Federal Spending Bill Maintains Investment in Educator Preparation

Last week, President Obama signed an omnibus spending bill funding the government through the end of the fiscal year. This $1.1 trillion plan restores approximately two thirds ($1.6 billion) of the cuts made to the U.S. Department of Education in last year’s sequestration.

Perhaps most important to educator preparation programs, the omnibus maintains funding for Teacher Quality Partnership (TQP) grants, which fund partnerships between institutions of higher education and high-need school districts to create clinical and/or residency programs at the prebaccalaureate or graduate level. This means that the U.S. Department of Education will fund a new round of grants to partnerships seeking to reform teacher preparation programs. Stay tuned for more updates from AACTE on how to apply for this grant funding.

The omnibus also increases funding for major formula programs—Title I grants and special education state grants both saw funds restored to near pre-sequestration levels. And, as expected after the push by the president and congressional leadership, funding for pre-K programs got a boost in the spending bill. Head Start will add tens of thousands of seats, and the bill also allocates money for the administration’s Race to the Top competitive grant program for preschool.

In addition to the increases to the big formula programs and to early childhood education programs, several other education programs are funded at close to their presequester levels, while others are funded based on the decreased amounts they received under sequestration. In the end, no education programs were eliminated—which itself is a major victory, as over the last few years, funding for many education programs has been cut or eliminated due to sequestration and reduced funding for the U.S. Department of Education. This chart from the Committee on Education Funding shows FY 14 funding levels for education programs and the percentage change in funding for programs between FY 13 and FY 14.

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Sarah Pinsky

Manager for State and Federal Policy, AACTE