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Obama 2016 Budget Increases Funding for Early Ed, K-12 Focus

Obama 2016 Budget Increases Funding for Early Ed, K-12 Focus

U.S. President Barack Obama has just released his 2016 budget, and its education portion brings high investment in programs including early education. 

The budget proposed more than a 5 percent increase, or $3.6 billion "in discretionary education funding, up to $70.7 billion from the current $67.1 billion in 2015. While some say the request represents support of public education, others say it's more of a federal overreach in an effort to create a K-14 pipeline," according to an article on USNews.com.

"[The budget] helps working families' paychecks go farther by treating things like paid sick leave and childcare as the economic priorities that they are," Obama said Monday in announcing the budget proposal according to the article. "It gives Americans of every age the chance to upgrade their skill so they can earn higher wages, and it includes my plan to make two years of community college free for responsible students."

As promised by Education Secretary Arne Duncan, the administration's budget proposal requests an additional $1 billion in Title I funding for schools and additional funds to help states audit and reduce unnecessary tests and improve the quality of those they keep. Funding for grants to improve the quality, validity and reliability of tests would nearly triple from about $9 million to $25 million. The budget also includes significant requests for Improving Teacher Quality State Grants [$2.3 billion] and the Teaching for Tomorrow program for teacher recruitment efforts [$1 billion in 2015 and $5 billion over 5 years].

"Great teachers and leaders matter more today than ever," Duncan said in a call with reporters Monday in the article. "Let's do everything we can to respect, reward and retain them to help all students reach their full academic and social potential."

According to the article, Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, said the budget aims to 'level the playing field for working families.'"

"By targeting investments in child care and paid sick leave, enabling more students to go to community college and helping battle America's worn infrastructure, it gives more families a pathway to the middle class," Weingarten said in a statement according to the article. "The investments the president proposes will help the middle class and grow our economy. The taxes he proposes simply ask those who have done very well to help others climb up that same ladder of opportunity."

Read the full story and comment below.

Article by Kassondra Granata, Education World Contributor

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