House Committee on Education and Labor Updates on Budget Reconciliation

After the release of the budget reconciliation plan by the U.S. Senate in early August, the House Committee on Education and Labor announced that it would spend $761 billion for improvements on education and workforce expenditure, which was marked up in the Budget Reconciliation Act Sept. 9.

For educators and administrators, these new updates serve as significant wins and a step in the right direction. With COVID-19 threatening the safety of students, teachers and leaders, this budget plan aims to support them by increasing spending on education programs, safety measures, paychecks and protections. 

Some crucial budget areas that have been updated include:

  • School Infrastructure—In order for students to perform better academically, it all starts in the classroom. This update will help improve the school quality, such as upgrading ventilation, ensuring clean drinking water and removing harmful minerals like asbestos. With a budget of $82 billion, this will provide a push to rehabilitate school buildings so that every student, teacher and leader is operating in a safe environment. Although President Joe Biden and Committee Chair Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.)’s bill proposed a higher budget, the investment is greater than projected. 

  • Grow Your Own Programs—This section update is designed to develop and coach educators who are in the teaching community in order to diversify the workforce. This program allows opportunities to gain experience for those who wish to pursue a position as a principal or other school leader. The committee was able to expand this part of the bill to not only teachers, as outlined in Biden’s American Families Plan, but to principals and other school leaders as well, allocating  $197 billion.

  • School Leader Recruitment and Support Program—A big win for school principals and leaders comes from this section of the bill, under the title, “Support School Principals.” The School Leadership Recruitment and Support Program (SLRSP) has not seen funding since 2017, and under this measure will receive $198 million. According to the SLRSP, “Through this program, aspiring principals gain access to high-quality preparation programs, sitting principals receive critical professional development supports, and thousands of teachers—along with hundreds of thousands of students—have the opportunity to work and learn in schools where school leaders have the tools to help them maximize their potential.… In the past, the School Leadership Program (SLP), the predecessor to SLRSP, seeded some of the country’s most innovative and effective principal preparation programs in places like Oakland, Chicago and New York City, along with rural communities in Alaska, North Carolina and Texas. Many of these school leadership initiatives have since grown exponentially to reach many more schools, teachers and students in need of outstanding leadership—greatly expanding the impact of the federal government’s initial investment.”

  • Additional Funding—Another component of the reconciliation plan involves an additional $4 billion in support of students and faculty during crisis situations. This section gives funding for computers and electronic equipment for students who lack it. If a school is shut down due to an outbreak of the COVID-19 virus or a natural disaster, this budget will ensure that students can complete their work outside of the classroom in an online environment.