On December 26, 2007, President Bush signed into law an omnibus funding package (H.R. 2764) that incorporates the eleven fiscal year 2008 appropriations bills for non-Defense Department agencies. The overall total for the bill is $555 billion. Congress passed the bill on December 19.

Here is a summary of FY ’08 funding for the Teaching American History (TAH) Grants program at the U.S. Department of Education, which is under the Labor, HHS & Education appropriation. Please note that for comparison purposes, the FY ’07 budget number will be included in parentheses after this year’s amount. In addition, report language from the House and Senate Appropriations Committee will be added where appropriate.:

TAH Program total: $117.9 million ($119.7 million)

Since the Administration had proposed cutting the program to $50 million, this is a significant victory for the historical community. The Appropriations Committees recommended that the Department of Education provide initial three-year grants, with two additional years if a grantee is performing effectively.

In 2001, President Clinton signed into law an omnibus appropriations bill that authorized a $50 million earmark for history education designed to begin to address what had been characterized by Congress as “the troubling historical illiteracy of our next generation of leaders.” In FY-2002, due to the leadership of Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV), Congress authorized a five-year “Teaching American History” grant program in the Department of Education, and then appropriated $100 million to the program in FY-2002 and FY 2003. For the past four fiscal years, approximately $120 million a year was appropriated to carry out the program.

The TAH grant program improves the quality of instruction in American history. Grant awards assist elementary and secondary schools in implementing research-based methods for improving the quality of instruction, professional development, and teacher education in American history. Funds are used for competitive grants that are allocated to local education agencies (LEAs) though funding proposals must include a partnership component with an educational non-profit and/or history-based organization. For more information about the program visit the DOEd website.