House Appropriations Subcommittee Approves (Yet Another) Big Increase in Federal Education Spending

June 23, 2003

“Every penny promised under the No Child Left Behind Act is being delivered, and then some,” Boehner said. “As a result of No Child Left Behind, the federal government is now spending far more money than at any other time in American history for education. That promise was made, and that promise is being kept. If Democrats promised even more, then shame on them.”

Boehner noted that when federal elementary and secondary education programs were last reauthorized prior to No Child Left Behind — in 1994, under a Democrat Congress and Democrat President — congressional Democrats appropriated less funding than was actually authorized. No Democrat accused President Clinton of “underfunding” education at the time, Boehner pointed out.

“This is the third massive increase in federal education spending since No Child Left Behind, and it comes at a time when many non-education programs are being scaled back,” Boehner noted. “Chairman Regula deserves great credit for crafting this bill, which keeps education as a top priority in the federal budget even in a time of war and budget deficits.”

“It’s also important to remember that No Child Left Behind is not about changing funding levels; it’s about changing attitudes,” Boehner said. “The American people no longer believe money alone is the answer to the problems in our nation’s schools. But some in the Democratic Party haven’t quite gotten the message yet.”

Among the highlights of the education spending bill approved by the subcommittee today:

  • Overall funding for the Department of Education is increased by $2.3 billion. The $55.4 billion in total discretionary federal funding for education is an all-time high. Under President Bush, in just three years the Education Department’s overall funding will have increased by $13.2 billion.

  • Title I aid to needy and disadvantaged students is increased to $12.35 billion. The $666 million increase in FY2004 would be the third significant increase in Title I funding as a result of the No Child Left Behind Act. In FY2003, Title I funding was increased by $1.3 billion, which was on top of the $1.6 billion increase provided in FY2002. This increase means Title I spending will have increased more during the first three years of President George W. Bush’s administration than it did during the previous seven years combined under President Clinton.

  • Special Education grants (IDEA) are increased by $1 billion for FY2004. The $9.9 billion funding level for FY2004 builds on two significant increases in funding for FY2002 and FY2003 – meaning that in the first three years under President Bush, funding for special education will have jumped by $3.5 billion. The FY2004 funding for IDEA is three times higher than in 1995.

  • Reading First and Early Reading First grants to states are increased to $1.15 billion to ensure that children can read by the time they reach the third grade. Under No Child Left Behind, federal funding has more than tripled for reading programs based on proven reading instruction methods rooted in scientifically-based research.
    Federal funding to help states develop and implement state assessments is increased to $390 million. With the FY2004 increase, states will have received over $1.16 billion to develop and implement state assessments in math and reading, as required by NCLB. The FY2004 funding level means that in just three years states will have already received 72% of the total collective funding needed by FY2008 to develop and implement the basic tests, according to the General Accounting Office.

  • Head Start funding to help prepare disadvantaged young children to learn and succeed in school is boosted by $148 million. The FY2004 increase will bring total Head Start funding to $6.8 billion, providing significant resources to ensure that we are closing the readiness gap between Head Start graduates and their more affluent peers.

  • Pell Grants maintain their historically high maximum award of $4,050 to help disadvantaged students achieve the dream of a college education. In addition, overall funding is increased by $885 million, bringing total funding to $12.3 billion. This means that more families will be served, and more students will have a college education within reach.


Alexa Marrero or

Dave Schnittger

Telephone: (202) 225-4527