This week the President released his education budget request. The request for about $69 billion in discretionary appropriations represents an increase of nearly 2% over the previous year, according to the US Department of Education. The budget request focuses on the President’s priorities, as described,
Three-quarters of that $69 billion goes to financial aid to students in college, special education, and high-poverty schools (Title I). The remaining 23 percent targets specific areas designed to leverage major changes in the educational opportunity and excellence for all students, including expansion of access to high-quality preschool, data-driven instruction based on college- and career-ready standards, making college more affordable, and mitigating the effects of poverty on educational outcomes.
One notable element of the budget request is the commitment to provide funding for universal Pre-K. Two programs in particular aim to achieve this goal. As described,
Preschool for All ($1.3 billion in mandatory funds, as part of a 10-year, $75 billion commitment): This new voluntary preschool federal-state partnership administered by the Department of Education will build upon and strengthen existing state systems to provide all low- and moderate-income 4-year-olds with high-quality, publicly-funded preschool. Funded jointly by states and the federal government, the program also will promote access to full-day kindergarten and encourage the expansion of high-quality programs to include children from middle-class families and children under four.
Preschool Development Grants ($500 million): The President is proposing $500 million—double last year’s funding—for Preschool Development Grants. An additional $250 million would be provided through the Opportunity, Growth, and Security Initiative, for a total discretionary investment of $750 million. These grants will help states, local education agencies, and local governments build the fundamental components of a high-quality preschool system or expand proven early learning programs.
For more information, read the US Department of Education’s coverage of the President’s budget request.