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Statement by Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona on the U.S. Department of Education Fiscal Year 2024 Budget Request

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Good morning, Chairwoman Foxx, Ranking Member Scott, and distinguished members of the Committee.

I am pleased to join you today to testify on behalf of President Biden’s fiscal year 2024 Budget Request for the Department of Education.

I often say that investing in our children is as important as investing in defense.  It protects our future.  It strengthens our society.  It reinforces the prosperity of our economy and the power of our example around the world.

This budget request is about whether we choose to invest in that future for our children and for our nation.

We can choose to invest in giving our children a strong foundation for learning right away, by expanding high-quality preschool for more four-year-olds across America.

We can choose to invest in a better education for our students in Title I schools, where they can learn the fundamentals of reading, math, and other rigorous subjects they’ll need to succeed in life because those schools are able to tailor instruction and use data to provide one-on-one support, thanks to $2.2 billion in additional funding.

We can choose to invest in guaranteeing that our students will have  highly-qualified teachers with years of experience – because we worked early to fully prepare, develop, and empower a strong and diverse educator workforce.

We can choose to invest in better learning conditions for our students with another half billion dollars to advance our goal of doubling the number of counselors, social workers, and mental health providers available to our kids. 

And we can choose to double the funding for Full-Service Community Schools that help our students get wraparound support from their own community.

Crucially, and Madam Chairwoman, I know we have a lot of common ground on this: we can choose to invest in pathways to careers and skills to compete and succeed in a strong economy.  This budget would deliver more funding for Career and Technical Education, more funds to create career-connected high schools, and more investments in helping every student become multilingual.

We can also choose to invest in making sure postsecondary education is inclusive and affordable for the many Americans who will benefit from a college credential or degree. 

That means increasing the Pell Grant.

It means investing in proven strategies that help students better afford college, and succeed in earning a degree.

It means supporting our HBCUs, TCUs, and MSIs.

It means making free community college a reality nationwide.

So we have a choice to give our students more – not less – with this budget. To go back to a broken status quo – or raise the bar for education, together.

As we consider this budget request, let’s appreciate that, even as we respectfully disagree in some areas, we all believe passionately in the importance of giving our young people a brighter future. 

Let’s acknowledge that we have many areas of common ground, from wanting our children to have a strong foundation in reading and math to seeking more skills and career pathways for our young people.

The choice we face now is whether we’re going to build on the common ground we have to invest in our children, or protect a broken status quo that is failing too many of our students.

Now is not the time to break down in partisanship or divisive culture wars.  Now is the time to choose to come together on behalf of the students, parents and educators who are looking to us to serve and Raise the Bar for education in this country.

Working together, I know we can – and we will.

Thank you, and I’m looking forward to your questions.

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