Tight budget controls severely constricted education funding for many years. As a result, ongoing education programs receive $13.6 billion less than they did a dozen years ago in inflation-adjusted terms.
The Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023 could lead to further cuts. It keeps non-defense discretionary funding constant in FY2024 and allows a 1 percent increase in FY2025. Under budget caps imposed from FY2013 through FY2021, Congress cut education funding and then held it fairly flat.
It’s time to reverse this tragic trajectory! In particular, Congress needs to increase funding for high-poverty schools through Title I, in children with disabilities through IDEA, in full-service community schools, and in career and technical education.
The starting point should be President Biden’s FY 2024 budget request, which provides a $10.8 billion increase for the Department of Education as well as increases for education-related programs in other agencies. Among them:
- $20.5 billion for Title I, a $2.2 billion increase
- $16.3 billion for IDEA, a $2.7 billion increase
- $368 million for Full-Service Community Schools, a $218 million increase
- $578 million to increase the number of school-based counselors, psychologists, social workers, and other health professionals in K-12 schools
- $495 million for programs to recruit and retain educators
- $500 increase in the Pell grant maximum
Congress will face tough choices in FY2024, but investing in our children—the future of America—cannot wait.