Race to the Top Dropped from 2013 House Budget Plan

There is no room for President Obama's two K-12 education programs in the new budget proposed by the U.S. House of Representatives Labor Health, Human Services, Education and Related Agencies subcommittee. The programs getting the ax are the Race to the Top initiative and the School Improvement Grant program.

SIG has given out over half a billion dollars in grants to the states to be used in efforts to turn around failing schools. A related program, Investing in Innovation, will also be dropped. The budget covers the 2013 fiscal year that begins October 1st.

Some of the President's programs, however, met a more friendly reception from the lawmakers drafting the bill.

 The bill appears to renew two new competitive-grant programs. One is Promise Neighborhoods, which helps communities pair wraparound services with education programs. Promise Neighborhoods would get nearly $60 million, the same level as last year. That's not as much the $100 million President Barack Obama wanted for the program.

Other programs that remain with their funding levels unchanged include the One if Promise Neighborhoods, which funds joint initiatives between neighborhood schools and community support organizations, and the Teacher Incentive Fund which funds efforts by school district to create teacher assessment systems that link pay to student performance. If the budget passes as is, the TIF will receive $60 million in funding, which is the same amount as last year but still well short of $100 million requested by the President.

Some programs will not only remain, but have received additional support from legislators. Among them is the popular Head Start, which will have its funding level raised by $45 million to $8 billion. This is unsurprising in light of the support the program enjoys from the chairman of the panel Denny Rehberg. Likewise, abstinence education efforts had their funding increased by 300%, from $5 million to $20 million.

The Senate Appropriations Committee has already approved its own version of the fiscal year 2013 spending bill. And there are some big differences. The Senate version would keep Race to the Top, Investing in Innovation, SIG, and other key Obama initiatives, while providing some very modest boosts for Title I and special education.

The scrapping of the Race to the Top signals that the fight over this year's budget will be no less heated than last year when Republican lawmakers attempted to do away with the program only to yield to the Democrats and the President during reconciliation negotiations. In light of that, it is likely that the final version of the budget will not be set until after this November's presidential election.

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