Giving Every Child a World-Class Education


Having steered the economy back from the brink of a depression, the Administration is committed to moving the Nation from recession to recovery by sparking job creation to get millions of Americans back to work and building a new foundation for the long-term prosperity for all American families. To do this, the 2011 Budget makes critical investments in the key areas that will help to reverse the decline in economic security that American families have experienced over the past decade with investments in education, clean energy, infrastructure, and innovation. 

But even as we meet the challenge of the recession and work to build an economy that works for all American families, we must also change the way Washington does business – ending programs that don’t work, streamlining those that do, cracking down on special interest access, and bringing a new responsibility to how tax dollars are spent.  The President’s Budget takes the steps to help jumpstart job creation, works to strengthen the economic security of American families, and makes the tough choices to put our Nation back on the path to fiscal responsibility.

To give every child a chance at success, the Budget will:

Reform Elementary and Secondary School Funding by Setting High Standards, Encouraging Innovation, and Rewarding Success.  The Budget supports the Administration’s new vision for the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The reauthorized law would encourage states to adopt higher, clearer standards that set the expectation that every student will graduate from high school ready for college and a career.  The new law would support dramatic improvements in the quality of assessments to measure complex skills and help teachers identify and respond to students’ strengths and needs. The reauthorization would also recognize and reward schools for helping students make important gains, even if they are not yet at grade-level, and offer new flexibility for successful states and districts to pursue new solutions to helping all students meet high standards. At the same time, the law would require vigorous efforts to turn around persistently low-performing schools, applying comprehensive strategies that put children first. In support of these efforts, the Budget provides a $3 billion increase in funding for K-12 education programs authorized in the ESEA, including $900 million for School Turnaround Grants, and the Administration will request up to $1 billion in additional funding if Congress successfully completes ESEA reauthorization. Together, these measures would represent the largest funding increase for ESEA programs ever requested. Together, these measures would represent the largest funding increase for K to 12 ESEA programs ever requested. 

Expand the Race to the Top and Open the Competition to School Districts. The $4 billion "Race to the Top," created by the Recovery Act, began a competition among States to spur systemic and innovative reform across four areas: supporting high academic standards; improving teacher effectiveness and distributing effective teachers more equitably; using data to improve achievement; and turning around low-performing schools. Not all states will receive Race to the Top grants, but the competition itself has galvanized key stakeholders across the nation to reform state laws and to develop new plans for lifting student achievement. The Budget provides $1.35 billion to continue the President’s Race to the Top challenge and to expand the competition from States to school districts that are ready for comprehensive reform.

Increase the Number of Effective Teachers and Principals. Effective teachers are the key to a high-quality education. Increasing the number of effective teachers, especially in disadvantaged schools, will require major new efforts to help all teachers improve their skills; recognize and reward excellence in the classroom; and help struggling teachers improve or, if need be, exit the classroom. Today, taxpayers invest nearly $3 billion a year in a teacher quality block grant that heavily supports investments with little evidentiary support or impact on increasing learning. As part of the overhaul of ESEA, the Administration will require states taking formula funds to develop strong evaluation systems. At the same time, the Administration will invest $950 million in a new competitive fund for states and districts that support bold approaches to recruiting, developing, retaining, and rewarding more effective teachers, particularly in the lowest-performing schools.  The Administration is also investing $405 million in supporting successful and innovative pathways into teaching and school leadership.

Grow High-Performing Charter Schools and Other Innovative Public Schools. Effective charter schools have achieved impressive results in closing achievement gaps. The Budget will invest $490 million to grow these schools and other autonomous public schools that achieve results, develop new approaches, and give parents more choices. The Budget will support new options for students to transfer to high-performing public schools, support successful magnet schools, and require states and districts accepting these funds to create the conditions for effective schools to grow and ineffective schools to be restructured or shut down.

Support Efforts to Get Students Ready to Learn. While an isolated schoolhouse with limited hours was adequate in an earlier time, today’s competitive global marketplace requires more. Students need to be safe and healthy, and they need a complete education that extends beyond the traditional hours. As part of a $1.8 billion investment in the Supporting Student Success initiative, the Budget funds comprehensive supports so that students are mentally and physically healthy and ready to learn. The initiative also reforms the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program to focus funding on models that redesign and extend the school day, week or year to provide additional time for students to engage in academic activities, additional time for enrichment activities, and time for educators to collaborate and improve instruction.

Expand the Promise Neighborhoods Program to Prepare More Students for College. As part of a $1.8 billion investment in the Supporting Student Success initiative, the Budget includes $210 million for Promise Neighborhoods, an initiative 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. 

Restructure Narrow and Constrained Education Programs Into Broad and Flexible Competitions that Fund What Works. The Department of Education funds dozens of programs that narrowly limit what states, districts, and schools can do with funds. Some of these programs have little evidence of success, while others are demonstrably failing to improve student achievement. The President’s Budget eliminates six discretionary programs and consolidates 38 K-12 programs into 11 new programs that emphasize using competition to allocate funds, giving communities more choices around activities, and using rigorous evidence to fund what works. The Administration will make sure that, under these competitions, there is equitable geographic distribution of funds nationwide, including to rural communities. Building on the Recovery Act, the Administration also proposes $500 million to expand the Investing in Innovation Fund, which will expand proven models -- and fund and evaluate promising ones -- for achieving student success. Finally, the Budget dedicates funds for the rigorous evaluation of education programs so that we can scale up what works and eliminate what does not.

Expand and Reform Early Childhood Education. Quality early education is an investment that pays off for years to come by preparing the youngest children for a lifetime of learning. The 2011 Budget enables the Administration to build on the expansion to early learning programs made through the Recovery Act, and realize the President’s plan to reform early childhood education, promote high standards of quality, and focus on results for children from birth through preschool. In the 2011 Budget, the Administration supports pending legislation that will establish a new Early Learning Challenge Fund administered by the Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services to help States improve the quality of early childhood programs to help children enter school ready to succeed.

Invest in the Next Generation of Scientists and Engineers. Our Nation’s eighth graders are scoring below their peers from many Asian and European countries, and we are neither adequately closing the achievement gaps in math and science nor providing adequate opportunities for many students from diverse backgrounds.  The Budget reflects the Administration’s investment in improving science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) outcomes and creating the next generation of scientists and engineers who can help drive economic growth in the coming decades.  The Budget provides $300 million in new grants to States to develop and implement instructional practices and improve teaching and learning in science and math aligned to new high standards.  The Budget also dedicates $150 million within the Investing in Innovation Fund to competitive grants for school districts, nonprofits, and other organizations to test, validate, and scale promising strategies to improve teaching and accelerate student learning in STEM subjects.  The Department of Education will work with the National Science Foundation and other Federal agencies to identify the most effective interventions that can help States, schools, and teachers improve STEM outcomes. The Budget also supports NASA programs that are designed to meet the goals of the President’s "Educate to Innovate" campaign in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics education.  NASA’s Summer of Innovation, for example, will work with thousands of middle school teachers and students to engage students in stimulating, evidence-based math and science-based education programs.