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Ed-Insider February 6, 2004

Ed-Insider February 6, 2004

Education Insider

A weekly review of progress on the Quality Public Schools Agenda and other legislation that impacts our students, classrooms, and public education.

February 6, 2004

The Budget -
President Bush this week released his budget request for the 2005 fiscal year that begins October 1, 2004. For students in public school classrooms, the stakes are high.

NEA moved quickly - in a message to every Member of Congress - to establish a platform for working with Congress on a budget plan that makes supporting children and families a priority.

The Story Behind the Headlines

  • Will your students be among the 'OUTs?' Title I math and reading programs and IDEA special education services are critical to closing the achievement gap. Despite media headlines that tout funding increases for Title I and IDEA, -- "Special Education, Low Income Schools Win Rare Increases" -- too many students are left out.

    • Title I funding reaches fewer than half the students eligible for help and falls further and further below the amounts set in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (No Child Left Behind).
      [Students left behind in your state]

    • IDEA dollars fund less than half the federal share of special education program costs, forcing cuts in services or increased taxes to cover the shortfall.
      [Dollars lost by your state in the 2004 budget year].

  • Vouchers: The budget proposal includes not only $14 million for the newly authorized voucher program in the nation's capitol, but also a nationwide $50 million program.

  • Zeroed Out: Thirty-eight education programs providing vital services to students are eliminated, including: Perkins Vocational Education, Drop-out Prevention, Elementary and Secondary School Counseling, Even Start, Gifted and Talented, and the National Writing Project.

  • Literacy: The adolescent literacy initiative represents a step forward, but cuts in dropout prevention and career and technical education programs with proven track records of helping adolescents stay in school mark two steps backward.

  • Access to Post-secondary Education: The Administration proposes no increase in the Pell Grant maximum award over the current $4,050. This would the second consecutive year of a freeze, while students face steep college tuition increases fueled by deep state budget cuts.

  • State Straights: Cash-strapped states struggle to implement new testing and accountability mandates.

  • The Bottom Line: Who will be accountable for providing your students the tools they need to achieve Adequate Yearly Progress?

Next Steps
Congress will craft a spending blueprint (the Budget Resolution) for the 2005 budget year. Stay tuned…


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