Legislative Action Team Advisory

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

$2.3 billion increase for important health and education programs

The FY 2007 Joint Funding Resolution filed tonight in the House includes a $2.3 billion increase for important health and education programs over the previous year’s funding level.

The President’s FY 2007 Budget proposed an almost $5 billion cut for programs under the jurisdiction of the Labor, HHS, Education appropriations bill. During the budget resolution debate, the deeming resolution debate, and eventually the markup of the FY 2007 Senate LHHS bill, Senators Harkin and Specter fought not only to restore those funds but to add the additional monies needed to bring those programs back to the FY 2005 level – an increase of $7 billion over the President’s budget. The 109th Congress adjourned without completing the FY 2007 discretionary appropriations bills; as a result those programs need to be funded through this joint funding resolution. This Joint Resolution for FY 2007 includes the funding level requested by Senators Harkin and Specter – a full $2.3 billion above the 2006 continuing resolution level and $7 billon above the President’s FY 2007 budget.

The Joint Funding resolution will include a number of important program increases compared to the FY 2006 funding levels.

Department of Education
• Pell Grants: $13.6 billion, an increase of $615.4 million to increase the maximum Pell grant by $260 to $4,310. This increase – the first in four years – will help over 5.3 million students pay rising college expenses.
• Special Education: $10.7 billion for IDEA Part B state grants, an increase of $200 million to help school districts serve 6.9 million children with disabilities.
• Title I K-12 Grants: $12.8 billion, an increase of $125 million to provide approximately 38,000 additional low-income children performing below grade level with intensive reading and math instruction. This would reverse the decline since 2005 in Title 1 support for elementary and secondary schools – at a time of record enrollments (55 million students in 2006) and pressures for more accountability from No Child Left Behind requirements.
• Title I School Improvement Fund: $125 million for this new program to target assistance to the 6,700 schools that failed to meet No Child Left Behind requirements in the 2005-2006 school year, enabling them to implement improvement activities, such as teacher training, tutoring programs, and curriculum upgrades. The Education Department reports that 80% of high-poverty districts cannot afford these improvements.
• Head Start: $6.9 billion, an increase of $103.7 million to help prevent a drop in Head Start enrollments. Since 2002, Head Start has been cut by 11 percent in real terms, which has forced centers across the country to cut hours, transportation, and educational instruction in order to sustain enrollments.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Subcommittee Chiefs Named for House Education Panel

Subcommittee Chiefs Named for House Education Panel
Ed Week
Published: January 24, 2007
Rep. George Miller, D-Calif, the new chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, announced his subcommittee chairmen last week, including those whose jurisdiction includes education. A few subcommittees were also given new names. Meanwhile, Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon of California, the ranking Republican on the committee, announced the ranking members of the subcommittees.
Rep. Dale E. Kildee, D-Mich., will lead the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education, which has jurisdiction over federal K-12 education policy. The panel was called the Education Reform Subcommittee under the Republican majority. Rep. Michael N. Castle, R-Del., will be the ranking member.
Rep. Rubén Hinojosa, D-Texas, will lead the Subcommittee on Higher Education, Lifelong Learning, and Competitiveness, which was known as the 21st Century Competitiveness Subcommittee in the last Congress. Rep. Ric Keller, R-Fla., will be the ranking member.
Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, D-N.Y., will oversee the Subcommittee on Healthy Families and Communities, known before as the Select Education Subcommittee. The ranking member is Rep. Todd R. Platts, R-Pa. The panel handles juvenile justice and homeless youth, among other issues.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

President's State of Union Speech: Education Policy

(Read more at http://www.whitehouse.gov/stateoftheunion/2007/initiatives/education.html)

"We Must Help Teachers Close The Achievement Gap Through Incentives For Effective Teachers And Research-Based Instructional Tools.

We Will Expand The Teacher Incentive Fund. The Teacher Incentive Fund supports State and local efforts to reward teachers who raise student achievement and work in needy schools.
We Will Retain The Successful Reading First Program And Expand The Striving Readers Program To Ensure Students Have The Literacy Skills They Need To Make Academic Progress. Reading First is the largest, most focused, and most successful early reading initiative ever undertaken in this country. To date, more than 5,600 schools in 1,600 districts nationwide have participated in this program. The Striving Readers Program funds targeted, intensive intervention and quality literacy instruction in school curricula for grades 6-12."