Blog > Education Budget Details: Race to the Top and Teaching American History
Education Budget Details: Race to the Top and Teaching American History
Here is a pdf from the House Appropriations Committee of all the 2011 budget cuts.  Education Week’s Politics K-12 blog highlights:
It eliminates a number of education programs, including:

  • Educational Technology State Grants—$100 million.
  • Literacy Through School Libraries—$19 million.
  • Byrd Honors Scholarship Program—$42 million.

And it includes cuts to other education programs. For instance:

  • School Improvement Grants would be funded at $536 million, a $10 million cut.
  • Teaching American History would be cut by $73 million. The program is now financed at $119 million, so that’s pretty significant.
  • The GEARUP and TRIO college access programs also would be cut. GEARUP, which got $323 million in fiscal year 2010, would lose $20 million. And TRIO, which got $910 million last year, would lose $25 million.
More on Teaching American History from the National Coalition for History:
The Teaching American History Grants program sustained a cut of $73 million (-61%) down from $119 million in FY ’10 to $46 million. While this is disheartening, throughout the budget process House Republicans had repeatedly targeted the program for elimination. The Administration as well had zeroed out TAH for FY ’11 and proposed consolidating history education in a new Well Rounded Education program where it would have competed for funding with arts, music, foreign languages, civics, economics and other subjects.

So the fact that TAH survived at all is a major victory. Had the TAH program been eliminated it would have been nearly impossible to resuscitate it in the upcoming FY ’12 budget process and down the road in the pending reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).

One question is whether the $46 million will be enough to fund new FY ’11 TAH grants. At a public forum earlier this year, Department of Education staff stated continuing grants would have priority in receiving FY ‘11 funding and any remaining funds would go to new grants.

In FY ‘08, the Education Department awarded three year TAH grants, but provided the option for the grantees to apply for additional funds for a fourth or fifth year. The FY ’08 grantees have been required to file detailed progress reports with the department and they are being evaluated to determine whether they merit additional funding.

The application deadline was April 4. However, there is no way of knowing yet how many FY ‘08 grantees applied for additional out-year funding and if they will qualify. As a result, given the limited amount of funds available, conceivably there could be no new TAH grants made this year.

Education Week’s Curriculum Matters blog says:
As for Teaching American History grants, which are extremely popular with many history educators—and are widely seen as helping them better understand the past and giving them new tools to teach about it—the funding would be reduced by $73 million. That said, given the current fiscal climate, the fact that the program apparently will remain intact is good news for its fans. If the money had been wiped away altogether, it might have been far more difficult, politically, to restart the history-grants program in future years.

Andrew Mink, the director of outreach and education at the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education, told me this morning that there was a big push by educators, historians, and others to protect the Teaching American History grants program. (Mink has been involved with several grants in Virginia under the program.) And while he said it’s disappointing to see the big cut, he’s relieved that the program will continue.

“Once funding is [abolished], you can’t regenerate it,” he said. “Keeping some blood in it was absolutely a victory.”

See John Fea’s post as well on TAH.  Also from Education Week on RTT 2.0:
Race to the Top was a winner, getting $700 million for a one-year extension of the economic-stimulus program, which was to expire.

The bill isn’t clear on just how much of the money would go to new state grants and how much would go to early-learning grants. That means it would be up to the Education Department. From my reading of the bill, it sounds like the department could also combine the competitions if it so chose.

Under the original language that created Race to the Top, states were required to give half of their award to districts. But the bill would allow the department to waive that requirement for the new early-learning grants.

And before you get all excited about a new state K-12 competition, it’s also important to note that under the bill, the department could just pick new winners from among the states that had applied for the second round of Race to the Top, but lost out.
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