Federal government spending bill investing billions in education

January 15, 2014 at 4:01 PM EDT
Fourth grade classroom at Fox Hill Elementary School in suburban Indianapolis

Education programs will receive large funding boosts as part of the new spending bill. Photo by Mike Fritz/PBS NewsHour

Hitting pause on sequestration restrictions, Head Start became one of the biggest federal government investments after appropriations were announced for the bipartisan $1.1 trillion spending bill.

The federal program was founded as part of Lyndon B. Johnson’s War on Poverty in 1965. Providing comprehensive early childhood education, health, nutrition and parental involvement services to low-income children and their families, the program will receive just over $1 billion, a 13 percent increase over current funding and $612 million over its initial 2013 appropriation.

$500 million will go to Early Head Start and $250 million in grants will be given to expand preschool programs, Education Week says.

“I think this appropriations bill is trying to address the harm that has come to students most in need under the sequester,” said Mary Kusler, the director of government relations for the National Education Association.

Other programs receiving money include Child Care and Development Block Grants program, which is responsible for helping states offer child care assistance to needy families. The bill includes $2.4 billion for the program, an increase of $154 million over last year’s levels. Impact Aid, which helps school districts compensate for tax revenue loss due to federal presence, like Native American reservations or military bases will get $1.3 billion — a $64 million increase over last year’s levels. Career and Technical Education will see a $53 million increase from last year, up to $1.1 billion.