President Releases FY17 Budget Request

On February 9, President Obama released the final budget request of his presidency, a request for Fiscal Year 2017 (FY17). Next, Congress will respond with its own budget followed by the appropriations process—when lawmakers can choose to implement the president’s request or parts of it, or move forward on their own priorities. With the Congress under control of the Republicans during this presidential election year, the president’s request is unlikely to receive much focus.

The budget request for the U.S. Department of Education is $69.4 billion for FY17, a 2% increase over the FY16 level. The administration again proposes to eliminate the Teacher Quality Partnerships—the only federal grant program focused on strengthening and improving teacher preparation programs—replacing it with the Teacher and Principal Pathways programs. The administration also proposes to eliminate the TEACH grants in 2021 and increase loan forgiveness for teachers in high-need schools.

Unlike last year, the budget requests no funds for the implementation of teacher preparation program regulations. Nonetheless, throughout the budget proposal the Department references “effective” preparation programs, which hearkens back to the proposed regulations. (You might recall that the four rating levels in the proposed regulations were low-performing, at-risk, effective, and exceptional.)

Here are some highlights of the Department’s budget request of interest to teacher preparation:

RESPECT: Best Job in the World is a proposed program designed to change the ability of school districts to attract and retain talented, committed, and accomplished teachers. The program focuses on helping up to 200 schools by creating competitive grants for state education agencies to make subgrants to school districts to create advancement opportunities for teachers in high-need schools, enhance teachers’ effectiveness through teacher-led professional development, and leverage teacher leadership to improve working conditions and school climate. This is a one-time request for $1 billion in mandatory funds.

STEM Master Teacher Corps was newly created in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and focuses on creating leadership pathways for excellent science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) educators to improve STEM teaching and learning. This request for this program is for $10 million.

Teacher and Principal Pathways has been requested in previous years, generally as a consolidation of three programs including the Teacher Quality Partnerships (TQP). However, in this budget request the administration is proposing to eliminate the TQP program and replace it with this program. Like the TQP program, this one would focus on ensuring teachers are prepared to teach in high-need schools. The request for this proposed program is $125 million.

TEACH grants are funded in the president’s budget at $12.3 million. However, as noted above, the administration proposes to eliminate these grants in 2021 and consolidate support for those going into the teaching profession into a single loan-forgiveness program. In addition, the amount of loan forgiveness would increase to $25,000 for teachers graduating from an “effective” teacher preparation program.

Other quick glances at the requested FY17 funds:

  • Title II of ESSA: $2.25 billion
  • Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems: $81 million
  • Supporting Effective Educator Development: $100 million
  • School Leaders Recruitment and Support Program: $30 million

Please feel free to contact me at dkoolbeck@aacte.org with any questions.


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Deborah Koolbeck

Senior Director of Government Relations, AACTE

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