Politics

Early Education Spending By The Feds Has Not Really Risen Since Obama Took Office

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US President Barack Obama gestures while speaking to students in a pre-K class during a visit to Moravia Park Elementary School on May 17, 2013 in Baltimore, Maryland. Obama is visiting Baltimore on what the administration called ' his second Middle Class Jobs and Opportunity Tour'. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama gestures while speaking to students in a pre-K class during a visit to Moravia Park Elementary School on May 17, 2013 in Baltimore, Maryland. Obama is visiting Baltimore on what the administration called ' his second Middle Class Jobs and Opportunity Tour'. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Further proof that words aren't enough: President Barack Obama has advocated for the importance of early education since his first presidential campaign, yet overall federal spending on America’s littlest learners has seen only a slight increase since 2008.

Instead, a recent report from the New America Foundation shows that after early education received a funding injection from the 2009 stimulus package, policymakers failed to keep up that increased investment. The 2009 spending hit a high of $32.6 billion, but the real tale lies in the comparison between the 2008 and 2013 figures: $20.7 billion then and only slightly higher at $21.5 billion last year.

The report does mention a few bright spots on the state level, including a renewed interest among governors in improving early childhood education.

Perhaps Obama’s remarks in Tuesday’s State of the Union address about the importance of preschool will help spur federal investment, but probably not if congressional Republicans have their way.

For a full look at how federal spending on early education has fared over the past five years, see the image below and click to enlarge it.

new america foundation

Before You Go

1. Finland

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