On Friday the Biden administration released its Budget Request for the federal government for Fiscal Year 2022 (FY22), which runs October 1, 2021 through September 30, 2022. This non-binding document is a statement of the administration’s priorities and will serve as a starting point for budget and appropriations discussions in Congress, which has the ultimate authority to pass federal spending legislation.
NAfME supports the proposed increases in education funding contained in the Administration’s budget proposal. Although the next fiscal year will see historic amounts of federal dollars flowing to schools from the three COVID relief laws enacted since March 2020, educators are still trying to meet rising levels of need in under-resourced schools. Annual appropriations funding for the U.S. Department of Education continues to lag well below 2011 levels in inflation-adjusted dollars.
Title I, Part A—the largest source of federal funding for schools serving economically disadvantaged students—would see a historic increase in funding under the President’s budget. Title I-A would receive $36.5 billion in FY22, a 220-percent increase over FY21 funding. NAfME supports this proposed increase to Title I-A, which can provide supplemental support for a well-rounded education that includes music. To learn more about how Title I funds can support music education, refer to NAfME’s ESSA’s Toolkit
Funding for teacher and school leader professional development would also receive a significant increase. The President’s budget requests $2.15 billion for Title II, Part A, a $5.5 million increase over last year’s funding level. Title II-A funds can be used to support professional development for music educators.
Unfortunately, the President’s budget proposes $1.22 billion for Title IV, Part A, which is the same amount of funding provided for this highly successful program in the current fiscal year. Title IV-A, authorized in ESSA for $1.6 billion, includes supporting a well-rounded education as one of its three expressed purposes and therefore is the federal funding stream most commonly used to provide supplemental support for music education. With Members of Congress advocating for as much as $2 billion for Title IV-A, NAfME considers this proposal a missed opportunity by the Biden administration to expand access to music and arts education.
Finally, President Biden’s budget takes an important first step towards “full-funding” for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Passed in 1975, IDEA mandates that all students, regardless of ability, be provided a free appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment. Despite Congressional intent to provide 40% of the funding necessary for schools to provide this education, the federal contribution to IDEA currently amounts to roughly 13% of the expense. The President’s budget requests $16 billion in FY22 for IDEA, a $2.7 billion increase over FY21.
The funding increases outlined in the Administration’s budget would give schools more support to provide music education for students, particularly those attending under-resourced schools. NAfME supports those increases and will urge Congress to go further than the Biden Administration’s proposal for Title IV-A in its FY22 appropriations bills.
NAfME Public Policy Staff, June 1, 2021. © National Association for Music Education (NAfME.org)