The Obama Administration included $69 billion in discretionary appropriations for the U.S. Department of Education in its budget for the 2015 Fiscal Year, a 2-percent increase from the 2014 budget.
About 90 percent of the appropriations are earmarked to provide resources to disadvantaged, poor and minority students, students with disabilities and students learning English.
“President Obama’s budget request reflects his strong belief that education is a vital investment in the nation’s economic competitiveness, in its people and in its communities,” U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in a U.S. DOE press release.
“Despite the encouraging progress we’ve seen, wide opportunity and achievement gaps continue to hurt many families, which puts our nation’s economy and future at risk.”
Obama has also proposed a new “Race to the Top — Equity and Opportunity” initiative.
This plan would create incentives for states and school districts to take steps to close achievement gaps, including the opportunity to apply for grants.
Additionally, Obama proposed the ConnectEDucators initiative, which would provide schools with funding to help them give their students access to the best technology to make them college- and career-ready, according to the press release.
The administration is requesting $1.3 billion to help expand high-quality preschool education to all 4-years-olds in the nation, as well as pushing to make college more affordable and help all students who begin college to complete college.
“We must continue to invest in the reforms taking hold in classrooms across the country, led by the hard work of our educators,” Duncan said in the release.
“America’s public schools are the path to the middle class for children from hard-working families in every community, but too many students lack access to the quality education and supports that make the journey to college and the middle class possible.”