Diann Woodard Responds to President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2016 Budget

On Monday, February 2, President Obama released his budget for Fiscal Year 2016. AFSA President Diann Woodard released the following statement in response:

“AFSA applauds the President for offering in his FY16 budget request long overdue investments in k-12 education and proposing to end the ill-conceived and self-defeating  sequestration budget cuts. Sequestration decimates funding for the core services we all depend on as a nation, such as public safety and education, and this budget would, once and for all, remove the budget axe that has been hanging above so many needed domestic discretionary programs for the past two years.

“AFSA was particularly heartened that the President’s budget  proposed to make significant investments in pre-k, including a $1 billion increase to the Head Start program, and $750 million for Preschool Development Grants. These essential programs help to ensure that our most vulnerable children get a school-readiness experience that meets their learning and development needs. Although many states have funded prekindergarten, most still need to improve access to these programs, and/or raise their standards of quality to ensure the greatest economic return on their investment. These proposed federal investments will help states make these necessary changes  put at-risk children on a solid path to success in kindergarten and later life.

“AFSA also supports the president’s proposal to make college more affordable for all students, especially low-income and non-traditional students. Everyone knows that a college diploma is essential in today’s workforce. Unfortunately, too many students and families are saddled with mountains of debt after college. The president understands that education has always been the key to success, and his plan will help make this dream a reality for millions more,”

“While we appreciated the President’s proposal to seek a significant increase in Title I funding, we were extremely disappointed in the president’s proposal to eliminate funding for the School Leadership Program, the only federal initiative directly addressing the difficulty of attracting and retaining high-quality candidates for principals in high-need districts. As the instructional leader of a school, the principal plays a unique and important role in implementing reform and creating a climate that fosters excellence in teaching and learning. Failing to fund this critical program hampers progress on closing achievement gaps, severely limiting states and districts from recruiting school leaders and providing sufficient leadership training. AFSA will work to urge Congress to provide the necessary funding for the School Leadership Program,”

“Finally, we appreciate the president’s budget would make it easier for workers to save for retirement through their employer – giving 30 million more workers access to a workplace savings opportunity. This, combined with protecting workers’ pension plans and strengthening Social Security, will help workers retire with the dignity and financial security they deserve.”