President-elect Barack Obama may surprise people and find room in the federal budget for the $30 billion a year it will take to make his education agenda a reality, one of his campaign’s education advisers said.
“He has talked about education as an investment in a very serious way” and he sees his education proposals as ways “to grow the economy,” Linda Darling-Hammond told the National Academy of Education at an event in Washington, where researchers outlined their recommendations for K-12 policy.
The Stanford University professor sounded more optimistic about the prospects for increases in education funding than many others who track the federal budget. The $30 billion price tag for the Obama agenda may sound big, she said, but it’s a small fraction of federal spending. “Thirty billion dollars is decimal dust in the federal budget,” Darling-Hammond concluded.
Darling-Hammond also repeated the president- elect’s promise to double the education research and development budget, “with emphasis on the ‘D’ in R&D,” she said. Whether Obama will deliver on those promises when he proposes his first budget remains to be seen, Darling-Hammond said. But she believes there’s a good chance he will. “The indications are that we will see a president who is very, very committed to this,” she said.