A First Look at the President's FY2013 Budget

article | February 13, 2012

President Obama released his fiscal year 2013 budget request to Congress this morning, and once again, early learning gets a boost. The president proposes increased funding for Head Start, child care grants and for IDEA: Special Education Grants for Infants and Families, as well as additional funding for the Race to the Top – Early Learning Challenge.

Several programs under the Department of Education could receive additional investments for early learning. These include literacy grants; Promise NeighborhoodsInvesting in Innovation; grants to support state longitudinal data systems; and grants to recruit, prepare, develop, reward and retain effective teachers and principals.

There may also be an additional opportunity for funding public pre-K and kindergarten in the 21st Century Community Learning Center program. The president proposes expanding this program to encourage districts to increase the number of hours in the regular school day. Traditionally this program has funded enrichment programs during non-school hours only. We wonder if this chance in purpose could enable schools to use these funds to extend kindergarten from half-day to full-day, or to extend the day for pre-K programs housed in public schools. This same language was included in the Senate education committee’s proposal to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

While it is clear the Obama Administration would like to continue funding the Race to the Top - Early Learning Challnege, it is not clear how much funding the program will receive. In the Department of Education budget proposal, $850 million is requested for another Race to the Top for states and districts. In a press release, the DOE says a “significant portion of the funds would be dedicated for early learning.” The president’s budget proposal also says that these funds would be coupled with new investments from the Department of Health and Human Services to improve child care quality and prepare children for success in school.

The 2013 Health and Human Services budget proposal includes an $85 million increase for Head Start, some of which will go toward costs associated with implementing the new re-competition guidelines, which require poorly performing Head Start programs to compete with other area pre-K providers for federal funding. The Child Care & Development Block grant would see an additional $325 million as well.


The table below displays a breakdown of what President Obama has proposed for fiscal year 2013 compared to what he requested last year and to the levels of funding that Congress approved in 2011 and 2012. Remember that these numbers are the president’s wish list: Congress will put together and pass a FY2013 budget later this year that may or may not reflect Obama’s priorities. Also note that two programs, Striving Readers and Ready-to-Learn, may look like they are being eliminated, but would actually be consolidated under the proposed "Effective Teaching and Learning: Literacy” program.

We’ll have continuing coverage of this year’s appropriations process here on Early Ed Watch. Also, see our special page containing all of our coverage on federal funding for early education.

CORRECTION 2/14 at 2:00 p.m.: An earlier version of the table did not include an additional $500 million that the Obama Administration has proposed for the Child Care Entitlement to States. Also, we changed a word in a paragraph that originaly stated that "much" of the $85 million increase for Head Start would go toward costs associated with new guidelines for re-competition. The budget shows that "some" -- just under half -- of the proposed increase is designated for that purpose.