SETDA Advocates for Funding Flexibility for States
President Trump released his proposed FY19 Budget yesterday. Sadly, this proposal eliminates several important Federal education programs. Of particular interest to state digital learning leaders is the elimination of Title II funds which are used for Professional Learning as well as the elimination of the Student Support and Academic Enrichment (SSAE) Grants, also known as Title IVa of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The SSAE Grant program focuses on Whole Child Education, Safe and Healthy Students, and the Effective Use of Technology. When ESSA was authorized, Title IVa was authorized at $1.65 billion. However, for FY 17 only $400 million was budgeted and FY 18 funds are at $450 million, although that budget still has yet to be approved. The rationale behind eliminating funding for these programs is the belief that they are duplicative and funding from other programs such as Titles I and III may be used.
“Title IIa funds ensure that educators have funds dedicated to professional development – an area typically under funded or not funded at the state and local levels. Title IVa funds ensure that teachers understand how to effectively harness digital content, tools, and applications to best meet each student’s needs,” notes Tracy Weeks, Executive Director of SETDA. “This budget eliminates the funding flexibility given to states through ESSA so that they can combine funds from federal programs to create a seamless system of support for educators and students.”
SETDA calls on Congress not only to continue to fund Titles IIa and IVa, at their fully authorized levels.