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President Biden Proposes a Big Education Budget, Prioritizing Teacher Shortages and Educator Diversity

President Biden Proposes a Big Education Budget

On Thursday, President Biden delivered an impassioned State of the Union. “I want to expand high-quality tutoring and summer learning time and see to it that every child learns to read by third grade,” the President announced. 

On Monday, Biden also released his proposed 2025 budget, which calls for an $82B investment in the US Department of Education, marking a $3.1 billion (or 3.9-percent) increase from 2023 levels. (See the 2025 Budget Summary for the US Department of Education here.) Highlights of the Preschool to Grade 12 portion of the budget proposal include: 

  • $8B in Academic Acceleration and Achievement Grants over 5 years, which would be used to close gaps and speed learning recovery through evidence-based strategies like increasing attendance, high-quality tutoring, and extended learning time. 

  •  $18.6 billion for Title I (a $200M increase above 2023 investments), which delivers funding to schools serving low-income communities. 

  • A nearly $3B investment in educators and school leaders, including more than $650 million for competitive programs to support a diverse and well-prepared teacher pipeline (e.g.: educator preparation programs, apprenticeships, and grow your own models). 

  • A $14.8B investment for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Stage Grants (a $200M increase over 2023 funding levels).

  • A $940M investment in English Language Acquisition State Grants (a $50 million over fiscal year 2024), to help states meet the needs of multilingual learners.

The proposal additionally makes investments in Federal-State partnerships to provide free preschool to four-year olds, as well as investments in school-based mental health services. However, it also includes a $40M decrease in the Charter School Program (CSP)—from $440M to $400M. The CSP grant provides funding to state entities, charter school developers, and charter management organizations that are opening new charter schools—as well as funds to improve existing charter schools. 

In a statement on this proposed decrease yesterday, Dr. Karega Rausch, President and CEO of the National Association of Charter School Authorizers, said, “While there are some elements we are pleased to see in President Biden’s FY2025 budget proposal, including investments in Title I, IDEA, and other programs to advance student learning that will benefit students attending charter schools, we are disappointed to see a proposed cut to the CSP—a lifeline that empowers new and existing charter schools to accelerate student achievement.” 

As Education Week explains, there is "virtually no chance" this budget proposal will actually take effect, but it is a sign of President Biden's priorities as he seeks reelection. 

Interesting Trivia: K-12 Dive reports that Connecticut’s own US Education Secretary Miguel Cardona missed the State of the Union because he was the designated survivor of the event - wow! 

Prioritizing Teacher Shortages and Educator Diversity

According to the CT Mirror, Senator Doug McCrory, co-Chair of the Education Committee, held a news conference on Monday to discuss the Aspiring Educators Diversity Scholarship Program, a new effort that grants teacher candidates up to $10K per year if they come from the state’s 16 priority school districts and are enrolled in an educator preparation program. 

CT News Junkie quotes Sen. McCrory as saying that, “This program represents an investment in a future where Connecticut students from all backgrounds can see themselves reflected in their teachers.” Indeed, research shows that students of color who are taught by teachers of color are both held to higher standards academically and are less likely to be suspended from school. But a 2023 brief by our affiliate, ERN CT, found that the percentage point difference between students of color and teachers of color in Connecticut is widening over time.

This lack of representation is an important issue for students, and it’s just one piece of a broader teacher pipeline problem in our state. There were also over 1,300 teacher vacancies in Connecticut last year, the majority of which were in the state's highest-need districts.

Today, the Education Committee will host a public hearing on several bills, including HB 5436, which aims to address educator certification. This legislative proposal, born out of the work of the Connecticut Educator Certification Council, represents a strong step in the right direction for educator preparation and certification. New Teacher Track Coalition has produced a summary of the bill that explains how it will position Connecticut to produce more effective and diverse teachers. Read it here.


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