We’re excited to see that on March 26th, the Administration appointed Julie Cram to serve as the Deputy Assistant Administrator for E3 and the Senior Coordinator for Basic Education. Ms. Cram is an advocacy and public affairs expert with more than 18 years of experience in issue advocacy, communications, and government affairs from high-level posts in both the federal government and the private sector. From 2007- 2009, Ms. Cram served as Deputy Assistant to the President and Director of the Public Liaison Office for President George W. Bush. Now that a Senior Coordinator is officially in place, USAID can work on both a whole-of-government international education strategy and the next USAID basic education strategy. BEC is working with Ms. Cram and USAID to ensure that the next USAID basic education strategy includes community input and lays the foundation for great education development work for years to come.
On the budget front, Congress rose to the occasion and rejected the Administration’s proposed 32% cut to the FY18 overall international affairs budget and the proposed 53% cut to FY18 basic education programs. The State-Foreign Operations portion of the final FY18 omnibus spending bill slightly reduces the overall international affairs funding to $54 billion compared to the FY17 level of $57.5 billion. FY18 funding for international basic education is protected at $800 million, which is level to the FY17 final enacted level. Of that $800 million, $87.5 million has been designated for the Global Partnership for Education – an increase of $12.5 million from the FY17 level of $75 million. Now that the FY18 omnibus has passed, work on FY19 funding is moving ahead. The President’s FY19 Budget Request included $394,530,000 for basic education, which would amount to a 51% cut from the existing level. BEC will continue to work with key allies on the Hill to ensure that Congress remains steadfast in its opposition to these drastic cuts, and we’re already seeing our work pay off. In the House, our bipartisan Dear Colleague letter calling for robust FY19 funding for basic education had a record 120 co-signers.