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education budget

Trump’s ed budget: A ‘betrayal’ and a ‘meat cleaver’ to public education

Ed groups decry the proposed federal education budget, which invests heavily in school choice

Under President Trump’s proposed FY 2018 education budget, school choice would receive a massive $1.4 billion while the Education Department undergoes a $9 billion, or 13 percent, cut.

Overall, the proposed education budget cuts the Education Department’s budget from $68 million to $59 billion.

Within the proposed $1.4 billion school choice investment, charter schools get a $168 million boost, and $250 million is allocated toward a new private school choice program.

Title I funds would receive a $1 billion increase, but the funds would follow individual students should they decide to change schools.

IDEA funding for programs that support students with special needs and disabilities would remain stable at $13 billion.

In a statement, AFT President Randi Weingarten said the proposed education budget “takes a meat cleaver to public education.”

Next page: Reaction from education groups

The education budget would eliminate Title II funding, which allocates $2.4 billion to help states with teacher hiring and PD.

It also eliminates the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program–a $1.2 billion program for community schools, before- and after-school programs, and summer programs. The education budget document notes that the program “lacks strong evidence of meeting its objectives, such as improving student achievement.”

“These are the biggest cuts to the education budget we can recall—even during times of great fiscal stress,” Weingarten said. “Only someone who doesn’t know what public schools do and what kids need would contemplate or countenance these kinds of cuts.”

The proposed education budget level-funds the Pell Grant program but would eliminate $3.9 billion from unobligated carryover funding, which could have gone to students.

It also maintains $492 million in funding for Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority-Serving Institutions and for programs that serve high percentages of minority students.

Reaction from education groups came almost immediately.

Michelle Asha Cooper, President of the Institute for Higher Education Policy: “The Trump Administration’s Budget Blueprint, also referred to as the ‘skinny budget,’ touts budget savings, but in truth, harms the neediest Americans seeking to improve their life circumstances and ascend to the middle class by earning a college degree. Skyrocketing college costs mean students are shouldering a heavier burden than ever before. And the proposed cuts to Department of Education programs hurt the very Americans who have the most to gain from a college education. The Trump Administration is masquerading harmful budget cuts as smart savings — all of which will be borne on the backs of the neediest students.”

Center for Responsible Lending Policy Counsel Yana Miles: “Although education is generally viewed as the ladder to financial security, this budget would widen economic divides for some and deepen societal divisions for others. Its $9 billion cut in current education funding includes $3.9 million in cuts to Pell Grant revenues that would have been carried over. Despite public commitments to support Historically Black Colleges and Universities, the budget would not increase finding to institutions that serve high percentages of minority students, and significantly reduce the Federal Work Study program.”

Bob Wise, President of the Alliance for Excellent Education and Former Governor of West Virginia: “President Trump wants to make America great, but you can’t do that without investing in the nation’s future–its students. Like too many of the nation’s students, the president’s proposed budget for the U.S. Department of Education is in need of remediation. As states plan to implement the bipartisan Every Student Succeeds Act, they need resources to fuel reform. This budget proposes cuts to investments in literacy, after-school programs, and programs that help students transition to and succeed in postsecondary education. In a knowledge-based economy, these education cuts begin building a wall preventing many millions of students from contributing fully to our nation’s economic growth.”

Teach Plus Founder and CEO Coline Coggins: “President Trump’s proposal to slash the Education Department’s budget by 13 percent and cut billions of dollars of support for public education will have dire consequences for our nation’s students and severely limit their access to equitable learning opportunities. Eliminating funding for Title II, which helps states and districts hire and provide professional development for teachers, will dismantle critical efforts to improve teacher quality.”

AASA Executive Director Daniel A. Domenech: “AASA is deeply concerned that the first budget proposal from the new administration doesn’t prioritize investment in the key federal programs that support our nation’s public schools, which educate more than 90 percent of our nation’s students. While we would normally applaud a proposal that increases funding for Title I by $1 billion, we cannot support a proposal that prioritizes privatization and steers critical federal funding into policies and programs that are ineffective and flawed education policy. The research on vouchers and portability has consistently demonstrated that they do not improve educational opportunity and leave many students, including low-income students, student with disabilities and students in rural communities-underserved.”

Jodi Grant, Executive Director, Afterschool Alliance: “The Trump administration’s call for zero funding for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers afterschool initiative is a betrayal of the millions of students and parents who depend on afterschool and summer learning programs. This proposal would devastate working families. It is painfully short-sighted and makes a mockery of the President’s promise to make our country safer and to support inner cities and rural communities alike.”

Lindsey Burke, Director of the Center for Education Policy at the Heritage Foundation: “For the first time in decades, the Trump administration is significantly trimming the budget at the U.S. Department of Education, demonstrating a commitment to restoring federalism in education. … While the budget makes great strides in reducing federal spending on ineffective education programs, it also suggests spending $250 billion on new ‘private school choice program.’ This is well-intentioned but not the best role for the federal government, as it could entangle Washington in local school policy and private education.”

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos: “Today’s Budget Blueprint keeps with President Trump’s promise to focus the U.S. Department of Education on its mission to serve students. The budget places power in the hands of parents and families to choose schools that are best for their children by investing an additional $1.4 billion in school choice programs. It continues support for the nation’s most vulnerable populations, such as students with disabilities, while streamlining and simplifying funding for college and continuing to help make college education more affordable.”

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