FromThe New York Times: President Obama has proposed a 2012 Department of Education budget that would significantly increase federal spending for public schools, and maintain the maximum Pell grant — the most significant student financial-aid program — at $5,550 per college student. Whether it will be possible to keep that Pell maximum remains uncertain, however, given that House Republicans have proposed cutting Pell grants by about 15 percent. The administration’s education proposal asks for $77.4 billion. That includes $48.8 billion for the portion of the education budget that does not include Pell grants, or an increase of about 4 percent above the 2010 budget. Congress has not yet enacted the 2011 budget.