Million in Stimulus Funds at Risk in Tennessee

South Carolina Supreme Court Orders Governor to Apply for Stimulus Funds

Kentucky Educators Will Be Spared Major Cuts

Stimulus Funds are Slow to Reach Pennsylvania Schools

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$100 Million in Stimulus ...

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Jun
04
2009

State Fiscal Stabilization Application Update #3 admin

The Department of Education recently approved the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund (SFSF) applications of four more states - Iowa, Maryland, Kansas and Michigan - and Puerto Rico. These states join the 21 that have already begun to receive funds. As of May 29th, nearly $3.4 billion in SFSF monies have been disbursed to states. (Previous posts analyzing the applications of the first 21 states can be found here and here and here.)

These four additional states and one territory make up another $3.3 billion in Education Stabilization funds and $735 million in Government Services funds. ...

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Jun
02
2009

Federal Funds for Improving Teacher Evaluations admin

Rewarding excellent teachers and swiftly removing bad ones is a relatively new concept in public education. Current labor union contracts and teacher salary schedules typically prevent differentiated compensation based on anything beyond years of experience and academic credentials. And the concept of "tenure" or "permanent status" for teachers makes quick removal nearly impossible. But a recent report by The New Teacher Project (TNTP), The Widget Effect, hopes to change that by encouraging states and school districts to dramatically improve teacher evaluations and link them to teacher pay, ...

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May
29
2009

Friday News Roundup: Week of May 25-29 admin

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

North Carolina May Drop Some Standardized Tests

Some States May Base College Funding on Graduation Rates

Governor Schwarzenegger Threatens to Cut Need-Based Aid

National Center for Education Statistics Releases The Condition of Education

North Carolina May Drop ...

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May
28
2009

State Fiscal Stabilization Application Update #2 admin

The Department of Education recently approved the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund (SFSF) applications of five more states - Idaho, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Virginia, and Washington. These states join the 16 that have already begun to receive funds. As of May 22nd, nearly $773 million in SFSF monies have been disbursed to states. (Previous posts analyzing the applications of the first 16 states can be found here and here.)

These five additional states make up another $4.0 billion in Education Stabilization funds and $886 million in Government Services funds. According to the Center ...

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May
26
2009

Explaining the ECASLA Programs, an Update admin

In January, the Federal Education Budget Project published an issue brief on the student loan purchase programs put in place under the Ensuring Continued Access to Student Loans Act of 2008 (ECASLA). Given the new developments and new information released by the Obama Administration, it's a good time to catch up on the ECASLA programs.

When financial markets began to break down last year, Congress confronted the possibility that private lenders issuing federally-backed student loans (the Federal Family Education Loan Program, FFEL) might not be able to meet student demand. In response, ...

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May
22
2009

Friday News Roundup: Week of May 18-22 admin

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

Report Released on Stimulus Funds and Reform

California Voters Reject Budget Proposals

Credit Card Bill Could Limit Student Access to Credit for College

California Community Colleges Plan to Slash Enrollment

Florida Lawmakers use Stimulus Aid to Avoid K-12 Budget Cuts

...

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May
21
2009

Education Secretary Duncan Speaks on the Education Agenda admin

Yesterday U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan testified before the House Education and Labor Committee on President Obama's fiscal year 2010 Education budget request. While little new information arose during the secretary's prepared testimony, a few interesting tidbits came up during the committee members' questions.

Throughout his testimony, Secretary Duncan reiterated the role that he thinks the Department of Education (ED) should play in improving public education. Specifically, he said that ED should be there to encourage states to "do the right thing" by students, not force ...

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May
21
2009

State Fiscal Stabilization Application Update admin

The Department of Education recently approved the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund applications of three more states - Indiana, Rhode Island, and Tennessee. These states join the 13 that have already begun to receive funds. As of May 15th, nearly $565 million in SFSF monies have been disbursed to states. (A previous post analyzing the applications of the first 13 states can be found here.)

Indiana, Rhode Island, and Tennessee comprise an additional $1.7 billion in Education Stabilization funds and $386 million in Government Services funds. Of the three states, Rhode ...

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May
19
2009

Using Stimulus Funds at the School District Level admin

News reports suggest that some schools and school districts have started receiving at least the beginning of the $44 billion in stimulus funding made available on April 1st. This money flows through three programs in particular - No Child Left Behind Title I Part A, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Part B, and the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund (SFSF). While all 50 states and the District of Columbia have received at least 50 percent of their Title I and IDEA allocations, only the 13 states whose SFSF applications have been approved have received any of that available money. ...

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May
15
2009

Friday News Roundup: Week of May 11-15 admin

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

Limited Loan Access Makes Community Colleges Hard to Afford

Texas Schools Use College Prep Money for Various Needs

Report Highlights Risks of Merit Pay

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Limited Loan Access Makes Community Colleges Hard to Afford
The Institute for College Access & Success ...

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May
14
2009

How States Plan to Spend Their State Fiscal Stabilization Funds admin

UPDATE: Updates on State Fiscal Stabilization Applications can be viewed here.

The State Fiscal Stabilization Fund (SFSF) is the largest source of education funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). This fund is intended to help states fill the gaps in both their K-12 and higher education budgets caused by the recent economic climate. Although most states are in the process of submitting or waiting for approval of their State Fiscal Stabilization Fund applications, 13 states have already started to receive funds. Below we discuss the applications that these states ...

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May
12
2009

FEBP Summary of Obama's 2010 Education Budget Available admin

The New America Foundation’s Federal Education Budget Project (FEBP) yesterday released "Summary and Analysis of President Obama's Education Budget Request - Fiscal Year 2010," an issue brief that provides a brief summary of the President's education budget request, released on May 7th. The President's 2010 budget request marks the first time the Obama administration has submitted funding recommendations for every federal education program and a comprehensive list of new education policy initiatives.

This instant summary and analysis serves as a quick reference for policymakers, the ...

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May
08
2009

Friday News Roundup: Week of May 4-8 admin

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

Obama Offers Compromise on DC Voucher Program

Schools Consider Four-Day Weeks to Reduce Costs

President's Budget Outlines Funding for Teacher Merit Pay

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Obama Offers Compromise on DC Voucher Program
Offering a compromise on the controversial Washington, ...

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May
08
2009

Key Questions on the Obama Administration’s 2010 Education Budget admin

President Barack Obama submitted his first budget request to Congress on Thursday, May 7, 2009. This request follows the initial summary budget request he submitted in February that included only proposed funding levels for federal programs and agencies in aggregate. The detailed budget request includes proposed funding levels for federal programs and agencies in aggregate for the upcoming five to ten fiscal years, and specific fiscal year 2010 funding levels for programs subject to appropriations. The president's 2010 budget request marks the first time the Obama administration has submitted ...

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May
05
2009

An Uncertain Future for ACG/SMART Grants admin

In 2006, President Bush signed two new higher education grant programs into law: the Academic Competitiveness (ACG) and Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent (SMART) grant programs. Both have received mixed reviews from the higher education community, and recent reports from the Department of Education have shed new light on the programs' fledgling operations. This information will certainly affect Congress and the president's decision to extend the programs which are set to expire after fiscal year 2010. The Obama Administration's full fiscal year 2010 budget, expected to be released ...

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May
01
2009

Friday News Roundup: Week of April 27-May 1 admin

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

Oregon Bill Would Ease School Requirements

Connecticut Legislators Debate Best Use of Stimulus Money

New Jersey Supreme Court Hears Arguments on School Funding Formula Reforms

Stimulus Transparency Off to a Slow Start

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Oregon Bill Would Ease School ...

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Apr
30
2009

The Stimulus and Investing in Education Reform admin

The Department of Education (ED) recently released a document titled "Using ARRA Funds to Drive School Reform and Improvement" as an addendum to previous stimulus guidance. The document provides recommendations on how to use the new State Fiscal Stabilization, Title I, and IDEA stimulus funds to encourage reform and student achievement while preventing funding cliffs. Although some of the recommendations present valuable ways for states and school districts to spend the stimulus money, many of them are either overly simplistic or overly complex and distract from the stimulus' goal of saving ...

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Apr
28
2009

Explaining Budget Reconciliation and Education Funding admin

It appears that House and Senate Democrats have agreed to include "budget reconciliation instructions" aimed at reforming federal student loan programs in the fiscal year 2010 budget resolution. The House and Senate each adopted their own versions of the 2010 budget resolution several weeks ago and will bring a final compromise version up for a vote this week. The most important piece of the budget resolution for education programs is the reconciliation instruction. What is budget reconciliation and why is it important?

Reconciliation is one part of the larger congressional budget resolution, ...

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Apr
24
2009

Friday News Roundup: Week of April 20-24 admin

Georgia Math and Science Teachers Get a Salary Bump

California Proposition Could Bring $9.3 billion to California Schools

In a Struggling Economy, Student Loan Default Rates Soar

 

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Georgia Math and Science Teachers Get a Salary Bump
Secondary teachers in Georgia who work in math and science will see a boost in their salaries starting next year, thanks to legislation signed on Wednesday by Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue. The bill would allow new math and science teachers to start earning the salary of a fifth-year teacher (an increase of about ...

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Apr
23
2009

Education Department Releases Guidance Specifics on Impact Aid Stimulus Funds admin

The Department of Education (ED) released a second round of guidance documents for the major programs funded in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) on April 10th. Each document specifies how funds for each program will be distributed, how funds will be disbursed, and how states and local education agencies (LEAs) will be able to use them. Previously, we discussed the guidance for the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund, Title I Part A, and IDEA Part B.

Today we will take you through the guidance document for Impact Aid funds provided in the stimulus. ARRA provided $39.6 million ...

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Apr
22
2009

School Construction Bond Distributions to States and School Districts admin

Since the passage of the stimulus bill in mid February, states and school districts have been curious about the details for the new Qualified School Construction Bond program. To date, the Department of Education hasn't provided many details on the program, perhaps because it is a tax program, not a spending program. Turns out, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released guidance and allocations for the program to states and LEAs in mid April. We review these allocations in the post below[1].

The Qualified School Construction Bond program provides $11 billion face value in tax-free ...

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Apr
13
2009

EMW is Out of Town admin

Ed Money Watch is in San Diego this week exhibiting at the American Educational Research Association conference. If you're there, stop by booth #147 to see a demonstration of our brand new FEBP website, which we'll officially launch at the end of this month. Otherwise, we'll see you next week!

 

 

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Apr
10
2009

Friday News Roundup: Week of April 6-10 admin

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

Schools Chief Seeks Additional Title I Funds

Struggling to Make Ends Meet, Schools Move Away from "Need Blind" Admissions

Federal Money May Help Save Struggling State Pre-K Programs

California Officials Promise to Spend Stimulus Funds as Directed

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Schools ...

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Apr
10
2009

Education Stimulus Funding and Charter School LEAs admin

The Department of Education (ED) recently released stimulus guidance intended to clear up some of the questions states and LEAs have regarding fund distribution, allocation, and accounting. Unfortunately, some uncertainty remains around several issues including how funds will be distributed to charter schools that are also local education agencies (LEAs). Depending on state law, some charter schools function as their own LEAs for federal funding purposes while others are part of an existing LEA. Although the guidance clearly states that charter LEAs are entitled to their fair share ...

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Apr
07
2009

Education Department Releases Guidance Specifics on IDEA Stimulus Funds admin

The Department of Education (ED) released long awaited guidance documents for the major programs funded in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act on April 1st. Each document specifies how funds for each program will be distributed, how each governor must disperse the funds, and how states and local education agencies (LEAs) will be able to use them. Because each document is quite long, we will summarize the guidance in three separate posts. Last week we discussed the guidance for the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund and Title I Part A.

Today, we take you through the details of the ...

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Apr
03
2009

Friday News Roundup: Week Of March 30-April 3 admin

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

Reforms in Pennsylvania May Earn Stimulus Funds for the State

Massachusetts Makes $300 Million Available for Student Loans

Houston Offers Incentive for Teachers to Move to Struggling Schools

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Reforms in Pennsylvania May Earn Stimulus Funds for the State
Officials ...

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Apr
03
2009

Education Department Releases Guidance Specifics on Title I Stimulus Funds admin

The Department of Education (ED) released long awaited guidance documents for the major programs funded in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act on April 1st. Each document specifies how funds for each program will be distributed, how each governor must disperse the funds, and how states and local education agencies (LEAs) will be able to use them. Because each document is 40 pages or longer, we will summarize the guidance in three separate posts. Yesterday we discussed the guidance for the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund.

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Today, we take you through the ...

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Apr
02
2009

Department Releases Guidance Specifics on Stabilization Fund admin

The Department of Education released long awaited guidance documents for the major programs funded in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act today. Each document specifies how funds for each program will be distributed, how each governor must disperse the funds, and how states and local education agencies (LEAs) or institutions of higher education (IHEs) may use them. Because each document is 40 pages or longer, we will summarize the guidance in three separate posts. Below, we take you through the details of the guidance for the Education Stabilization Fund section of the State Fiscal ...

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Mar
27
2009

Friday News Roundup: Week of March 23-27 admin

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

Missouri Budget May Cut Teacher Development Programs

Alaskans Protest Palin's Plan to Refuse Some Stimulus Funds

Economic Crisis Adds to Stress of College Selection

California Struggles to Fill Budget Holes

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Missouri Budget May Cut Teacher Development ...

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Mar
26
2009

State Education Data Systems and the Stimulus admin

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) provided new or additional funds for several federal education programs. Title I and IDEA, programs that received more than $10 billion each in the stimulus legislation, have gotten significant coverage in the media. But several smaller programs have been mostly overlooked. Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems (SLDS), an Institute of Education Sciences (IES) competitive grant programs that was allocated $250 million in the stimulus, could play a major role in improving state data capabilities and meeting reform goals in the future.

SLDS ...

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Mar
24
2009

Explaining the Congressional Budget Resolution admin

This week, the House and Senate Budget Committees will draft their versions of the fiscal year 2010 congressional budget resolution. Both the full House and Senate could consider the measure as early as next week. Unfortunately, arcane procedures surrounding the budget resolution prevent the media and education advocates from discerning what effect it may have on federal education programs. This confusion is made worse by political rhetoric and partisan spin from both sides of the aisle.

In response, the New America Foundation's Federal Education Budget Project has released an updated ...

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Mar
20
2009

Friday News Roundup: Week of March 16-20 admin

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

Unexpected Consequences from Stimulus Funds in Connecticut

Florida Community Colleges Struggle to Meet Demand

Nevada Requests Higher Ed Spending Waiver

Governor Corzine Keeps School Funding in Budget

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Unexpected Consequences from Stimulus Funds in ...

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Mar
18
2009

Guest Post: An Alternative Path into the Classroom admin

By Kevin Hartnett

When No Child Left Behind (NCLB) became law in 2001, it mandated that all classrooms be staffed by a "highly qualified" teacher, re-igniting the debate around how teachers are trained and recruited.

At the center of the debate are Alternative Certification (AC) programs. These programs fast-track teacher candidates with prior "real-world" experience into classrooms by requiring them to take fewer courses than are required in Traditional Certification (TC) programs (like an undergraduate degree in education). Proponents of AC programs argue that traditional ...

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Mar
17
2009

Following the 2007 Education Dollars admin

Last week the Department of Education released a study of education revenue and expenditures using 2007 federal, state, and local National Center for Education Statistics finance data. This report provides some of the most up to date information on where education dollars come from and how they are spent.

According to the report, public education revenues totaled $555.3 billion in 2007 from federal, state, and local sources. On average, federal dollars accounted for 8.5 percent of revenues while state and local dollars accounted for 47.6 and 43.9 percent, respectively.

...

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Mar
17
2009

2009 Education Appropriations Guide admin

Making sense of the federal education budget and the appropriations process can be a frustrating task for education advocates, state and local policymakers, the media, and the public. The now concluded fiscal year 2009 appropriations process is no exception due to numerous stopgap funding measures and emergency economic stimulus legislation.

Congress completed the fiscal year 2009 appropriations process on March 10th, 2009, finalizing annual funding for nearly all federal education programs through September 2009 at $62.6 billion, up $3.4 billion from the prior year. The President signed ...

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Mar
13
2009

Friday News Roundup: Week of March 9-13 admin

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state policy changes can affect local schools and districts.

Florida Seeks Hardship Waiver for Stimulus Funds

Substitute Teacher Applications Rise

South Carolina Governor Rejects Education Stimulus Money

Hard Times Make Hiring Easier

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Florida Seeks Hardship Waiver for Stimulus Funds
Florida Governor Charlie ...

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Mar
12
2009

The President Speaks Out on Education admin

On Tuesday, President Obama made his first major education speech since taking office. Some of the speech sounded very much like every other education speech - a list of sobering statistics about how far American education has fallen, an inspirational story, a call for greater accountability. But parts of the speech stood out in what could have been a simple, party-line statement.

Teachers

Not only did President Obama mention the importance of financial incentives to bring good teachers into hard-to-staff schools and subject areas, but he also talked about the value of performance ...

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Mar
11
2009

Department Releases Education Stimulus Guidelines admin

Earlier this week the Department of Education released its first set of Stimulus guidelines for states and local education agencies. The four documents provide general information about the stimulus and details on the application process for State Fiscal Stabilization Funds, Title I Stimulus funds, and IDEA Stimulus funds. Below, we summarize some of those details.

Overarching Goals

Each document introduces the Stimulus guidelines in the context of four main goals for the use and impact of stimulus dollars. The first goal, "spend funds quickly to save and create jobs," encourages ...

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Mar
07
2009

Friday News Roundup: Week of March 2-6 admin

At Ed Money Watch, we discuss and analyze major issues affecting education funding. In our Friday News Roundup, we try to highlight interesting stories that might otherwise get overlooked. These stories emphasize how federal and state changes can affect local schools and districts.

Student Loan Auction Plan Moves Forward

Schools Making Questionable Charges to Nutrition Programs

Are Rewards for Students Helpful, or Harmful?

Georgia Governor Still Undecided on Stimulus Money

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Student Loan Auction Plan Moves Forward
The U.S. Education ...

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Mar
05
2009

Education Stimulus Distributions to School Districts admin

Since the President signed the stimulus bill (also known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) on February 17th, school districts across the country have anxiously awaited the arrival of their Title I and IDEA funds. The House Education and Labor committee published data on how much money each district is estimated to receive. But few have taken a closer look at how those dollars relate to poverty and district size.

To get a better sense of how stimulus allocations will be affecting students in school districts across the country, we examined both the total stimulus funding ...

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Mar
03
2009

Guest Post: Helping Homeless Students in the Stimulus admin

This Guest Post was written by Phillip Lovell from First Focus and Barbara Duffield from the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth.

Barely a day goes by without a front page story covering some aspect of the recession. Much of what we read hits on the economic nature of the crisis; much less attention has been paid to the impact of the economic downturn on children.

Policymakers are finally noticing the recession's impact on children. Last summer, Congress passed major legislation-The Housing and Economic Recovery Act-that dedicated two (out ...

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Feb
27
2009

Friday News Roundup: Week of February 23-27 admin

Big Government Role in Student Loans

At Some Schools, No More Free Lunches

Stimulus Funds Ease Cuts to Schools

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Big Government Role in Student Loans
In the last days of the Bush administration, the Education Department agreed to expand its commitment to buy student loans in the struggling market, leading some to question whether there is still a need for private lenders at all. In a contract, signed on January 19th, the Education Department agreed to buy $60 billion in student loans - almost enough to buy all federal student loans made last year. ...

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Feb
26
2009

Education in the President's Preliminary Budget Request admin

This morning, President Obama released his preliminary fiscal year 2010 budget request. It provides $46.7 billion in total discretionary funding for the Department of Education. This is lower than the proposed fiscal year 2009 funding level of $66.5 billion in an omnibus bill now under Congressional consideration. The large funding drop, however, can be largely explained by the request's proposal to move Pell Grant funding from the discretionary side of the budget to the mandatory side, the mechanics of which are explained below. (The omnibus includes $17.3 billion for Pell Grants.)

Because ...

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Feb
24
2009

Education Funding in the 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Bill admin

Yesterday, the House of Representatives and the Senate Appropriations Committees released the text of the 2009 Omnibus bill. This bill dictates appropriations for fiscal year 2009, which started on October 1st, 2008. In the majority of cases, the 2009 Omnibus increased program funding from the 2008 level. The total Department of Education appropriation is $66.5 billion, up from $62.1 billion in fiscal year 2008.

Typically, the annual appropriations process begins after Congress adopts a budget resolution, usually by late spring. Congress adopted a budget resolution for fiscal year ...

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Feb
24
2009

Intricacies of the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund for Education admin

States, legislators and the public have engaged in endless speculation about the impact of the federal stimulus bill recently enacted, particularly as it concerns the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund. But the more people speculate, the more it becomes clear that many are misinformed about the purpose of the Stabilization Fund and the mechanics by which it will be distributed. Today we're going to walk you through the mechanics of the Stabilization Fund to help you understand what it really means for states and school districts.

As we've written before, the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund ...

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Feb
20
2009

Friday News Roundup: Week of February 16-20 admin

Massachusetts Schools Reconsider Full-Day Kindergarten

Community Colleges Unable to Meet Demand

Stimulus Law Provides Funds for Work-Study Jobs

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Massachusetts Schools Reconsider Full-Day Kindergarten
Faced with tough economic times, many Massachusetts school districts are reconsidering their full-day kindergarten programs. In 2000, the state established a grant program for full-day kindergarten, hoping to have all students in full-day programs within ten years. Today, three-fourths of the state's kindergarten students are in full-day ...

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Feb
19
2009

Pell Grant Budget Mess admin

Pell Grants for the 2009-10 school year have become a budget nightmare. The program has always had its budgeting quirks, but this year is shaping up to be the most complicated and confusing of all. New funding streams, unfinished 2009 appropriations bills, stopgap funding measures, shortfalls, and now a stimulus bill have created one ugly Pell Grant budget. We'll try to sort out the factors that play into the 2009-10 grant.

The Pell Grant program is the cornerstone of federal grant aid for low-income college students. This academic year, low-income students will receive Pell Grants worth ...

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Feb
17
2009

Final Education Stimulus Distributions to the States admin

Over the weekend, Congress passed the much anticipated 2009 stimulus bill. Once the president signs the bill, the Department of Education will begin the process of distributing the over $90 billion in education funds. In the end, the amount each state will receive is only slightly less than what was allocated in the House adopted bills. Some states fare quite well and can expect a rather large infusion of funds (DC, Louisiana, Wyoming), while others will have to make do with considerably less (Utah, Mississippi). As was expected, the distribution of funds is skewed by the existing Title I formulas.

To ...

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Feb
13
2009

Final Stimulus Agreement Emerges admin

After much deliberation, the Senate and House of Representatives have come to an agreement on a conference report of the stimulus bill. If the conference report passes in both houses, the bill will go to the president for his signature. As we described in previous posts, there were many significant differences between the versions passed originally by the House and Senate. In the majority of cases, the conference report represents a compromise between the two bills, particularly as it concerns the Fiscal Stabilization Fund - a new fund to help states maintain funding for education and other ...

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Feb
13
2009

Friday News Roundup: Week of February 9-13 admin

Impact of Budget Shortfalls on Education Jobs

Arizona Schools Chief to Cut English-Language Learner Funds

Scale of Stimulus Spending Seen as Issue

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Impact of Budget Shortfalls on Education Jobs
The Center on Reinventing Public Education released Projections of State Budget Shortfalls on K-12 Public Education Spending and Job Loss by Marguerite Roza on Monday. The report estimates the effects of state budget shortfalls on teacher job losses. According to Roza's calculations, school districts nationwide may need to cut more than 9 percent of ...

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Feb
11
2009

Misperceptions in the Stimulus admin

The Stimulus bill has been the topic of news coverage, blogs, and dinner table conversations since it was first released by the House a couple of weeks ago. But amongst the din of discussion, some common misperceptions have developed, as multiple versions of the bill have been debated. Here at Ed Money Watch we aim to clear up such misperceptions and provide you with up-to-date information on federal education funding. As such, below is our list of the top five common stimulus misperceptions.

Top Five Stimulus Misperceptions

The Senate State Fiscal Stabilization Fund ...
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Feb
10
2009

Senate Stimulus Shake-Up admin

Since the House passed its version of the Stimulus bill late last month, the Senate has been crafting its own version. The Senate is wrapping up debate on the initial bill reported from the Senate Appropriations Committee on January 27th. News reports suggest that several Senators took issue with the total cost of the bill, jeopardizing the 60 votes needed to pass it. To avert a stalemate, Senators Collins (R-ME) and Nelson (D-NE) forged a compromise late last week that appears likely to garner sufficient support to pass.

Ed Money Watch has analyzed the proposed compromise below. ...

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Feb
06
2009

Friday News Roundup: Week of February 2-6 admin

Pawlenty Pushes for ‘Q Comp' Expansion

Granholm Asks Universities to Freeze Tuition

Seniority-Based Layoffs Exacerbate Job Losses

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Pawlenty Pushes for ‘Q Comp' Expansion
Despite cuts to the state's overall budget, Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty (R) would like to boost the state's education budget. Pawlenty proposed increasing the FY 2010 and 2011 budgets by 2 percent over the budgets from the previous two years. Most of this new spending would go toward expanding "Q Comp," a program that creates career ladders for teachers and offers ...

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Feb
03
2009

Digging into Higher Ed Stimulus Construction Funds admin

The Senate and House of Representatives versions of the stimulus legislation both contain billions of dollars for institutions of higher education to modernize, renovate, and repair their existing instructional and research facilities. But there are crucial differences between the two bills that will have important ramifications for states and institutions of higher education, especially community colleges.

Unlike the additional Title I stimulus funding, which yielded surprising winners and losers, the higher ed construction money would be doled out relative to a state's percentage ...

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Feb
03
2009

Bringing Stability to Shaky Budgets admin

Schools, colleges, and universities are poised to receive billions of dollars in additional federal funding from the proposed stimulus packages put forth by both Congressional chambers over the past few weeks.

But such substantial federal education investment must walk a fine line. On one hand, these funds should provide much-needed support for states, institutions of higher education, and school districts that are struggling to meet massive budget deficits. But the money should not completely supplant local funding. States must guarantee that the new federal dollars will improve education ...

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Jan
31
2009

Friday News Roundup: Week of January 26-30 admin

Stimulus Plan Would Increase Money for Education

Teachers' Union Says No To Testing

Massachusetts to Increase Charter School Funding

In Tough Times, States Close Rural Schools

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Stimulus Plan Would Increase Money for Education
As reported in The New York Times, the proposed economic stimulus plan would add $150 billion in new federal spending over two years for education programs from PreK through college. The new spending includes $79 billion to help struggling states maintain services and programs that would otherwise face serious ...

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Jan
30
2009

Comparing the House and Senate Stimulus Bills admin

On Wednesday the House passed its version of the stimulus bill and the Senate reported from committee the text of its version. Both bills dedicate more than $140 billion to education programming including Title I, IDEA, and school construction. While each version provides similar funding for most programs, the House passed version includes funding for a number of smaller initiatives that the Senate bill does not.

The House and the Senate fund Title I and IDEA at similar amounts. They also allocate the same amount for the State Fiscal Stabilization fund which includes the ...

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Jan
29
2009

Bridging the Gap Between High School and College admin

America's economy is in crisis. Unemployment is up, stock portfolios are down, and entire sectors are failing. Some would have you believe that billion dollar bailouts and stimulus packages are the only way to stem the tide. What is really needed is a highly skilled, technologically savvy, college educated workforce. A workforce prepared to react, shift gears, and compete. On this front, our prospects are dim. Many of today's high school graduates are not prepared to enter college, never mind complete a degree.

Our inability to produce college educated workers has nothing to do ...

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Jan
28
2009

A Closer Look at Title I Stimulus Spending admin

Yesterday we took a look at total stimulus funding per student as estimated by the House Education and Labor Committee's stimulus allocation data. Today, we will take a closer look at the estimated 2009 Title I funding distributions per poor student in each state and the District of Columbia (Puerto Rico is not included in Census estimates). Title I stimulus distribution is expected to be the same in 2009 and 2010. To the untrained eye, Title I stimulus funding appears to be allocated randomly, with little connection to student poverty levels.

According to the House stimulus bill, ...

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Jan
27
2009

A First Look At Stimulus Spending admin

Since the release of the House Stimulus bill more than a week ago, education stakeholders have come alive with speculation about the distribution of funds. Today, the Education and Labor Committee released Congressional Research Service (CRS) estimated stimulus allocations to local education agencies (LEAs). The estimates include 2009 and 2010 allocations for Title I, IDEA, school construction, and total stimulus spending, all of which are based on FY 2008 Title I allocations. In an effort to make this information as accessible as possible, we turned the CRS data into an excel spreadsheet ...

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Jan
23
2009

Friday News Roundup: Week of January 19-23 admin

University of California May Aid Struggling Families

House Committee on Ways and Means Passes Economic Recovery Package

Potential Cuts to Abstinence-Only Education Funding

 

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University of California May Aid Struggling Families
The Chronicle of Higher Ed reported that the president of the University of California, Mark Yudoff, will propose a plan to cover the cost of tuition and fees for students from families making less than $60,000 a year, the state's median income. The $3-million plan would be covered by a tuition increase ...

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Jan
22
2009

Examining Fund Distribution for Title I admin

Here at Ed Money Watch and the Federal Education Budget Project (FEBP) we are always working to better understand the distribution of federal education dollars to schools and districts. The Department of Education recently released a report that seeks to do just that for six federal education programs: Title I, Title II, Title III, Reading First, Perkins Vocational Education Grants, and Comprehensive School Reform (CSR).[1]

In general, the report gives a frank assessment of the degree to which federal programs effectively or ineffectively distribute funds to the schools and districts ...

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Jan
16
2009

Friday News Roundup: Week of January 12-16 admin

Although we generally focus on federal funding, we thought it might be helpful to start a weekly news roundup that also includes a "state of the states and localities" as it relates to education funding in these tough economic times. Each Friday we'll recap the big stories of the week in education funding - state, federal, and local - in the hope of giving you a better idea of the effects of the financial crisis on schools, colleges, and universities.

And to start it off...

House Proposed Stimulus Plan

ELL Spending

School District Consolidation

Tuition ...

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Jan
15
2009

Explaining the ECASLA Loan Purchase Programs admin

Students across the country rely on federal loans to make postsecondary education affordable. An estimated $72 billion in federal student loans - Stafford, Grad PLUS and Parent PLUS loans - were made in 2008, the bulk of which were provided through the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) program.

When financial markets began to break down last year, Congress confronted the possibility that private lenders issuing FFEL loans might not be able to meet student demand. In response, Congress passed legislation granting the U.S. Department of Education temporary authority to purchase FFEL ...

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Jan
16
2009

Education in the Stimulus admin

After weeks of speculation about education's place in the stimulus bill, details are finally emerging. Today, the House Committee on Appropriations released a summary of the "American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009." As expected, it includes funding for school modernization, aid to states for K-12 education, and a number of other programs from early childhood to higher education. It also includes an increase in the maximum Pell Grant.

Overall the proposed stimulus bill includes $550 billion for targeted programs and $275 billion in tax cuts. We calculate that of the total $825 ...

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Jan
14
2009

Exercising Some Federal Influence admin

There is no shortage of coverage of Secretary-Designate Arne Duncan's confirmation hearing yesterday. Most articles agree that few details emerged regarding the President-elect's upcoming education agenda. Regardless, there was one thing that caught our attention - Senator Harkin's mention of growing childhood obesity rates coupled with the decline of physical education in America's schools.

Current federal support for physical education programs comes from the Carol M. White Physical Education Program (PEP). This competitive grant program aims to "initiate, expand, or enhance physical ...

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Jan
12
2009

20 Questions for the Secretary-Designate admin

In preparation for Secretary of Education-Designate Arne Duncan's confirmation hearing in the Senate tomorrow, the New America education team has put together a list of possible questions to be posed. Feel free to suggest additional questions in the reader comment section.

Pre-K-12 You have talked about the importance of education reform to narrow achievement gaps for poor and minority children. But research shows that as much as half of the achievement gap exists before children enter first grade - and that high-quality early education programs can help narrow ...
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Jan
08
2009

Recommendations for the Obama Administration on Program Performance and Evaluation admin

In less than two weeks, President-elect Barack Obama will be sworn in to office. As the Obama Administration determines its approach to assessing program performance, we hope that they learn from the current PART process. Our recommendations include:

Create buy in, especially from Congress

If President-elect Obama truly wants to create an effective way to assess program performance, he must have buy-in from Congress, OMB, federal agencies, stakeholders and the public. Congress and other stakeholders do not trust PART as it currently stands. It is considered a subjective process ...

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Jan
07
2009

Education and the Economy: Relying on School Lunch admin

As we've mentioned before, the economic downturn has had significant effects on families and schools across the nation. With increases in unemployment, food prices, and energy costs, it's no surprise that many families are relying more on services provided by schools, including free and reduced price meals. The School Nutrition Association (SNA) recently released a report detailing the effect of the recession on participation in school meal programs in the 2008-09 school year.

SNA collected information from 137 school nutrition programs in 38 states that included student enrollment, ...

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Dec
19
2008

Happy Holidays! admin

In honor of the holiday season, Ed Money Watch will be on vacation for the next two weeks. We will return with commentary and coverage of education finance issues on Tuesday, January 6th.

Until then, we will leave you with this quote from new Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan:

"Whether it's fighting poverty, strengthening the economy or promoting opportunity, education is the common thread. It is the civil rights issue of our generation and it is the one sure path to a more equal, fair and just society. While there are no simple answers, I know from experience that when you ...

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Dec
19
2008

Pros and Cons of the Program Assessment Rating Tool admin

Since it's inception in 2002, the Program Assessment Rating Tool (PART) has received both criticism and praise from stakeholders, researchers, and Congress. Let's explore the pros and cons of the PART:

Pros

The PART increased attention paid to program results.

Since the PART was initiated in 2002, stakeholders have paid increased attention to program performance. Department of Education budget analysts and program staff, as well as staff from OMB, have worked together to assess individual programs. As a result, many programs have created short term and long term performance ...

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Dec
17
2008

Introducing Arne Duncan, Next Secretary of Education admin

After more than six weeks of hand wringing and hypothesizing, the education community finally has its answer - Arne Duncan, current CEO of Chicago Public Schools (CPS), will be the next Secretary of Education.

Reception of this announcement has been primarily positive. Duncan appears to straddle the current divide in education thought in the Democratic party - he purports to be both a reformer and a uniter, supporting accountability, charter schools, new investments in education, and improved teacher training.

But what does a Duncan appointment mean for the federal government's ...

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Dec
16
2008

Education and the Economy: Districts Making Tough Decisions admin

Last week we examined some of the strategies states are employing to pare down their education budgets in the face of the economic downturn. School districts are also affected by the simultaneous stress placed on federal, state and local education budgets. And they are considering some serious and often creative ways of rethinking their budgets for the current school year.

In California, where Governor Schwarzenegger recently announced a $2 billion cut to the education budget, many large districts are considering cutting the 180 day school year down to 160 days. Such districts include ...

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Dec
15
2008

FEBP Wants Your Feedback! admin

As an Ed Money Watch reader, you are hopefully familiar with our parent initiative, the Federal Education Budget Project (FEBP). FEBP aims to serve as a non-partisan, authoritative source of easily accessible information on federal education funding for a wide range of education policy stakeholders. Our efforts, including Ed Money Watch and our data and information website, attempt to heighten the quality of debate on federal education funding while supporting fiscally responsible policies to improve the equity and efficiency of federal education programs.

In our efforts to ensure ...

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Dec
11
2008

Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) admin

The CCAMPIS program provides funding to colleges for childcare services for low-income parents. In 2004 CCAMPIS received a "results not demonstrated" rating. In 2007 it was "re-PARTed" and received an "adequate" rating.

Let's examine how CCAMPIS fared on each section of the PART assessment:

Program Purpose and Design - CCAMPIS Score: 2004 - 80%, 2007 - 80%

CCAMPIS received full credit for four of the five questions on both the 2004 and 2007 assessments. However, both PART reviews deemed the program's design flawed, limiting its effectiveness. At the ...

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Dec
09
2008

Education and the Economy: State Strategies admin

Things aren't great in the economy right now. Federal, state, and local bodies are struggling to make ends meet.

Education has been particularly hurt by this economic triple threat. Federal funds account for roughly 9 percent of national education funding. Diminishing tax revenues and increased emergency spending will severely constrain future funding increases. Additionally, focus on healing the economy has distracted policymakers from improving federal streams to education through the reauthorization of No Child Left Behind (NCLB).

State dollars make up as much as 87 percent ...

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Dec
04
2008

Safe and Drug Free Schools PART Assessment admin

Over the past few weeks we've been looking at the PART on a macro-level. Now it's time to take a closer look at PART results for an individual program. The Safe and Drug Free Schools program (SDFS) is a block grant that provides funding to states and school districts for drug and violence prevention in schools. In 2006 it was given a "results not demonstrated" rating. Why?

Let's first examine how SDFS fared on each section of the PART assessment:

Program Purpose and Design - SDFS Score 60%

The program received full credit for three of the five questions in this ...

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Dec
02
2008

Guest Blog: Thinking Bigger About Changing the Odds admin


Yesterday, New America’s Early Education Initiative and Federal Education Budget Project brought together Susan Neuman, a professor of education at the University of Michigan and a former assistant Secretary of Education, and Doug Besharov, a professor at the University of Maryland and fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, to discuss high-quality early childhood interventions that help poor children succeed in school and life.

Neuman has just written a new book about the topic, called Changing the Odds for Children ...

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Nov
26
2008

Guest Blog: Should Preschool Be Part of the Stimulus Package? admin

The following post was originally published on www.EarlyEdWatch.org.

With Congress considering a massive stimulus package intended to jumpstart the struggling economy, it’s not surprising that everyone in Washington wants to make sure their pet issues get a piece of the action. There are even rumors that pre-k investments could be part of the stimulus package.

Early Ed Watch believes that it’s time for a much more assertive federal role in expanding access to high-quality pre-k programs. But we don’t think the stimulus package is the way to do it.

Pre-k and ...

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Nov
25
2008

Some Things to be Thankful For admin

Here at Ed Money Watch, we often focus on things we want to change or problems we see in education policy that need improving. But in the spirit of the season, we would like to dedicate this pre-Thanksgiving blog to things we are thankful for in the education arena.

No Child Left Behind has increased the availability of education data in states and districts across the country. While this data is currently used primarily for accountability purposes, it has the potential to become an integral part of education research, development and practice in the future. ...
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Nov
20
2008

Congress and the PART admin

While PART ratings have a limited affect on the President's budget request, it appears they have almost no affect on the actual funding levels Congress appropriates. Programs rated "ineffective" largely continue to receive funding, while programs rated "effective" do not necessarily get increases in funding.

Why ?

Many people in Congress are unaware of the PART or have limited information about it. We called several congressional staff and asked whether they thought the PART ratings were useful and whether they were actually used to make decisions about funding ...
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Nov
18
2008

Streamlining School Lunch? admin

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is currently working on their 2009 "Budget Options" publication. This report, which is published in odd numbered years, contains cost or savings estimates for numerous possible changes to federal programs.

In the last three publications, CBO estimated the cost of a significant change to the Child Nutrition Program - eliminating federal reimbursement to school districts for full-price breakfasts and lunches for students whose family incomes are more than 350 percent of poverty. At the same time, it would increase the reduced-price breakfast and ...

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Nov
13
2008

PART Results and the President’s Budget admin

The Program Assessment Rating Tool (PART) was created as part of the Bush Administration's Budget and Performance Integration Initiative to link program goals and performance measures to the budget process. According to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), PART results "will be used to make decisions regarding budgets and policy."

To what degree has this actually happened? Do PART results for Department of Education programs correspond to funding levels in the President's Budget Requests?

As noted in last week's post, almost half the programs at the Department of Education ...

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Nov
11
2008

No Such Thing As a Free Lunch – But Now We Know How Much It Costs admin

Here at the Federal Education Budget Project, which houses Ed Money Watch, we make federal education funding information more transparent and accessible to the public, researchers, and policymakers. To this end, we are proud to release state and school district level data on federal funding for school nutrition programs. As the second largest federal funding source for public schools after Title I at over $13 billion in 2008, tracking these programs is particularly important now as school districts across the country are struggling due to unstable budgets and increased food prices.

Federal ...

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Nov
06
2008

PART Assessments of Department of Education Programs – The Results admin

During the presidential campaign, both Senator McCain and Senator Obama talked about eliminating ineffective federal programs. We commend their emphasis on funding programs that show results. But what evidence will President-elect Obama use to actually determine which programs are working and which aren't?

One source of information the president could turn to for guidance is the Program Assessment Rating Tool (PART). But for many programs, particularly at the Department of Education, President-elect Obama might find only limited information to determine whether some programs are ...

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Nov
04
2008

Looking Forward to NCLB admin

We've previously written about both presidential candidates' unwillingness to talk about No Child Left Behind (NCLB). That's changed a bit - especially since the Teacher's College debate between Obama spokesperson Linda Darling-Hammond and McCain advisor Lisa Graham Keegan brought it back into the public eye. Regardless, it's impossible to deny that whoever wins the election will have to tackle NCLB head-on. It's not going to be an easy battle.

Reauthorizing NCLB will likely be a long process that demands the next President's leadership and guidance. The list of topics that is likely ...

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Oct
30
2008

An Overview of the Program Assessment Rating Tool (PART) and How it Works admin

Last week we introduced our blog series on the Program Assessment Rating Tool (PART), a questionnaire designed to assess and rank the effectiveness of federal programs. Since 2002, the Office of Management and Budget has used PART to examine hundreds of programs in various agencies in the federal government. To date, more than 1000 programs have been through the PART process, including 93 programs at the Department of Education.

How it Works

The PART questionnaire is comprised of approximately 25 standard questions, as well as a few additional questions tailored to the ...

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Oct
28
2008

Guest Post: Building Up the Federal Role in Supporting Education Innovation admin

In recent history, public education has been largely immune to innovation. The basic structure of public education today is much as it was several generations ago. Despite the increasing demands of global competition and student diversity, there has been little innovation in the core of teaching and learning.

In a recent paper published by the Brookings Institution's Metropolitan Policy Program, Andrew J. Rotherham and I examine why education has remained largely insulated from innovation and what the federal government can do to create a new culture of innovation in education.

We ...

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Oct
24
2008

Guest Post: The $7 Billion Question admin

After the No Child Left Behind Act passed Congress in 2002, one education policy expert quipped that they should rename the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (of which NCLB is the most recent reauthorization) the Elementary Education Act, because NCLB largely ignored high schools.

NCLB's funding and accountability requirements do focus primarily on the elementary and middle grades. Some high school reform advocates are seeking to broaden the law to more directly address the needs of high schools.

That's not to suggest that federal policy ignores high school students entirely. ...

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Oct
22
2008

Evaluating the Effectiveness of Federal Programs: An In-depth Look at the Program Assessment Rating Tool and Education Programs admin

We all want to know if the government is spending our tax dollars wisely: Are funds being used on education programs that are actually achieving results? Or are they being spent on ineffective programs? Which programs are working? Which aren't? Results matter.

Most people would agree that these are important questions. But actually evaluating the effectiveness of federal programs is an incredibly complex task.

In 2002, the Office of Management and Budget launched an initiative to help measure program effectiveness and provide guidance to the policymaking, budgeting and appropriations ...

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Oct
22
2008

Performance Based Assessments Take the Stage admin

Today on the Diane Rehm Show, Obama spokesperson Melody Barnes mentioned that if elected, Barack Obama would like to consider portfolios as a form of NCLB assessment. This news is both surprising and timely - yesterday the Forum for Education and Democracy held an event focusing on the benefits of performance based assessments (PBAs) in a standards-based and accountability-focused world.

Like portfolios, performance based assessments ask students to demonstrate their learning through open ended prompts, projects, presentations, and papers rather than in the multiple choice format commonly ...

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Oct
17
2008

A New Take on the Cost of NCLB admin

For most of the law's existence, politicians have been debating whether No Child Left Behind (NCLB) is underfunded. School districts, states, and stakeholders have sued the federal government for enforcing an "underfunded mandate" that requires them to meet proficiency and attendance levels without providing what they believe are necessary funds to do so. For several years the fight has gone on with seemingly no hope for conclusion. But three researchers have finally shed some light on the cost of NCLB goals.

Duncombe, Lukemeyer, and Yinger recently published a study in a book titled ...

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Oct
16
2008

Matching Funds in Tight Times admin

It's hard to underestimate the impact of the financial crisis on education. States across the country are struggling to keep their education budgets afloat. Districts have lost millions of dollars in failed investments. Schools are considering cutting staff, programs, and services to make ends meet. School construction projects are being put on hold and in some cases may be abandoned.

But the problems don't end there - as states and localities pare down their education budgets, the amount of money they are able to allocate to federal programs that require matching funds is also sure ...

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Oct
07
2008

Education in the Bailout admin

The recently enacted "bailout" bill was not entirely for Wall Street - the final bill included over $107 billion in tax breaks and other benefits for consumers, business owners, schools and students. The bill does not include any new programs to help lower the cost of higher education or solve school district budget crises, but it does expand or extend some valuable and important pre-existing education programs.

The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 extends the current $4,000 per year college tuition tax deduction through 2009, reducing revenue by an estimated $3.1 billion ...

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Oct
02
2008

The VPs on Education admin

In light of the Vice Presidential debate tonight we put together a short primer on where both of the VP picks stand on education. Needless to say, this is not an exhaustive or official list of either candidate's stance. Rather, we have attempted to trace both of their activities on education before they were potential VPs to paint a fuller picture.

Senator Joe Biden, the Democratic VP nominee, has a history of support for higher education legislation including expanding the college tuition tax deduction, the lifetime learning credit and the HOPE credits. He has co-sponsored bills ...

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Oct
01
2008

Looking into the Future admin

With No Child Left Behind (NCLB) reauthorization on the horizon, it never hurts to look into the future of American public education. Thankfully, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) recently released its Projections of Education Statistics to 2017. This report provides some valuable information when considering reasonable future expenditures on education.

According to NCES, total public school enrollment is expected to increase 10 percent between 2005 and 2017. This growth is expected to occur primarily in the South and West, particularly in Arizona, Nevada and Texas. ...

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Sep
30
2008

Some Clear Thinking on Choice admin

Both candidates have been talking about "choice" as it pertains to education. It's a popular idea these days, especially as parents are demanding better educational opportunities for their children. But a recent article by the American Enterprise Institute's Rick Hess suggests that choice alone isn't enough to improve the quality of public education. Choice needs to be coupled with infrastructure and support to bring about innovation and success.

Choice means different things to each of the candidates. Barack Obama sees charter schools as the key to expanding public school choice. ...

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Sep
26
2008

Coming Up Short on Pell Grants? admin

A perfect storm has been brewing on the 2009-10 Pell Grant funding front and media reports have incited fears that next year's federal grant aid could be drastically reduced. Fear not, however, Congress is set to take action that makes this scenario much less likely.

The Pell Grant program is the cornerstone of federal grant aid for low-income college students. In academic year 2008-09 low-income students received Pell Grants worth $400 to $4,731 (the average grant award is likely to be $2,945) a piece to pay for tuition and other attendance related costs. Each year, Congress sets ...

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Sep
25
2008

Teacher Recruitment and Retention in the Next Administration admin

Districts across the nation are in need of highly qualified teachers, particularly in math, science and special education. Given that the estimated cost of current teacher attrition is around $2 billion annually, maintaining and growing the teaching force may be one of the greatest, and most expensive, challenges in education for the next administration. Sadly, little research has been done to examine the value added of current or potential teacher retention and recruitment activities.

Currently, the federal government makes some efforts to increase the pool of qualified teachers, ...

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Sep
18
2008

Facing NCLB Head-on admin

The media is starting to notice that both McCain and Obama are shying away from No Child Left Behind (NCLB) on the campaign trail. The law - once considered a shining achievement of the Bush Administration - seems to have become a sort of political kryptonite in the education world.

Although both candidates have recently released education-oriented campaign ads, an impressive feat given that education doesn't often rank as a top campaign priority, neither mentions the law specifically. This practice is quickly becoming problematic - the candidates can't ignore the largest K-12 federal ...

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Sep
11
2008

The Dollars and Cents of Dropping Out admin

It's no mystery that America's failing high schools have a direct impact on the economy. A recent study released by the Alliance for Excellent Education attempts to place a price tag on the "dropout crisis" and the results are stunning.

According to the report's findings, the potential wealth the country could gain if every head of household was a high school graduate is over $74 billion. Even a 5 percent increase in the graduation rate of males alone would result in a $7.7 billion benefit to the national economy. And if every member of the graduating class of 2008 had graduated from ...

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Jul
31
2008

The Economy and Education- Will the Budget Crunch Facing States Affect Education Spending admin

As the economy continues to weaken, many states across the country are starting to face a budget crunch that may affect funding for education. A variety of factors--including the housing market, fuel prices, and a slowdown in tax collections--mean that states are going to see fewer revenue increases than in previous years.

When states face economic downturns, there are real implications for students, teachers, and schools. States often try to protect K-12 spending during tight budget times. But states spend such a large portion of their discretionary spending on education (about 34 percent ...

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Jul
30
2008

Let the Funding Debate Begin! admin

Now that Republican and Democratic presidential candidates Senator John McCain and Senator Barack Obama have both released their education agendas, Ed Money Watch has decided to examine the federal education funding implications of both plans. While both candidates' plans leave some questions unanswered, the differences between them on education funding are stark.

Sen. Obama's platform would increase federal funding for K-12 and early education programs by $18 billion annually. The largest share of that new funding-$10 billion-would go to Obama's "zero to five" early education plan ...

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Jul
23
2008

Focusing on Children in the President's Budget admin

Last week, Senator Robert Menendez (D - N.J.) introduced a bill that would ensure that the president's annual budget includes specific information on federal funding for children. The "Children's Budget Act" (S. 3277) would require that the various sources of federal funding that go to children be analyzed, aggregated, and displayed as part of the President's Budget Request which is released every February.

We believe that this is a good idea. Including information specifically on funding for children's programs would help increase transparency as well as focus attention on funding ...

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Jul
22
2008

The Reading First Double Standard admin

Last week, we reported that both the House and Senate committee versions of the Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill cut all funding for Reading First, a program that supports research-based literacy programs in kindergarten through third grade. Both committees said they based this decision on a recent study, which found no evidence that the program improved reading comprehension scores of students in participating schools. A closer look at the bills, however, reveals that the committees did not apply the same standard to other programs: They continue to fund, and even provide increases for, ...

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Jul
15
2008

Senate and House Appropriations Committees – Solid Numbers Revealed admin

Last week, the Senate and House of Representatives Appropriations Committees published their respective versions of the fiscal year 2009 Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill, which sets funding levels for most federal education programs for the upcoming year. The Senate bill is ready for consideration by the full chamber, while the House bill still awaits full committee approval.

In total, the House bill would provide $63.0 billion for all Department of Education programs funded through the appropriations process. That's an increase of $3.8 billion, or about 6 percent, from fiscal ...

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Jul
09
2008

The Inevitable Conclusion: More Research admin

It's rare to get a room full of education researchers to agree on any one point. From phonics to small school reform, everyone has a different take and several studies to back up their opinion. However, you would be hard pressed to find a single peer reviewed journal article that doesn't come to the one conclusion that finds unanimous support from researchers across the spectrum: the need for more research and the funding to support it.

Despite the continuous call for more and better education research and development (R&D), the Department of Education's R&D budget remains limited ...

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Jul
03
2008

Examining Sensationalized Teacher Pay admin

Most free newspapers in Washington, D.C. are full of drab political fare, but the sensationalist cover of last Monday's Examiner caught the attention of Ed Money Watch.

Featuring the image of a golden apple being handed from one person to another, the cover has an all-caps headline that reads: "LOCAL TEACHERS ARE CASHING IN." We were intrigued by the article's content. A scandal involving misappropriated funds? An overly large salary increase won by the teachers unions?

Not even close. It turns out the article, "Cashing in on the Classroom," is about the fewer than 300 teachers ...

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Jul
02
2008

Appropriations Process, Slowly But Surely admin

Last Friday we reported on the status of the House and Senate Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations bills for fiscal year 2009. Committees in both Chambers had agreed to a 302(b) suballocation of $153.1 billion, and sub-committees in both houses adopted approved bills and sent them on to the full Appropriations Committees.

The Senate Committee successfully passed their Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill on July 26th. But the House Committee hit a minor (read: politically challenging) road block. Representative Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.), the ranking member of the House Appropriations Committee, ...

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Jun
27
2008

Federal Education Appropriations, Pending admin

It's appropriations time on Capitol Hill. This week, the House and Senate Appropriations Committees moved to adopt their respective versions of the fiscal year 2009 Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill. This week's committee action begins the annual federal education funding process, but the spending bill still faces a number of procedural steps and political hurdles before it becomes law.

In February, the President released his budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year, which outlined funding levels for all education programs, and established a recommended total appropriations ...

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Jun
23
2008

A Good Opportunity (for Research) admin

The Department of Education recently released the second year impact evaluation of Washington, D.C.'s Opportunity Scholarship Program. This federally funded program--a fancy name for vouchers--provides randomly selected low-income students living in the District of Columbia a scholarship, or voucher, worth up to $7,500 to attend the private school of their choice. The report has generated response from national and local political figures on both sides of the voucher debate. D.C. Congressional Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton believes the program should be cut because of school accountability ...

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Jun
18
2008

How to Handle Bad News for Small Schools in Oregon admin

Four years ago in Oregon, two foundations invested $25 million in a "small schools" initiative, the largest private investment ever in Oregon's K-12 schools. The initiative sought to improve student performance and retention by transforming large, under-performing high schools into small learning academies. The first results of the Oregon experiment are in, and unfortunately they aren't very positive. Graduation rates remain low, and attendance and test scores haven't improved much since the large high schools split apart.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation—the primary funder, along ...

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Jun
06
2008

Federal Education Budget Project Launch admin

Ed Money Watch is proud to announce the launch of New America’s new Federal Education Budget Project, a non-partisan, authoritative source of information on federal education funding for policymakers, state and local officials, the media, non-profit organizations, and the general public. Ed Money Watch is just one of a host of Federal Education Budget Project resources available to answer your questions regarding, and keep you up-to-date with developments in, the world of education finance, and particularly federal funding for education.

On the FEBP website, you’ll find information on ...

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May
29
2008

Chancellor Rhee Tackles Teacher Seniority admin

The Washington Post reports that D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee is taking steps to end teacher seniority preferences in the District's teachers union contract, as part of ongoing contract negotiations with the Washington Teachers' Union. This is an important, and contentious, teacher pay reform that holds promise for reversing inequitable teacher distribution patterns between low- and high-poverty schools in the district.

Within-District Teacher Disparities

Seniority preferences allow teachers with the most experience to transfer to any open teaching position in a district, ...

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May
27
2008

Subsidizing School Construction in Massachusetts admin

Reports that some affluent Massachusetts school districts spend exorbitant amounts of money to build top-of-the-line school facilities have drawn media criticism and seized the attention of state officials. The prime example is a proposed $197 million high school in Newton—the most expensive high school in Massachusetts history—that has already gone over its original $141 million budget. Other projects, such as a $159 million high school in Wellesley, are also forecasting high and escalating costs. Last week state Treasurer Timothy P. Cahill warned that the state will not subsidize excessive ...

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May
23
2008

Layers of Inequity admin

Poor states, communities, and children persistently get the short end of the stick in school funding. Education spending policies at all levels-federal, state, and local-layer on inequities that disproportionately benefit high-wealth school districts and lead to large funding disparities between high- and low-poverty communities. A new report from Education Sector and the Center on Reinventing Public Education seeks to quantify the cumulative impacts of these inequities on local schools. The results are striking. Addressing these inequities should be a key priority for federal and state policymakers.

The ...

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May
19
2008

Teacher Support for Differentiated Pay admin

Differentiated teacher pay is gaining in popularity among education reformers and policymakers. Currently, most teachers are paid under single salary schedules that take into account only two teacher attributes: years of experience and education credentials. Differentiated pay reforms give teachers more money based a wider variety of factors, such as teaching assignments, skills, or performance. Some teachers and teachers unions, however, are reluctant to embrace non-traditional financial incentives. This opposition is often viewed as an insurmountable obstacle to teacher reform.

But ...

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May
16
2008

Early Ed Watch: Cost-Effectiveness and Trade-Offs in Early Education admin

Over at our sister blog, Early Ed Watch, Sara Mead has a post on two new studies that try to estimate the cost of high-quality early education. She looks at the trade-offs that policymakers must make between different types of early childhood investments, as well as between quality and quantity for any given early childhood investment. Definitely worth a read:

Two new studies released this week aim to help policymakers make sound choices about early education investments.

In Meaningful Investments In Pre-k, researchers from the Institute for ...

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May
14
2008

Promising Proposals for Funding and Accountability in New Mexico admin

The New Mexico legislature has been working to increase and better target K-12 education funding to school districts with high-need students. Governor Bill Richardson and the legislature appointed a Funding Formula Task Force in 2005. The Task Force commissioned a comprehensive study of New Mexico’s public school funding formula, including an estimate of how much it would cost the state to provide a "sufficient" education to all students.

The American Institutes of Research released the New Mexico funding study in January, and concluded that "sufficient" state funding for education would ...

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May
07
2008

Investing in Children admin

We hear a lot of rhetoric from politicians about how America's future depends on investing in our children. But this rhetoric is not translating into spending realities. A new report from First Focus, "Children's Budget 2008," provides information on federal spending for children's programs. The report slices the data in a number of different ways, but the overall theme is that the federal government is not prioritizing children when it comes to allocating resources.

The report indicates that federal domestic discretionary spending on children in 2008 was only about 10% of all non-defense ...

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May
02
2008

Clueless about Education Spending? You're Not Alone admin

Most Americans do not know how much their local school districts are spending on education, according to a new national survey. This isn't a surprise to Ed Money Watch. Poor understanding of education expenditures spurred the creation of our Federal Education Budget Project. But what does surprise us is the size of the misinformation gap: Americans vastly underestimate per-pupil expenditures, by $6,122 on average.

Education Next and the Program on Education Policy and Governance at Harvard conducted a survey in 2007 of a nationally representative sample of 2,000 American adults. They ...

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Apr
28
2008

Encouraging Spending on Parental Outreach for SES admin

Many low-income parents with children in low-performing schools are not taking advantage of free tutoring available to them under No Child Left Behind. Under NCLB's "Supplemental Educational Services" (SES) provision, school districts that fail to meet academic benchmarks for three years must set aside part of their federal Title I grant to provide outside tutoring—but only a fraction of eligible students are using the program.

The Department of Education is trying to figure out how to increase take-up rates for the SES program. As part of a package of new NCLB regulations, the Department ...

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Apr
24
2008

Tired of Waiting for Reauthorization, the Department of Education Regulates admin

On Tuesday, the Department of Education unveiled a new set of proposed regulations on No Child Left Behind. The major announcement was details about the new, uniform graduation rate formula that all states will have to use for NCLB accountability purposes going forward. In addition, the Department outlined new requirements for district implementation of the Supplemental Educational Services (SES) provision.

In general, the proposed regulations focus on greater transparency for what's already happening in each state. At a briefing in Washington D.C., U.S. Deputy Secretary of Education ...

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Apr
23
2008

Taming Maine's School Governance Hydra admin

The Maine legislature passed a school district consolidation plan last week—but in a form dramatically watered down from Governor John Baldacci's original proposals. Maine has one of the most complicated, decentralized school governance systems in the country, and as a result spends far more than the national average on school administration.

By reorganizing the system into larger districts (while also maintaining a degree of local control), the consolidation legislation could lead to a much more efficient system that sends more education funds directly to Maine's classrooms—but only ...

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Apr
17
2008

Does Title I Funding Go Holy to Fund Private School Students? admin

Pope Benedict XVI's first visit to the United States is spurring supporters of Catholic schools and the media to highlight the decline of and obstacles facing Catholic schools. Demographic changes, a reduced supply of priests and nuns to serve as teachers, and the aftermath of sex abuse scandals have acted to undermine Catholic schooling in many places. This attention to the crisis in Catholic education has also highlighted a little known fact: federal education programs provide support to educate low-income students not just in public schools, but also in private schools.

When spending ...

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Apr
15
2008

Navigating the Rocky Road of School Improvement Funding admin

As the number of schools identified for school improvement, corrective action, and restructuring under the No Child Left Behind Act continues to increase, states are under increasing pressure to improve student performance in these schools. Yet a new report from the Government Accountability Office finds that a little-known funding provision in NCLB is undermining state efforts to turn around low-performing schools.

The 4% Set-Aside vs. the Hold Harmless Provision

Under NCLB, schools that fail to meet state achievement benchmarks—otherwise known as Adequate Yearly Progress or ...

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Apr
09
2008

What's Behind Standardized Graduation Rates? Data System Investment admin

Last week Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings announced that the Department of Education will begin requiring all states to use the same method to calculate high school graduation rates. NCLB already requires states and high schools to report graduation rates, but it allows states to craft their own formulas to do so. The result: states inevitably found ways to inflate graduation statistics. And the state-by-state patchwork of methods used makes it impossible to compare graduation rates across states.

Spellings' announcement is an important, smart move following years of pressure ...

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Apr
02
2008

Ending the Reading First Funding Limbo admin

States and school districts are starting to feel the impact of major funding cuts to the federal Reading First program. Congress cut Reading First funding by 61 percent in fiscal year 2008—the unfortunate result of a serious federal-level management scandal. On the ground, however, the Reading First program is producing results in many schools, and school administrators and teachers have praised it.

President Bush's fiscal year 2009 budget request would return Reading First funding back to $1 billion annually. As school districts scramble to look for other funding sources to keep Reading ...

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Mar
31
2008

Earmarks Galore! More Transparency, But Still Flourishing admin

Last week, the Chronicle of Higher Education published a database of higher education earmarks for fiscal year 2008. A number of the earmarks are related to K-12 initiatives at colleges and universities, and many of the programs sound valuable and work toward positive goals. Members of Congress are certainly skilled at justifying them. But don't let these justifications sway you—earmarks mean no accountability to taxpayers and no concrete proof of program effectiveness.

The Office of Postsecondary Education routinely receives the most earmarks in the Department of Education, including ...

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Mar
26
2008

Education Funding Rhetoric: The Budget Reserve Fund admin

When Congress took up the 2009 budget resolution earlier this month, Members of Congress gave stirring speeches about how the budget would "strengthen the federally subsidized student loan program" or carry out other education policies. Some pointed to something called a "deficit-neutral reserve fund" in the budget resolution as proof. The press also highlighted these reserve funds, writing of a "pool of funds" set aside for various education initiatives. Advocacy groups issued press releases touting policy success.

Anyone trying to make sense of the congressional budget process and ...

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Mar
24
2008

New Faces, New Education Funding Questions in New York admin

After being sworn in as the Governor of New York on last Monday, David Paterson went right to work on the state budget and its near $5 billion deficit. Education advocates are anxiously waiting to see how the new Governor approaches state education funding. Previous Governor Eliot Spitzer had promised to spend a lot more on education in order to comply with the ruling in a school finance lawsuit, and, equally important, to combine that spending with increased accountability for local school districts. Richard C. Iannuzzi, president of New York State United Teachers, said that Spitzer's resignation ...

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Mar
20
2008

Conversations in California on District Budget Transparency admin

In California, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's Committee on Education Excellence released its long-overdue final report last week with recommendations for reforming the state's K-12 education system in four areas: governance, finance, teacher recruitment and retention, and administrator preparation and retention. The finance section, titled "Ensure Fair Funding that Rewards Results," offers a number of good, detailed ideas for making state funding more flexible and student-centered, and better tied to incentives to improve learning.

One specific proposal in the report caught Ed Money ...

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Mar
18
2008

Outcome-Based, Collaborative, Non-Sexy Philanthropy admin

What would you do if you had $2 billion to invest in education? The New York Times Magazine asked a group of experts involved in education philanthropy. Their responses indicate how education philanthropy is changing—for the better. But the panel brushed over some important questions that any philanthropist should consider when making education investments. We drew three key take-aways from the panel's discussion.

Outcome-Based Accountability

All five participants agreed on the importance of making philanthropic investments more outcome-focused. In the past, philanthropists spent ...

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Mar
13
2008

Advance Appropriations Limit Forecasts Education Funding Increases admin

As we discussed yesterday, both Houses of Congress took up the 2009 congressional budget resolution this week. The budget resolution serves primarily as a blueprint that shapes tax and spending legislation considered later in the year by Congress. One obscure component of the budget resolution can have a big influence on education funding for the upcoming fiscal year: the advance appropriations limit.

Both the House and Senate versions of the budget resolution would increase the limit on the amount of funding that the Appropriations Committees can appropriate through advances. The House ...

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Mar
12
2008

What the Budget Resolution Really Means for Education Funding admin

The House and Senate are expected to vote tomorrow on the congressional budget resolution for fiscal year 2009, and debate over the resolution is becoming increasingly contentious. Do education advocates and the media really know what is at stake for education?

Both the House and Senate budget resolutions would boost discretionary spending above an inflationary baseline increase from the current fiscal year 2008 levels and above President Bush's fiscal year 2009 budget request. The Republican minority is not pleased, labeling the spending increase "huge" and "astonishing"

How ...

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Feb
19
2008

Loophole Makes School Finance Inequity Within Districts Possible admin

When the federal government started distributing compensatory education (i.e. Title I) funding in 1965, it wanted to ensure that federal money was supplementing, not supplanting, support to schools educating disadvantaged children. Thus, the government added fiscal requirements to Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act that require communities to establish an even state and local school finance playing field within district — before supplemental Title I money is given to the highest-poverty schools.

For a school district to be eligible for federal funds under Title I, ...

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Feb
14
2008

A False Alarm admin

Over the last several months, the student loan industry and its allies on Capitol Hill have led a campaign to persuade the news media and policymakers that Congress went too far last year when it cut taxpayer subsidies to lenders that participate in the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) program. The lenders and their friends argue that the subsidy cuts and tightening credit markets now are leaving students in jeopardy of losing access to federally guaranteed student loans. Don't believe it.

During debate last week on legislation to renew the Higher Education Act, ...

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Feb
05
2008

10 Questions on the Bush Education Budget admin

Ed Money Watch has some questions for the Bush administration on its fiscal year 2009 budget request for education.

K-12 EDUCATION

1) The administration proposes increasing No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Title I grants to school districts by 2.9 percent, essentially an increase matching inflation. It also proposes redirecting a greater proportion of Title I funds to high schools. Does this mean that school districts will have to cut Title I funding for K-8 schools, since districts will effectively receive the same level of funding as in the previous year? How will this affect student achievement ...

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Feb
04
2008

More Money, Lower Achievement in Durham, North Carolina admin

Durham, North Carolina. It's a medium-sized, old tobacco and textile city best known for housing Duke University. Most national media coverage of Durham focuses on the ivory tower that is Duke, its highly-ranked undergraduate and graduate programs, and of course Duke's basketball team. Rarely does anyone outside North Carolina get an accurate (or any) picture of the city itself and its own educational issues.

In the shadow of an elite institution of higher education, Durham’s K-12 public education system is struggling and often failing to educate its students. Only six schools out of ...

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Feb
02
2008

Student Loans in the Coming Bush Budget: Don't Get Spun admin

Lobbyists who represent Sallie Mae, Nelnet, and the rest of the student loan industry are anxiously awaiting the arrival of President Bush's Fiscal Year 2009 Budget on Monday morning. Last year, Congress cut taxpayer subsidies to banks that make government-guaranteed student loans and put those savings into lower-cost loans and bigger Pell Grants for students. Industry lobbyists will pore over the budget the moment it comes out Monday to find numbers that make their case that it is now cheaper to subsidize their retail loans rather than continue the wholesale approach known as direct lending.

[slideshow] ...

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Jan
29
2008

School Finance Equity: National Trends admin

Little known is that since the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) was passed, the federal government has prioritized "school finance equity" as a goal for states to achieve. In fiscal year 2008, 21 percent of NCLB Title I funds will be distributed based on an Education Finance Incentive Grant formula, a funding stream that has been increasing since NCLB first passed. But few people understand why certain states are deemed more "equitable" than others. You hear a lot of praise and criticism about equitable school funding, but little explanation of what it means or what produced it.

School ...

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