House Education & the Workforce Committee
John Boehner, Chairman
2181 Rayburn HOB · (202) 225-4527
Child Left Behind is FUNDED
money were the solution to the problems in
’s schools, those problems would have been solved long ago. But money
isn’t the solution. That’s why President Bush and Congress enacted
the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). In enacting NCLB, President
Bush and Republicans promised education funding would increase, and would be
linked for the first time to accountability for results. This is
exactly what has occurred.
more spending without accountability. Prior to NCLB,
states accepted billions of dollars a year in federal education aid, but
were not held accountable for using that money to get academic results for
all children. Disadvantaged students were written off as unteachable
and shuffled through the system without receiving a quality education –
and federal law endorsed this practice. Millions of parents were
denied the ability to know whether or not their children were learning,
and denied the ability to do anything about it if they suspected their
children’s schools weren’t getting the job done.
40 percent boost in federal K-12 education funding.
Funding for major elementary and secondary education programs increased by
40 percent in just the first three years of NCLB. In FY 2005, states
and local schools will receive $24.4 billion in federal elementary and
secondary education aid. Funding for Title I, the primary funding
stream in NCLB, has increased to historic levels as well. In fact,
because of NCLB, Title I received a larger increase during the first two
years of President George W. Bush's administration alone than it did
during the previous eight years combined under President Bill Clinton.
have increased education spending by 150 percent. Since
Republicans took control of Congress eight years ago, federal education
funding has increased significantly. Funding for the U.S. Department
of Education has increased by 150 percent under GOP control of the House,
from $23 billion in FY 1996 to nearly $57 billion in FY 2005. In
fact, the federal government has increased federal education funding so
rapidly that states are having trouble spending it all.
well-funded opportunity – not an unfunded mandate.
Education reform opponents have incorrectly claimed that NCLB is an
“unfunded mandate.” As Brian Riedl of the Heritage Foundation
noted in a column last year http://www.heritage.org/Research/Budget/wm283.cfm),
NCLB is neither “unfunded” nor a “mandate.” States are under
no obligation to accept the billions of dollars a year in federal
education aid NCLB offers. States that do not wish to be held
accountable for improving student achievement, or that prefer to do things
their own way, can simply decline the money. In addition, three reports
released this year conclude the federal government is providing states
with more than enough aid to implement the reforms included in NCLB.
Information on each report is included below.
REPORT FROM THE NON-PARTISAN GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE (GAO) CONCLUDES
no child left behind is not an unfunded mandate
report from the nonpartisan GAO, requested by Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH)
and released in the 108th Congress, upholds Republican claims that
the No Child Left Behind Act is not an unfunded mandate. The GAO
reviewed more than 500 different statutes and regulations enacted in 2001 and
2002, including Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reports about NCLB, and
concluded NCLB was not an unfunded mandate.
to the report, NCLB “did not meet the UMRA’s [Unfunded Mandates Reform
Act of 1995] definition of a mandate because the requirements were a
condition of federal financial assistance” and “any costs incurred by
state, local or tribal governments would result from complying” with
conditions of receiving the federal funds.
copy of the report, “Unfunded Mandates: Analysis of Reform Act Coverage,”
can be found at http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d04637.pdf.
critics “greatly exaggerate” no child left behind cost to states; study
concludes law may even be overfunded
report published in the Spring 2004 edition of the policy journal Education
by two Massachusetts state officials (state board of education chairman James
Peyser and chief economist Robert Costrell) concluded the federal government
"overshot the target" in terms of funding the law, providing more
money than some states need to make it work.
spending has “overshot the target.” “If this
spending increase does not fully cover the fiscal gap [associated with No
Child Left Behind's requirements], it would appear to come pretty close
– especially when combined with state-level spending increases already
required under various state laws and court decisions,” Peyser and
Costrell wrote. “Given that many states have been slow to
implement the statewide assessment and accountability systems required by
NCLB, one might even argue that in some instances federal spending growth
has overshot the target.”
costs are sufficiently covered. Total federal spending
for K-12 education grew significantly from 2001 to 2003 as a result of No
Child Left Behind, Peyser and Costrell note, resulting in an $8 billion
funding increase that is sufficient – if not more than sufficient – to
allow states to meet NCLB's current expectations. The authors say
federal education spending must continue to increase in coming years to
ensure states continue to have adequate funding to meet NCLB's objectives,
but find the actual amount needed is far below the huge amounts claimed by
education reform opponents in many states. Additionally, Peyser and
Costrell find the $391 million currently appropriated by Congress for
states to design and implement annual tests for students in grades 3-8 is
adequate at the present time – a conclusion also reached by the
independent General Accounting Office (GAO). Five states had already
met the NCLB testing requirements before the law even went into effect,
cost study shows states are profiting financially from the no child left
major national cost study released in February 2004 by AccountabilityWorks, a
non-profit research organization, shows states are profiting handsomely from
the education spending increases triggered by NCLB. The analysis, entitled
“NCLB Under a Microscope,” is available online at http://www.educationleaders.org/elc/events/elc_cost_study-04.pdf.
mandate” claim false. “[W]e conclude that the
charge that NCLB is an ‘unfunded mandate’ is false; additionally,
we find that the level of federal funding provided to support
implementation of NCLB requirements has been -- and is likely to remain --
sufficient,” the study's authors write.
will receive $787 million surplus this year from NCLB.
The authors’ analysis estimates states will collectively receive a
surplus of $787 million in federal No Child Left Behind funding for the
upcoming school year (2004-05), a surplus that could increase to $5
billion by the 2007-08 school year. The report also recognizes
states are under no obligation to accept the federal education funds that
accompany the No Child Left Behind requirements, and cautions against
attempts to attribute costs to NCLB that the law does not impose.
bill feds for their own choices. “States choosing to
accept Title I and other federal dollars should be assured that
substantial federal resources accompany new demands,” the authors note.
“There is, however, no reason to assume that the fundamental federal
role has changed to the point that all new future K-12 needs are now the
responsibility of the federal government.”
education funding is increasing more quickly than states can spend it; states
have billions in unspent no child left behind and special education funds
recent report released by the U.S. Department of Education’s Budget
Services Office (October 1, 2004) shows
that states are sitting on more than $10 billion in federal education funding
appropriated between FY 2000 and FY 2003. The report also shows the
percentage of federal funds unspent by states is increasing – not
decreasing – as more and more federal money is pumped into the public
from the report include:
States are collectively sitting on nearly half a billion dollars ($469
million) in unspent federal education funds appropriated for their use
during the final years of the Clinton administration (FY 2000, FY 2001) -
before NCLB was even enacted. Nine-four percent of these unspent
funds are federal school improvement, special education, Title I funds,
and other programs for economically disadvantaged students.
Democrat and the ultra-liberal National Education Association (NEA) have
attempted to dismiss these reports of unspent funds as “accounting
gimmicks.” An editorial from
Cleveland, Ohio’s The Plain Dealer calls
the Democrat-NEA spin a fallacy. (“U.S.
finds a lot of dollars left behind,” Chris Sheridan, The
Plain Dealer; July 4, 2004)
is sure, yet again, is that throwing federal dollars at the question not only
doesn't guarantee achievement, it doesn't even guarantee that schools will
see the money,” writes Chris
Sheridan, the assistant editor at The Plain
also notes that the independent General Accounting Office (GAO) issued a
report earlier this year flatly rejecting opponents’ claims that the No
Child Left Behind Act is an “unfunded mandate.”
more information about President Bush’s No Child Left Behind law, please