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Congress Delivers Significant Increases for Education Spending

Diverse students in a circle hugging

This blog post is written by AACTE consultant Jane West and is intended to provide updated information. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of AACTE

Congress Delivers a Big Christmas Present – and On Time!

Republicans and Democrats in the House and the Senate came together to have bipartisan votes in both bodies to pass two packages of funding bills, which will keep all of the federal government running. President Trump has indicated that he will sign the bills today, thus preventing another government shutdown. 

Some key points about the education portion of the bill:

  • It adds $1.3 billion in spending for education over FY 2019.
  • The Department of Education’s budget now totals $72.8 Billion.
  • Virtually no program received a cut in funding and many received substantial increases.
  • The largest increases went to Title I ($450 million) and IDEA Part B ($400 million).
  • Related programs in HHS received large increases as well, for example Head Start has a $500 million increase.
  • A new Social Emotional Learning initiative received $123 million.
  • Many minority serving institutions in higher education received considerable increases including an $11 million increase for HBCU graduate institutions.
  • For the first time in years funding for research on gun violence prevention is provided at $25 million (for CDC and NIH).

Some funding levels for key education programs:

Program 2019 Funding 2020 Funding Increase  

Title I ESEA

$ 15.86 B $ 16.31 B $ 450 M *


$ 2.056 B $ 2.132 B $ 76 M *


$ 12.364 B $ 12.764 B $ 400 M *

IDEA Personnel Prep

$ 87 M

$ 89.7 M $ 2.7 M *

Special Ed Research – IES

$ 56 M $ 57 M $ 1 M *

IES Total

$ 615 M $ 623 M $ 8 M *

Teacher Quality Partnership

$ 43 M $ 50 M $ 7 M *

Students with ID in Higher Ed

$ 12 M $ 12 M  0  

 *Numbers are rounded

There is some very interesting report language included in the bill in the areas of teacher shortages, civil rights data collection, homeless and foster youth. 

The report language about the teacher shortage is as follows:

“GAO Report on Teacher Shortages.—The agreement requests GAO provide a report to the Committees on trends and factors contributing to school districts challenges with teacher recruitment and retention.  The report should include a review and analysis of challenges recruiting and retaining special education teachers, paraprofessionals and teacher aides; the extent to which licensure requirements are waived or modified to address shortages; and geographic and demographic characteristics of districts facing the greatest challenges or shortages, including rural and urban areas. The report shall examine ways to improve the effectiveness of current Federal policy in preventing and responding to teacher shortages as well as make recommendations on potential Federal interventions to improve teacher recruitment and retention.”

Read the Labor/HHS/Education appropriations bill:

Morale at Department of Education Reported to be Among the Lowest in Federal Agencies

The annual survey by the Office of Personnel Management, which measures morale in federal agencies reveals an overall half point decline since 2019, the first drop since 2014. An analysis by Partnership for Public Service and Boston Consulting Group reports that the Department of Education received the very lowest score among mid-sized federal agencies. The Institute of Education Sciences witnessed the largest drop in morale, declining 14 points. 

Learn more.

Continue reading the full Washington Update on my website for more information. Follow me on Twitter @janewestdc.

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Jane E. West

AACTE Education Policy Consultant