MSBA Federal Finance Update: President Biden releases 2023 education budget request to Congress
Source: U.S. Department of Education
President Joe Biden released his 2023 education budget request to Congress on Monday, March 28. President Biden’s requests for K-12 education calls for:
• Making historic investments in high-poverty schools. To advance the goal of providing a high-quality education to every student, the budget provides $36.5 billion for Title I, including $20.5 billion in discretionary funding and $16 billion in mandatory funding, which more than doubles the program’s funding compared to the 2021 enacted level. Title I helps schools provide students in low-income communities the learning opportunities and support they need to succeed. This substantial new support for the program, which serves 25 million students in nearly 90 percent of school districts across the nation, would be a major step toward fulfilling the president’s commitment to address long-standing funding disparities between under-resourced schools — which disproportionately serve students of color — and their wealthier counterparts.
• Prioritizing the health and well-being of students. Disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic continue to take a toll on the physical and mental health of students, teachers, and school staff. Recognizing the profound effect of physical and mental health on academic achievement, the budget includes a $1 billion investment to increase the number of counselors, nurses, school psychologists, social workers, and other health professionals in schools.
• Increasing support for children with disabilities. The president’s budget is committed to ensuring that children and youth with disabilities receive the services and support they need to thrive in school and graduate ready for college or a career. The budget provides an additional $3.3 billion from the 2021 enacted level — the largest two-year increase ever — for Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) grants to states, with a total of $16.3 billion to support special education and related services for students in grades pre-K through 12.
The U.S. Department of Education assists states, school districts, and institutions of higher education in providing a high-quality education to all students and addressing the inequitable barriers underserved students face in education. The president’s 2023 budget for the Department of Education makes historic investments in the nation’s future prosperity: increases aid for high- poverty schools; meets the needs of students with disabilities; and expands access to higher education.
The budget requests $88.3 billion in discretionary funding for the Department of Education, a $15.3 billion or 20.9-percent increase from the 2021 enacted level.
The budget would also double funding to $932 million for IDEA Part C grants, which supports early intervention services for infants and families with disabilities that have a proven record of improving academic and developmental outcomes. The increased funding would support states in implementing critical reforms to expand their enrollment of underserved children, including children of color, children from low-income families, and children living in rural areas.
The increase also includes $200 million to expand and streamline enrollment of children at risk of developing disabilities, such as children born with very low-birth weight or who have been exposed to environmental toxins, which would help mitigate the need for more extensive services later in childhood and further expand access to the program for underserved children. The budget would also more than double funding to $250 million for IDEA Part D Personnel Preparation grants to support a pipeline of special educators at a time when the majority of States are experiencing a shortage of special educators.
Additional budget requests call for:
- Supporting full-service community schools. Community schools play a critical role in providing comprehensive wrap-around services to students and their families, from afterschool to adult education opportunities, and health and nutrition services. The budget includes $468 million for this program, an increase of $438 million from the 2021 enacted level. The increase would also help school districts implement integrated student supports to meet student and family mental health needs through partnerships with community-based organizations and other entities.
- Investing in education recruitment and retention. While the education sector has faced shortages in critical staffing areas for decades, the COVID-19 pandemic and tight labor market has made shortages worse, which has negatively impacted students and fallen hardest on students in underserved communities. The budget includes $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. Such models include those that would improve support for educators and provide teacher access to leadership opportunities that improve teacher retention and maximize the impact of great teachers beyond their classrooms.
- Supporting multi-language learners. Students learning English as a second language were disproportionately impacted by the multiple transitions to and from remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. The budget would provide $1.1 billion for the English Language Acquisition (ELA) program, an increase of $278 million, or 35 percent, from the 2021 enacted level, including additional funding to provide technical assistance and build local capacity to better support multilanguage learners and their teachers. The ELA program helps students learning English attain English proficiency and achieve academic success.
- Fostering diverse schools. The segregation of students by race and income undermines the promise that public schools provide an equal opportunity for all students to learn and succeed. The budget includes $100 million for a grant program to help communities develop and implement strategies to promote racial and socioeconomic diversity in their schools.