Accountability Betsy DeVos Budget Cuts Charter Schools Education Industry Funding Privatization U.S. Department of Education Vouchers

Trump Budget Would Cut Education Programs by 10%, While Expanding $$ for Vouchers, Charters

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President Donald Trump is seeking a 10 percent cut to the U.S. Department of Education’s budget in his fiscal 2020 budget proposal, which would cut the department’s spending by $7.1 billion down to $64 billion starting in October.

Funding for teacher development under Title II, totaling $2.1 billion, would be eliminated, as would $1.2 billion in Title IV funding for academic supports and enrichment and $1.1 billion for 21st Century Community Learning Centers that support after-school programs. In total, funding for 29 programs would be eliminated in the federal budget. 

On the other side of the ledger, Trump’s budget blueprint calls for $500 million for federal charter school grants, a $60 million increase from current funding levels. The president also wants $200 million for the School Safety National Activities program, which would more than double the program’s $95 million in current funding—of that amount, $100 million would be used to fund a new School Safety State Formula Grant program. There are no requirements for the grant program related to firearms, according to the Education Department. And the office for civil rights would get $125 million, the same as current funding.

On the school choice front, the department says its main proposal has already been introduced: a federal tax-credit scholarship program from Republicans. The Treasury Department’s budget proposal includes $5 billion for the cost of such a program. 

Meanwhile, the Education Innovation and Research fund would be funded at $300 million, a $170 million increase from fiscal 2019. Of that amount, $200 million would “test the impact of teacher professional development vouchers,” according to a presentation from the Education Department, while $100 million would go toward innovative STEM grants. In addition, the Trump budget would provide $50 million for a pilot program under Title I to help districts create and use weighted student-funding formulas—this pilot program was created under the Every Student Succeeds Actin order to help schools focus money directly on disadvantaged students and those with special needs. Funding for the District of Columbia Opportunity Scholarships Program, which provides vouchers to students in the nation’s capital, would increase to $30 million. 

Title I funding for disadvantaged students, the single-largest federal funding program for public schools, remains flat at $15.9 billion in Trump’s budget pitch. Special education grants to states would also be level-funded at $13.2 billion. Also flat-funded are the English Language Acquisition formula grants at $737.4 million. 

“This budget at its core is about education freedom—freedom for America’s students to pursue their life-long learning journeys in the ways and places that work best for them, freedom for teachers to develop their talents and pursue their passions, and freedom from the top-down ‘Washington knows best’ approach that has proven ineffective and even harmful to students,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos in a statement about the budget proposal.

On a Monday conference call with reporters, Jim Blew, the assistant secretary for planning, evaluation, and policy development, acknowledged that Congress and the Trump administration have not been synced up in terms of education spending priorities. 

“The administration believes that we need to reduce the amount of discretionary funding for the education,” Blew said. “That is based on the desire to have some fiscal discipline and address some higher-priority needs.”

Blew indicated that the priorities should be the disadvantaged children and students with disabilities. 

For more details on Trump’s fiscal 2020 proposal for the Education Department, click here. And check out our chart below to see the effects Trump’s budget request would have on different programs.

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