Some media have in the past reported that the education has been/or will be cut by the GOP at the federal level.

For example: Bush Cuts Education 2002 budget.

May 2, 2002 Sen Jack Reed of Rhode Island assailed the administration's proposed cuts. "The Bush Administration is endangering our future economically and socially by shortchanging education spending," ... Senator James Condos, ... "What the federal government is asking us to do is dump our state educational system."

Have significant cuts to education spending ever occurred (e.g. greater than 1%) and if so, what was the actual percentage of the cut? How long did those cuts last?

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2 Answers 2


No. For example, the charges leveled by Reed/Condos above have been disproven by, Fact Check.

funding for the Department of Education is up 58% in the first three years of Bush's term and is set to rise further under the budget he proposed in January

The Department of Education keeps track of dollars per pupil expenditures. The line graph and chart both show that per pupil spending increases or remains relatively flat.

  • Here is a line chart from the Department of Education, measured in Constant Dollars (inflation adjusted for those who don't know)

  • Here is another chart from the Department of Education showing the difference between Actual Dollars, and inflation adjusted dollars. (for those who will quibble of the term Constant).

The above charts are for K-12 spending. Here is a chart with total spending by the Department of Education (not adjusted for inflation). Note that 2011 is only a guess, not actual reported spending.

If the Department of Education is to be believed, there have only been 2 cuts to education of 1% or less, and they didn't last more than a year.


This depends on what exactly you mean by "cuts," the U.S. Government operates under baseline budgeting (another baseline budgeting explanation). This means that each year budgets are projected to increase by a certain amount (I believe they use 10% but can't find a good reference). This means that for a budget of $100 this year they expect a budget of $110 next year, assuming a 10% increase, therefore if the budget is only $105 next year, this was a cut of 4.6% despite actually increasing the total dollar amount in the budget.

As far as I know there hasn't been a cut that resulted in a budget being lower than a previous year in recent times, I'll keep digging to source this though.

  • So,if your definition of cuts means, "does not grow as much as projected," the answer is yes, otherwise no. How does this square with the per pupil spending always increasing for K-12? Would you onlybe able to tell if there were cuts to spending per pupil,by first deciding how much you should increase spending per studnt?
    – user1873
    Commented Apr 23, 2012 at 16:19
  • @user1873 my answer is no there has never been anything typically understood as a cut, though there probably has been a what the government defines as a cut. This is inline with spending per pupil continually increasing because cuts according to the government is less dollars received than projected, not less dollars received than previously received. Anything that deals with money and the federal government is a perfect example of using math to lie.
    – Ryathal
    Commented Apr 23, 2012 at 17:25

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