History programs largely escape Obama budget cuts
Under pressure to limit red ink, the White House announced $17 billion in budget cuts today.
Only one history program is affected: Academies for American History and Civics. The program, which cost $33 million, is being zeroed out.
The Administration proposes to eliminate the following three programs:
Civic Education. Provides several non-competitive grants to organizations that promote civic responsibility through teacher training and instructional materials.
Close-Up Fellowships. Provides a non-competitive grant to the Close-Up Foundation to provide fellowships to students and their teachers to finance their participation in one-week Washington, D.C. seminar programs on American government.
Academies for American History and Civics. Supports intensive workshops for teachers and students in the areas of history and civics.
The non-competitive awards provided by the Civic Education program and the Close-Up Fellowships program circumvent the merit-based grant-making process at the Department of Education.
The Academies for American History and Civics program is considered to be too small to leverage funding effectively. In 2008, for example, only 256 students and teachers participated in the program. In addition, the Department has minimal evidence that any of these programs have a positive impact on the participating students and teachers.
The Administration proposes to replace these three programs with a new $37 million competitive grant program targeted toward civic education. The new grant competition would also require grantees to conduct rigorous evaluations and collect valid, comparable data on key outcomes.
Additionally, school districts and other entities that wish to implement history and civics training programs can use funds provided under other Federal programs. For instance, the Teaching American History program supports competitive grants to local educational agencies to promote the teaching of American history through professional development programming for teachers of American history. Also, the Teacher Quality State Grants program provides nearly $3 billion annually for efforts supporting highly qualified teachers in the core academic subjects, including history, and for enhancing teachers' skills and knowledge in those subjects.
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