ERIC Number: EJ918248
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Mar-16
Reference Count: N/A
Literacy Cuts Spur Concerns on U.S. Role
Robelen, Erik W.
Education Week, v30 n24 p1, 22 Mar 2011
The elimination of most federal aid for literacy programs at the U.S. Department of Education is raising new questions about the future of the federal commitment to promoting literacy, a role that has had a bumpy ride in recent years. Even though some of the more than $350 million in cuts to those programs this month could be reversed, as Congress and the White House wrangle over the budget, some education advocates say the Obama administration does not seem to treat the issue as a high priority. The president himself has devoted far more public attention to the so-called STEM subjects of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, as he did once again when visiting a Boston public school last week. The budget ax came down in a March 2 stopgap spending bill as the latest major effort to reinvent federal support for literacy at the department was just getting started. Last fall, 46 states began work on broad-based literacy plans targeting children from birth to grade 12 in anticipation of competing for about $190 million in grants under the new Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy program. Even that money, part of the prior fiscal 2010 budget, is not assured. A broader spending plan the Republican-controlled House passed in February would retroactively rescind it, along with billions more in current-year funding for education and other domestic programs. It was only in fiscal 2009 that another chapter in federal efforts to improve reading ended. As part of that budget, Congress abolished Reading First, a signature initiative from President George W. Bush that at its height received about $1 billion a year for K-3 reading. The action followed a high-profile controversy over management problems and questions of conflict of interest at the Department of Education.
Descriptors: Retrenchment, Federal Aid, Budgeting, Program Budgeting, Reading Improvement, Reading Programs, Educational Finance, Grants, Politics of Education, Literacy, Educational Planning, Strategic Planning, Government Role
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United States