Sunday, March 13, 2011

Kline Questions Spending and Priorities at the Department of Education

Congressman John Kline, Chairman
March 9, 2011 CONTACT: Colette Beyer
(202) 225-4527

Kline Questions Spending and Priorities at the Department of Education

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce,
chaired by Rep. John Kline (R-MN), today held a full committee hearing to review
the administration’s Fiscal Year 2012 budget request for the Department of
Education. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan served as the hearing witness,
offering testimony and answering member questions about the budget proposal.

In an unusual maneuver, the administration’s budget request for the department
was split into two proposals: $48.8 billion in “non-Pell discretionary spending”
and an additional $41.2 billion in spending for the Pell Grant program.
Chairman Kline referred to this budgetary tactic as a “gimmick” that “attempts
to conceal the true costs associated with this proposal.”

“Here is the bottom line: the department is asking to spend nearly $90 billion
during the next fiscal year – a 31 percent increase in the department’s budget
from the time the president took office,” said Chairman Kline. “Winning the
future is a goal we all share, but it can’t be won through record spending and
record debt. It is time we changed the status quo, not only in how we approach
our fiscal future, but also in the way we support our nation’s education

Concerns were also raised that the growing amount of federal dollars dedicated
to the Department of Education has not enhanced student achievement. “Despite
the near tripling of overall per pupil funding since 1965, national academic
performance has not improved,” said Chairman Kline. “Math and reading scores
have largely gone flat, graduation rates have stagnated, and researchers have
found serious shortcomings with many federal education programs.”

While the administration’s budget request eliminates certain wasteful or
duplicative programs, Chairman Kline pressed Secretary Duncan on the urgent need
to go further. “Last week, GAO released a report that found there was
widespread duplication, including around 80 federal programs focused on
improving teacher quality,” Chairman Kline said. “Even though your budget
request consolidates some of this, why didn’t you do more?”

Secretary Duncan acknowledged the need to do away with duplicative programs.
“We have to continue to work across the administration,” Secretary Duncan told
the Committee. “Many of these programs aren’t actually in our department, but
in others, and we need to work better together. Absolutely committed to doing

To watch hearing footage or read statements and testimony, visit

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