Winning the Future for Our Children

The Federal Budget

Having emerged from the worst recession in generations, the President has put forward a plan to rebuild our economy and win the future by out-innovating, out-educating, and out-building our global competitors and creating the jobs and industries of tomorrow. But we cannot rebuild our economy and win the future if we pass on a mountain of debt to our children and grandchildren. We must restore fiscal responsibility, and reform our government to make it more effective, efficient, and open to the American people. The President’s 2012 Budget is a responsible approach that puts the nation on a path to live within our means so we can invest in our future – by cutting wasteful spending and making tough choices on some things we cannot afford, while keeping the investments we need to grow the economy and create jobs. It targets scarce federal resources to the areas critical to winning the future: education, innovation, clean energy, and infrastructure. And it proposes to reform how Washington does business, putting more federal funding up for competition, cutting waste, and reorganizing government so that it better serves the American people.

To support young Americans, the Budget will:

Equip America’s Youth to Compete and Win in the Global Economy. The Administration is committed to smart investments in a lifetime of learning that will improve the capabilities of our workforce. The Budget proposes to:

  • Establish a Competitive Early Learning Challenge Fund. Recognizing that quality early education is an investment that pays off for years to come, the Administration proposes creating a competitive fund to encourage States to take dramatic steps to improve the quality of their early childhood development programs. 
  • Improve Elementary and Secondary Education. Too often, education funds are allocated based on factors not tied to success. In the context of  the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the Administration is committed to consolidating narrow programs into broader authorities with higher, clearer standards and assessments; recognizing and rewarding schools and teachers that help students make gains; and giving States and school districts new flexibility to help all students graduate from high school, college- and career-ready. The Budget proposes to do this by expanding the successful Race to the Top program to school districts, funding the Investing in Innovation program and creating new “pay for success” bonds that invest in proven innovative approaches to student learning.
  • Consolidate Redundant and Stove-Piped Programs to Improve Outcomes. The Budget proposes eliminating 13 Department of Education discretionary programs and consolidating 38 K-12 programs into 11 new programs that emphasize using competition to allocate funds, giving communities more choices and using rigorous evidence to fund what works.  The Administration will make sure that, under these competitions, there is an equitable geographic distribution of funds nationwide.
  • Give Students Access to Successful Schools. The Budget provides significant funding to school turnaround grants to help States and school districts turn around our Nation’s lowest performing schools and expand educational options by helping to grow effective charter schools and other autonomous public schools that achieve positive results. 
  • Improve Job Training. The Budget provides funding for a competitive Workforce Innovation Fund that will allow States and localities to create and test new ideas and strategies for delivering better employment and education results and provides nearly $10 billion to fund Workforce Investment Act (WIA) programs to match unemployed people with jobs and give people with skill gaps the training they need to secure employment. The Administration will also work with Congress to reform the WIA to better meet the needs of employers and regional economies.

Support High-Quality Early Childhood Programs.  Because effective investment in early childhood is so critical to children’s ability to reach their full potential and the Nation’s future economic health, the Budget includes $8.099 billion for Head Start and Early Head Start to serve approximately 968,000 children and families, maintaining the historic expansion undertaken with Recovery Act funds, in addition to the $350 million invested in the Early Learning Challenge Fund.  The Budget also includes $6.3 billion for the Child Care and Development Fund, an additional $1.3 billion to support 1.7 million children with child care subsidies.  At the same time, the Budget invests in improved quality by proposing principles for child care reform that focus on improving quality, protecting health and safety, strengthening early learning, and supporting proposed regulations to strengthen Head Start by requiring low-performing programs to compete for funding. 

Expand Access to College by Putting Pell Grants on a Firm Financial Footing. To boost the number of college graduates, we need to make it easier for students to afford a post-secondary education and support efforts to increase the number of students who get their degree. One of the most effective ways to help students afford college is the Pell grant program. The Budget maintains its commitment to Pell Grants by sustaining the $5,550 maximum award, which will help over 9 million needy students in 2012. The Budget pays for this expansion with a difficult but necessary Pell Grant Protection Act that ends the costly new “year-round Pell Grant” and eliminates the ineffective in-school interest subsidy for graduate students, among other measures. While this approach fully funds the currently anticipated needs for Pell Grants, the Administration is also committed to working with Congress to develop an approach that addresses future costs.

Improve Access to Higher Education for Students from Minority Backgrounds.  The Budget invests $150 million in a new initiative to increase college access and completion and improve educational productivity, which will help America restore its international leadership in the number of students graduating from college.  The proposal introduces into the Fund for Improvement of Postsecondary Education an evidence-based framework, enabling the Fund to become a postsecondary ”Investing in Innovation” program that will test, validate, and scale up effective approaches.  In addition to these competitive grants, the Budget also provides $50 million in 2012 and a total of $1.3 billion over five years in performance-based funding to institutions that have demonstrable success in enrolling and graduating more high-need students and enabling them to enter successful employment. It also provides an additional $40 million for a new competitive grant program, the Hawkins Centers of Excellence, to improve and expand teacher education programs at minority-serving institutions, a significant pipeline for preparing a diverse teaching force. The Administration invests an additional $67 million in the TRIO program, run by the Department of Education, which provides education outreach and student support services to help individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds prepare for, enter, and complete college and graduate studies. Finally, the Budget proposes to double the amount available for loans for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) above the 2010 enacted level and maintains funding for programs administered by the Department of Education, the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation that fund HBCUs.

Increase the Number of Math, Science, and Engineering Graduates. If the United States is going to create the industries of tomorrow and the jobs that come with it, we need to continue to invest in educating the scientists and engineers who will develop these breakthroughs. In cooperation with the Department of Education, the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Teacher Learning for the Future program will fund innovative efforts that design, develop, implement, and test new teacher-training programs. To bring undergraduates from groups historically underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, the Budget also provides NSF with $20 million for an overarching, comprehensive science and technology workforce program. These programs will be developed in conjunction with a government-wide effort to improve the impact of Federal investments in math and science education by ensuring that all programs supporting K-12 and undergraduate education adhere to consistent standards of effectiveness.  

Prevent Hunger and Improve Nutrition. At a time of continuing need, the Budget provides $7.9 billion for discretionary nutrition program support.  Funding supports 9.6 million participants in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women Infants and Children (WIC) program, which is critical to the health of pregnant women, new mothers, and their infants. The Administration supports implementation of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, strengthening the child nutrition programs and increasing children's access to healthy meals and snacks.  In order to combat food deserts, the Departments of Agriculture, Health and Human Services, and Treasury have partnered to make available approximately $400 million in financing to community development financial institutions, other nonprofits, public agencies, and businesses with sound strategies for addressing the healthy food needs of communities

Extend Supplemental Nutrition Support for Low-Income Families.  As the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) continues to serve an unprecedented number of participants, the Budget proposes to restore the SNAP benefit cuts that were included in Child Nutrition reauthorization.

Continue Critical Funding for Health Centers. Health centers are a key component of the nation’s health care safety net.  These sites offer comprehensive, high quality, primary and preventative health care services to all Americans regardless of ability to pay.  Health centers will continue to be a critical element of the health system as the Nation expands insurance coverage through the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In 2009, the Recovery Act provided $500 million to expand health center services to an additional 2 million patients.  The ACA continues this progress by investing a total of $2.2 billion in new resources for health center services in 2011 and 2012.  The Budget builds on this investment by providing an additional $2.1 billion.  In 2012, health centers are estimated to serve 24 million patients.

Increase Funding for Special Education and Improve Outcomes for Children with Disabilities. The Budget provides a $200 million increase for Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) State Grants to provide a high quality education including an 11 percent increase for the IDEA Infants and Families Program to provide the youngest and most vulnerable children a good start. The additional funds help offset State and local special education costs and related services for children with disabilities. In addition, a new $30 million joint pilot with three other agencies will develop and evaluate innovative approaches to improving outcomes of children receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and their families.  

Assist Important Programs for Youth with Disabilities. The 2011 Budget maintains funding for the Special Olympics at $8 million through the Department of Education, in addition to $6 million through the Department of Health and Human Services. The Budget also provides $5 million for a new program: Mentoring for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities.  Both programs would support activities to increase the participation of people with intellectual disabilities in social relationships and other aspects of community life, including recreation, education, and employment.

Reform Child Welfare. The FY 2012 Budget includes $2.5 billion over ten years to support a comprehensive child welfare reform proposal in order to help prevent abuse and keep children in safe homes and out of long-term foster care placements.

Expand the Promise Neighborhoods Program to Prepare More Students for College. The Budget includes $150 million of dedicated support for Promise Neighborhoods, modeled after the Harlem Children’s Zone, which aims to improve college going rates by combining a rigorous K-12 education with a full network of supportive services in an entire neighborhood. This initiative would support comprehensive programs that address the needs of children and youth in a targeted area from before the time they are born to their attendance in college. The core principle behind this initiative is that combining both effective academic programs and strong health and social-service systems can combat the effects of poverty and improve the education and life outcomes of children. 

Promote Fatherhood. The Budget promotes strong family relationships by encouraging fathers to take responsibility for the emotional and financial well-being of their children, changing policies so that more of their support reaches their children, and continuing a commitment to vigorous child support enforcement.  The Budget provides $1 billion over ten years to encourage States to pass through child support payments to families rather than retaining those payments.  The Budget also provides $570 million over ten years for States to provide access and visitation services, which can strengthen a father’s relationship with his children and facilitate the payment of child support. To help states through difficult fiscal times, in FY 2012 and 2013, the Budget provides an additional $300 million per year for State performance incentive payments, which continues an emphasis on program outcomes and efficiency.  The Budget also provides for $75 million in Responsible Fatherhood grants to organizations who are engaging noncustodial dads.  It also provides $75 million in Healthy Marriage grants in FY 2012.

Fund the Strategic Plan to End Homelessness. The Budget includes over $2.5 billion through the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to fund progress toward the goals of the Federal Strategic Plan to End Homelessness, one of which is preventing and ending homelessness for families, youth, and children by 2020. The Budget includes over $2.3 billion for Homeless Assistance Grants to maintain existing units and expand prevention, rapid-rehousing, and permanent supportive housing; and $145 million in new housing vouchers for over 19,000 homeless veterans and homeless persons who receive health care and other services through the Departments of Health and Human Services and Veterans Affairs. In addition, the Budget provides $50 million for new service coordinators and incentive fees, which will incent housing authorities to serve more homeless persons.  These funding increases will enable HUD to assist approximately 78,000 additional homeless individuals and families.