The Fiscal Year 2011 Gauntlet

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The first of many budget battles is now behind us.  The Democrats and Republicans fought it out about as long as they could, finally settling on nearly $40 billion in cuts across all agencies for fiscal year 2011 (FY2011). 

It could have been worse for the Department of Education.  The final agreement will eliminate the following programs.

  • Educational Technology State Grants, funded at $100 million in the fiscal year 2010 budget.
  • Literacy Through School Libraries, funded at $19 million in FY2010.
  • Byrd Honors Scholarship Program, funded at $42 million in FY2010. (The elimination of the late Senator Byrd’s program is a clear signal that times have changed in Washington).  
  • Striving Readers, funded at $200 million in FY2010. The program is eliminated, but the FY2010 funds are not rescinded at proposed in a prior continuing resolution.  

The FY2011 budget agreement also makes cuts to many other programs.  The details are still emerging, but you can see the latest here: 

The big news for ED is the sparing of the Race to the Top program ($700 million for FY2011), the Investing in Innovation grant  ($150 million) and the Teacher Incentive Fund ($400 million).  There was considerable pessimism among those in the education community that the House Republicans would provide additional or any funds for programs championed by the Administration and with little track record of success.  Never mind that the programs most closely matched the ideological position of the House conservatives.  Many felt that the fiscal campaign would trump the nuances of education policy… but that did not happen. Wow.

That the programs survived may prove to be important for the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).  It seems to indicate that that the initiatives launched under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) still set the reauthorization goal posts.   Of course, few in Congress (especially the House Republicans) are willing to endorse the ARRA these days, but that is what happened during the brutal FY2011 negotiations. Notable, indeed.    





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