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Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona Delivers Oral Testimony on the Department of Education’s Budget Request (FY25)

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Chairman Aderholt, Ranking Member DeLauro, distinguished Members of the Committee – thank you for the opportunity to testify today on President Biden’s Fiscal Year 2025 budget request for the United States Department of Education.

I speak to you today in my capacity as Secretary of Education.

But I also look at this budget as a lifelong educator, and especially as a father of a son in college now and a daughter in her final year of high school. 

It’s in that spirit that I come here today – to discuss a budget that is not only about our priorities at the Department of Education, but about what we’re hearing directly from parents and others all over this country, in red and blue states alike, about where we have common ground when it comes to our hopes for our children.

I’m also here today because education opened doors for me – as it did for many of us.

At its best, public education is the great equalizer – putting opportunity within reach for all Americans.

So, where some seek to defund public education, I’m here to defend it unapologetically as the foundation of the American Dream.

This budget is about making responsible choices, together, to invest in that foundation for American opportunity – and raise the bar for our nation’s future.

It’s about the responsible choice to continue to sustain our nation’s academic recovery from the impacts of the pandemic through $82.4 billion in calculated investments to accelerate learning and success – instead of minimizing support at a very crucial time for our students to regain lost ground.

It’s about the responsible choice to invest in a stronger future for all Americans by boosting funding to close achievement gaps in low-income communities through Title I, support students with disabilities through IDEA, support multilingual learners through Title III, and recruit, retain, and develop great teachers.

It’s about the responsible choice to invest in safer schools and the mental health of our students by making more funding available for more school counselors and mental health professionals, and more Full-Service Community Schools.

It’s about the responsible choice to give more young people access to the American Dream by building more pathways to higher education for all students by improving college affordability, retention, and completion, including through free community college and increased student supports.

And it’s about the responsible choice to make these investments in our nation’s future while fully honoring the caps under the bipartisan agreement to reduce the deficit.

It’s also about working together again, as we did in a bipartisan fashion last year, to reject the sort of extreme policies and extreme cuts proposed by some at the time. These could have resulted in the loss of more than 200,000 teacher jobs at a time when those teachers are critical to recovering their students’ learning in reading and math.

And yes, there are some in our nation who benefit from stoking division in our schools and inflaming culture wars. 

But let me be clear: my purpose here today is to propose a budget that helps protect and support all of our nation’s students, instead of creating a spectacle for the benefit of the media, or provoking divisions that aim to bring attention to some but do nothing to help our young people succeed.

At a time when there is, in fact, so much common ground about what matters most for our nation’s students, such as:

  • Getting all students to read by third grade,
  • Providing mental health supports in the midst of a youth mental health crisis,
  • Opening up career and college pathways so students have more options for rewarding lives and careers,
  • And making higher education more affordable and accessible for those who choose that path,

I know we can and we will prioritize results over rhetoric.

We can raise the bar for our nation, together. I look forward to working with you to do so. Thank you.

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