June 23, 2017

Trump administration education budget proposes $10.6 billion in cuts

19 May 2017, 09:19 | Melvin Schneider

Protesters against Betsy De Vos gather outside Jefferson Middle School in Washington Feb. 10. AP

Trump and De Vos education cuts “reckless and wrong”

The administration would channel part of the savings into its top priority: school choice.

The Post reports that the plan includes an additional $400 million to advance charter schools and vouchers for private and religious schools and an additional $1 billion that would support public schools in adopting choice-friendly policies.

The documents - described by an Education Department employee as a near-final version of the budget expected to be released next week - offer the clearest picture yet of how the administration intends to accomplish that goal. President Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos have been vocal about their support for school choice programs in the past.

The $10.6 billion in cuts outlined in the budget would come from eliminating at least 22 programs and cutting others, while increasing funding for charter and private schools. DeVos, who has previously derided government, is now leading an agency she views as an impediment to progress. "It's time for us to break out of the confines of the federal government's arcane approach to education", DeVos said at a recent summit in Salt Lake City. Perkins loans benefitting disabled students would be cut by $700 million.

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A White House official said Wednesday it would be premature to comment on any aspect of "ever-changing, internal discussion" about the president's budget prior to its publication. And to the Left, even with a reformer running the show, just having a federal Department of Education is better than the long-cherished cherished conservative dream of eliminating it entirely, as Rep. Thomas Massie has proposed. It's a sure bet that those teachers will be spending a little bit of their summer vacation burning up the phone lines and filling up the email boxes of their congressional representatives with demands to negate these "draconian" cuts - which overall amount to about 13.6% of the department's budget. By putting public education on the chopping block, especially programs targeted to low-income students, the Trump administration is standing between young people in my District and the skills and training they need to access jobs of the future. Yet while the budget does not explicitly cut these programs, impoverished schools will likely still see a reduction in Title I funding; new laws allow states to spend up to 7 percent of their Title I funding upon school improvements before they disburse the funds to qualifying districts.

"More than 3.5 million children are now benefiting from charters and private choice programs, while millions more are demanding access to these same options", Tommy Schultz said in a statement.

Budget documents obtained by The Washington Post show the administration plans to cut $10.6 billion from the education budget.

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