This week, President Obama released his Fiscal Year 2014 Budget. This proposal reflects the Administration's priorities to ensure a world-class education for all students, provide opportunities for employment, and build strong communities. The budget includes several areas of investment that could provide education and employment opportunities for black boys and young men along the age continuum from cradle to career. It also expands supports to low-income communities for revitalization, poverty reduction, increased jobs, and decreased violence.
This budget still has many hurdles to cross, and the outcome is far from certain. The proposed resources, however, are an indication that the President and his Administration understand the need to invest in our youth, the workforce, families, and distressed communities-even in the face of tough choices about reducing budget deficits.
It is important to recognize that these resource allocations alone are insufficient to fully address the large gaps in academic achievement and employment for black youth, or the number of communities that need to be strengthened and rebuilt. In particular, there is a need for far greater investment in older black youth who have been disconnected from school or work. Many of the increased investments reflected in this budget are for competitive grant programs that serve a small number of states or communities. And in some cases, the mandatory or formula program allocations do not reflect the large numbers of youth and their families that we know are in need. Still, we view the resources in this budget as an opportunity to do more than was done in the past to impact outcomes for black males, particularly those in high-poverty communities.
Below is a summary of critical investments in education, employment, and rebuilding communities that hold potential for increased achievement of black males:
- $4.3 billion in 2014 to fund high quality early childhood services, including: Early Head Start, preschool, early intervention services for young children with disabilities. An additional $90 billion over 10 years will fund Preschool for All and home visiting services
- $14.5 billion for College and Career Ready Students (Elementary and Secondary Education Act, Title I)
- $8.1 billion to improve teaching and learning through formula and competitive investments in professional development
- $874 million to continue the administration's efforts to spur innovation and school improvement through School Turnaround Grants and Investing in Innovation (i3)
- $1.3 billion for 21st Century Community Learning Centers
- $300 million for a new High School Redesign program
- $25 million for Project Prevent grants to help LEAs deal with violence more effectively through mental health services to students, conflict resolution programs, and other school-based strategies to prevent future violence
College and Career Readiness
- $1.1 billion to support a reauthorized Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education (CTE) program
- $1 billion for Race to the Top-College Affordability and Completion competition
- $10 billion to expand Campus-Based Aid programs are included to support college affordability and completion
- $102 million for a College Pathways and Accelerated Learning program that would focus on increasing graduation rates and preparation for college matriculation in high-poverty schools
In addition, the President's budget maintains a commitment to postsecondary completion for disadvantaged populations. It continues funding support for federal TRIO programs and Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP). Both have a track record of providing educational services to low-income black males, as well as black males who are first-generation college students. The budget also includes ongoing funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Predominantly Black Institutions.
- $2.8 billion in Department of Labor resources to support youth career readiness and work, including formula grants for Workforce Investment Act (WIA) Youth Activities, Job Corps, YouthBuild, and Workforce Innovation Fund
- $12.5 billion for a Pathways Back to Work Fund supporting subsidized employment and training for low-income populations
- $119 million for the Second Chance Act to support the reintegration of former offenders
- $300 million investment in the Department of Education's Promise Neighborhoods program-an increase of $240 million over 2012
- $400 million for the Department of Housing and Urban Development's Choice Neighborhoods program-an increase of $280 million over 2012
- $35 million for Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation Grants to invest in proven public safety strategies in high-crime communities
- Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2) will provide technical expertise to distressed communities to help them identify ways to leverage existing Federal investments to improve community outcomes, and to help build the capacity of local government