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Want More Money for a Federal Program? Get DeVos to Put It on Her Budget Elimination Wish List

April 3, 2019

On March 28, 2019, I wrote a post about US ed sec Betsy DeVos’ attempts to eliminate federal funding for Special Olympics from the past three US Department of Education (USDOE) annual proposed budgets (FY2018, FY2019, and FY2020).

One interesting finding was that instead of eliminating Special Olympics, Congress actually voted to increase money to the program.

So, I was curious to see what other programs received increased funding despite DeVos’ repeated attempts to eliminate. Sixteen programs fit this description; below is a listing of each program that received increased federal funding at least once, with its budget authority (BA) funding amount (in millions) for FY2017, FY2018, and FY2019, respectively:

  • 21st Century Community Learning Centers: $1,164.5, $1,191.7, $1,221.7
  • Alaska Native Education: $32.4, $32.5, $35.5
  • American History and Civics Academies: $1.8, $3.5, $4.8
  • Arts in Education: $26.9, $27.0, $29.0
  • Comprehensive Literacy Development Grants: $189.6, $190.0, $190.0
  • Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grants: $731.7, $733.1, $840.0
  • Full Service Community Schools: $10.0, $10.0, $17.5
  • Impact Aid Payments for Federal Property: $66.7, $68.8, $74.3
  • Innovative Approaches to Literacy: $26.9, $27.0, $27.0
  • Int’l Educ and Foreign Lang Studies Domestic Programs: $65.0, $65.1, $65.1
  • Int’l Educ and Foreign Lang Studies Overseas Programs: $7.0, $7.1, $7.1
  • Native Hawaiian Education: $33.3, $33.4, $36.4
  • Ready to Learn Programming: $25.7, $25.7, $27.7
  • Special Olympics Education Programs: $10.1, $12.6, $17.6
  • Strengthening Institutions: $86.4, $86.5, $99.9
  • Teacher Quality Partnerships: $43.0, $43.1, $43.1

Thus, of the 22 programs listed for elimination in DeVos’ FY2018 proposed budget, 16 (73 percent) received at least one federal funding increase between FY2017 and FY2019.

Furthermore, one program kept its funding levels constant from FY2017 to FY2019:

  • Javits Gifted and Talented Education: $12.0

In addition, two programs proposed for elimination in FY2018 were not eliminated but did receive a reduction in federal funds (listed in millions for FY2017, FY2018 and FY2019, respectively):

  • Supporting Effective Instruction State Grants: $2,251.6, $2,055.8, $2,055.8
  • Supported Employment State Grants: $27.5, $27.5, $22.5

Next, one program received reduced funding from FY2017 to FY2018 and was eliminated in FY2019:

  • School Leader Recruitment and Support: $16.3, $14.5, then eliminated

Finally, the following five programs were eliminated in FY 2018 as per DeVos’ request (each includes its FY2017 funding in millions):

  • Child Care Access Means Parents in Schools: $15.1
  • Preschool Development Grants: $249.5

In her FY2018 proposed education budget, DeVos hoped to cut funding totaling $5.1 billion. Instead, Congress cut two programs totaling $264.6 million. However, in FY2018, Congress increased funding by $35.2 million to programs DeVos wanted eliminated. Thus, her net elimination “savings” for FY2018 was $229.4 million.

In FY2019, DeVos proposed eliminating programs to the tune of $5.9 billion. Most were from her FY2018 elimination wish list, and a handful were added.

She hoped to eliminate Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants for a “savings” of $400 million; instead, Congress almost tripled the program’s FY2019 federal funding to $1.17 billion.

Devos’s FY2020 elimination wish list totals $6.7 billion. (One reason her proposed “savings” amount increases from year is that Congress opposes her elimination recommendations and instead increases funding for most programs on the list.

I expect that this situation is one in which a billionaire is actually frustrated by receiving more money.


Betsy DeVos 2

Betsy DeVos


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Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of two other books: A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education and Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?. You should buy these books. They’re great. No, really.

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From → Betsy Devos

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