AACTE Weighs in on President Biden’s Budget Proposal
President Biden released his fiscal year 2023 budget proposal this week, which calls for an increase of $15.3 billion or roughly 15% for the Department of Education compared to fiscal year 2022. AACTE strongly supports the investments in education programs called for by the president, which will make college more affordable for millions of students, help address the teacher shortage that our country faces, and diversify the profession.
Specifically, the President calls for
- Increasing the maximum Pell Grant by roughly $2,000 compared to the 2021-22 school year, which will help students attend and complete their college degrees.
- Investing more than $132 million in the Teacher Quality Partner Program (TQP), an increase of $80 million over last year. TQP is the only federal initiative targeted directly to teacher preparation programs at institutions of higher education, and it is designed to help ensure that high-need schools are staffed with profession-ready teachers.
- $20 million for the August Hawkins Centers for Excellence program to support teacher preparation programs at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) and other minority-serving institutions (MSIs).
- $514 million for the Education Innovation and Research program, $350 million of which the Department would target toward identifying and scaling models that improve recruitment and retention of staff in education.
- $250 million for IDEA Part D Personnel Preparation grants to support a pipeline of special educators at a time when most States are experiencing a shortage of special educators. If enacted, this would double the funding for the program.
- Providing $1 billion to increase the number of counselors, nurses, school psychologists, social workers, and other health professionals in schools, which is critical to helping students deal with the social and emotional impact of COVID-19.
- Increasing the Department’s Office for Civil Rights by 18%, which is essential to ensuring that all students have access to a safe learning environment.
AACTE would prefer that the budget called for increasing the maximum award for the TEACH Grant to be increased to at least $8,000. However, AACTE will work with Congress to increase the grant so that additional students pursue careers in in-demand fields and high-need schools as well as the other proposals in President Biden’s budget.
Unfortunately, it is unclear if Congress will support the funding levels called for in the budget proposal. Investments in the educator workforce have been underfunded for years, which has resulted in teacher shortages in nearly every state. The shortage has been exacerbated by the pandemic. If our nation is going to continue to lead in education, technology, business, and other industries, we must invest in our educational system. AACTE appreciates President Biden’s proposed budget, which would finally begin to make those critical investments.