[House Hearing, 112 Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
REVIEWING THE PRESIDENT'S
FISCAL YEAR 2013 BUDGET PROPOSAL
FOR THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION
AND THE WORKFORCE
U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED TWELFTH CONGRESS
HEARING HELD IN WASHINGTON, DC, MARCH 28, 2012
Serial No. 112-57
Printed for the use of the Committee on Education and the Workforce
Available via the World Wide Web:
Committee address: http://edworkforce.house.gov
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COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION AND THE WORKFORCE
JOHN KLINE, Minnesota, Chairman
Thomas E. Petri, Wisconsin George Miller, California,
Howard P. ``Buck'' McKeon, Senior Democratic Member
California Dale E. Kildee, Michigan
Judy Biggert, Illinois Robert E. Andrews, New Jersey
Todd Russell Platts, Pennsylvania Robert C. ``Bobby'' Scott,
Joe Wilson, South Carolina Virginia
Virginia Foxx, North Carolina Lynn C. Woolsey, California
Bob Goodlatte, Virginia Ruben Hinojosa, Texas
Duncan Hunter, California Carolyn McCarthy, New York
David P. Roe, Tennessee John F. Tierney, Massachusetts
Glenn Thompson, Pennsylvania Dennis J. Kucinich, Ohio
Tim Walberg, Michigan Rush D. Holt, New Jersey
Scott DesJarlais, Tennessee Susan A. Davis, California
Richard L. Hanna, New York Raul M. Grijalva, Arizona
Todd Rokita, Indiana Timothy H. Bishop, New York
Larry Bucshon, Indiana David Loebsack, Iowa
Trey Gowdy, South Carolina Mazie K. Hirono, Hawaii
Lou Barletta, Pennsylvania Jason Altmire, Pennsylvania
Kristi L. Noem, South Dakota Marcia L. Fudge, Ohio
Martha Roby, Alabama
Joseph J. Heck, Nevada
Dennis A. Ross, Florida
Mike Kelly, Pennsylvania
Barrett Karr, Staff Director
Jody Calemine, Minority Staff Director
C O N T E N T S
Hearing held on March 28, 2012................................... 1
Statement of Members:
Kline, Hon. John, Chairman, Committee on Education and the
Prepared statement of.................................... 3
Miller, Hon. George, senior Democratic member, Committee on
Education and the Workforce................................ 4
Prepared statement of.................................... 6
Statement of Witnesses:
Duncan, Hon. Arne, Secretary, U.S. Department of Education... 8
Prepared statement of.................................... 14
May 23, 2012, response to questions submitted for the
July 25, 2012, response to additional questions submitted
for the record......................................... 102
Foxx, Hon. Virginia, a Representative in Congress from the
State of North Carolina, question submitted for the record. 70
April 25, 2012, questions submitted for the record....... 64
June 25, 2012, additional questions submitted for the
Noem, Hon. Kristi L., a Representative in Congress from the
State of South Dakota, question submitted for the record... 71
Petri, Hon. Thomas E., a Representative in Congress from the
State of Wisconsin, questions submitted for the record..... 70
REVIEWING THE PRESIDENT'S
FISCAL YEAR 2013 BUDGET PROPOSAL
FOR THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
U.S. House of Representatives
Committee on Education and the Workforce
The committee met, pursuant to call, at 10:03 a.m., in room
2128, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. John Kline [chairman
of the committee] presiding.
Present: Representatives Kline, Petri, Biggert, Platts,
Foxx, Goodlatte, Hunter, Roe, Thompson, Walberg, DesJarlais,
Hanna, Rokita, Bucshon, Barletta, Roby, Heck, Ross, Kelly,
Miller, Kildee, Andrews, Scott, Woolsey, Hinojosa, McCarthy,
Tierney, Kucinich, Holt, Davis, Bishop, and Fudge.
Staff present: Jennifer Allen, Press Secretary; Katherine
Bathgate, Press Assistant/New Media Coordinator; James
Bergeron, Director of Education and Human Services Policy;
Casey Buboltz, Coalitions and Member Services Coordinator;
Heather Couri, Deputy Director of Education and Human Services
Policy; Cristin Datch, Professional Staff Member; Lindsay
Fryer, Professional Staff Member; Amy Raaf Jones, Education
Policy Counsel and Senior Advisor; Barrett Karr, Staff
Director; Brian Melnyk, Legislative Assistant; Krisann Pearce,
General Counsel; Mandy Schaumburg, Education and Human Services
Oversight Counsel; Dan Shorts, Legislative Assistant; Alex
Sollberger, Communications Director; Linda Stevens, Chief
Clerk/Assistant to the General Counsel; Alissa Strawcutter,
Deputy Clerk; Brad Thomas, Senior Education Policy Advisor;
Kate Ahlgren, Minority Investigative Counsel; Tylease Alli,
Minority Clerk; Kelly Broughan, Minority Staff Assistant;
Daniel Brown, Minority Policy Associate; Steven Byrd, Minority
Detailee, Education; Jody Calemine, Minority Staff Director;
Tiffany Edwards, Minority Press Secretary for Education; Jamie
Fasteau, Minority Deputy Director of Education Policy; Brian
Levin, Minority New Media Press Assistant; Kara Marchione,
Minority Senior Education Policy Advisor; Megan O'Reilly,
Minority General Counsel; Julie Peller, Minority Deputy Staff
Director; and Laura Schifter, Minority Senior Education and
Chairman Kline. A quorum being present, the committee will
come to order. Good morning.
Welcome back, Secretary Duncan. We realize your time is
valuable and we appreciate the opportunity to speak with you
today about the president's budget proposal.
When we met this time last year we discussed the importance
of using taxpayer dollars wisely, particularly in these times
of economic instability. We identified areas of education
spending that have failed to show results and stressed the need
for an education system that is more accountable, transparent,
and flexible. Most notably, my colleagues and I reiterated our
support for a less costly, less intrusive federal role in the
The committee has since worked to eliminate unnecessary
programs and reduce federal intervention in schools and
colleges. As you know, we recently approved two pieces of
legislation to rewrite elementary and secondary education law
and also secured bipartisan House passage of a bill that will
get rid of unnecessarily burdensome federal regulations
affecting the institutions of higher education.
Regrettably, the administration has taken a markedly
different course, advancing several programs and initiatives
that make the federal role in education more costly and more
intrusive. In his fiscal year 2013 budget proposal the
president requests nearly $70 billion for the Department of
Education plus an additional $13 billion in mandatory spending
for Pell Grants, bringing the total to roughly $83 billion, a
40 percent increase in the department's budget from the time
the president took office. Furthermore, the president requests
another $65 billion in funds for new community college,
teacher, and school construction programs as part of his
American Jobs Act.
Despite ramping up funding for pet projects and
unauthorized programs, such as Race to the Top, school
improvement grants, Investing in Innovation, and others, I am
disappointed the president's budget proposal once again
neglects to increase support for Part B of the Individuals with
Disabilities Education Act. Mr. Secretary, you and I have
previously discussed the importance of this program, which
helps States and school districts improve services and
education access for students with special needs.
The administration couldn't be bothered to put even one
additional dollar toward the IDEA Part B program, which
benefits students in virtually every school in America, yet the
president can find billions of dollars to put toward school
construction and teacher union bailouts. It is unacceptable to
continue defaulting on this obligation. We must stop wasting
taxpayer dollars on new and ineffective programs, reassess our
priorities, and make the tough choices necessary to uphold our
commitment to all students.
I am also troubled by the department's newfound penchant
for advancing programs and initiatives that further expand the
federal role in education without any congressional input or
engagement. The conditional waivers plan presents a clear
example of this trend. Not only does the plan empower the
Secretary of Education to unilaterally dictate federal
education policy--with questionable legal standing--but the
obscure process for granting these quid pro quo waivers leads
me to question whether States are being pressured to adopt the
administration's preferred reforms.
Furthermore, this waivers initiative distracts from House
and Senate progress to rewrite K-12 law, which should be our
shared goal. While areas of disagreement must still be
addressed, both chambers have produced legislation to
reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. To
cease working with us at this point signals a dearth of
leadership in the executive branch.
The higher education proposals outlined in the present
budget represent another expansion of federal authority that I
fear will ultimately lead to more headaches for students,
parents, and institutions. We all want to help more students
realize the dream of a college degree. However, we must be
extremely cautious about policies that manipulate student loan
interest rates and use need-based student aid subsidies, such
as the Perkins Loan and Work Study programs, as bargaining
chips to impose federal price controls.
Addressing the challenge of rising college costs merits
thoughtful discussion among leaders in Washington as well as
State and higher education officials. We must expose and
resolve the underlying factors that are fueling this trend.
Students and their families need lasting solutions, not employ
promises and short-term initiatives that kick the can down the
One area in which I believe we can forge agreement is the
president's proposal to make higher education data more
transparent and accessible for students and their parents.
According to recent reports, a majority of student loan
borrowers admit they didn't fully understand what they were
getting into when they took out student loans. Republicans have
long fought to help families and students access clear,
comparable information about the real bottom-line cost of a
I am interested in discussing this issue with you, Mr.
Secretary, as part of a larger dialogue regarding responsible
initiatives that meet the needs of students and taxpayers.
Improving education in America is a priority for everyone
in this room. However, we cannot make progress in this endeavor
if the administration continues to bypass Congress and promote
its own costly education agenda.
I look forward to your testimony, Mr. Secretary, and hope
we can find a way to move past what has become an increasingly
I will now recognize the distinguished senior Democratic
member of the committee, George Miller, for his opening
[The statement of Mr. Kline follows:]
Prepared Statement of Hon. John Kline, Chairman,
Committee on Education and the Workforce
Welcome back, Secretary Duncan, to the Education and the Workforce
Committee. We realize your time is valuable and we appreciate the
opportunity to speak with you today about the president's budget
When we met this time last year, we discussed the importance of
using taxpayer dollars wisely, particularly in these times of economic
instability. We identified areas of education spending that have failed
to show results, and stressed the need for an education system that is
more accountable, transparent, and flexible. Most notably, my
colleagues and I reiterated our support for a less costly, less
intrusive federal role in the nation's classrooms.
The committee has since worked to eliminate unnecessary programs
and reduce federal intervention in schools and colleges. As you know,
we recently approved two pieces of legislation to rewrite elementary
and secondary education law, and also secured bipartisan House passage
of a bill that will get rid of unnecessarily burdensome federal
regulations affecting institutions of higher education.
Regrettably, the administration has taken a markedly different
course, advancing several programs and initiatives that make the
federal role in education more costly and more intrusive. In his Fiscal
Year 2013 budget proposal, the president requests nearly $70 billion
for the Department of Education plus an additional $13 billion in
mandatory spending for Pell Grants, bringing the total to roughly $83
billion--a 40 percent increase in the department's budget from the time
the president took office. Furthermore, the president requests another
$65 billion in funds for new community college, teacher, and school
construction programs as part of his American Jobs Act.
Despite ramping up funding for pet projects and unauthorized
programs, such as Race to the Top, school improvement grants, Investing
in Innovation, and others, I am disappointed the president's budget
proposal once again neglects to increase support for Part B of the
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
Mr. Secretary, you and I have previously discussed the importance
of this program, which helps States and school districts improve
services and education access for students with special needs. The
administration couldn't be bothered to put even one additional dollar
toward the IDEA Part B program, which benefits students in virtually
every school in America, yet the president can find billions of dollars
to put toward school construction and teacher union bailouts. It is
unacceptable to continue defaulting on this obligation. We must stop
wasting taxpayer dollars on new and ineffective programs, reassess our
priorities, and make the tough choices necessary to uphold our
commitment to all students.
I am also troubled by the department's newfound penchant for
advancing programs and initiatives that further expand the federal role
in education--without any Congressional input or engagement. The
conditional waivers plan presents a clear example of this trend. Not
only does the plan empower the Secretary of Education to unilaterally
dictate federal education policy--with questionable legal standing--but
the obscure process for granting these quid pro quo waivers leads me to
question whether States are being pressured to adopt the
administration's preferred reforms.
Furthermore, this waivers initiative distracts from House and
Senate progress to rewrite K-12 law, which should be our shared goal.
While areas of disagreement must still be addressed, both chambers have
produced legislation to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary
Education Act. To cease working with us at this point signals a dearth
of leadership in the executive branch.
The higher education proposals outlined in the president's budget
represent another expansion of federal authority that I fear will
ultimately lead to more headaches for students, parents, and
institutions. We all want to help more students realize the dream of a
college degree. However, we must be extremely cautious about polices
that manipulate student loan interest rates and use need-based student
aid subsidies such as the Perkins Loan and Work Study programs as
bargaining chips to impose federal price controls.
Addressing the challenge of rising college costs merits thoughtful
discussion among leaders in Washington as well as State and higher
education officials. We must expose and resolve the underlying factors
that are fueling this trend. Students and their families need lasting
solutions--not empty promises and short-term initiatives that kick the
can down the road.
One area in which I believe we can forge agreement is the
president's proposal to make higher education data more transparent and
accessible for students and their parents. According to recent reports,
a majority of student loan borrowers admit they didn't fully understand
what they were getting into when they took out student loans.
Republicans have long fought to help families and students access
clear, comparable information about the real bottom-line cost of a
college education. I am interested in discussing this issue with you,
Mr. Secretary, as part of a larger dialogue regarding responsible
initiatives that meet the needs of students and taxpayers.
Improving education in America is a priority for everyone in this
room. However, we cannot make progress in this endeavor if the
administration continues to bypass Congress and promote its own costly
education agenda. I look forward to your testimony, Secretary Duncan,
and hope we can find a way to move past what has become an increasingly
Mr. Miller. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And welcome, Mr. Secretary, and thank you for spending time
with the committee. First of all, I would like to thank you for
your tireless commitment to improving education for all
students. From children in early childhood programs to college
students, I agree with you and President Obama that education
is the cornerstone of economic security for individuals and for
Just last week another report was issued on the importance
of high quality education system and maintaining our nation's
status in the world. An independent task force launched by
Council on Foreign Relations found that the U.S. education
system is facing a national security crisis.
The chairs of that report, former New York City School
System Chancellor Joel Klein and former Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice, say that education failures pose several
threats to our national security. These failures threaten our
economic growth and our competitiveness and U.S. physical
security and intellectual property.
The report found that among those who are qualified for the
armed services, many are not academically prepared. An alarming
30 percent don't pass the military's aptitude test. Simply put,
our students are not being prepared well enough to protect our
national security or to compete in the global workforce.
As we all know the role of quality education plays in
growing and maintaining a strong economy, a role that will only
become more important over time. Yet last week the House
Republicans introduced, and passed out of the Budget Committee
for fiscal year 2013, a budget that threatens our education
system and therefore the strength of our economy.
We should be investing in the education system. Instead,
the Republican budget cuts Title I, denying critical support
for thousands of schools and millions of children; cuts support
to keep teachers in the classroom as opposed on to the
unemployment line; cuts support for special education--the
president may not have added money to special education but he
didn't cut $2 billion, as the Republicans are doing in their
budget--and support for students with disabilities and teachers
who educate them and cuts access to Head Start.
The Republican budget also is devastating to higher
education and slashes the Pell Grant program and eliminates
eligibility requirements intended to ensure the students who
need Pell the most benefit from the program. The Republican
budget makes student loans more expensive for students with
financial need by allowing the interest rate to double in July
of this year and by removing the in-school interest subsidies.
We should not ask low-income and middle-income Americans to
shoulder the burden of the entire deficit reduction while
simultaneously delivering massive tax cuts to the richest 1
percent and preserving huge giveaways to oil companies. And
yet, this is what the Republican budget will do and what the
House was debating this week.
We know from the president's budget it doesn't have to be
that way. We can be fiscally responsible as a nation while
making strategic investments in our future if ideology does not
trump what is in the best interest of America.
For example, the president's budget request makes important
investments in early childhood education, allowing 960,000
young children, including approximately 114,000 infants and
toddlers, to continue to receive comprehensive early childhood
services. It ensures that individuals are educated and trained
to work in this economy, and particularly the proposed
Community College to Career Fund, which would help students
gain critical job training skills that local businesses need.
It builds on responsible decisions that empower States,
districts, and schools to pursue bold reforms and it continues
to make higher education more accessible for families and
students for whom a degree may have been out of reach. This
includes providing affordable loans to students with financial
The president's budget request recognizes that a high
quality education is absolutely critical to rebuilding our
economy and strengthening the American workforce requires that
we continue to invest in education. To ignore that connection
would only mean negative outcomes for students, parents, and
Mr. Secretary, as you know, the committee recently marked
up two partisan pieces of legislation to reauthorize ESEA. The
Democrats adamantly oppose the Republican bills. We believe
that their proposals set low bars on quality, dismantle
accountability, and are fiscally irresponsible.
With Congress at a standstill, your department took steps
to grant States flexibility in certain parts of No Child Left
Behind in exchange for adopting reforms that include college
and career ready standards, new accountability and school
improvement systems, and meaningful teacher and student leader
evaluations. While I would much prefer the full ESEA
reauthorization, I am pleased at the department's efforts to
give schools the relief they so desperately need.
It shows that, despite partisanship in the Congress, the
administration is moving forward and providing kids access to a
world-class education. And between Race to the Top and your
policy on waivers you have created more school reform in the
States than any time in recent history--more school reform on
the use of technology, on the use of data, on teacher
preparation and evaluation than we have seen in the last 25
And I am pleased that the waiver package includes policies
to support this modern education system and to promote and
protect our nation's economy and security. In the meantime, we
in Congress have a responsibility to move serious reform,
lasting change that will lead to a long-term student success.
The need is urgent and the time is short and I look forward
from hearing from you, Mr. Secretary, how we can work together
to make sure that our students succeed at their educational
[The statement of Mr. Miller follows:]
Prepared Statement of Hon. George Miller, Senior Democratic Member,
Committee on Education and the Workforce
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And welcome back, Mr. Secretary.
First, I want to thank you for your tireless commitment to
improving education for all students--from children in early childhood
programs to college students. I agree with you and President Obama that
education is the cornerstone of economic security for individuals and
for our country as a whole.
Just last week yet another report was issued on the importance of a
high quality education system in maintaining our nation's status in the
An independent task force launched by the Council on Foreign
Relations found that the U.S. education system is facing a national
The chairs of the report--former New York City school system
chancellor Joel Klein and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice--
say education failures pose several threats to our national security.
These failures threaten our economic growth and competitiveness,
U.S. physical safety and intellectual property. The report found that,
among those who are qualified for the armed forces, many are not
academically prepared--an alarming 30% don't pass the military's
Simply put: Our students are not being prepared well enough to
protect our national security, or to compete in the global workforce.
We all know the role a quality education plays in growing and
maintaining a strong economy--a role that will only become more
important over time.
And yet last week, the House Republicans introduced and passed out
of the Budget Committee a fiscal year 2013 budget that threatens our
education system and therefore the strength of our economy.
We should be investing in this system. Instead, the Republican
Cuts Title I, denying critical support to thousands of
schools and millions of children;
Cuts support that helps keep teachers in the classroom as
opposed to the unemployment line;
Cuts funding for special education to support students
with disabilities and the teachers who educate them; and
Cuts access to Head Start.
The Republican budget is also devastating to higher education.
It slashes the Pell Grant program.
It eliminates eligibility criteria intended to ensure that
students who need Pell the most benefit from the program.
And it cuts tens of billions of dollars in funding we
already paid for.
The Republican Budget makes student loans much more expensive for
students with financial need not only by allowing the rate on need-
based loans to double this July, but also by removing their in-school
We shouldn't ask low-income and middle-class Americans to shoulder
the entire burden of deficit reduction while simultaneously delivering
massive tax breaks to the richest one percent and preserving huge
giveaways to oil companies. And yet this is what the Republican budget
will do and what the House will debate this week.
We know from the President's budget that it doesn't have to be this
way. We can be fiscally responsible as a nation while making strategic
investments in our future if ideology does not trump what's in the best
interest of children and families.
For example, the President's budget request makes important
investments in early childhood education, allowing 962,000 young
children, including approximately 114,000 infants and toddlers, to
continue to receive comprehensive early education services.
It ensures individuals are educated and trained to work in this
economy. In particular, the proposed ``Community College to Career
Fund'' would help students gain crucial job training skills that local
It builds on responsible decisions that empower States, districts
and schools to pursue bold reforms. And, it continues to make higher
education more accessible for families and students for whom a degree
may have been out of reach. This includes providing affordable loans to
students with financial need.
The President's budget request recognizes that a high-quality
education is absolutely critical to rebuilding our economy and a
strengthened American workforce requires that we continue to invest in
education. To ignore that connection would only mean negative outcomes
for students, parents and employers.
Mr. Secretary, as you know, this Committee recently marked up two
partisan pieces of legislation to reauthorize ESEA.
Democrats adamantly oppose the Republican bills. We believe that
their proposals set low bars on quality, dismantle accountability, and
are fiscally irresponsible.
With Congress at a standstill, your Department took steps to grant
States flexibility from certain parts of No Child Left Behind in
exchange for adopting reforms that include college and career ready
standards, new accountability and school improvement systems, and
meaningful teacher and school leader evaluations.
While I would much prefer a full ESEA reauthorization, I am pleased
with the Department's efforts to give schools the relief they so
It shows that despite partisanship in Congress, the Administration
is moving forward with providing kids access to a world-class
education. And I am pleased that the waiver package includes policies
to support a modern education system to protect and promote our
nation's economy and security.
In the meantime, we in Congress have a responsibility to move
serious reform--lasting change that will lead to long-term student
success. The need is urgent and the time is short.
I look forward to hearing from you, Mr. Secretary, about how we can
work together to help all students succeed.
I yield back.
Chairman Kline. I thank the gentleman.
It is now my pleasure to introduce our distinguished
witness. And of course, the Honorable Arne Duncan actually
needs no introduction to this body.
But, Mr. Secretary, I have to say, I was looking at my
notes here and noticing that you were confirmed by the Senate
on Inauguration Day--January 20th, 2009. That sort of puts you
in the trenches very quickly.
Anyway, we are glad to have you back. Welcome. You know the
lighting system very well. We will not gavel you down in the
middle of your statement; we need to hear from you.
You are recognized, sir.
STATEMENT OF HON. ARNE DUNCAN, SECRETARY,
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
Secretary Duncan. Thank you so much, Chairman Kline, and
Ranking Member Miller, and to all the members of this
committee. I really appreciate the opportunity to talk about
President Obama's fiscal year 2013 budget for our Department of
This budget reflects President Obama's firm belief that our
country has always done best when everyone gets a fair shot,
everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same
rules. Our budget reflects the administration's dual commitment
to reducing spending and becoming more efficient, and also
investing to secure our nation's future. Investments in
education are investments that strengthen our global economic
A recent survey by the Business Roundtable's Education and
Workforce Committee, chaired by the chairman and CEO of
ExxonMobil, Rex Tillerson, found that half of all U.S.
employers report a sizeable gap between the current needs and
the skills of their employees. According to the BRT, the United
States ranks 52nd out of 139 countries on math and science
education. If we can return to being a top performing education
nation by 2025 it would help produce a 5 percent GDP increase
in the years that followed.
And, Congressman Miller, you talked about the Council on
Foreign Relations Task Force, and their findings are pretty
stark. They found that the State Department is struggling to
recruit enough foreign language speakers. They found that U.S.
generals are cautioning that enlistees cannot read training
manuals for sophisticated equipment. And a report from the 28th
Airborne Corps in Iraq found that out of 250 intelligence
personnel fewer than five had the aptitude to put pieces
together to form a conclusion.
Few issues--few issues touch so many parts of our lives,
and few investments are as important to our safety and to our
well being as education. Today all across America people are
meeting the challenge of improving education in many different
ways, from creating high quality early learning programs, to
raising standards, improving teacher quality, aggressively
closing achievement gaps, and increasing both high school and
While the federal government contributes less than 10
percent of K-12 funding nationally, our dollars do play a
critical role in promoting both excellence and equity,
protecting children most at risk, and more recently, supporting
significant reform at the State and at the local levels. Our
administration has used limited competitive dollars to
encourage States and local educators to think and to act
differently. And through programs like Race to the Top we have
worked with governors and educators to jointly undertake bold
As a result of Race to the Top, 46 States created
comprehensive reform plans with buy-in from governors,
legislators, local educators, union leaders, business leaders,
and parents. For an investment of less than 1 percent of total
K-12 spending we have seen more reforms across the country in
the past couple years than we have over the previous decade.
Even before we spent a single dime of taxpayer money 32 States
changed over 100 laws and policies to improve the opportunities
for children to learn.
We have also seen the transformative impact of Race to the
Top in communities across the country from Ohio, where funds
have helped rural districts partner on principal and teacher
training, to Tennessee, where STEM coaches are helping to
improve the skills of K-12 math and science teachers, and
Georgia, where public-private partnerships have formed to
prevent at-risk youth from dropping out of school. Race to the
Top is making a big difference in the lives of children and
transforming public education as we know it.
And I am happy to report that thanks to continued
congressional support for comprehensive education reform we
plan to use our fiscal year 2012 Race to the Top funds to do
two things: to have both a district level competition, and also
another round of Early Learning Challenge State grants. We are
still working out the details and we look forward to updating
this committee in the coming weeks with more information.
At their core, Race to the Top and other key reform
programs are about spurring reform by rewarding success and
giving flexible funding to implement good ideas developed by
the local educators who know their communities best. Especially
in tight budget times, we have to make more effective use of
federal funds. Formula funds alone won't drive the kind of
transformational reform our education system needs. We need to
combine a strong foundation of formula funding with targeted
use of competitive grant programs.
While we have strong and foundational formula programs to
help low-income students, like Title I, we are better
leveraging those dollars with reform programs like our Promise
Neighborhoods initiative. And thanks to Congress, last year we
were able to double funding for Promise Neighborhoods.
The growing income inequality in America over the past 30
years has led to historically high child poverty rates. Close
to one-fifth of America's children live in poverty, and in some
States poor children represent close to 50 percent of all
public school students. That is both morally unacceptable and
Education is the great equalizer. If we ever hope to lift
our children out of poverty we must give them access to
effective schools and strong systems of family and community
support. We think Promise Neighborhoods can help break cycles
of poverty and I really appreciate your collective support of
Moving on to ESEA, the administration remains committed to
working with you on producing a comprehensive, bipartisan
reform bill for the president to sign into law. But while you
continue your important work towards that goal, State and local
districts are bucking under the law's aged goals and top-down
mandates. Despite our shared sentiment for reform and our
longstanding work together to fix No Child Left Behind the law,
unfortunately, remains in place 5 years after it was due for
As all of us know, our children only get one shot at a
world-class education and they cannot wait any longer for
reform. And that is why we have offered States regulatory
relief from NCLB in exchange for reforms that drive student
achievement. Working closely with Independent, Democratic, and
Republican governors we have helped unleash energy and
innovation at the local level as Congress continues to work to
rewrite the law by giving States, districts, and schools the
flexibility they need to raise standards, to better support
teachers and principals, and to improve our nation's lowest
Mr. Chairman, in your home State Governor Mark Dayton said
this waiver will allow Minnesota administrators, teachers, and
parents to work together in building a new system of
accountability for schools which will lead to better education
for our children and a better future for Minnesota. In
Tennessee, home to two members of this committee, Governor Bill
Haslam has said that the flexibility offered by our
administration from ESEA will help improve education for all of
Tennessee's students, and Tennessee's goal has been to become
the fastest-improving State in the nation. And in Indiana State
education officials have said that the administration is
providing the regulatory flexibility Indiana needs to drive and
improve student achievement.
The chorus of support for relief from the law is strong and
widespread. So far, 37 States and D.C. have applied for
flexibility and many more States are looking forward to that
opportunity. Eleven States have already been given flexibility
and we will continue working with all States to give them the
freedom to implement locally developed reforms that will
protect children and improve student achievement.
We also recognize that Congress faces some difficult
choices with respect to the Pell Grant program, but we
appreciate that the maximum Pell Grant award was maintained at
its current level, which will help close to 10 million students
across the country pursue higher education in the 2012-2013
Before I give you an overview of our budget request for
next year I would like to take a moment to address an issue
that could threaten our ability to prepare American students to
compete in the global economy and undermine our nation
security. Today our children are competing for jobs with
children in China, and India, and Japan, and South Korea, and
Singapore. We need to give our children every chance at
As all of you know, last week Congressman Ryan, whose
leadership I respect, unveiled an alternative budget plan which
you may soon be considering--may soon be considering here in
the House. However well intentioned, the Ryan plan draws on the
same flawed theory that led to the worst recession in our
lifetime and contributed to the erosion of middle class
security over the last decade, and it does so by, among other
things, balancing the budget on the backs of America's
If the Ryan budget is voted into law we could see
disastrous consequences for America's children over the next
couple years. By 2014, Title I, which helps fund educational
programs and resources for millions of low-income, minority,
rural, and tribal children, could see a $2.7 billion reduction
that might deny resources to over 9,000 schools serving more
than 3.8 million students. Less educational opportunity is not
what our children or our country needs.
Money needed to help pay teachers, tutors, and funds for
critical afterschool programs might no longer be there and as
many as 38,000 teachers and aides could lose their jobs.
Funding to help educate students with disabilities, children
with special needs who need the best, could be cut by over $2.2
billion, which would translate to the loss of over 30,000
special education teachers, aides, and other staff.
We know the importance of early childhood education, and
yet 200,000 children could lose access to Head Start. Work
Study funding could be cut by $185 million, potentially denying
a meaningful path to make college more affordable for up to
129,000 low-income students. And TRiO, which helps prepare low-
income and minority students to succeed in college, could be
cut by $159 million, leaving 148,000 students in the lurch.
The Ryan budget could also cut $3 billion from the Pell
Grant program, completely eliminating aid for 400,000 low-
income college students and reducing assistance for close to 9
million more. And that is just the tip of the iceberg.
In short, passage of the Ryan budget would propel
educational success of this country backwards for years to
come, and that is simply a risk we cannot afford to take.
Likewise, we cannot--we cannot afford the disastrous
across-the-board cuts known as budget sequestration to take
effect next year. We must come together as a country to make
sound bipartisan investments in education, not to perpetuate
the status quo but to drive reform and to create new
It is simply unfathomable to me that we would ask a
generation of students to pay the price for adult political
dysfunction, and I am asking for your collective help to make
sure that doesn't happen. As I travel the country I hear a deep
appreciation for the federal commitment to children and
learning. Americans know that even--and maybe especially--in
challenging fiscal times like this we must educate our way to a
better economy. They know that even as States face greater
financial pressure than at any time in recent history we cannot
put our children at risk, and so our budget reflects these
aspirations and these commitments.
That is why we are requesting $69.8 billion in
discretionary funding for 2013, an increase of $1.7 billion or
about 2.5 percent from 2012. Our proposal seeks to direct
funding to four key areas: supporting State and local reform in
P-12 education, elevating the teaching profession,
strengthening the connections between schools and work, and
making college more affordable, which will see the largest
share of our requested increase.
Fifty years ago college was maybe a luxury. Back then you
could still graduate from high school and get a good-paying job
that would guarantee you a place in the middle class.
Unfortunately, those days are long gone. A postsecondary
education is the ticket to economic success in America. We know
that the jobs of the future will all require some kind of
education or training after graduation from high school.
And, while it has never been more important to have a
degree, or a certificate, or an industry-recognized credential,
unfortunately it has also never been more expensive. Since 1995
college costs across the country have risen almost five times
faster than median household income.
As a result, students and their families are taking on more
and more debt. Borrowing to pay for college used to be the
exception; now it is the rule.
What is troubling is that not only are more students
borrowing but they are also borrowing more, and we all have a
role to play in making college affordable and keeping that
middle class dream alive. It has to be a shared responsibility.
We need States to continue to invest in postsecondary
education and training. We need institutions of higher
education to do a better job of delivering high quality
instruction at an affordable price to students of all
backgrounds. And we need to arm parents and students with the
consumer information they need to make smart educational
President Obama believes that the federal government has an
important role to play as well, and that is why we are
providing billions of dollars a year in aid to needy students
through Pell Grants. We are also helping students better manage
their debt after graduation with programs like incomebased
repayment and public service loan forgiveness.
While all these efforts are helping struggling students
gain access to and afford college we cannot and should not do
this by ourselves, and that is why the administration is
proposing several new reforms to contain rising college costs.
We are seeking to double the number of Work Study jobs for
young people within 5 years. We want to make the American
Opportunity Tax Credit permanent. And we want to provide new
incentives for States and institutions to keep college costs
from escalating continually.
The president's budget would also continue support for key
programs supporting college access and completion for minority
and disadvantaged students--programs like TRiO and GEAR UP and
Impact Aid. And President Obama's education budget will prevent
student loan interest rates from doubling this summer.
As all of you here know, unless some action is taken,
Congress has mandated that subsidized student loan interest
rates will double starting in July of this year. With so many
students already struggling to make ends meet and afford the
skyrocketing cost of college now is not the time to heap more
costs on top of them.
If Congress doesn't act soon over 200,000 students in
Minnesota will see their student loan interest rates double, as
will half a million students in California and over 7.4 million
students nationwide. We must act soon and both the president
and I stand ready to work with all of you to help solve this
problem for America's students.
In addition to making college more affordable for millions
of Americans our budget proposal will continue foundational
investments in critical formula programs, like Title I and
IDEA, as well as successful incentive-based reform programs at
the P-12 level, like Race to the Top, and the Promise
Neighborhoods initiative, and i3. Our proposal would also
dedicate significant resources to transforming the teaching
profession through a new program called RESPECT. That acronym
stands for recognizing education success, professional
excellence, and collaborative teaching.
Our goal is to work with educators in rebuilding the
profession to elevate the teacher's voice in shaping federal,
and State, and local education policy. Our larger goal is to
make teaching among America's most important and respected
professions. We know that is a lofty goal but we are serious
about getting there.
If we are going to educate our way to a better economy we
have to address the growing skills gap in America. There are at
least 2 million unfilled jobs today in tough economic times
because employers can't find workers with the right skills,
preparation, and training. And that is why the president's
budget includes key investments to help build partnerships
between community colleges and local businesses so that they
are training workers for the jobs employers need to fill now
and in the future.
And finally, we are proposing increased investments in
career academies, which have been shown to reduce high school
dropout rates and prepare students for careers that lead to
higher earning potential.
Our job is to support change with transparency with the
right incentives, and we believe our budget proposal does just
The president believes that this is a make or break moment
for the middle class and those who are working to reach it.
What is at stake here is the very survival of the basic
American promise, that if you work hard you can do well enough
to raise a family, own your own home, and put away enough for
The defining issue of our time is how to keep that basic
promise alive. No challenge is more urgent and no debate is
We can either settle for a country where a shrinking number
of people do really well while more Americans barely get by, or
together we can build a nation where everyone gets a fair shot,
everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same
rules. At stake right now are not Democratic or Republican
values but American values, and for the sake of our future we
have to reclaim them. And at the heart of that effort is the
commitment to support education.
Thank you so much for the opportunity. I look forward to
[The statement of Secretary Duncan follows:]
Prepared Statement of Hon. Arne Duncan, Secretary,
U.S. Department of Education
Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member Miller, and Members of the Committee:
Thank you for this opportunity to talk about President Obama's fiscal
year 2013 budget for the Department of Education. While the President's
overall 2013 request reflects his strong commitment to achieving long-
term deficit reduction, his request for education recognizes that we
can't cut back on investments like education if we want to ensure
America's continued economic prosperity. Indeed, as he outlined in his
2012 State of the Union address, President Obama believes that
education is a cornerstone of creating an American economy built to
President Obama's 2013 budget request
The overall discretionary request for the Department of Education
is $69.8 billion, an increase of $1.7 billion, or 2.5 percent, over the
2012 level. Within our budget, which also includes requests for
mandatory funding, we have four key priorities: (1) continuing to
provide incentives for State and local K-12 reform, (2) improving
affordability and quality in postsecondary education, (3) elevating the
teaching profession, and (4) strengthening the connections between
school and work and better aligning education and job training programs
with workforce demands.
Providing incentives for reform
First, our request includes $850 million for Race to the Top, an
increase of $301 million over the 2012 level, for additional
competitive awards that would support groundbreaking education reforms
in five core reform areas: implementing rigorous standards and
assessments; using data to improve instruction; recruiting, preparing,
and retaining effective teachers and principals; turning around our
lowest-performing schools; and improving State early learning systems.
In 2013, our budget specifically proposes to provide resources for the
Race to the Top: Early Learning Challenge.
The 2013 request also would encourage reform and innovation through
a $150 million request for the Investing in Innovation (i3) program to
develop, evaluate, and scale up promising and effective models and
interventions in the areas of improving early learning outcomes;
increasing achievement in science, technology, engineering, and
mathematics (STEM); and increasing productivity to achieve better
student outcomes more cost-effectively. The i3 request also would
support a new Advanced Research Projects Agency: Education, or ARPA-ED,
which would pursue breakthrough developments in educational technology
and learning systems, support systems for educators, and educational
We also are seeking $100 million in 2013 for Promise Neighborhoods,
an increase of $40 million over the 2012 level. The request would
expand support for projects that provide a continuum of family and
community services and ambitious education reforms designed to combat
the effects of poverty and improve education and life outcomes, from
birth through college to career, for children and youth within a
distressed geographic area.
Affordability and quality in postsecondary education
A second priority in our 2013 request is improving affordability
and quality in higher education. As President Obama said in his State
of the Union address, ``Higher education can't be a luxury--it is an
economic imperative that every family in America should be able to
afford.'' Unfortunately, the cost of college is rising to levels that
are increasingly unaffordable for too many American families. Our work
with you over the past 3 years to secure historic Federal investments
in student financial assistance and tax credits have helped students
and families deal with rising college costs, but Federal student aid
cannot keep pace with these rising costs indefinitely. Instead, we need
larger reforms that address the root causes of rising college costs,
while also creating incentives to provide greater quality and value to
students and preserve access for low-income individuals.
The President's 2013 request includes three proposals that would
begin to support such reforms. First, we are asking for $1 billion to
fund the first year of Race to the Top: College Affordability and
Completion, a new competition based on the successful Race to the Top
K-12 model, to drive systemic State reforms that increase
affordability, quality, and productivity while preserving access. Funds
would be awarded to States with a strong commitment to, and a high-
quality plan for, increasing college affordability and quality, which
could be demonstrated in such ways as maintaining a consistent State
financial commitment to higher education, improving alignment between
K-12 and postsecondary education and across colleges, operating
institutions that stabilize or constrain the growth in what students
pay for college, publicizing institutional value in terms of the return
on investment and other outcomes, and making use of data to drive
policy. Funds would be used by States and public institutions to boost
quality, innovation, and productivity and provide greater value to
students through improved undergraduate experiences, new paths to
credit attainment and degrees, and increased capacity, among other
Second, we would expand and reform the Campus-Based Aid programs--
Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (SEOG), Federal Work-Study,
and Perkins Loans--to provide $10 billion in student financial aid for
use at those colleges that provide the best value to students by
enrolling and graduating students from low-income families, restraining
net prices, and demonstrating good value. Most of this expansion would
come through reform of the Perkins Loan program, which would be
operated similarly to the current Direct Loans program. We also are
asking for a $150 million increase for Federal Work-Study, for a total
of more than $1.1 billion, to support reforms that would encourage
postsecondary institutions to offer students more meaningful work-study
opportunities that will help to prepare them for work and life after
graduation. This increase would start moving us toward our goal of
doubling work-study opportunities for students within 5 years.
Third, our request includes $55.5 million for a ``First in the
World'' fund that would help postsecondary institutions, including
private institutions, and nonprofit organizations to develop, evaluate,
or scale up innovative and effective strategies for improving college
completion outcomes while lowering costs and increasing the quality and
capacity of higher education. Awards could be used to support such
activities as using technology to redesign coursework, improving early
college preparation to mitigate the need for remediation, and
developing and implementing competency-based instruction and
assessment, among other activities. We also would reserve up to $20
million in First in the World funding to support innovative activities
at minority-serving institutions.
These initiatives would help protect the significant taxpayer
investment in Federal postsecondary student aid programs by creating
incentives for States and public and private postsecondary institutions
to provide good value to students at an affordable price and move us
closer to meeting President Obama's 2020 goal for college completion.
Our 2013 request also would maintain our investment in Federal
student aid, including full funding of the $5,635 Pell Grant maximum
award in the 2013-2014 award year and the elimination of projected Pell
Grant shortfalls for the 2014-2015 award year. The 2013 request would
provide $22.8 billion in discretionary budget authority for Pell
Grants, the same level as 2012, along with mandatory funding provided
in prior legislation. The total amount available would exceed program
costs in the 2013-2014 award year by $1.5 billion, representing the
first step in addressing the funding cliff in 2014. Further, we would
make a down payment toward addressing the long-term Pell gap through
three reforms in the student loan programs: (1) expanding and reforming
the Perkins Loan program, (2) limiting the in-school interest subsidy
for subsidized Stafford Loans to 150 percent of the normal program
length, and (3) reducing excessive payments to guaranty agencies that
rehabilitate student loans. The mandatory budget authority and outlay
savings from these proposals would total $14 billion over 10 years.
In addition to investing in Pell Grants, our request proposes to
freeze the subsidized Stafford Loan interest rate, which is set to
double on July 1, at the current rate of 3.4 percent. With the economy
still in recovery, the Administration believes that it would be
inappropriate to raise rates and burden students with greater debt at
this time. The President's Budget also proposes to make the American
Opportunity Tax Credit permanent, so that 9 million households can
continue receiving up to $10,000 in tax credits for college over 4
Finally, the President's budget also would continue support for key
existing programs supporting college access and completion,
particularly for minority and disadvantaged students. The request
includes almost $840 million for the Federal TRIO programs and $302
million for the GEAR UP program, which together help one and a half
million middle and high school students prepare for, enroll in, and
complete college. The 2013 budget also would provide nearly $600
million in combined discretionary and mandatory funding for the Aid for
Institutional Development programs, which support institutions that
enroll a large proportion of minority and disadvantaged students, as
well as $221 million in combined discretionary and mandatory funding
for the Aid for Hispanic-Serving Institutions programs.
Elevating the teaching profession
The third major priority in the President's 2013 request is to
elevate the teaching profession so that all students have access to
effective teachers. We have been working to help States and school
districts implement performance-based compensation and strengthen
teacher evaluation systems. While we remain committed to furthering
these important reforms, we recognize that, on their own, they are too
narrowly focused to affect the changes we need in the teaching
profession to out-educate and out-compete the rest of the world.
We are proposing to jumpstart a transformation of the teaching
profession through a one-time $5 billion mandatory initiative that
would help States and districts pursue bold reforms at every stage of
the profession, including attracting top-tier talent into the
profession and preparing them for success, creating career ladders with
competitive compensation, evaluating and supporting the development of
teachers and principals, and getting the best educators to the students
who need them most.
In addition, we are requesting a new 25-percent set-aside of
Effective Teachers and Leaders State Grant funds under Title II of the
Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). This increased set-
aside--approximately $617 million in 2013--would fund efforts to
recruit, prepare, and support effective teachers and school leaders;
recruit and prepare effective STEM teachers; and enhance the teaching
and school leadership professions. Our request also includes a $100
million increase for the proposed Teacher and Leader Innovation Fund,
for a 2013 total of $400 million to support bold approaches to
improving the effectiveness of the education workforce in high-need
schools and districts.
Finally, our budget includes $190 million in mandatory funding in
FY 2013 ($990 million over five years) for a new Presidential Teaching
Fellows program that would provide formula grants to States that meet
certain conditions to award scholarships of up to $10,000 to talented
individuals attending the most effective programs in the State. These
individuals would be trained in a high-need subject and would commit to
teach for at least 3 years in a high-need school. To be eligible for
funds, States would measure the effectiveness of their teacher
preparation programs based on student achievement data of their
graduates, among other measures; hold teacher preparation programs
accountable for results; and upgrade licensure and certification
Aligning job training and education with workforce demands
In addition to funding to reform traditional postsecondary
education and reshape the teaching profession, the 2013 request for
education includes key discretionary and mandatory investments aimed at
improving the connections between school and work and strengthening the
alignment of job training programs with workforce demands.
For example, the President is seeking $8 billion in mandatory funds
over 3 years for a Community College to Career Fund, jointly
administered by the Departments of Education and Labor, which would
support State and community college partnerships with businesses to
build the education and skills of American workers. Increased
investment in community colleges would help ensure our country has
among the best-skilled workforces in the world. I was pleased to see
this concept incorporated into a bill recently introduced by
Representatives Miller, Tierney, and Hinojosa. An additional $1 billion
over 3 years would expand Career Academies and increase by 50 percent
the number of students in these programs. For students at risk of
dropping out, Career Academies have been shown to reduce dropout rates,
improve attendance, and prepare students for careers that lead to high
And our discretionary request includes $1.1 billion to support the
reauthorization and reform of the Career and Technical Education (CTE)
program, which is currently set to expire at the end of fiscal year
2012. The Administration's reauthorization proposal would redesign and
transform CTE to better focus on outcomes and career pathways to ensure
that what students learn in school is more closely aligned with the
demands of the 21st century economy, while creating stronger linkages
between secondary and postsecondary education. The proposal would also
promote innovation and reform in CTE.
Support for at-risk students and adults
Finally, the President's 2013 budget for education would maintain
our longstanding commitment to formula grant programs for students most
at risk of educational failure. For example, the request includes $14.5
billion for the reauthorized Title I College- and Career-Ready Students
program (currently Title I Grants to Local Educational Agencies), as
well as nearly $534 million to support new awards under a reauthorized
School Turnaround Grants program (currently School Improvement Grants),
which would help school districts undertake fundamental reforms in
their lowest-achieving schools. We also are asking for $732 million for
a reauthorized English Learner Education program, which would help
States and school districts ensure that English Learners meet the same
college- and career-ready standards as other students.
In Special Education, the $11.6 billion request for Individuals
with Disabilities Education Act Grants to States would help States and
school districts pay the additional costs of educating students with
disabilities, while a $20 million increase for the Grants for Infants
and Families program would complement efforts to improve State early
learning systems through the Race to the Top--Early Learning Challenge
The 2013 request would also provide significant resources to help
adults pursue educational and employment opportunities, including $595
million for Adult Basic and Literacy Education State Grants to help
adults without a high school diploma or equivalent to obtain the
knowledge and skills necessary for postsecondary education, employment,
and self-sufficiency, and a total of $3.2 billion in mandatory and
discretionary funds for Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) State Grants and
complementary programs to help States and tribal governments increase
the participation of individuals with disabilities in the workforce.
Elementary and Secondary Education Act reauthorization
In addition to our budget request, I want to briefly address the
ongoing effort to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education
I spent many years in Chicago, implementing NCLB, and have traveled
the country--including to many of your States and districts--since I
have been Secretary, listening to parents, educators, students, and
other State and local leaders. And, wherever I go, I hear that NCLB,
while well-intentioned, has become an impediment to implementing
reforms that benefit kids--that it sanctions schools, rather than
encouraging and rewarding them, mislabels schools, and imposes ``one-
size-fits-all'' mandates, determined in Washington, that don't drive
reforms that benefit students.
NCLB was right to shine a bright light on achievement gaps and set
a clear expectation that all students must learn to the same standards.
Those were landmark changes, which brought a long-overdue focus on the
needs of English Learners, students with disabilities, and other at-
risk students. But that is not enough. If we are going to help children
and families to improve their lives and at the same time ensure our
country's continued economic competitiveness, we need to do everything
we can to meet the President's goal that, by 2020, the United States
again leads the world in the percentage of adults who are college
graduates, which includes raising the bar and making sure that every
student graduates from high school ready for college and a career--and
NCLB isn't going to get us there.
We need to move away from a punitive law that is concerned almost
exclusively about a single test on a single day, and toward supporting
and rewarding schools' and teachers' efforts to help every student
improve and reach their potential. And, while we must continue to
demand strong accountability--in other words, results--for all
students, and ensure dramatic interventions in the lowest-performing
schools, we need to give States and districts much more flexibility in
how they achieve those results.
That is why, two years ago, President Obama released our Blueprint
for Reform, and has called for a bipartisan reauthorization of ESEA.
Since then, the President and I have met multiple times with the
bipartisan leadership of this Committee and the Senate Health,
Education, Labor and Pensions Committee to work toward that goal.
Because, in the long run, what is best for our country's children is a
strong, bipartisan reauthorization of ESEA that addresses all of the
problems with the current law. And, as long as both the House and
Senate are moving in that direction, we will support you.
However, last September, in the absence of reauthorization, and
recognizing that NCLB had become an impediment to reform, President
Obama announced that we would invite States to request flexibility
regarding certain NCLB requirements so that they can move forward with
State- and locally driven reforms that will improve student achievement
for all students, regardless of their income or race, or whether they
have a disability or are English Learners, and increase the quality of
In early February, we approved the first 11 States for flexibility
regarding NCLB's mandates. We approved these States because they've
made commitments, each in ways that best fit their State and local
situations, to moving forward and adopting innovative approaches to
raising expectations for all students, incorporating student growth
into accountability systems, and measuring teacher and principal
effectiveness based on multiple measures, including student growth, to
improve student achievement and close achievement gaps. These reforms
can make a great difference in the lives of millions of children and
their families, and we look forward to supporting States and districts
in these efforts.
An additional 26 States and the District of Columbia submitted
their requests for flexibility on February 28, and we'll be working
with all of them to reach approval over the coming months, with the
Potential impact of the House Budget Committee FY 2013 budget
resolution and sequester
Before I conclude my testimony today, I'd like to take a moment to
address two issues that could threaten our ability to prepare American
students to compete in the global economy and undermine our national
House Budget Committee FY 2013 Budget Resolution
As you know, last week Congressman Ryan unveiled his FY 2013 Budget
Resolution, which the Budget Committee passed, and which the full House
is expected to consider this week.
However well-intentioned, the Ryan plan is flawed and will create a
significant burden on our ability to compete in a global economy by,
among other things, balancing the budget on the backs of America's
If the Republican Budget Resolution is enacted, we could see
disastrous consequences for America's children over the next couple of
By 2014, Title I, which helps fund educational programs and
resources for millions of low-income, minority, rural, and tribal
children, could see a $2.7 billion reduction that could deny resources
to over 9,000 schools serving more than 3.8 million students.
Money needed to help pay teachers, tutors, and funds for critical
after-school programs could no longer be there and as many as 38,000
teachers and aides could lose their jobs.
Funding to help educate students with disabilities could be cut by
over $2.2 billion, which would translate to the loss of nearly 30,000
special education teachers, aides and other staff.
200,000 children could lose access to Head Start
The Republican Budget Resolution would also have a devastating
impact on higher education:
It would cut almost $3 billion from Pell aid to students in 2013,
eliminating almost 400,000 recipients, and reducing the awards of 9.3
million others. It would also hurt borrowers and students at a time
when average student loan debt for a graduating senior is already more
Work-study funding could be cut by $185 million potentially denying
a meaningful opportunity to make college more affordable for up to
129,000 low income students.
And TRIO, which helps prepare low-income and minority students to
succeed in college, could be cut by $159 million, leaving 148,000
students in the lurch.
And that is just the tip of the iceberg. In short, passage of the
Ryan budget would propel the educational success of this country
backwards for years to come, and that is a risk we cannot afford to
I am also concerned about the potential impact of a 2013 sequester
on Federal education funding. While the Department has yet to complete
a detailed analysis of how a sequester would be implemented, we believe
the impact would be both significant and very negative. In a word, a
large sequester could be devastating. It would jeopardize our Nation's
ability to develop and support an educated, skilled workforce that can
compete in the global economy. Along with other deep cuts in defense
and non-defense spending, this potential harm to our economic
competitiveness is why the threat of a large, indiscriminate sequester
is a powerful incentive to spur action to reduce the deficit. By
design, the sequester is bad policy, bringing about deep cuts in
defense and non-defense spending and threatening continued economic
growth and prosperity.
Although the Administration is continuing to analyze the potential
impact of the sequester, the Congressional Budget Office has said that
in 2013 it would result in a 7.8 percent cut in non-security
discretionary accounts that are not exempt from the sequester. It would
be impossible for us to manage cuts of that magnitude and still achieve
our fundamental mission to prepare our students from the earliest ages
for college and careers.
For example, a 7.8 percent reduction in funding for large State
formula grant programs that serve over 21 million students in high
poverty schools and 6.6 million students with special needs could force
States, school districts, and schools to slash teacher salaries, lay
off teachers, or reduce services to these needy children. More
specifically, the resulting cut of more than $1.1 billion to Title I
could mean denying funding to nearly 4,000 schools serving more than
1.6 million disadvantaged students, and more than 16,000 teachers and
aides could lose their jobs.
Similarly, for the critical Part B Grants to States program under
the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the estimated 7.8
percent reduction in funding required by a sequester would mean the
loss of over $900 million, which could translate to the loss of 10,000
special education teachers, aides, and other staff providing essential
instruction and other support to children with disabilities. Because of
the indiscriminate nature of a sequester, the story would be the same
across all Department activities: we would no longer be able to provide
essential Federal support that helps pay for the costs of educating
students with disabilities, improving achievement for students from
low-income families, turning around failing schools, advancing
education reforms designed to help our kids compete in the global
economy, supporting the students of military families, providing work-
study jobs for postsecondary students, or helping parents pay for
It's also important to note that even without the sequester, non-
security discretionary spending has already been cut in nominal terms
for 2 straight years. Under the Budget Control Act targets, non-
security discretionary spending is on a path to reach its lowest level
as a share of GDP since the Eisenhower Administration. So the impact of
the significant cuts in Federal support for education that I have
described would be magnified, coming on top of already lower levels of
Federal education funding as well as reduced State and local education
spending resulting from the recent financial crisis and economic
recession. At a time when we are just starting to see strong signs of
renewed economic growth, as well as the positive impact of historic
education reforms that will contribute to future growth and prosperity,
it just makes no sense at all to undermine this progress through a
sequester of Federal discretionary spending.
The President has been clear that Congress needs to avoid a
sequester by passing a balanced deficit reduction measure including
targeted savings that total at least as much as the $1.2 trillion that
was required by the Budget Control Act. The President's 2013 request
reflects such a balanced proposal, and I believe Congress should enact
it and cancel the sequester. There would still be deficit reduction,
but not the mindless and harmful across-the-board cuts that could be
required by a large sequester. We all agree on the need for significant
deficit reduction, and we want to work with Congress on a balanced
approach toward this goal that combines fiscal responsibility with
investments in education that will help children and our economy.
In conclusion, the 2013 budget for education reflects the
President's determination to make the investments necessary to secure
America's future prosperity, even as he works with Congress on long-
term deficit reduction and fiscal sustainability goals. Our request
would sustain and build on current reforms in K-12 education, help
launch a nationwide conversation on the need for greater affordability
and quality in our postsecondary education system, put the Pell Grant
program on a more secure financial footing, and more closely link
education with workforce demands and employment outcomes. At the same
time, we would maintain strong support for longtime formula grant
programs that provide significant and essential assistance in helping
States, school districts, and schools to meet the needs of all
students, including students from low-income families, students with
disabilities, and English learners. I look forward to working with the
Committee to secure support for the President's 2013 budget and help
America educate its way to, as the President put it, ``an economy
that's built to last.''
Thank you. I would be happy to answer any questions you may have.
Chairman Kline. Thank you, Mr. Secretary.
I was remiss in not pointing out that pursuant to committee
rule 7c all committee members will be permitted to submit
written statements to be included in the permanent hearing
record, and without objection, the hearing record will remain
open for 14 days to allow statements, questions for the record,
and other extraneous material referenced during the hearing to
be submitted in the official hearing record.
Mr. Secretary, there will be a lot of debate here about
competing budgets today, and tomorrow, and I appreciated your
input on the--what will be the House budget. And it is a--an
important question as to the impact that competing budgets are
going to have on our children and grandchildren, and I would
argue and will argue that the trillion dollars of additional
debt that the president's budget places on our children and
students is probably not helpful for their future.
But I am interested particularly in your budget--
president's budget, the department's budget. You and I have
talked about this a number of times and I mentioned it in my
opening statement: I am really disappointed in the lack of any
increase in IDEA funding in the president's budget.
You found billions--billions of dollars, which we don't
really have, but you found billions of dollars to expand other
programs, create new programs, school construction, Race to the
Top, all manner of things, and not a dollar for IDEA. And so in
real terms we are decreasing that, and yet every school
leader--every superintendent, every principal, parent, teacher
that I talk to, that we have had here--says the thing that they
want most is for the Congress and for the federal government to
step up and get at least close to the 40 percent of the
increased cost that was agreed to years ago, and we have never
come close to half of that.
How do you explain to all of these parents and leaders that
your new programs and your ideas are more important than what
they demand the most and first?
Secretary Duncan. No, it is a great question. Your
commitment there has been fantastic and steadfast ever since
you and I met, and I really appreciate that.
I think we are trying to look at this in a more holistic
manner, so when you see States raising standards which benefit
children with disabilities significantly that is a huge win for
that community, and folks have been very supportive of that.
When you increase access to college through Pell Grants--so
many students with disabilities who historically have been
denied those opportunities now have the chance to do that.
We are investing significantly in turning around
chronically underperforming schools, many of which have a
disproportionate number of students with disabilities in them.
And so I think if you look at that collective investment,
trying to put more money into children with special needs when
they are young before they enter school--and so whether you
look at early childhood, whether you look at K-12 reform,
whether you look at greater access to higher education,
students with special needs I think have greater opportunities
going forward than they have had in the past.
Chairman Kline. All right. Well, I appreciate the
explanation but I just fundamentally disagree. These schools
need this money now. They can use it now; they know how to use
it now. And it needs to be something they can count on--not
spikes, not guesses, not ``we hope that we are going to improve
the over quality of the schools by a new program.''
And it just seems to me that the president is missing an
opportunity by not putting that in his budget. And I am sure we
will have this debate here and it is not uniquely a Democrat or
Republican problem here, but we--we need to address it in
Congress and I would really have appreciated the president's
help in setting the priority in his budget.
Let me talk about your conditional waiver package. As you
know, I think this is an overreach on your part. I don't
believe that the language of the law allows the secretary to
provide conditional waivers. But let me see if I can get into
how this might work.
As I understand it, the State plans are going to be
reviewed by external and internal--external and internal
reviewers, meaning that your staff is involved in the review
process. Is that correct?
Secretary Duncan. Yes, sir.
Chairman Kline. Your staff is. What does that involvement
entail? How independent is this peer review process if your
staff is in the decision-making process in granting these
conditional waivers? Seems like an awful lot of control in your
Secretary Duncan. Yes. So, it has been a very transparent
process. It begins with a thorough vetting by peer reviewers
who, again, have--are disinterested--don't have any opinion
there. Ultimately, I have to approve or not approve these
We are seeing extraordinary applications from around the
country--again, Democratic-led States, Independent States,
Republican-led States. I have to tell you, Chairman--Mr.
Chairman, that as I thought about doing this I talked to
probably 44 or 45 governors from around the country and, again,
all across the political spectrum, and every single one said
this is the right thing to do and thank goodness someone in
Washington is paying attention to what is going on.
So we have had 11 States apply. We have approved all 11. We
think there is some fantastic innovation there and creativity
and this--as I have said repeatedly, this has not been my first
choice and continue to want to work very, very hard with all of
you to reauthorize No Child Left Behind and fix it, and to do
it in a bipartisan way. That hasn't happened yet and so we felt
compelled to do this.
The one upside, I will say, of this is once the Congress
moves forward with a bipartisan process there are fantastic
ideas that are coming from the States that I think should
really inform your collective conversation. States are doing
some really, really creative things. And so I just urge all the
leaders here to look at what these 11 States have put on paper.
We have 26, 27 other States who have already applied and I
think those ideas could be very, very helpful once we move
forward together with fixing No Child Left Behind.
Chairman Kline. All right. I see my time is expired.
Mr. Miller. Thank you.
Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary, for your testimony, and
thank you again for the president's budget. Before we get into
a debate about whether or not we are going to increase funding
for IDEA we can see if we can get bipartisan support to erase
the $2 billion cut that is in that category in the Republican
budget. So we could start there and see if we can get to the
Chairman Kline. Would the gentleman yield?
Mr. Miller. Yes.
Chairman Kline. We have the president's budget right in
front of us. We know what that did. We are just speculating on
what the number might be in the Republican budget.
Mr. Miller. I don't think it is much speculation.
Chairman Kline. Oh, I think there is some speculation
there. I yield back.
Mr. Miller. I doubt if it is speculation.
So, the point is here that, as you point out, in the waiver
authority, which you clearly have under the law that CRS and
others have said is very clear, this is a voluntary process,
and what I find fascinating is this cross section of States--
both for Race to the Top and for the waivers--have said they
don't want to be held back by us. We know we have learned a
great deal in the last 10 years from the disclosure of how
students are doing in the schools and we see States stepping
And that is very exciting when you see governors making the
commitment to internationally benchmarked standards and
internationally benchmarked assessments, and assessments that
will go much deeper into allowing students to not only answer
the right question but then to demonstrate the knowledge base
from which they made that conclusion. And that is all possible
now with new technology, and that is one of the commitments
that is made in the new data systems that the governors are
asking for the waivers and that you have empowered them to do.
But I found a very interesting story yesterday when I
talked to some of the chief State school officers and I was
asked point blank in the Q&A period, ``What do I tell my
districts about the budget?'' They are looking forward to
whether or not we are going to get the education budget,
whether we are going to--Congress is going to get an overall
budget, whether or not we are going to go to sequestration in
December, whether or not that sequestration is going to be, as
we promised the American people when we voted for it, half out
of defense and half out of domestic. We see in the Republican
budget that they have decided that it is going to all come out
of the domestic side of the agenda.
So these governors who are racing forward--the chief State
schools officers who are racing forward to embrace innovation,
to embrace these new opportunities, to empower their teachers,
to improve their teachers, to evaluate the performance of their
teachers now are saying this all falls apart if we have no
certainty with respect to what our budgets are going to be. And
we are going to have a series of midcourse corrections and
layoff notices back and forth and that is just going to destroy
the kind of energy that you now see being engaged around the
waivers, around Race to the Top.
You had a chance to talk to the chiefs. I just wonder, what
are you telling them----
Secretary Duncan. Yes.
Mr. Miller [continuing]. About this uncertainty?
Secretary Duncan. Well, it is a huge concern. Again, I
think it is so important for all of us here in Washington to
listen to what is happening in the real world. And
unfortunately, Congress so often acts, if they act at all, at
the 11th hour at the 59th minute. And, you know, any
responsible school superintendent or chief State school officer
or governor, you know, they are setting their budgets now for
the fall and if we don't act until, you know, the end of the
calendar year, you know, third of the way--almost half the way
into the school year, folks have a very legitimate question. Do
they start cutting summer programs now, you know, in the fear
that Congress won't get its act together, or can they plan to
do the right thing?
And so I would just, you know, desperately urge Congress
not to wait until the last minute to come together. Nobody
wants to see sequestration happen and I think it is sort of
mutual self-destruction. But if we could get to a good
resolution sooner than later and provide some certainty to
people who are making real decisions about, you know, children,
and number of teachers, and after school programs, and extra-
curriculars, and summer school, I would really, really urge
Congress to do that.
Mr. Miller. Thank you.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman Kline. I thank the gentleman.
Mrs. Biggert, you are recognized.
Mrs. Biggert. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And thank you for being here, Mr. Secretary. I know you
have such passion for education and that comes very clearly in
what--all the things that you did in Illinois and now----
Secretary Duncan. Thank you.
Mrs. Biggert [continuing]. Yes, for the federal education.
But I have got some concerns, and some are--I would love to
talk about the big broad picture but we don't have time, so I
am concerned about Section 8002 payment being zeroed out in
your budget. That is the Impact Aid, and that affects several
of my school districts, and they rely on these funds and--but
currently, already these payments arrive several years late,
and I was just--I am really concerned that, particularly in
Illinois, where we are in such funding trouble, that I think
that the federal government is responsible for compensating
these districts impacted by the federal land.
Secretary Duncan. Yes. So just big picture, first of all, I
feel lots of senses of urgency in many areas, but at the top of
that list is what we do for the children of military families,
and as I have traveled the country and, you know, talked to
folks who are currently serving or veterans it is funny, they
never ask for anything for themselves. They just say, ``Please
take care of our kids.'' It is just amazing what they are--
their service. So this one is very, very personal.
Impact Aid is about $1.2 billion. We are concerned on the
backlog. We have eliminated that backlog. I think we are doing
a much better job of making those payments. Please hold us
accountable for doing that. We eliminated a small amount of
money where there weren't actually children, but that--the huge
lion's share of Impact Aid, $1.2 billion, remains intact.
One of the things that was so encouraging about 46 States
adopting common standards--I actually met with folks from the
military schools the other day--is you know how much military
families move and it was devastating to them to go to one State
in third grade and another State halfway through third grade
and see radically different standards. And to see so many
States voluntarily adopting common college and career ready
standards, the dividends, the benefits for military families is
absolutely huge and we really want to work with them on the
implementation there, as well.
Mrs. Biggert. Okay. Well, this isn't just the military, but
it is also for the laboratories and those kind of things, the--
Secretary Duncan. That is right.
Mrs. Biggert [continuing]. The land. And, you know, in
Illinois right now they are talking about having the school
districts pay for pensions because they are so broke----
Secretary Duncan. Yes.
Mrs. Biggert [continuing]. And this is not a good idea
because it is--there just--there isn't the money. So this is
very important to some of them.
And the other issue that I have is--because of the economy,
and we have seen such an increase in homelessness--
unprecedented numbers of children and youth, and at the end of
2009-2010 school year public schools enrolled 930,900 homeless
children and youth, and that is a 38 percent increase since the
2006-2007 school year. My concern is that with the McKinney-
Vento really being in the ESEA and whether that is not going
anywhere right now so that those funds are, you know, probably
will not be increased, which means that a lot of the homeless
children will not be getting the funding that is needed. So I
am concerned that the Race to the Top might be consuming some
funds that would otherwise accommodate this increase in
Secretary Duncan. Yes. And again, just an extraordinarily
vulnerable population, as you know so well. And those numbers,
unfortunately, are increasing across the country.
Our budget request includes $65 million for homeless
children and youth education, but as you know so well, this has
to be school and community partnership. So where you have
children who are hungry we have schools that are offering three
meals a day in some places. You have places--and we did this in
Chicago--that very quietly and discreetly sent children home on
Friday afternoons with backpacks full of food so they wouldn't
come back to school on Monday.
If you have to provide eyeglasses--children can't learn if
they can't see the blackboard. If you need to do dental
checkups, dental exams, you have to do that. So for me, this
can't be just what the school systems are doing; what are we
doing with the wraparound services of nonprofits, with social
service agencies, with churches to make sure those children are
getting those opportunities they need?
The final thing I would say is that for children who are
homeless and dealing with just tremendous trauma, instability,
often the only thing that is stable in their lives is their
neighborhood school, and whatever we can do to keep those
children in that school with their friends, with teachers who
care about them is hugely important, as well. So we have to
look at this comprehensively. This is a very real and growing
challenge that many districts--many who historically didn't
have any children who met this profile, unfortunately, this is
becoming part of their reality.
Mrs. Biggert. Well, that was all included in the No Child
Left Behind, as far as making sure that the--that students
would be enrolled immediately, which has been very important,
and having that stability that they have in education. So I
I yield back.
Chairman Kline. The gentlelady's time has expired.
Mr. Andrews. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I do want to return to our speculation discussion about
IDEA and just point out that if you take the numbers--and the
Ryan budget will be on the floor tomorrow--and you apply them
across the board pro rata there is a $2.2 billion cut in IDEA.
Now, if you want to restore that cut that means you cut tutors
in math and reading under Title I, or you cut Work Study for
college students in that area, or Pell Grants. So, you know, if
this is going to be evened out somehow let's understand that it
is not speculative at all that there will be----
Chairman Kline. Will the gentleman yield?
Mr. Andrews. I would be more than happy to.
Chairman Kline. But you are, indeed, speculating on whether
it is going to be across the board or not. The point is we have
to set priorities and my argument is that we ought to have the
priority be IDEA funding.
Mr. Andrews. Reclaiming my time, if it is not across the
board, can the chairman tell us where he would cut and by how
much to make up the $2.2 billion cut?
Chairman Kline. A debate we are looking forward to going
ahead, but clearly, my preference would be to take it from
other areas and make sure that we are increasing funding for
Mr. Andrews. Reclaiming my time, of course, the other
areas, as the secretary well knows, are reading and math
tutors, Work Study for college students, Pell Grants, things
that we think are very, very important, and I think we all
think are important.
Mr. Secretary, I think there are three points of consensus
here. One is that we should have high standards for all of our
students; the second is when students don't meet those high
standards we should have effective remedial actions; and the
third is that the inability of Congress to reauthorize the No
Child Left Behind Act has really impeded that progress in some
very important ways.
You have responded to that with what I think is a well
thought out program of waivers that are designed to increase
State flexibility, local flexibility. At the same time we are
maintaining our commitment to the standards that I just talked
Can you give us some examples in the 11 States that you
have granted waivers for of innovative and progressive ideas
that you think will be implemented because you gave those
Secretary Duncan. Sure. Just let me talk philosophically
that I think what No Child Left Behind got fundamentally wrong
is it was very, very loose on goals, so 50 different standards,
50 different goalposts, many of which got dummied down to make
politicians look good but were bad for children, but very
tight, very prescriptive on how you get there.
We have tried to flip that on its head with the waiver
process, and again, I think it is a model that would be helpful
as Congress moves forward--really empower local educators;
frankly, get Washington out of the way. For me the tradeoff is
simple: Where there is a high bar, where folks are talking
about college and career ready standards, where they are
willing to be held accountable to that high bar, give them so
much more flexibility to hit that. Get out of their way; let
them be innovative and let them be creative.
So what we are seeing coming from States is fascinating. In
Minnesota you have high-performing schools starting to partner
with low-performing schools to make sure that they are sharing
those best practices and learning.
What was interesting is some folks thought or were
concerned that we were somehow going to abandon accountable in
the waiver process. The furthest thing from it. Actually, in
many States--this gets a little technical, a little weedy--but
many States actually have many more children in their current
accountability system in the waiver process than they did in No
Child Left Behind because those children were invisible due to
large end sizes.
So I was recently in Colorado. Colorado has an additional
160,000 children--160,000 African American, Latino, special
needs children who are now part of the State's accountability
Mr. Andrews. Let's just pause on that for a moment because
I think it is important that we laypeople can understand it,
too. What you are saying is that under the existing law in
Colorado there were 160,000 minority children----
Secretary Duncan. And special needs children.
Mr. Andrews [continuing]. And special needs children for
whom measurements were really not being taken about their
Secretary Duncan. Those children were invisible under No
Child Left Behind----
Mr. Andrews. They were, pardon the pun, left behind. And
now that you have had this waiver in Colorado the creative
decisions by the State and local decision-makers now have us
looking at those children and assessing their progress, and
presumably enacting good remedial measures.
I mean, I would, frankly, encourage you to consider more of
these waivers with high standards and flexibility. Do you
intend to do that?
Secretary Duncan. So we have 27 States who have applied to
us. We are actually going through the peer review process that
the chairman talked about this week. I am actually leaving here
to go talk to the peer reviewers. And then we will be making
determinations on those on a rolling basis as we move into next
month, and then we will have another round of States who will
probably come in September.
So there is, again, tremendous interest out there across
the political spectrum from States----
Mr. Andrews. I will also tell you, Mr. Secretary, I am
beginning to see the benefits in my own State and I will tell
you that both our Republican governor and our Democratic
legislators were in favor of this waiver happening. We think it
is good for the children in New Jersey. And I thank you.
Secretary Duncan. And New Jersey actually had a very
Chairman Kline. Thank the gentleman.
Mr. Platts. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Secretary, thanks for being here and for your
testimony. I certainly welcome and support your overall message
and the president's message that especially in today's world
access to affordable, quality education--basic education and
higher education--is key to us remaining that land of
opportunity that we take so much pride in as a country.
I am going to mention a couple issues just to put on your
radar and then maybe get into one more specific. One is just I
appreciate your reference to early education issues, and Head
Start, in particular, Even Start--early--Head Start, the
importance of making that investment up front.
Along with that is something that is not real prominent or
focused on in the budget proposal, and that is family
Secretary Duncan. Yes.
Mr. Platts. You know, I know as a parent yourself and for
my boys now in seventh and ninth grade, I know that our
involvement in their education is key. Congresswoman McCarthy
and I have worked on an issue dealing with the Parent
Information Resource Centers, which is really the only, you
know, program in the federal government focused solely on
family engagement. And so we are pushing with appropriations
trying to get some money set aside--make sure that that program
is adequately funded so that we have the means to ensure
parents are engaged.
I would also just quickly reference the special education
challenge. You know, first 20 years, single digit dollars.
President Clinton--Democratic president, Republican governor--
or, Republican Congress came together. We get up to about 20
percent and the concern is that we are going to start dropping
back, that that is on your radar.
And also, my colleague here from Illinois' homeless
children--my one sister is a social service coordinator between
her school district, social service agencies, and, you know, in
schools that--in my district people don't think we have any
homeless children. They are shocked when they see the numbers
of how many children are in their district that are homeless.
I want to get into more detail on higher education.
Especially appreciate the focus on Perkins Loan reform, Work
Study, the improvement and expansion in the Stafford Loan
issue. As one who could not have followed my dream of serving
in this Congress without Perkins Loans, without a Work Study
job in college, without Stafford Loans, I would not be here
today. Behind my parents, that opportunity I had----
Can you expand--you talked about in the Perkins Loan of
doing something similar as we did on the Direct Loan program
and how to reform it. I supported the Direct Loan program
effort and the savings on that program. The official estimate
was, I think, about $80 billion over 10 years.
Can you share any more detail on what you are looking at
doing in that area?
Secretary Duncan. Sure. And so just to step back, again,
every study--we just had another one come out yesterday--says
as a nation we are going to need dramatically more college-
educated workers than we have today. Study came out yesterday
said about 23 million more degree-holders will be needed by
2025 than we are producing today, so huge sense of urgency. If
we are going to keep good jobs here and not have them go
overseas we have to dramatically increase college completion
Big part of that has to be access, so one of the things I
am most proud of is an additional $40 billion in Pell Grants
for young people. Did that, simply stopped subsidizing banks,
put all those resources into young people. It was a little
controversial here in Washington and we thought that made
absolute common sense. Just in the past 2 years we have gone
from 6 million young people with access to Pell Grants to 9
million--a 50 percent increase.
On the Perkins Loans, we want to significantly increase
opportunity and our proposal would go from about 1,700 schools
offering Perkins Loans to about 4,400. We would go from about
500,000 recipients to almost 2 million--looking to quadruple
that and to have the average loan go from about $1,800 to
$4,400. So these are all pieces of increasing access.
Again, we have to challenge States to continue to invest.
We can't do it by ourselves. We have to challenge universities
to not have tuition that is skyrocketing much higher than
regular inflation. We have to provide much greater transparency
so young people and their families can make good choices.
But it is a piece of the puzzle. Pell Grants, Perkins
Loans, Work Study that you talked about, doubling those
opportunities we think are hugely important to increasing
access to higher education.
Mr. Platts. Real quickly before I run out of time, is it
fair to say if we do not find a way to maintain the 3.4 percent
rate on Stafford Loans then in essence we will be making--or
getting a windfall on the backs of students because our
borrowing rate as a government is, you know, what, maybe 2
percent and we would be charging 6.8?
Secretary Duncan. Again, to double that interest rate now
for young people makes no sense whatsoever.
Mr. Platts. Okay.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I yield back.
Chairman Kline. Mr. Hinojosa?
Mr. Hinojosa. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Secretary Duncan, thank you for coming to testify before
our committee. Thank you for outlining your priorities for the
U.S. Department of Education for fiscal year 2013.
According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau,
total outstanding student loan debt surpassed $1 trillion late
last year. In fact, student loan debt now exceeds credit card
debt for the first time. To make matters worse, the Republican
budget would allow interest rates for student loans to double
in July of this year, as was pointed out by Congressman Platts.
Mr. Secretary, how would President Obama's college
affordability proposals provide relief and assistance to the
low-income and middle-income students and families that
Congresswoman Biggert asked about?
Secretary Duncan. So there are a number of issues here.
Obviously, having that interest rate double in July through
congressional inaction to me is not acceptable. We need
Congress to act, and to act together.
We have talked about Pell Grants and what that is doing to
increase access. We have talked about Perkins Loans and what
that would do. I think doubling Work Study would be hugely
important for so many people like Congressman Platts, who
worked their way through college and need more of those
And then on the back end, looking to reduce those debt
repayments through income-based repayment, where loan
repayments are indexed to your income. If you are making more
you pay more; if you are making less you pay less. And then
finally, if you go into the public service, after 10 years of
being a teacher or working in government or working in
nonprofit those debts are erased and forgiven.
So we are trying to work extraordinarily hard on the front
end, trying to provide relief on the back end. But I just want
to again reiterate, we as the federal government can't do this
States have to invest in higher education. Last year 40
States cut funding to higher education. I recognize budgets are
tough but that is not good for our country. And then
universities have to keep down tuition.
We are seeing some great creativity from many universities
going to 3-year programs, no frills campuses, using technology
to reduce costs and to actually increase passing rates in some
of those intro classes, but we need to incentivize States to do
the right thing and institutions to do the right thing, as
well. We can't do this by ourselves here.
Mr. Hinojosa. In your testimony you indicated the U.S.
Department of Education issued 11 No Child Left Behind waivers
to date and talked about the next, I think, 27 States that have
applied. Are you allowing States to waive their annual
measurable achievement objectives for English language learners
under Title III?
Secretary Duncan. No. Actually, it is, again, so
interesting. Folks are actually holding themselves to a higher
bar, which has been very encouraging, and looking at every
single subgroup, whether it is English language learners, or
students with special needs, or African American children, or
Latino children, looking at those subgroups and how they are
improving each year is very, very important, and not just
looking at absolute test scores, which I am not a big believer
in, but looking in growth and gain, how much are they
You see some States moving way beyond just test scores,
looking at increases in graduation rates, looking at reductions
in dropout rates, looking at the percent of students going to
college--going to college not needing remedial classes, going
to college and persevering. More complicated, but it is much
more sophisticated, you know, much more comprehensive. And
again, once Congress moves forward together on reauthorization
I think they are fantastic examples for them to learn from.
So for English language learners, students with special
needs, much greater accountability than existed before, and
coupled with that greater accountability, additional support.
Mr. Hinojosa. The percent of English language learners has
increased and is moving up faster, especially in my State of
Texas. How are you monitoring State plans and ensuring that
school districts achieve their performance targets and increase
high school graduation rates for all students, particularly for
the subgroups we were discussing?
Secretary Duncan. So these are waivers that aren't granted
indefinitely and we will continue to monitor folks' progress
against hitting those goals. And if folks either have a lack of
capacity, or act in bad faith, or aren't moving we have the
ability to revoke those waivers. And that is not something we
want to do or look forward to do; we want to partner with these
States to be successful. But if a State commits to certain
things and then decides they no longer care about the results
or the performance of English language learners we absolutely
have the power and ability to revoke that waiver.
Mr. Hinojosa. I attended an event here at the Rayburn House
Office Building this week sponsored by the Lumina Foundation
and Georgetown University and they released a study that
indicates our undereducated population in the whole United
States, and it lists them by States, and it is really troubling
to me that we would want to make the cuts in the proposed
budget by the majority today seeing that our country is falling
way behind other countries, and that really concerns me.
Chairman Kline. Sorry. The gentleman's time has expired.
Mr. Roe. Thank the chairman.
And certainly thank the secretary for being here today and
all the work you have done for the nation's schoolchildren.
Just a couple of points I want to go over. One is affordable
college and the college loans we have talked about and Pell
Grants, and I will start with Pell Grants.
Certainly we have had a great increase in the Pell Grant
funding, and let me just go over some concerns that my--the two
community college presidents in my district brought up--
Northeast State and Walters State Community College. Pell Grant
is $5,500. In Tennessee if you go to a community college you
get a $2,000 Hope Scholarship. We use all of our lottery money
for college scholarship, so 4-year college you get $4,000 and
$2,000 for community college.
In doing that, the cost of the community college is about
$4,000 a year, so you actually make money when you get the Pell
Grant. What are you doing for fraud and abuse?
It would look to me like that the Pell Grant would be to
pay for college, and I know when I was in college, or when Mr.
Platts or others in this room--I can look by the gray hair on
our heads--that you could work your way through college, and
you can't do that now. It is just too expensive.
And my question is, what is the department doing to look at
how much more money--I can find your IDEA money, I think, in
the Pell Grant program. We have people that are buying cars at
home with their Pell Grant money.
And it should go to the college, I think, to pay for the
books, and fees, and tuition, and the cost of college. But you
shouldn't make money going to community college.
Secretary Duncan. First of all, I just want to say,
Tennessee is doing some remarkable things in driving reform.
You should be really, really proud of what your State is doing.
Obviously, whether it is FSA, whether it is our inspector
general, if there is fraud or abuse of taxpayer dollars we have
to look at that very, very seriously, and I pledge to you, we
will continue to do that. I will say, community colleges I
think are a huge part of the solution to where our country
needs to go and folks, you know, 18 years old or 58 years old
going back to retrain and retool in green energy jobs and
health care jobs and I.T. jobs--as families get back on their
feet the country is going to get back on its feet. I think
community colleges have a real role to play there.
Mr. Roe. Totally agree.
Secretary Duncan. So many folks in community colleges are
older, they have children. It is not like they are wealthy.
They are going back because they have struggled in a changing
economy and going back to get those skills.
So where there is abuse we will look at it. The folks I
talk to are frankly extraordinarily inspiring and are working
very, very hard to take that next step up the economic ladder.
Mr. Roe. If I can find that information--and I can--I will
get that to you. And I want the funds used where we get the
maximum bang for the buck, as you do, so I want to make sure--
Secretary Duncan. Absolutely.
Mr. Roe [continuing]. That we are spending it and more
people can use and take advantage of this money that is out
Now, college affordability--let me go through this a little
bit, and it is a little bit complicated. Tennessee has had this
problem. We tried to reform our health care plan in the early
1990s, called TennCare, and we did that and we expanded our
Medicaid program so much that it--that we haven't had any or
minimal increase in higher education funding in 20 years in
And you just pointed out that 40 States actually cut
funding to higher education, which means that the cost is going
to go up--it is a proverbial catch-22. So you have got it, and
instead of making college less expensive we have actually
funded our Medicaid program. We have got an Affordable Care Act
that is going to massively expand Medicaid and it scares
Governor Bill Haslam to death with his extra cost he is going
to have with the expanded Medicaid.
So they are all tied together because there is just one pot
of money that we have in our State. We have to balance our
budget. We don't have the privilege here of having a budget
deficit in Tennessee in our cities, or--we have a balanced
budget amendment, I think, as 49 States do.
So to your point, it is all tied together, and when we
talked about the Ryan budget, it is looking at the entire
budget. I know you are the Secretary of Education and you have
got to look at it for education, but our job is to look after
the entire budget.
And I want to go through very--Mr. Hinojosa has left, but
to his point on student loans I wanted to make--actually, there
is a little more to that student loan, and you and I have
talked about this yesterday. It would be horrific for rates to
go from 3.4 to 6.8 if you have got $100,000 in student loans.
But going back and reviewing this, actually the Deficit
Reduction Act of 2005 the Republicans proposed eliminating the
fixed rate, and it wasn't included in the final bill. If we had
done that it had a variable rate it would be a 2.3 percent
interest rate now for students.
Why doesn't it float? And by the way, in the president's
budget this is only a 1-year fix. In the 2013-2014, as you
know, it goes back to 6.8, and I think students across the
country shudder at that. Why don't we just have a variable rate
where they can take advantage of these very low interest rates
Secretary Duncan. Again, I think we want to work together
with you to make sure these rates don't jump up and to maintain
it for the long haul. And so I think we have an immediate need
now we want to address but I think your long-term concern we
absolutely share with you and want to partner with you to
figure out how that doesn't happen.
Mr. Roe. Okay.
And I thank you, Mr. Chairman. I yield back.
Chairman Kline. Thank the gentleman.
Mrs. Davis. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And, Mr. Secretary, good to see you. I want to first ask
you to talk a little bit about the president's budget and the
consolidation of programs. As you know, we were talking about
the proposal here on ESEA was looking at one large block grant,
and many of us were very concerned that programs for the most
needy children, and the reason, really, that we created the
program to begin with, would be essentially lost through the
Talk about the consolidation programs. How does that help
State and local districts and where is that flexibility?
Because as we all know, I mean, school districts look for that
flexibility and we all think that is important but we don't
feel that we could, you know, leave kids behind in that regard.
Secretary Duncan. Yes. So again, all this stuff is trying
to really figure what is the appropriate federal role. And
again, I would go back to where I started. My premise is where
folks are willing to hold themselves to a high bar and hold
themselves accountable for hitting that high bar I want to be
less prescriptive from Washington and give them more room to
move and more flexibility.
And obviously the best ideas in education aren't going to
come from me or, frankly, any of us here in Washington. They
always come at the local level.
And what I have seen across the country, whether it is
waivers, whether it is Race to the Top, is this huge amount of
creativity and this huge amount of innovation. And I will tell
you, we have seen as much innovation reform from States who
didn't get a nickel from us as States that got hundreds of
millions of dollars. And so in really empowering these
educators to continue to drive reform forward, I think that is
a really appropriate federal role.
Mrs. Davis. But how does that work and a larger block grant
does not work? And if you could, you know, even look to those
States which don't necessarily have waivers--California and
Secretary Duncan. Yes. So again, we have to sort of look
State by State at how serious they are and what they are doing,
but for me the tradeoff is where folks are holding themselves
to a high bar for English language learners, for students with
special needs, for, you know, increasing graduation rates, more
students going to college--should we give local superintendents
more room to move? We should.
I will just give you one concrete example. When I was the
superintendent of Chicago Public Schools I had to get in a
fight with our Department of Education here for the right to
tutor about 25,000 children after school. I had Washington
telling me I couldn't tutor kids after school who wanted to
work hard. That made no sense to me.
That is the kind of flexibility. Hold me accountable for
improving their results but give me the opportunity. Don't tell
me I can't tutor 25,000 children after school who are trying to
do better academically. That is not appropriate.
Mrs. Davis. Yes. Okay, well I think what we maybe need to
work harder at trying to understand the differences----
Secretary Duncan. Yes.
Mrs. Davis [continuing]. That are out there and how that is
really affecting our kids.
I wanted to also just turn quickly to the issue of our
Secretary Duncan. Yes.
Mrs. Davis [continuing]. And educational programs for them,
because we know that there is a tremendous amount of transition
as people return from a war theater, but even that as we
downsize the military, we are going to have a lot of people who
are looking to careers and certifications. How can we best work
with the Department of Education as well as, I think, the
Department of Labor--Secretary Solis was here the other day--,
and Veterans Affairs--getting out information to veterans about
what programs really are out there and work best for them? We
know for-profits, nonprofits, university systems, it is very
hard to go to one place to get that kind of information.
Secretary Duncan. I actually met with a group of veterans,
you know, 10 days ago, and the package of information they come
when they are leaving service I think is not maybe as
informative as it should be, and so we really want to work hard
with the V.A. to make sure they know all their opportunities--
you know, community colleges, 4-year institutions, whatever it
might be--how we help them articulate the real skills and
knowledge they have developed in the military and use that to
move forward in their academic career.
I would love many, many more veterans to become Troops to
Teachers programs, and we need more men and we need more
diversity to workforce. There are so many strong leaders there,
and if you have been to Iraq and Afghanistan you are not too
scared about going to teach in an inner city school; you can
handle that. And so I think there is so much we can do to
better support our veterans, give them much more comprehensive
information, and we want to be a better partner with the V.A.
to make sure that is happening.
Mrs. Davis. Is it appropriate to put some limit on the
amount of federal dollars that any particular school can take?
I know there are proposals for 90/10, so at least 10 percent
has to be nonfederal dollars. What makes sense?
Secretary Duncan. I think we have to look at all those hard
issues. My big thing is the last thing I want is for a veteran
to get abused coming out after serving their country and to
somehow take on more debt than they can handle to get training
that doesn't lead to a real job. That is just absolutely
And so making sure that veterans have good options, are
getting, you know, the education they need to get the job they
need to keep moving forward--that, to me, is our collective
common interest and that is what we have to--we have to make
sure we get that done.
Mrs. Davis. Is there some way we can hold those schools
accountable for that?
Chairman Kline. The gentlelady's time----
Secretary Duncan. We absolutely need to.
Chairman Kline [continuing]. Has expired.
Mr. Walberg. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And thank you for being here, Mr. Secretary. We have heard
many remarks this morning about the cost of college and yearly
increases in tuition at some institutions outpacing the rate of
I have my own concerns about the relationship between the
history of increases in federal aid and the increases of
tuition rates. Do you know whether the National Center for
Education Statistics has conducted any recent studies in the
correlations between federal student aid and tuition prices?
Secretary Duncan. Yes. There are a number of different
studies. We look at this very, very closely. I looked, just for
example, at Pell Grants over the last 30 years, and it is
interesting, in--to be clear, over the past 30 years every
single year tuition has gone up as a country. Over the past 30
years--my numbers won't be exact--I think in 19 of them Pell
Grants went up, in 10 of them Pell Grants were flat, and in one
of those years Pell Grants actually went down, but every single
year tuition went up. And so that is the kind of information we
are looking at historically.
Mr. Walberg. That is good information to look at because
there is concern that when we have automatic funding
opportunities and then we have the impact of the entire federal
budget on our States----
Secretary Duncan. Yes.
Mr. Walberg [continuing]. And a centralized government that
becomes more aggressive in eating up dollars that can go back
to districts we can have those problems, and it is a challenge
at every level.
But, you know, when I--as I watched your time at the
Chicago Public School System, where my daughter taught, in
fact, until she gave us--my wife and myself--the opportunity to
be spoilers of young children with our grandchildren--I was
impressed very much with your creativity. When you speak about
what is going on in the States today, even right now, as you
appear before us, you can just sense the creative juices that
flow with the opportunity for individual States and local
school districts to make great choices, creative choices,
productive choices for their students.
When you speak about the federal government's
responsibility, even in your opening statements, frankly, I
must admit, it frightens me because of the impact of a growing
government that gives less opportunity for States and local
communities to develop that creativity to teach our students
with the needs that they have. And I know you speak for the
administration and I know that is a challenge to be in a
position as a producer in education but now also directing a
federal government program, agency that is a relatively new
agency in the whole grand scheme of things.
What specific efforts at the department can you point to,
Mr. Secretary, that demonstrate a reduction in the federal role
of education, and ultimately the role that siphons off limited
local State dollars?
Secretary Duncan. Two huge examples, the entire Race to the
Top initiative is just trying to empower the great ideas of
local educators, and all those States that we funded put
together--46 States put together plans. Those weren't our
plans; those were all locally developed with huge buy-in. And
so what we are trying to do is put resources behind the great
ideas at the local level----
Mr. Walberg. With significant top-down management of that.
Secretary Duncan. Again----
Mr. Walberg. In Michigan it certainly was.
Secretary Duncan. Forty-six States put together their own
The second one would be the whole waiver process, where I
think we in Washington are in the way. I think No Child Left
Behind law is fundamentally broken. It is 5 years overdue to be
fixed. I think we all agree on that. And the fact that we were
able to get Washington out of the way for 11 States to date--
and we have got many more coming--I think is a huge step in the
right direction to empowering local educators.
Mr. Walberg. I would certainly say the waiver system is,
and I think it evidences why we need to get further out of the
way as the federal government. And in fact, our No Child Left
Behind reauthorizations that we have done so far goes that
direction in giving just general oversight but a great amount
of opportunity for our local States.
How many notices--let me ask in final seconds here--how
many notices of proposed rulemakings have you issued that have
a full 90-day comment period?
Secretary Duncan. I don't know an exact number. I would
have to get back to you on that.
Mr. Walberg. I would love for you to get back on that,
because again, that is another opportunity that I think flows
into your wheelhouse of desiring good input from local
education professionals to make sure it works at the local
level, and I think we need more opportunity for people to
express their concerns, their ideas, their objectives, and
ultimately get away from this top-down federal--I would hate to
say mismanagement, but management of a system that, frankly,
isn't serving a lot of our districts well.
Secretary Duncan. The other thing, if I could just quickly
add, one area where we are really thinking about going forward
is how we elevate the teaching profession itself so we have
many more young people, like your daughter, committing to do
this. And as I look at these high performing countries around
the globe, teachers are paid at a very different level, they
are respected at a very different level, there is a different
level of status. I think educators and education has been
beaten down here for far too long, so hopefully this will be an
area of common work going forward of how we bring in this next
generation of extraordinary talent to replace the baby boomer
generation that is retiring.
Mr. Walberg. I applaud that--professionalism versus labor.
Chairman Kline. The gentleman's time has expired.
Ms. Fudge. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And thank you, Mr. Secretary, for being here. Certainly you
knew when you came in today that you were in a no-win
situation. You know, we have got a cut chorus in our majority
that cut, cut, cut, et cetera, when they don't want it cut. So
you knew you were going to be in a difficult spot.
I have three questions for you, Mr. Secretary, and I want
to ask them all at once and then give you the balance of the
time to answer all three.
The first one deals with Race to the Top and other
competitive funding. I mean, certainly you look at the fiscal
year 2013 budget and see that you would increase competitive
grants from 12 percent to 18 percent of the budget. Now, when
so many States are continuing to cut education funding how does
this shift away from formula grants benefit all students, which
I believe is what the federal government should be trying to do
is benefit all students, especially when I come from the State
of Ohio and we did receive Race to the Top funding but within a
few months we changed governors and he wanted to immediately
change how those resources were to be spent? That is question
Question number two: There are almost 2,000 high schools--
13 percent of all high schools in America--that are labeled
dropout factories. In these dropout factories the typical
freshman class shrinks by 40 percent or more by the time
students reach their senior year.
In my home State of Ohio approximately 135 schools are
labeled dropout factories. Now, I acknowledge that the issue of
dropout factories is not a new issue; however, it has festered
for a very long time--too long. So I want to know what steps
you are taking to decrease the number of dropout factories.
And thirdly and lastly, Mr. Secretary, the Cleveland
Central Promise Neighborhood, a neighborhood located in the
heart of my congressional district, has applied twice for the
department's Promise Neighborhood Grant. In both rounds of
funding the organization scored very high; however, not high
enough to receive an implementation grant. The question is,
does the department have any plans in the future to use its
discretionary power to award previous high-scoring applicants
instead of making them go through the costly process again?
Secretary Duncan. Three great questions. Let me try and
take them--my numbers differ a little bit from yours. I am not
seeing in our budget a huge increase from 12 to 18 percent on
competitive dollars; I think it is about at 16 percent. But I
do think we need to--this sort of goes to your third point of
the tension between, you know, formula and competitive--we
think the overwhelming majority of our dollars always should be
and always will be formula-based, but we also think we need to
Our challenge in things like Promise Neighborhoods is, for
example, the first round we had 300 applicants--fantastic
applicants. We only had competitive dollars to fund 20, and
that is--so that is the tension that we are always trying to
And so as we move forward we are asking for more money for
Promise Neighborhoods. We think that is a huge part of the
answer. Your question of how--whether we fund down the slate or
re-compete is a really good question that we will sort of take
that up and think through how we will do that. But again, I am
just asking you to give us some flexibility to reward more
I have to just give you another example----
Ms. Fudge. Well, let me just say this, and I think that you
are right, but the problem being that every single child in
this county deserves a good basic education.
Secretary Duncan. Hundred percent agree. And we also need--
so we need to do that--I think we have to do both. We have to
do that and we have to help some folks move forward to the next
level and really encourage that.
And it is interesting on--just yesterday I met with Ohio's
State Race to the Top team, and for all the political turmoil
and upheaval that team has just kept working really hard, and
we actually feel very, very good about what they are doing, so
they have sort of kept the politics to the side. They are doing
some really innovative----
Ms. Fudge. You can't keep the politics to the side.
Secretary Duncan. Well, they have done as good a job as
anybody and they are moving forward in a very, very good way.
We actually feel very good about Ohio's results. And again, I
just give them tremendous credit because we know how difficult
Your middle point around the dropout factories, and it sort
of goes back to the previous question about what is an
appropriate federal role. Race to the Top has got all the
press. That is fine. That is $4 billion for the whole country.
We have put $4 billion behind the bottom 5 percent of
schools--those dropout factories. There is a massively
disproportionate investment, not in the status quo but in a
very different vision of reform.
And where are we being effective? Recent numbers have come
out--and these are very early so I don't want to get too
carried away--but we are seeing significant reductions in
dropout rates in many of these places, significant increases in
graduation rates. One in four have seen double-digit increases
in math scores in 1 year; one in five have seen that in
reading. Nobody predicted that was possible.
And for all the data--two other quick numbers: We are
seeing a reduction in the number of high schools that are
dropout factories in the country. We have 400,000 less children
to date going to a dropout factory than just a couple years
None of these schools are where we want them to be yet.
They still have a long way to go. But huge progress there--more
time, more social workers, more counselors, paying math and
science teachers more, real innovation coming at the local
But for all the data, the most important thing is when I go
talk to the students at these schools what they say is so
profound. And you talk to, you know, children who are juniors
in high school who were in the previous situation for 2 years,
now in a turnaround school, one young man said, ``Arne, if this
would have couple years ago more of my friends freshman year
would still be here with me. We have teachers who care. We are
working in very different ways.''
And so we need to look at the data but we need to listen to
young people. All of these are not wild success stories; some
of them still have a long way to go. But I am just so thrilled
for the first time as a country we are not just expecting the
status quo; we are not standing by complacency--complacently
and letting black and brown children, poor children just, you
know, go off into the streets, and as a country we are in the
business of turning around schools and we feel very, very good
about our ability to support that hard work.
Chairman Kline. The gentlelady's time has expired.
Mr. DesJarlais. Secretary Duncan, great to see you today
and thanks for being here. I would like to spend my time, I
think, talking about the first part of your opening statement,
and that would be the cost of the higher education. I think you
referenced maybe a five-fold increase in cost at over--what
timeframe was that?
Secretary Duncan. In a short amount of time. It has gone up
way--that higher education costs are going up much faster than
the rate of inflation.
Mr. DesJarlais. Okay. And I think you and I both agree that
good education is not going to happen without a motivated
educator and a motivated student. So what I have found in
talking to some of the presidents of the universities that are
in Tennessee--MTSU, Dr. McPhee, and over at University of
Tennessee, Knoxville, as well--is that there are so many
students now that come in on the 5-or 6-year plan. And I guess
the cost--if an average credit--or a semester is 12 credit
hours, as opposed to 16 or maybe 18 when we went to school,
one, what can we do to address that? And before we get into
that, though, what, in your opinion, has driven the cost of
these institutions to that five-fold increase in a short period
Secretary Duncan. Yes. No short, easy answer. These are
A big part of the problem--so I will get to the higher
education piece--big part of the problem is the pipeline. We
have so many young people who are graduating from high school
who aren't college and career ready and so they are taking
remedial classes, they are burning Pell Grants, they are taking
5 and 6 and 7 years to graduate. So again, not overnight, but
seeing 46 States raise standards--college and career ready
standards--is a huge direction in who is moving in the right
And far too many young people think they are graduating
college and career ready and they are never close. Higher
education didn't talk to K-12 and so those disconnects, I
think, have led to those 5-and 6-and 7-year, you know
challenges. And having students--many more students graduate
college and career ready is a big step in the right direction.
I have gone to some communities where--this isn't the
dropouts; this is the graduates--where 90 percent of high
school graduates are taking remedial classes--90 percent. So we
have been lying to them, as a country. And we have to challenge
that. So that is a piece of this, not just on higher education
On the higher education side, again, not one easy thing. As
we have heard repeatedly, when States cut back their investment
tuition goes up, and so where States don't invest particularly
in the publics they go up, but I think we have to challenge
universities, as well, to become more creative. Some have been
slow in using technology in different ways.
There are a whole set of universities now that are being
very creative in keeping down costs and actually getting better
academic outcomes for young people. We are just trying to take
those best practices to scale and provide some incentives for
States to invest, for universities to do the right thing. And
again, for me it can't just be about access; it has got to be
Mr. DesJarlais. Okay.
Secretary Duncan. I think we haven't done enough at the
federal level to incentivize completion.
Mr. DesJarlais. Definitely I don't think we are going to
solve this problem without accountability no matter how much
money we put on it. You know, the costs keep going up. If we
don't have prepared, motivated students coming then it doesn't
matter how much we raise the Pell Grant, we are not going to
get an end product that we desire.
And if we want to put on our business hats for a minute and
the federal government is going to invest in education you want
to see some return on investment. Right now I don't think that
we are seeing a good return on investment despite heaping more
and more money on it, and that seems to be the federal
government's philosophy across the board outside of education
as well--if something doesn't work let's just put more money.
It is kind of like the tail wagging the dog; it is almost like
we have an ongoing bailout of educational institutions.
And, you know, I just--as we looked at this budget and we
see the Pell Grants that have gone from $12 billion up to $40
billion since President Obama took office, I don't think we are
seeing a return on that investment. Do you?
Secretary Duncan. Well, it is very early, but the fact that
we have gone from 6 million young people having access to Pell
Grants to 9 million just in the past 2 to 3 years, actually I
think that is a big step in the right direction. One very, very
encouraging number is in the past year we have seen a 24
percent increase in the number of Latino students going on to
college and--those enrolling. Now we have got to make sure they
graduate. But I actually do think there are some very
interesting trends in the right direction.
Mr. DesJarlais. Okay. But that is the key is completion,
and instead of throwing more money first it seems like we ought
to fix the problem. We ought to fix why the costs continue to
go up and up, because if we don't slow the costs we are never
going to catch up by heaping more money, and especially if we
don't have students that are college ready and motivated then
in a sense we are wasting the taxpayers' money and throwing it
away. So I think we are ignoring the big problem here and we
need to have that discussion before we discuss increasing the
amount of money we spend.
Secretary Duncan. Yes. Just to be very clear, I don't think
we are ignoring it. We are actually proposing a Race to the Top
for higher education to incentivize States to invest and to
incentivize universities to do two things: keep their costs
down and to make sure that young people--first generation
college goers, Pell Grant recipients--are graduating.
So I think we are actually very much in harmony there. I
don't think we have done enough to incentivize completion
historically, and that is exactly what we are trying to do.
Mr. DesJarlais. And we are not going to fix it unless we do
that, and I thank you. I would be happy to work with you more
on those issues and appreciate your time.
I yield back.
Chairman Kline. Thank the gentleman.
Mrs. McCarthy. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And welcome, again, Secretary Duncan. I wanted to talk
about--I was going to talk about the Pell Grants but I want to
also say my colleague from Pennsylvania, Mr. Platts, you know,
he talked about, you know, legislation that he and I have
worked together to make sure that families are involved, which
obviously the president has put forward that in his plans and
speaking for it.
And Mrs. Biggert talked about, you know, the homeless
children that we have out on our streets, children with
disabilities in schools, and, you know, some will say that,
well, we have other wrap-around programs to help these students
but the truth of the matter is, as far as homeless children,
children with disabilities that need that extra help, the
schools don't have the money for it anymore and they truly
And as far as the wrap-around programs, go to any of my
food banks, go to any of the community centers--they don't have
it either anymore because the money has not come down from the
State, it has not come down from the local communities. People
donate, they try to raise money, but it is just not there.
It actually does follow, you know, what we are trying to do
to make sure our children and our students are being educated
in the early grades, junior high, and high school so they are
ready for the Pell Grants. When we see these kind of cuts in
the Pell Grants over the next 10 years, when we are trying to
make sure that young people are going to college, have the
financial means for it--some say the prices have gone up.
I live in New York. Even our community colleges, which are
still a buy--you know, it is a good buy--they are still
And when you look at the cost of living on Long Island and
in New York, what we pay in taxes and everything else, a small
amount for Pell Grants for a family that is not even making
what you should be making on Long Island needs to be protected
for those students. That is the goal, I thought, of this
committee and certainly of the president to be able to make
sure that all students will have an educational opportunity,
whether it is certainly going to college, whether it is going
into the trades, or for whatever they choose.
So I would ask you, and certainly to work with the
president, and certainly as we go over the Republican budget
that will be coming out today, or at least going forward with
it, cutting $86 billion for Pell Grants is going to hurt
everybody, and I certainly hope that you continue to fight that
as we go forward on this.
Secretary Duncan. We will fight that every step of the way.
And again, I just think as a country we have to educate our way
to a better economy. We just had another study yesterday saying
we need 23 million more college graduates than we are
producing, and if we don't take this seriously these jobs are
just going to go overseas.
And one thing I would just like to say to this committee
that I haven't mentioned yet is that 2 weeks ago we held an
international summit with 23--in New York--23 high performing
and rapidly improving countries from around the globe, and if
anyone thinks these countries are resting on their morals or
not moving forward educationally it is an unbelievable wakeup
call. These countries are investing, they are innovating, they
are committed. And that is the competition. Our children aren't
competing in your district, or in your State, in the country--
our children are competing with children across the globe and
other countries are just taking this commitment much more
seriously than we are.
My concern is that I think our children are as smart, as
talented, as creative, as entrepreneurial, as hardworking as
children anywhere in the world, I just want to level the
playing field for them. And right now that is not the case.
Mrs. McCarthy. And we need to do it, because I have about
46 young people from G.W. that are over here going to G.W. from
China and they will be here for 6 months, and the question came
up on education and I said, ``Our competition is you and we are
going to be ready for you,'' and I hope I can hold up our
promise up to that.
Secretary Duncan. You and I both.
Mrs. McCarthy. Yield back.
Chairman Kline. Thank the gentlelady.
Mr. Hanna. Thank you.
And thank you, Mr. Secretary, for being here.
We all share a common goal of rebuilding the middle class
and in the past 30 years what we have seen in terms of job
creation in this country is 98 percent of the jobs have been
service jobs, about 2 percent have been what are typically
called tradable jobs--higher value added, up the food chain
type of jobs. We also know that an increase in those jobs--
those people have those jobs--create in their lifetime about 30
percent more than everybody else so that we go from a middle
class that effectively is not paying a great--to a large
extent, federal and State taxes, to a middle class that
actually does pay taxes.
So you stated that you expected a 5 percent GDP growth
because of some changes in the focus on STEM. Is that correct?
Secretary Duncan. Yes. Again, it just--the jobs of the
future, the knowledge that the jobs are going to be for the
Mr. Hanna. Knowing that a 1 percent increase in GDP reduces
our national debt by about $1 trillion and knowing that we have
about a 2 percent growth rate now, maybe less--and it doesn't
look like that is going to change in the near future--what
would you like to say about STEM in that regard?
Secretary Duncan. I can't overstate the importance of
producing so many more young people with a passion and a
commitment and a desire to work in the STEM areas, and I think
the STEM pipeline is broken. I think we have far too few
children who have access to teachers where they are comfortable
and confident. So this isn't just a higher education problem;
this starts in third and fourth and fifth grade.
We are working with an outside nonprofit. It is committed
to hitting the president's goal of recruiting 100,000
additional STEM teachers over the next decade. But we have to
do this and we have to do this with a greater sense of urgency.
And you can't solve it at the higher education side. We
have to really fix that pipeline and the only way we do that is
with more teachers who really love math and science and have a
passion for that.
Not everyone agrees with me. We have had a couple-decade
shortage of math and science teachers.
I think we can keep admiring the problem or do something
about it, so I have been very public--I think particularly in
disadvantaged communities we should pay math and science
teachers more money. We have to look at the--recognize this
desperate shortage, and the children can't do it without that
basic building block. I think technology can be helpful.
But whatever we can do to dramatically increase the number
of young people with a passion and a love and an excellence in
the STEM fields, our country needs that.
Chairman Kline. Thank the gentleman.
Mr. Tierney. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you, Mr. Secretary. It is good to have you here.
I just want to touch base on one of the latter comments of
the previous speaker, not the most recent one, about Pell
Grants and the increase during this administration. When you
have an economic situation as we did from 2001 to 2008 where
millions of jobs are lost it is going to make a lot more
families eligible for Pell Grant, and I would assume you agree
with me that the fact that that happened that people got the
Pell Grants or that their dream didn't end is a good thing. In
other words, we moved them through the pipeline.
I don't see any company every making anything from
disinvesting, and if we are going to need in the future more
innovators, more teachers, and scientists, and engineers, just
using the recession as an excuse to shut that valve off and
hope that somebody is going to make it up on the other end
doesn't make any sense, does it?
Secretary Duncan. We have to invest. We have to create more
opportunity. And we have to make sure many more folks are
graduating from college than they are today. Pell Grants are a
huge part of the solution, not a part of the problem.
Mr. Tierney. I mean, I don't want to beat a dead horse
because I think we have made the point here but, you know,
letting the interest rates go from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent
moves us in the wrong direction. Eliminating the Pell Grant
rise, which we have already paid for, moves us in the wrong
direction. Getting rid of the Income-Based Repayment Program so
that students graduate with a higher burden on the other end
moves in the wrong direction. And I was glad to see that your
budget accounted in the other direction for that, an
improvement moving forward.
Let me just ask you about maintenance of effort. I think in
higher education when we put that into the Recovery Act it made
a difference, when we put it into the Higher Education
Opportunity Act it made a difference.
I am a little concerned that we see some movement afoot
here to relieve the maintenance of effort to take it out of the
K-12, and I would like you to speak a little bit to the
importance of maintaining that if we are going to have true
Secretary Duncan. So again, please hold us accountable. We
think it has made a huge difference out there and I can't tell
you how many college presidents and others have said thank you
for that, and if it were not for the MOE we would have been
decimated more than we were. So, again, we recognize these are
tough fiscal times; we recognize States have to balance
budgets. But we don't want folks cutting education
disproportionately, and we are going to stand our ground there.
And please hold us accountable there.
Mr. Tierney. We will. But I appreciate that sentiment on
I noticed that the Republican budget cuts about $500
million on job training funds, and I notice this administration
has emphasis on doing more with community colleges and
improving the pipeline for job training. I appreciate your
comments about the Miller-Hinojosa-Tierney bill in that
Tell us more about the importance of job training as well
as the college end of things, but for that group that may get
out of a high school and need a credential short of a college
Secretary Duncan. So two pieces on the sort of the high
school side--we would like--we are requesting an additional $1
billion to invest in career academies, so giving young people a
real sense of skills and what is out there. And if any of you
have paid an auto mechanic or a plumber lately, they are doing
pretty well. And those are good-paying jobs, middle class jobs,
and we need to make sure young people have those options.
And for me to be clear, it is never college or career. I
want it to be college and career and let young people decide
what they want to do--not track them one direction or another,
but give them options. So we want to invest there.
And then secondly, on the community college side, we have
had a great partnership with the Department of Labor and we
want to continue to build upon that. Again, I just think
community colleges have been this unrecognized gem along the
education continuum. It is so important.
Some of my most inspiring visits are to community colleges
around the country, and I will tell you--it is stunning if you
guys haven't done it--there are more and more folks who have 4-
year degrees who are going back to community college to get
that trade or to get that certification to get a good-paying
job. And so there is a huge value there.
My concern is that we literally have some community
colleges today who are offering classes 24 hours. There is that
much demand. We have to increase their capacity; we have to
make sure that they are partnering with the private sector; and
where there are real public-private partnerships, where that
training is leading to real jobs in that community, we want to
invest a lot more.
Mr. Tierney. Great. Thank you.
I don't want to get too technical on this, but in the
fiscal year 2012 omnibus appropriations bill some changes were
made. One was the elimination of the ability to benefit for
eligibility for a Pell Grant, and you know, I think, well for
enrolling students. It was really a pretty innovative idea. So
if you didn't have a GED or a high school diploma you could
still get a technical courses along with your adult education
and the Pell Grant was really funding that aspect of technical
training. Do you have an answer to how we are going to deal
with that class of students?
Secretary Duncan. Yes. It is a tough issue and we are
struggling with it internally. So we are very aware of it. I
don't have an easy answer. There are certain things--obviously
we went from two Pell Grants to one in a year; there have been
some tough decisions made. But that is a very, very real issue
that--let me come back to you on, but we are aware of the
potential downside there.
Mr. Tierney. Great. Thank you.
Yield back, Mr. Chair.
Chairman Kline. I thank the gentleman.
Ms. Foxx. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you, Mr. Secretary, for being here. I want to start
out by correcting the record just a little bit on some things
that have been said today. It is my understanding that it was
Senator Kennedy and the Senate Democrats who opposed the
variable rate for student loans in 2005. Republicans
recommended that and it was the Senate Democrats who stopped
I would also like to point out that from 2007 to 2011 the
Democrats were totally in control of Congress and for 2 of
those years President Obama was president. And yet, you never
recommended changing the rate for student loans during the--
those 2 years, and neither did the Democrats who were in
control of Congress for 4 years make that recommendation. It is
only since the Republicans have taken control of the House of
Representatives that you have brought forth that
recommendation. And the president has created the greatest
fiscal crisis that this country has ever seen and now suddenly
you are concerned about the loan rates.
I would also like to associate myself with the comments of
Dr. DesJarlais and his concern about talking about access, but
it seems to me that it is illogical that you all continue to
talk about access and increasing borrowing for students. You
know that old definition of insanity that is thrown around that
it is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a
different result, and we have talked about how increasing costs
have been associated with increasing spending. And so I
appreciate the fact that you are talking about it is not just
access, but it seems to me that you all concentrate on throwing
more money at the problem and assuming that we are going to get
a different result when we haven't in the past.
I would also like to commend you and the president for
discovering community colleges. As someone who discovered them
a long time ago, I think they have always been neglected and do
provide tremendous opportunities for us. And it is clear that
you all have been out in the public a little bit, but in some
ways the way you talk about things you talk like nothing has
every happened in education until you guys came along and you
are making these recommendations on career academies and
community colleges working with business and industry. That is
what community colleges have always done is work with business
and industry to create programs.
So I just want to say, there had been some things going on
out there before you guys came on the scene, and it is good to
highlight those but I don't think the federal government needs
to pay to spread them around because somebody who is running a
good community college or a good college is going to pick up on
those things and going to be doing them.
I would like to ask you about a situation in the Department
of Education. It is my understanding that there is a problem
with borrowers who have done all the necessary work to rehab
their loans but the department hasn't completed the process for
them to do that. In fact, we have heard from borrower--pardon
me--from borrowers about the department failing to follow
through on your end of the job.
Can you tell me in a short sentence or two why these folks
who have--and countless others who have spent time having their
loans processed--rehabbed--hasn't been processed? Your
department says it is proud of the way you have managed the
program, but how have you gotten to the point where the
department is holding these hard-earned--hardworking people
back from repairing their credit and getting their loans back
in order, and when are you going to fix it?
Secretary Duncan. Obviously, ma'am, we have zero interest
in doing that, and where we have folks who we need to move more
rapidly or be more supportive of, we are absolutely committed
to doing that. So if you have specific, you know, individuals
who are coming to you I am happy to take those personally and
work with them.
Ms. Foxx. Well, I don't think we should be dealing with
individuals. We need the whole process fixed and we would like
a written answer from you on that, on when you plan to get it
Secretary Duncan. Absolutely.
Ms. Foxx. The other quick question that I have for you is
you have been talking a lot about affordability but yet you put
in unnecessary rules and regulations, one size fits all, but
you hold up good models like Western Governors University as a
great place to go, but how do you square the fact that the
administration promotes lower-cost models of higher education
delivery with the fact that you are making it impossible for
those innovative models to develop and operate? You are talking
out of both sides of your mouth.
Secretary Duncan. I guess we have a difference of opinion
there. I don't think we are talking out of both sides of our
mouth at all. We are doing everything we can to encourage and
to support innovation and are going to continue to do that at
the higher education side, 4-year institutions, community
colleges, K-12, and the early childhood space, as well.
Chairman Kline. The gentlelady's time has expired.
Mr. Kildee. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I apologize for having
to go to another committee.
But let me ask you this, Mr. Secretary: The Republican
budget would cut over 200,000 children from Head Start and
would eliminate all mandatory funding for Pell Grants. Many,
many years ago the Ypsilani school study indicated that Head
Start actually saved money in remediation for students, for
incarceration, lessening teenage pregnancy, that these were
really investments. And these are--they are real numbers to
indicate that this actually has saved our economy.
How would these Republican cuts on Head Start and Pell
Grants affect our economy, which is trying to bring itself back
Secretary Duncan. I think we can all probably agree we
don't need another study demonstrating the tremendous dividends
of the investment in early childhood education. We know that.
And the long-term dividends--you know, high school graduation
rates, college-going rates, less incarceration--I think has
been demonstrated again and again.
And so I think we have to invest in high quality early
childhood education. If we were to have 200,000 children lose
access to Head Start that is nothing positive about that.
We were obviously very pleased this past year in Race to
the Top, for the first time, to invest in high quality early
childhood education opportunities and we want to commit a piece
of this year's Race to the Top money to do the same. So we want
to lead by example and to continue to invest where it is high
quality in disadvantaged communities, making sure children are
entering kindergarten ready to learn and ready to read, and any
step in the opposite direction is one that we are going to
challenge as hard as we can.
Mr. Kildee. In Flint, Michigan, I have watched some of the
Early Head Start. The last thing that Ted Kennedy and I worked
on together--I was chief sponsor of the bill and he handled the
bill over there in the Senate--was Early Head Start. And it is
just marvelous, even the shorter-term study, if you had an
Early Head Start it indicated that--what a marvelous difference
this makes in the children's development.
And I just would wish that they would look at not only the
moral effect and the social effect, but also the economic
effect of cuts here. These are not savings. You are really
making these kids much more expensive to society, and rather
than contributing to the treasury they will be drawing from the
treasury with these cuts.
Secretary Duncan. I think you and I are in absolute
agreement on this issue.
Mr. Kildee. Okay. Thank you, Mr. Secretary.
Chairman Kline. I thank the gentleman.
Mrs. Roby, you are recognized.
Mrs. Roby. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you, Mr. Secretary, for being here today. Appreciate
your time and your testimony. As you know, this is just a
vitally important time based on these proposed budgets for us
to wrap our minds about how to proceed forward.
And I just want to take a minute to talk a little bit about
some of the things that you have said throughout the testimony
today that I find extremely fascinating in that I think there
is a little bit of a contradiction between words and action,
because you have said all of the things that we have put into
action through this committee.
We need to give States and districts more flexibility in
how they achieve results. We approve States because--through
the waiver process because they have made commitments in ways
that best fit their State and local situations. We look forward
to supporting States and districts in these efforts.
And we have passed out of this committee five bills, three
of which--the last three, the State and Local Funding
Flexibility Act, the Student Success Act, the Encourage
Innovation and Effective Teachers Act--all three of those bills
put into action the words from your testimony today. And so I
would just say, as a member of this committee and on behalf of
Alabama, we would appreciate your support and the
administration's support of putting that into action. We
wouldn't have a need for a waiver process if, in fact, we could
get this reauthorization accomplished.
And then you used, also, in response to my colleague's
question about how are we--how--give some examples of how the
federal government is getting out of the way, and you used Race
to the Top as an example as well, but 46 States applied for
that. As I understand it, there is $4.5 billion that has been
divided among only 18 States and the District of Columbia.
So you take a State like Alabama that jumps through a lot
of hoops to get the Race to the Top money and was not
successful in doing so, and all of the millions of dollars that
have been spent by States to jump through those hoops for the
federal government, those are precious dollars that could have
been used in the classroom. I feel like there is some
contradiction worth noting and it would be my hope that we
could use those words and our action and get on the same page
and actually try to accomplish this reauthorization and turning
this on its head and allowing the States and the local
governments to apply the control that they need in order to
educate our children.
Secretary Duncan. To address those two points, and I don't
know if there is a contradiction--first of all, States didn't
spend millions of dollars to apply for Race to the Top; it is
just not true. What States did do is they worked very hard to
have a blueprint for reform.
The challenge we have is that we had many more great
applications than we had funds available, and whether it is in
Race to the Top where that was true, the Investment Innovation
Fund--we funded 49 great applications in the first round and we
had 1,700 applicants. Promise Neighborhoods, we had--first
round we funded 20; we had 300 applicants. So there is a
tremendous interest in--you know, in local communities and
driving reform. We want to be able to support more of that and
so that is what we are looking for--increased investment in
On the early childhood space and Race to the Top, 36, 37
States applied; we funded eight or nine of them. Would love to
have gone much further down the list but just simply don't have
the resources to do that. So I would challenge you to think
about, are we going to continue to invest in these kinds of
creative programs or are we going to cut that investment?
On the reauthorization side I would say--and it is not the
purpose to be here, but I just want to be very honest, I have
tremendous, tremendous respect for Chairman Kline, and we may
not agree on every issue but we actually agree on a lot. I will
tell you, no one has been more honest with me and worked with a
greater level of integrity than your chairman here----
Mrs. Roby. Well, you know, certainly I appreciate all those
efforts, too. And again, I just--you know, as I sit here and I
listen to the questions being asked about whether it is a
specific program or a specific line item in the budget, we all
need to stay focused on returning this level of control.
And my time is about to expire so I just want to ask real
quickly, you know, States like Alabama, we haven't applied for
the waiver yet, but we have said that, as I understand, they
are working on a waiver request. And so it won't be one that
addresses all of the strings that you have attached, but--to
what you have offered, but it will be one that is tailored to
the reform efforts in--that the State already has in place and
is in the process of implementing. And under the law, as--and
this is my question--as long as Alabama is meeting the
educational needs of the students shouldn't this waiver be
Secretary Duncan. So again, we are happy to look at the
waiver. To be clear, we don't have a lot of strings.
We are saying you have to have high standards--college and
career ready standards. I think we can agree on that. We are
saying you have to have meaningful teacher and principal
evaluation and support. I think we can agree on that. And you
have to be willing to challenge the status quo and turn around
low performing schools. So I don't----
Mrs. Roby. But this is exactly what we are trying to
accomplish through the legislation that we have offered through
this committee, and it is the responsibility of Congress to
reauthorize the act, not the Department of Education to hand
down more unfunded mandates to the States.
Secretary Duncan. There are no unfunded mandates here.
States voluntarily chose to come and they are.
And let me just finish what I was saying before,
complimenting the chairman. I also want to compliment--he is
not here, but--Congressman Miller. And I think you have a
remarkable education leader there. And my hope is that in a
bipartisan way, working together, we can find some common
ground, and that is what hasn't happened yet, and I think that
is the frustration.
Mrs. Roby. Well, we appreciate the responsibility that you
have, and thank you for being here.
And my time is expired.
Chairman Kline. I thank the gentlelady.
Ms. Woolsey. Thank you very much.
Thank you, Secretary Duncan. You set a very high standard
for anybody else that is a cabinet member in this country of
ours forever more. You know your stuff. Thank you.
I have a story. When we first introduced and started
talking about No Child Left Behind I went to the then chairman,
George Miller, and said, ``George, this is great but, you know,
I represent Marin and Sonoma Counties, in California, and of
course, my school districts are so amazing that they take care
of all the kids, you know? There are no kids left behind and,
you know, I mean, you know look what our scores are, you know,
year after year.''
And he virtually patted me on the head and he said, ``I
know you believe this, Lynn, but you are wrong.'' So I called
my two superintendents of the two counties and after they got
through the fear that I was going to use them as an example--a
bad example around the country--they told me point blank that
English learners, poor kids, and minorities were not at the
same level as the majority of our kids in my very elite
district, okay? So I felt like such an elitist.
So we have done good things, and if it was happening in
that area I know--I am for sure it was everywhere. How are we
going--my question to you is, how are we going to ensure that
we don't slip back now, that these schools that have raised the
bar for the kids that were falling behind--what is your method
for doing that?
Secretary Duncan. So no one simple thing, but again, I
think the fact that so many States are actually talking about
and including more of these children who, again, were invisible
under No Child Left Behind in their accountability, that is a
story that hasn't been told and folks don't sort of fully
understand that yet. And so saying they exist, saying we care
about them, saying we are going to be held accountable for the
results, and then providing the range of opportunities they
desperately need, so whether it is the chance to take algebra
in eighth grade, whether it is a chance to go to class--go to a
high school that offers A.P. classes. You may have seen--we put
out a massive amount of data through the Civil Rights Data
Collection process and the inequality of opportunity for so
many disadvantaged children is really staggering----
Ms. Woolsey. So are you going to measure this? I mean, are
we--I mean, if----
Secretary Duncan. So I think we can better measure it, but
measuring it is a step in the right direction, it doesn't solve
the problem. The question for me is what are we doing
proactively to help these children be successful? And for me it
starts with great early childhood education, it goes to having
great teachers and great afterschool and wraparound services in
the elementary levels, it means going to a high school that has
a college-going culture.
Ms. Woolsey. Well, you are the perfect straight man because
I want to talk about wrap-around services. Thank you very much.
You know I am an advocate of wrap-around services and I
think it is so important that we provide that support to
schools and families and districts. And I know that we have
consolidated those funds with other support funds. I fear that
wrap-around services won't get the attention that they need, so
how--is there a way that we are promoting wrap-around services?
Are we letting school districts know----
Secretary Duncan. No, it is something we are absolutely
committed to, so we will--again, hold us accountable. I don't
share that fear, actually.
Ms. Woolsey. You don't?
Secretary Duncan. And it is interesting, not just in that
funding stream, but again, going to the School Improvement
Grants, those $4 billion to the lowest performing schools, a
very significant percent of those dollars--and we can try and
get you a number--are going to counselors, social workers,
afterschool programs, Saturday school, summer stuff. So it is
not just one pot of money but it has been a huge push in this
And then the final thing I will say is it is not just our
funding; it is how we become more creative. So I have talked a
lot about--I don't think we need to build a lot more Boys and
Girls Clubs and YMCAs. I think we should be bringing those
partners into our schools, get them out of the bricks and
mortar business. All of us are struggling financially. Put all
of their scarce resources into tutoring, and mentoring, and
after school and enrichment programs.
In every single neighborhood in our country--rich, poor,
black, white, Latino, doesn't matter--we have schools. Schools
have classrooms; they have libraries; many have computer labs;
they have gyms; some have pools. They don't belong to me, or
you, or to the principal, or to the union. They belong to the
community. And having our schools open much longer hours with a
whole host of activities and nonprofit partners and social
service agencies--we are going to keep funding, we are going to
do it, but we need to sort of create this climate where our
schools become anchors of the neighborhood, community centers,
Ms. Woolsey. Well, I look forward to supporting you in that
regard. And one of the reasons I didn't think my district was
lagging is right before No Child Left Behind one of our poorest
school districts actually had coordinated services at their
school site and they had stepped up to that already.
Chairman Kline. The gentlelady's time has expired.
Mr. Kelly. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Secretary, good to see you again. I noticed in your
opening statement--and this seems to be the recurring theme
lately--is about fair. I keep hearing about, we just want
everybody to have a fair shot, we want everybody to have a fair
opportunity, we want everybody to have what is fair. And the
American people have always been about what is fair. And I hear
that all the time.
And then I hear about, ``Well, the Ryan budget is unfair
because it is going to place on the back of the middle class or
the underprivileged a greater burden.'' And I know that when
you look up fair it can mean a lot of different things. It
could you say you have fair skies out there, you know, fair
But would it be a fair statement to say that the United
States spends more money per capita at the federal level, the
State level, the local level than any other country in the
world on education?
Secretary Duncan. It spends more than most. I don't know if
it spends more than all. So I am not quite sure if that is a
I think the real question you are asking, which is a fair
question, is are we getting the biggest bang for our resources
now? And I think the answer is no and we have to invest
Mr. Kelly. Okay. Okay. And it is probably a pretty fair
statement also to say that just by throwing money at a problem
that is not going to solve it?
Secretary Duncan. Absolutely.
Mr. Kelly. Okay. So the amounts of what we have been
spending or what we are going to continue to spend in the
future, while we may disagree in substance as to it would be
more fair to give more in this program than in another program,
it--underlying fairness is to the American taxpayer and return
on their investment. They are not getting a very fair return on
the investment that they are making in education.
And I say that not just from a personal standpoint, but if
you look at it and say, my gosh, we keep spending money and we
are increasing the amount of money that we are spending, and
then we are saying, well, but it is--this is going to be okay
because it is going to be fair. But in anything I have ever
looked at there is a measurement. You look at the metrics.
And I think NAEP says that since 1970 it has been fairly
flat--our students' progress. Maybe in the fourth grade we have
seen some uptick in some disadvantaged groups, but since 1970.
And if I go forward, you know, 1980, 1990, 2000, 2010, so 40
years we have spent a fairly large amount of money trying to
make the system fairer for everybody.
The only people that I have seen losing in this are the
hardworking American taxpayers who continue to make an
investment and that are told, ``Look, you know what, if we
could just put a little more money in this program it is going
to become more fair for folks.'' And I will tell you what, I
have only been here a year but there is something wrong with a
country that continues to spend more than it takes in,
continues to think that if I could just throw a little more
money at this it will take care of it.
Because the fair assessment would be that we have had a
failing look for the last 40 years. A lot of the things that we
have done now--is it fair to grant waivers to certain school
districts, because maybe they don't have the same metrics as
other school districts? Yes, well that is fair. That is fair.
So I know you are working hard at it. I look at the Pell
Grants and we say, boy, that certainly isn't the way it
initially was thought out but it just seemed that we needed to
make it a little more fair. And at the end of the day--the end
of the day if it is really about being fair it is are we truly
being fair to the people that we represent back home? They
don't have to be Republicans, or Democrats, or Libertarians,
or, quite frankly, a lot of folks that just wish that there
were no government at all anymore because in their life it is
not a fair playing field.
So if you can, tell me what are you doing to make it a
little more fair? And I know that is a very big question, may
take more than a couple minutes to answer. But I have got to
tell you, from a guy who sells cars for a living and you have
to make it a fair profit audit, and the payment has to be fair
to the person buying it, I have just got a feeling we are
selling people a car that is really not going to perform at the
level they expect and their payment keeps going up on it, and,
by the way, the number of months that they are making payments
on it has increased from 36 to 48 to 60 to 72 and it is going
off the charts. There is just no way I see this thing getting
reigned in unless we really do become a nation that looks at
what we are doing.
Secretary Duncan. So I don't know if I can answer all that
in a minute----
Mr. Kelly. You have 15 seconds though. I know that is not
Secretary Duncan [continuing]. But I will do my best to do
it succinctly. First of all, hopefully you see us not just
perpetuating the status quo but really trying to push
Mr. Kelly. It is not so much me; it is NAEP. I mean, they
have been tracking these things for a long time, so----
Secretary Duncan. No, I am saying our investments are not
just putting good money after bad; we are trying to push
transformational change on the early childhood side, on K-12
reform, and higher education, as well. So we recognize that
historically we are just not getting to where we need to go if
we keep doing the same things.
I will also say, I talked about the international summit,
where we tried to really listen and learn from these high
performing countries. Let me tell you some things they are
doing differently that I think we could learn here.
First of all, they have a very high bar to entry for the
teaching profession. They compensate their teachers in very
different ways; they reward them in very different ways, very
different career ladders.
We can do all this. It is not rocket science. It takes some
courage to do some things differently.
The other thing they do, they do a much better job of
closing gaps, so the disproportionately invest in the most
disadvantaged communities. And the wide gaps we have in
achievement in our country that I think are just morally
unacceptable, they don't have those in other countries because
they disproportionately get the most resources and the best
talent to the children and the communities who need them.
So I just challenge all of us to think about can we
incorporate some of those lessons from those countries today
that are, frankly, out-educating us?
Chairman Kline. Gentleman's time has expired.
In the interest to be fair, Mr. Bishop?
Mr. Bishop. I am touched, Mr. Chairman. Thank you.
Mr. Secretary, thank you very much for being here. And I
want to talk a little bit about this issue of throwing money at
a problem. And I have heard it presented in the context of the
Pell Grant. I mean, I think we all know that the principal
reason that the Pell Grant has grown, we have 25 million people
in this country who are either unemployed or underemployed.
That has a significant impact on increasing Pell Grant
We also know that we have a long-term--at least for the
last 40 years in this country--that higher education
enrollments are counter-cyclical. When the economy is down
people go back to school. They try to retool, they try to get
skills that will let them go forward.
So I don't know that it is--we should be talking about this
as throwing money at a problem. I think we should be talking
about this as investing in our future.
We have created a program in this country on a vast
bipartisan basis called the G.I. bill for the 21st century. We
are now spending, I think, $25 billion to $30 billion a year to
help returning Afghanistan and Iraqi vets get their slice of
the American dream. Is that throwing money at a problem or is
that investing in their futures?
I think we really should be commending the kind of
investment this country is making in access to higher
Let me also, on the issue of college costs, we hear an
awful lot about how increases in student financial aid
availability drive college costs. There is no evidence to
substantiate that, just for the record. There is none.
We had a hearing in our subcommittee--November 30th--we had
testimony from a great many people and I asked the question, is
there any evidence that suggests that increased college costs
are driven by increases in Pell Grant or campus-based--all the
witnesses said absolutely none.
So I hope we can set aside that canard that this is what is
driving college costs, although we will get a chance to see. If
the Pell Grant is cut by $94 billion over the next 10 years, if
campus-based programs are cut, if the theory is right we should
see college costs drop precipitously. We will get a chance to
see. I hope we don't get that chance, but we will.
Let me, Mr. Secretary--on the issue of--the president said
in his State of the Union speech that he wanted to begin a
process of tying campus-based aid to efforts on the part of
schools to drive affordability and to contain costs. I know
this is an issue that the department is working on, but I am
really worried about how we are going to create a matrix that
would allow us to measure it. So could you talk to us about
what the department is doing to try to measure it, relative to
price and increases?
Secretary Duncan. And you are absolute pro in this area, so
I would love your thoughtful advice, as you have been so
helpful in the past. I think that the basic problem we are
trying to solve for, which I think we can agree is, we have
done a lot to increase access, which is hugely important, but
there are two other pieces. One is these escalating costs; the
second, like you come back to, is completion, attainment. And
so putting in place incentives not just to get students in the
front door but to get them graduated and walk across the stage
at the back end, and doing it at a reasonable cost, I don't
think we have had enough incentives there.
So how we measure--we can sort of walk through how we are
thinking about, but those are the two things where I think our
resources, our incentives haven't moved behavior the right
direction, and we are trying to challenge that status quo.
Mr. Bishop. Okay. Let me urge you, as you think about this,
to consider in your equation the extent to which schools
Secretary Duncan. Yes.
Mr. Bishop. The average discount rate for private colleges
in the State of New York is approaching 40 percent. They are
making an enormous effort to use their own resources to enhance
So we should be looking at gross price, we should be
looking at net price, but we also should be looking at how
institutions are, in effect, sacrificing to drive down gross
price and drive down net price.
One last question--I am running out of time: We are now 2
years into the transition from FFEL lending to Direct Lending.
When we made that transition we heard near-apocalyptic
predictions of how awful this would be for colleges that were
FFEL lenders, students who were FFEL borrowers. Could you tell
us where we are 2 years in?
Secretary Duncan. Well, I never want to jinx us, but you
have heard a deafening silence, and that silence has been
because this transition has gone extraordinarily smoothly. And
I want to commend the universities for their hard work and I
want to commend our team at FSA that did, I think, a yeoman's
job of reaching out to many, many different universities who
were very reluctant and worried about this transition.
And the fact that we were able to do it and you have not
seen a huge blowup or huge crisis, the fact that those scarce
resources are now increasing access on the Pell Grant side----
Mr. Bishop. So the savings that we anticipated are being
realized and are being put into the Pell Grants?
Secretary Duncan. That is the only reason we have been able
to increase Pell Grants the way we have.
Mr. Bishop. Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary.
I yield back.
Chairman Kline. I thank the gentleman.
Mr. Rokita. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And thank you, Mr. Secretary. It is good to see you again.
I want to direct your attention to this chart that I have
put up. It discusses how much we have been spending on
education as a federal government versus the results. And I
have heard already just recently that we should be commending
that investment, and I have heard terms like we are throwing
money at it, and I heard you say that we need to level the
playing field relative to other countries.
So when you look at this chart and you see the blue line,
which represents our spending since the installment of American
socialism known as the Great Society took place, a chapter that
birthed your agency, as a matter of fact, and then you see the
other lines. You see an orange line, a green line, and a gray--
maybe a purple line. And those lines that are flat lined
represent our reading scores since we started making federal
investments in education, it represents our math scores, and it
represents our science scores.
Now, we were just told that we should commend the
investment. What part of that investment should we commend?
Secretary Duncan. So, I think we all agree we have a long
way to go and need to invest differently----
Mr. Rokita. Well, hold on. Let me stop you right there.
This has been going on--and that is just what the chart picks
up--since 1970. It is now 2012.
Secretary Duncan. I am very familiar with the data. And to
be clear, what the Cato measured--this is a Cato report--they
looked at 12th grade results, and as we know, the
disproportionate amount of the federal investment is actually
on the elementary side, so if you look at the elementary
results, fourth grade, it would be better.
But I think where we might agree is that we have a long way
to go educationally and what we are doing to date isn't good
enough to keep great jobs in this country going forward.
Mr. Rokita. Yes, you know, and this is not personal to you.
It is not even personal to your agency. I would say this--and I
do say this to the military generals who come and ask for money
to be thrown at something thinking that it is going to make
something better or stronger. And just about every other agency
head that I have found have that same kind of attitude.
And I used to run an agency. I used to run four of them.
And, you know, we ran them on 1987 dollars, unadjusted for
inflation. The number of personnel we had was never more than
they had in 1982. And you can look through the press clips, you
can look at anything about my agencies and you can't say that
we gave bad service or that we were subordinate in any way.
So this mantra and this really--which is below you, I know,
that says, ``Just give us more money because we can make things
better,'' doesn't work anymore and----
Secretary Duncan. So hopefully in nothing that I have said
did you hear me say just give me more money because you had
Mr. Rokita. Well, let me go--yes, let me ask about that.
Secretary Duncan. If I could just finish, hopefully----
Mr. Rokita. I think you did say that. Your budget request
touts consolidation of 38 programs into 11, but 22 of those 38
programs didn't even receive funding last year so your budget
actually consolidate 16 programs into 11, but of those 11 you
are asking for a funding increase, if I understand it right.
Secretary Duncan. I don't know if your math is quite right,
but my point is what we are looking for is not investment in
the status quo but in a very different vision of reform. And
hopefully you have seen that at every level--early childhood,
K-12 reform, and higher education.
So the big increase we are asking for--we are asking for,
to be very clear, $1.7 billion increase. I make no apologies
for that. The lion's share of that is to try and create some
incentives on the higher education side to get States to invest
and to get universities to keep down tuition and graduate more
And if we think if we can change that behavior then the
investments we are making in Pell Grants, and Perkins, and
other things will be much more beneficial, much better
Mr. Rokita. And may be realized in another 40 years, which
is somewhat the nature of education. You have got to----
Secretary Duncan. I don't have 40 years. I have a huge
sense of urgency. Right now we have a dropout rate that is far
too high; we have a graduation rate that is far too low; and
far too many of our high school graduates aren't college and
Mr. Rokita. Let me ask you about some metrics that I used
to use and that you can really focus on and hone in on. With
consolidation of those programs, how many fewer employees are
you going to have to hire? How can you physically reduce the
Secretary Duncan. I will check that and get back to you.
Our spending on our employees and our costs are actually very,
Mr. Rokita. But how many fewer employees will you need? If
you are consolidating programs then it follows that you
shouldn't need as many employees. You should at least not have
to rehire, you know, through attrition, some of those folks.
Is there anything you are doing in your budget, in your
plan that reduces the federal role in education?
Secretary Duncan. And again, we have had this question a
couple times and I would argue very strongly that the Race to
the Top program was an empowerment of States and them putting
forward their plans that they adopted and giving them room to
implement and support those plans. The waiver package
unequivocally is reducing the federal role and empowering
Mr. Rokita. And real quick, what metrics will you use to
measure that diminished role?
Secretary Duncan. Every single--well, you can measure--what
we are really measuring is the impact on student achievement.
That is what I am interested in measuring. Are these plans
helping more students be successful? That is how we want to be
held accountable. And are we leading the world----
Mr. Rokita. So no metrics to measure the--I understand your
point, but no metrics----
Chairman Kline. Gentleman's time has expired.
Mr. Rokita. Thank you.
Chairman Kline. Mr. Scott?
Mr. Scott. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And thank you, Mr. Secretary, for being with us today. Can
you tell us what your budget does to reduce the achievement
gap? And, following up to the last question, what your budget
does to reduce the dropout rate, which would be highly
Secretary Duncan. So obviously, virtually every investment
we make, whether it is in Title I students, whether it is in
students with special needs, whether it is in better
professional development for teachers, whether it is in turning
around low performing schools, whether it is supporting the
great work of States to raise standards--all of that is to
reduce the insidious achievement gap in this country and to see
many more of our young people not just graduate from high
school but go on to college.
Mr. Scott. Well, does the budget increase your ability to
address that problem or reduce your ability to address the
Secretary Duncan. Does our budget?
Mr. Scott. The budget, right.
Secretary Duncan. Our budget, we are convinced, would
increase our ability to reduce those achievement gaps and have
many more young people be academically successful.
Mr. Scott. You mentioned Promise Neighborhoods that you
would be able to fund 20 out of 300. How much money did you
spend on addressing the 20 and how much would you need to fund
the really truly worthy projects?
Secretary Duncan. Yes. So we are asking for an increase in
Promise Neighborhood funding, and we have had, again,
extraordinary applications come in, but I promise you if we are
fortunate enough to get the increase that we are requesting we
will still have many more good applicants than dollars
Mr. Scott. When will studies be available to show the
benefits of Promise Neighborhoods?
Secretary Duncan. Every single year we are going to put out
data on progress.
Mr. Scott. What needs to be done to bring afterschool
programs into the schools? You mentioned Boys and Girls Clubs.
Secretary Duncan. We need to continue to fund and we need
to encourage schools and school districts as well as nonprofits
to partner in more innovative ways.
Mr. Scott. What can we do on a federal level to bring that
Secretary Duncan. I think we can continue to encourage it
and to shine a spotlight on best practices, and I have been to
many places that have extraordinary programs, with schools open
12, 13, 14 hours a day, and sort of hope those good ideas get
Mr. Scott. In funding these programs does the budget allow
funding of program sponsors who wish to discriminate in
employment with federal funds? That is, if a sponsor decides
that they don't want to hire Catholics and Jews does your
budget allow funding for those programs?
Secretary Duncan. I certainly hope not.
Mr. Scott. Do the TRiO programs--what is the amount of
money on TRIO programs and are you dealing with the issue of
late notifications for Upward Bound programs?
Secretary Duncan. On TRiO specifically, it is about $840
million request, and if there is any backlog or any issues
there we are happy to look to address them as quickly as we
Mr. Scott. The McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement
Program, which is one of the few postgraduate programs for low-
income and first generation students obtaining doctorate
degrees--what does your budget do to the McNair Post-
Baccalaureate Achievement Program?
Secretary Duncan. I need to check that and come back to
Mr. Scott. Historically black colleges and universities and
other minority serving institutions, what does your budget do
in support of those?
Secretary Duncan. We are continuing to invest very, very
heavily there, and it is very important to me that those
institutions not just survive but thrive, and I actually met
with a number of leaders from that community yesterday, and as
we think about so many different ways of closing achievement
gaps and having more minority teachers come into the public
education we think HBCUs and MSIs have a huge role to play
One thing we are asking for, just very specifically there,
is additional $30 million for the Hawkins Centers of Excellence
to really strengthen teacher prep, and again, bring that
pipeline of talent to make sure that our teacher workforce
reflects the tremendous diversity of our nation's young people.
Mr. Scott. And what does your budget do for early childhood
education, and Head Start, specifically?
Secretary Duncan. So obviously significant amount of that
funding comes from HHS, but we funded $500 million for a Race
to the Top for early childhood education this past year, and
this year in Race to the Top we want to continue to fund States
that are doing some really creative things, and we are in this
for the long haul.
Mr. Scott. What is the benefit of early childhood
Secretary Duncan. It is immeasurable. It is extraordinarily
Mr. Scott. And finally, on Pell Grants, could you tell us
what your budget does in support of Pell Grants?
Secretary Duncan. So we want to continue to, you know,
maintain the maximum, and we want to make sure that young
people have access to Pell Grants. And we are concerned that we
have, you know, budgets being considered that would
significantly reduce access to Pell Grants. That, to me, does
not lead the country where we need to go.
Mr. Scott. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman Kline. Thank the gentleman.
Mr. Thompson. Thank you, Chairman.
Mr. Secretary, good to see you. Thanks for being here.
I want to try to--well, I want to take about--both areas of
jurisdiction of this committee and kind of bridge them--
obviously education and workforce, because they are
interchangeable. I mean, they are so well connected, as it
And as you know, today we have, as we sit here, somewhat
less--just fewer than the population of Pennsylvania is
unemployed--roughly 14 million Americans. So there are a lot of
folks sitting at home worried about how to make ends meet.
And at the same time, when I go around and I visit
employers, even when I talk with employers outside my district,
I find that they are--most employers are sitting with really
good jobs that are sitting open. There is such a disconnect.
Now, there are probably a number of reasons for that, but
one of the things I think is significant, and I call it the
skills gap, where people do not--they are not qualified and
trained to take these positions. And to me, I know the big
thing when we talk about jobs today it is unemployment. I think
the crisis that is looming on the horizon is where we start to
lose business and industries overseas because they can't find
the people to do the work. And it is going to be compounded,
obviously, by the baby boomer generation with those retirements
that are happening in scores.
And so it is about a qualified and trained workforce, and I
truly believe that our career and technical education training
is a very cost-effective way to get people those skills. And in
fact, for some folks who are investing 4 years of tuition it is
a--and graduating, unfortunately, with a large debt that--we
have talked about that--that this is a way to give greater
options for kids.
And so the administration's--the president's budget
includes $1 billion over 3 years for career academy programs
and $8 billion for community college and business partnerships.
These new programs really appear to come at the expense of
programs like the Perkins Career and Technical Education Act.
You know, my concern is that the president's budget
proposal is trying to reinvent the wheel at the expense of
proven and critically needed Perkins programs. And so, you
know, I believe a good indicator of future performance is past
performance, in terms of meeting these workforce needs and
delivering education, and providing great pathways to success
for folks, and during a tight fiscal environment how can we
ensure that the foundation for proven programs like Perkins
remains strong when it seems like--and I understand every
administration wants to put their name on something that
appears to be new, but sometimes I really do believe that comes
at a cost of sacrificing that which is proven and works.
Secretary Duncan. No, it is a great question. I would just
start where you started. I think this skills gap which you
talked about is just a massive challenge for us in education
and the business community to come together behind. And as you
know so well, in this tough economic time we have, we think, at
least 2 million high-wage, high-skill jobs that we are not
filling. I can't tell you how many CEOs I have met with and the
president has met with who say, ``We are trying to hire today
and we can't find employees with the skills we need.'' So I
take that very personally and very seriously, and that is a
huge part of our challenge going forward.
We are very supportive of the Perkins program. We think
some results are very good, some of the results are mixed,
frankly, and really making sure there is accountability there,
that that training is leading to real skills that lead to real
jobs. Some places, you know, fantastic job; other places,
frankly, disconnected, training folks for jobs that were
available 30 years ago.
And so what we want to do is just enhance those efforts
both on the K-12 side--you know, high school and middle
school--but also on the community college side where there are
real ties to the private sector, where the training at high
school and where the training at community colleges is leading
to real jobs in that community. We want to put a lot more
resources behind that. The sole reason here, the sole driver is
to reduce that skills gap and to increase the opportunities.
Mr. Thompson. Well, the Student Success Act, which has been
mentioned here numerous times, a piece of legislation that
passed out of this committee, actually we put language in there
to do just the things that you are talking about, to encourage
our school districts to work with local business, local
industry, to prepare kids--because there is a significant
portion of kids that aren't going to even go on to a--let alone
a 4-year schools, a 2-year technical training or certificate
program; they are going to go right into the workforce. And I
think the language that we put in the Student Success Act will
go a long way towards making sure that these kids are ready on
day one after graduation to join that workforce and really be
there for a great job to be able to meet a need and a great
pathway to success.
Secretary Duncan. The more we can work together on these
issues, again, I just feel this is one we have to break through
as fast as we can and do it together. So thank you for your
leadership on it.
Mr. Thompson. Thanks, Mr. Secretary.
Mr. Chairman, I yield back.
Chairman Kline. I thank the gentleman.
Mr. Holt. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Secretary, good to see you. You are a fine witness and
I appreciate your creative and imaginative and positive
programs and your national presentation to the public on
There are lots of things we could talk about--arts in
education, libraries, special education, and IDEA. But let me
focus on the professional development of teachers in math and
science, and then if time allows I would like to get to the
Foreign Language Education Program that you would zero out and
leave us in a situation where the Chinese government is
spending more money in this country on foreign languages than
you are--we are.
But science education--the proposed budget proposes the
consolidation of the Math and Science Partnerships Program,
again, and the budget request of $150 million is--this is for
the entire block of consolidated programs--is less than was
provided for math and science partnerships in 2004 and about a
third of what used to be in this under the Eisenhower Grants of
some years ago.
Now, I understand you are under pressure to make sensible
cuts, but this is slashing and it is not good enough to say,
``Well, we are doing better than the Ryan, Romney, Santorum,
Gingrich, Paul budgets would do,'' that wouldn't take us back
to 2004, they would take us back to 1994 or 1904, or whatever.
So, you know, how can you do that?
And let me go on along these lines: The Higher Education
Opportunity Act included a provision--a really quite
inexpensive provision to provide a database on STEM education
programs, assistance for people to study college graduate
science, technology, engineering, and teaching in those areas,
as well. It has never been funded. This is really minor and it
would really help--it would have a major impact.
And furthermore, TEACH Grants. How can we make the TEACH
Grants more attractive for prospective teachers in science and
Secretary Duncan. So a lot there, and I think, obviously,
your advocacy and leadership on STEM is so huge and important.
We actually have multiple pots of money that are funding the
Mr. Holt. Let me just jump in there. The principle funding
for teacher professional development has been the Math and
Science Partnerships, and so that principal program has not
been made up with bits and pieces of other programs.
Secretary Duncan. Right. Right. So we have, as you said,
$150 million for the effective teaching and learning STEM. I
would say that the $2.4 billion we spend on teacher
professional development is often poorly spent and we need to
look there, but so much of what is going on with Race to the
Top grants, with i3 winners are in the STEM areas and we have
made that a competitive priority. And so we are going to
continue invest very significantly there.
And then finally, obviously we are pushing very hard to
recruit 100,000 new STEM teachers to come in and have some
really interesting public-private partnerships and are moving
Mr. Holt. Well, you could recruit them better if you made
the TEACH program really work----
Secretary Duncan. Oh, sorry. And the TEACH----
Mr. Holt [continuing]. If you helped with the database to
help people understand what financial assistance is available
for them to study in the STEM areas--both relatively
inexpensive programs, considering the impact that they would
Secretary Duncan. Your point on the TEACH Grants is
actually a really important one. I think too many folks who got
the TEACH Grants actually didn't either go into teaching or
stay in teaching and how we better target that for folks who
are in it for the long haul, how we do it maybe a little bit
later in their college career where they are more committed.
Obviously if they don't go in those grants become loans, and it
really puts them in a bad position. And if we emphasize more
folks with that commitment in the STEM areas to go work in
disadvantaged communities I think those dollars can be targeted
in a much more strategic way.
Mr. Holt. Yes. Let me just press you a little bit more on
the teacher professional development. I mean, you have said
science education is central to our effort to restore American
leadership in education worldwide. It doesn't look to me like
when you consolidate the single most important program about
professional development in math and science with a bunch of
other programs and then reduce the amount to, you know, less
than a third of what it was under the Eisenhower Grants or
below what it was 8 years ago for the Math and Science
Partnerships alone, that you really are saying, ``This is
Secretary Duncan. Right. So again, let me just sort of walk
you through. There is a fair debate or fair critique, but just
to walk you through, $150 million for the effective teaching
and learning in STEM, $30 million for the Fund for the
Improvement of Education in the K-12 math innovation space, $80
million for the set aside for effective teachers and leaders in
State grants to support STEM teacher and leader preparation,
and $190 million for the Presidential Teaching Fellows program
in the STEM areas.
So there are multiple ways that we are trying to get at
this, but I think your basic point of how critical this is to
the country, we absolutely agree, and again, welcome that
continued conversation of how we get there together.
Mr. Holt. Thank you.
Chairman Kline. Gentleman's time is expired.
Mr. Secretary, as you can tell, we are nearing that point
in the hearing where we are going to make a few brief closing
remarks. I want to thank you. Before I yield to my colleague,
Mr. Kildee, I want to thank you for your attendance here today,
for your really in-depth knowledge and your sharing that with
We all benefit from your presence here and I know that your
staff has put a lot of time into preparing that enormous
notebook there in front of you. I think it was time well spent.
Mr. Kildee, any closing remarks?
Mr. Kildee. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Secretary, I have spent 36 years on this committee and
36 years in Congress, and this is going to be my last year, and
I really appreciate your leadership in education. I helped
establish the Department of Education--I was one of the
cosponsors of the bill so I have known every secretary, and you
are just incredibly good and I deeply appreciate what you have
You have really helped bring parties together--the Big
Eight concept. I really enjoyed those meetings and I think they
have some permanent effect among--I have always liked John but
I like him even more after having those meetings. And we got to
know each other better and realize that we all wanted the top-
class educational system.
And you helped us really begin to realize that we could
respect one another, work together, have some differences and
try to work those differences out. We still have a long ways to
go but I think you have really planted the seeds very well.
Hopefully we will bear fruit.
Mr. Secretary, I deeply appreciate your knowledge, your
depth of knowledge, you leadership in education, and I deeply
appreciate your passion for education, and I thank you for it.
Secretary Duncan. Thank you for your service.
Chairman Kline. I thank the gentleman for his closing
remarks, for his kind remarks about me. In fact, a couple of
people have said nice things about me and I have got to go
wonder what I am doing here.
Thank you, Dale.
Just a couple of closing remarks here sort of wrapping up
the discussion. It is apparent that there is some remorse and
some angst being expressed over the fact that the Pelosi
Congress put into law--put into law a doubling of the student
interest rates from 3.4 to 6.8 this year and then wonder why
budgets reflect that law as we try to grapple with that
Mr. Secretary, I want to take my closing remarks to
reemphasize how important I think it is that we go right at
that IDEA funding. I appreciate your comments and I agree with
my colleague that you have a great depth of knowledge and a
great passion to reaching the goal of improving education for
our children, but right now immediately in the near term every
school in America would benefit by increasing that funding,
which was a commitment by the federal government decades ago.
And so we will continue work here despite the sort of
across the board rhetoric that we heard up here and, frankly,
that we heard from you about what the House budget is going to
do. We will set those priorities when it comes down to how we
spend money, and I am going to continue to work and I hope in a
bipartisan way with my colleagues to make sure that we are
increasing funding for IDEA and not cutting it.
And then one final point, there was some discussion about
the Direct Lending program and I think you indicated that it
was working very well and you hadn't heard any complaints, and
yet we heard some discussion about rehabilitation of loans.
There may be some issues there. I and others have signed a
letter to the GAO to ask them to look into that.
And we have been hearing some murmurings that there may be
some difficulties with the Web site. We will continue to be in
dialogue with you to make sure that our students are getting
what they need out of this.
So again, I want to thank you for your attendance here
today. I thought it was an excellent hearing and again, I
commend your staff for excellent preparation. I don't even know
if you needed any more with your depth of knowledge. But thank
you very much.
There being no further business, committee stands
[Questions submitted for the record and their responses
[Whereupon, at 12:36 p.m., the committee was adjourned.]