Trump proposes decreased education funding

President Trump has released his first budget proposal, and it contains cuts to many education programs. Among these: after-school programs and college affordability programs. At the same, time, the budget would increase investment in federal school choice programs. The plan has generated significant media coverage, focused largely on negative outcomes should the plan come to fruition.  Education Week noted that the proposal “seeks to slash the Education Department’s roughly $68 billion budget by $9 billion, or 13 percent in the coming fiscal year, whacking popular programs that help districts offer after-school programs and hire and train teachers.” The proposal also “seeks a historic $1.4 billion federal investment in school choice, including new money for private school vouchers and charter schools, as well as directing $1 billion to follow students to the school of their choice.” The plan would eliminate Title II spending, “which is currently funded at $2.25 billion and helps states and districts hire and provide professional development for teachers.” the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program would also be scrapped, eliminating “after-school and extended-learning programs.”

Every Child Succeeds being rethought

The New York Times  reports that Congress has approved legislation “to repeal crucial regulations associated with the Every Student Succeeds Act, one of President Barack Obama’s final legislative achievements.” The Times focuses on the bipartisan effort to approve ESSA in 2015 and contrasts that bill with its predecessor, NCLB. The piece explains that it is “customary for federal agencies to issue detailed regulations on how new laws should be put into effect,” but notes that “some lawmakers from both parties saw” ED’s regulations “as unusually aggressive and far-reaching, and said they could subvert ESSA’s intent of re-establishing local control over education and decreasing the emphasis on testing.”

School choice could be ramped up

The NEA shared reports about President Trump’s recent address to Congress, in which he indicated that he “remains serious about his campaign-trail pledge to expand school choice,” urging Congress “to ‘pass an education bill that funds school choice for disadvantaged youth, including millions of African-American and Latino children. These families should be free to choose the public, private, charter, magnet, religious, or home school that is right for them.’” However, the piece reports, the Trump administration has yet to release any concrete details about its plans, and “it remains tough to say what other policy proposals might be on the president’s K-12 priority list.” The piece contrasts this with President Obama and President George W. Bush, “both of whom were knee-deep at this point in their presidencies in the education initiatives that would define their K-12 legacies.”