President proposes cutbacks in Teaching American History Grants

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In the funding proposal the president asserts that “the number of quality applications for assistance under this program in recent
years does not justify the current level of funding ($121 million). He therefore recommends that it be reduced to $50 million. The reduced cost reflects “the anticipated number of high-scoring applicants” and would generate about 52 new awards.”

As for the budget numbers for agencies of particular interest to the history and archives professions:

For the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) a request of $141 million (about $2 million less than appropriated last year), including:

$15.2 million – level funding – for the “We the People” initiative. Part of the funds would support the ”Interpreting America’s Historic Places” and “Family and Youth Programs in American History” initiatives – the purpose of the former is self evident while the latter supports inter-generational learning about significant topics in US history and culture. There is also a major new matching fund initiative to transcribe, digitize, and post to the Internet the papers of the first four presidents (Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison); there are funds earmarked to help preserve and increase access to collections of papers of former members of Congress. Finally, the budget includes $31.08 million for Federal/State partnership programs. For a more detailed breakdown of the NEH funding request, go to .

For the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) the request is for $338 million. Of this $45 million will go toward development of “basic preservation and access capabilities of the Electronic Records Archives.” To the disappointment of many the initial funding for a new stateside archives formula grant program did not materialize. There is, however, $2 million for the initial move of the records and for staffing and operations of the Nixon presidential library.

For the NHPRC – once again zero funds for grants. The budget document states: “ The Budget proposes no new grants that NARA can focus its resources on its essential Federal records management mission.”

Other items of possible interest: For the 18 museums that comprise the Smithsonian Institution – $533 million -- up slightly from FY 2006 of $527 million. For the Institute for Museum and Library Services – a total of
$262.2 million (an increase of just over $15 million) of which $39.89 million (an increase of $2.5 million) in assistance to museums and $220 million for assistance to libraries. For the Woodrow Wilson Center – level funding of $9 million. And for the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation level funding as well – $6 million.

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William R. Everdell - 2/12/2006

Not to worry. The budget does even worse to veterans' health care and student loans. To understand this regime you have to bone up on dead pop philosophers like Ayn Rand, and hope for the day when the Virtue of Selfishness finally collides with the Sermon on the Mount and the governing coalition dissolves into religious war.

Or you can leave the "reality-based community." That's hard for historians. But easy for mythographers unafraid of claiming to be historians

-Bill Everdell, Brooklyn

Mary Jane VanEsselsttyn - 2/8/2006

What else would you expect/ It is time historians who acknowledge a regime that has no knowledge of real history and rewrites history learn they will suffer the consequences.

Kathy Wittig - 2/8/2006

As one who has a passion for History, this is an outrage. (not as bad as cutting SS survivors benefits)
But frankly Bush has an awful lot to hide, and has proven himself once again to be quite ignorant. I imagine he doesn't want his presidency in history, because once all the facts are revealed he should be incarcerated.

Michael Green - 2/8/2006

As co-director of a grant that is expanding the knowledge of high school and middle school history teachers, all I can say is that Bush's attempt to cut the program is no surprise. The more one learns about history, the clearer it is that he is incompetent.