Secretary Duncan to Testify on Education Budget Request before Senate Budget Committee

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U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will testify Tuesday before the Senate Budget Committee on the administration’s fiscal year 2015 budget request for education.

In the FY 2015 budget request, the Obama administration continued its commitment to prioritizing education by proposing key investments in education that would create opportunity for every child. President Obama’s budget request for $69 billion in discretionary appropriations for the Education Department represents an increase of 2 percent over the previous year’s funding. The lion’s share of the 2015 request for preschool-12 programs — nearly 90 percent of discretionary spending — goes to formula funds that address the needs of disadvantaged poor and minority students, students with disabilities and English learners.

Opportunity for all also means ensuring all children have rich early learning experiences so they are better prepared to thrive in school. In one of the boldest efforts to expand educational opportunity in the last 50 years, President Obama has committed to a historic new investment in preschool education that supports universal access to high-quality preschool for all 4-year-olds from low- and moderate-income families and creates an incentive for states to serve additional middle-class children. The president’s budget request includes $1.3 billion in 2015 and $75 billion over a decade in mandatory funding, along with $500 million for competitively awarded Preschool Development Grants and other funds.

Along with these proposed investments, the president has proposed $300 million for a Race to the Top-Equity and Opportunity (RTT-Opportunity) initiative, which would create incentives for states and school districts to drive comprehensive change in how states and districts identify and close opportunity and achievement gaps. Also included in the president’s budget is $200 million to create the ConnectEDucators initiative. The initiative seeks to enhance state and local capacity to support the transition to digital learning, ensuring that educators have the skills and supports needed to dramatically improve student access to high-quality instruction aligned with college and career ready standards.