January 27th, 2010
12:39 AM ET
5 years ago

Administration: Obama to boost education funding by $4 billion

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Despite a heavy focus on fiscal discipline in his first State of the Union address, President Barack Obama will announce an increase of up to $4 billion in federal education spending, according to senior administration officials familiar with the speech.

A big chunk of that boost will be an increase of $1.35 billion for Obama's signature "Race to the Top" grant program, aimed at sparking innovation in schools across the country, the officials said.

An additional $1 billion will be targeted at overhauling the No Child Left Behind Act, former President George W. Bush's signature program, which has come under criticism from lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle.

The budget plan will "improve outcomes for students at every point along the educational pipeline," and will include attempts to squeeze out some savings, one of the senior administration officials said.

"While the budget will reflect tough choices and the consolidation of many existing K-12 education programs, a 6.2 percent increase for the Department of Education will show a significant effort to help fund the administration's new reform efforts," the senior official said.

The aggressive increase for education could help deflect criticism from liberals over Obama's broader call for a three-year freeze in non-security discretionary spending, which would include popular domestic programs.

Though the goal is freezing non-security discretionary spending at $447 billion this year, some federal agencies might see budget increases, balanced by cuts at other agencies.

Non-security discretionary spending refers to an array of domestic programs - everything from agriculture to energy. The freeze would not apply to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid or other entitlement programs.

The $447 billion is part of the roughly $3.5 trillion federal budget.

soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. bennie new york

    It's about time. Now if we could stop teaching to the tests and whip the unions on merit pay we'd have something.

    January 27, 2010 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
  2. Biased

    He already has billions for his new education boost program that only lets states apply if they are willing to change their state rules to what he wants, and in the past year he has already boosted spending in the areas he wants to freeze by approx. 20%, so his phony spending freeze of about 15billion will do what --NOTHING! So now with this extra spending it's now down to 11 with 4 more for ed. and what else will he jack up before he freezes? He will have spent more by the time he freezes than the freeze will be worth. What a blatant political ploy to gain Americans' support and boost his own popularity by claiming he feels everyone's anger about overspending.

    January 27, 2010 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  3. Tyler Henderson

    I was worried that Obama was going to cut education. This is definitely the way to go.

    January 27, 2010 01:19 am at 1:19 am |
  4. Nea

    Still some will critcized this, no matter what this President does if he spends their is critcizsm if he put a freeze on spending still people will critcize him. Just like the tax on wall street banks people critcize him for that but they didnt like the bailouts but of course the Republicans is not going to like taxing wallstreet because they are for big business, and the rich thats why they cant stand people who have to rely on government assistance.

    January 27, 2010 01:34 am at 1:34 am |
  5. real american

    Great, $4 billion. What is that, about two weeks of wasted dollars in Iraq?

    January 27, 2010 01:34 am at 1:34 am |
  6. Beverly in NC

    They need to start with education funding in SC first. They have the most ignorant, racist, uneducated leaders in the nation. They are desperate need of real education and lessons in respect for ALL people.

    With the incredible stupidity of Palin, Alaska needs a lot of education money. Palin can't speak in coherent sentences, doesn't know there is a North and South Korea, thinks Africa is a country, doesn't know what WWII was about and who fought in it, and gets Iraq and Iran mixed up. And she was their Governor. Really sad.

    We need new schools, repaired schools, adequate school supplies, and a program that actually teaches our children rather than just teaching to an end of year test. Yes, we need a huge focus on real education. The ignorance in this country is criminal.

    January 27, 2010 02:06 am at 2:06 am |
  7. Don in Albuquerque

    No health care? No more education funding.

    January 27, 2010 02:26 am at 2:26 am |
  8. lifelong democrat

    Our educational system is failing because of teacher's union and useless Department of Education. I listened to Bill Gates interview with Jon Stewart. he was right when he said minorities in this country are not getting a good education they deserve because quality in teaching is no longer there. Why pour another $4 billion on education when teachers are dumbing students instead of educating them? Minorities in poor neighborhood especially those in the ghetto voted democrats, their educational system is horrible. Teachers get their salary increase based on tenure instead of base on accomplishment, Our Department of Education is simply a bureaucrat which help more functioning illiterates. Some teachers can't even spell properly, can't do simple math. Eliminate Department of Education, end teachers union who dumb down students instead of giving them quality education.

    January 27, 2010 03:10 am at 3:10 am |
  9. lifelong democrat

    Obama thinks the American people are dumb and stupid, social security is totall separated, they're NOT part of the budget, they have a separate account and cannot be use for anything other than what its intended for when it was setup, the same goes with medicare; the rest of entitlement programs MUST be cut down like giving money to ACORN, giving welfare benefits to illegal aliens. On welfare benefits alone given to illegal aliens, the savings by totally eliminating it is AT LEAST $250 billion annually. That is just one entitlement program.

    January 27, 2010 03:17 am at 3:17 am |
  10. A. Smith, Oregon

    Republican lawmakers have somehow made the assessment that it is cheaper for American taxpayers to pay the prison system 75,000 dollars per prisoner per year than invest in the higher education of America's youth. I strongly disagree with those Republican lawmakers and clearly state that higher education is now struggling along with an entire generation of America's brightest scholastic future.

    Democrats strongly feel that higher education scholarships and educational grants pay strong dividends in America's future. Instead of pushing America's youth into the prison system, Democrats are trying to place America's youth back into the upper standards of higher education from which they lost and dropped significantly during the horrific Bush-Cheney era. Its time to regain that past greatness.

    January 27, 2010 03:31 am at 3:31 am |
  11. Isabelle

    $1 Billion to overhaul the No Child Left Behind Act ? The worst educational program on record.

    January 27, 2010 05:19 am at 5:19 am |
  12. Keith in Austin

    When is Barry going to stop spending and focus on JOBS? Although earmarking another $4Billion for inner-city schools is a noble gesture, it will do little to help our staggering unemployment. Since he announced his so called spending freeze this week, in the same breath he has INCREASED spending nearly 4 times in other areas!

    Smoke and mirrors game. Comrade Obozo the Socialist doesn't know the meaning of fiscal responsibility even if he parades himself to now be a populist! His Speech tonight will be wrought with flowery rhetoric but we all know what Obamas true colors are!

    January 27, 2010 08:07 am at 8:07 am |