Written by Sam Dalton

The fiscal budget for 2017 was released Feb. 9 by the Obama administration with hopes that the new budget will make important investments in improving education, supporting teachers and school leaders and making colleges more accessible and affordable to complete.

John B. King Jr., acting education secretary, said in a press release on the Department of Education’s Web page that this new budget by President Obama is showing the commitment and efforts by his administration toward improving American students’ opportunities to achieve their potentials.

“We have made tremendous progress with record high school graduation rates and more students of color going to college, but we have further to go to ensure that educational excellence is a reality for all students,” King said, according to the Department of Education’s Web page. “This budget builds on the Administration’s continued efforts to invest in education, from high-quality early learning through college.”

This new budget will provide $69.4 billion in funding for education. This is an increase of 2 percent from the 2016 budget. This new budget will aid in putting the Every Student Succeeds Act  into action, according to the Department of Education’s Web page.

ESSA is intended to ensure that states set high standards so students who graduate are prepared for college, maintain the accountability of schools so low performing students are helped, empower state and local leaders to develop strong systems based on needs, make sure standardized testing doesn’t drown out learning and teaching, provide more children access to high-quality preschool and establish new resources for testing students, according to a report on whitehouse.gov.

BYU-Idaho has been making similar improvements in education by raising the academic standard. As of Fall Semester 2015, the new academic standard that determines each students’ standing at the end of each term is a 2.0 or higher semester GPA, and a 2.0 or higher accumulative GPA, according to BYU-I’s Web page on academic standards.

“The purpose of academic standards is to identify the academic expectations for students and to help them be wise stewards over the sacred resources that help provide their educational experience at BYU-Idaho. By understanding and meeting the academic standards, students will be able to successfully complete their degrees,” according to a statement on BYU-I’s Web page on academic standards.

Carly Hall, a freshman studying early childhood/special education, said she is happy to see the change in standards.

“I feel like that was a push to get students to do better,” Hall said. “It makes me feel better knowing that the faculty here actually cares about how we do in school.”

Bethany Winder, a freshman studying English education, said she likes how the three-track system affects the campus and the education of the students.

“I think it’s an interesting way to go about getting new students in,” Winder said. “I think it’s really ingenious.”

President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said in the inaugural address for President Clark G. Gilbert that the Church teaches its members the importance of education in their lives.

“We are very grateful for the inspiring innovations we have seen in past years like the Pathway program, online learning, learning model and the balanced tracks,” Uchtdorf said. “These are efforts in the right direction, but we must not forget that the foundation for past and for future innovations must always be grounded in divine gospel truth and the inspired charted course of Church education.”