Education Week - January 17, 2018 - 22
GOVERNMENT & POLITICS
What's on the Runway for Trump, Congress on Education?
YEAR AHEAD: Big issues loom
on the election-year horizon
By Alyson Klein
There's plenty of suspense heading into President Donald Trump's
second year in office when it comes to education, and some big
issues on the horizon for the GOP-controlled Congress as well.
What will be the fate of the U.S. Department of Education's
budget? Will U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos get to
applaud any new school choice initiative? And will Congress prevent
hundreds of thousands of "Dreamers" from being deported?
Here's a rundown of what to watch for in Washington over the
next 12 months when it comes to K-12:
Will the Education Department get a $9.2 billion cut?
Back in the spring, Trump proposed slashing the Education
Department's roughly $68 billion budget by $9.2 billion. He put
some key programs on the chopping block, including Title II,
a $2 billion program that helps states train teachers and
reduce class size, as well as the 21st Century Community
Learning Centers program, a $1.1 billion after-school and
summer learning program.
It looks like the cut to the after-school program isn't
happening, since bills in both the House and Senate keep
the program in place. But Title II is more of a cliffhanger. The
Senate kept the program intact, but the House voted to kill it.
And there are other programs that could be eliminated or cut
Lawmakers might pass a final fiscal 2018 budget this
month, so we may get some answers soon. And whatever
Congress passes will impact the 2018-19 school year.
Will DeVos get a big school choice initiative over the
Trump came into office promising $20 billion for school
choice. What he's goten so far: new language in the tax code
that allows families to use 529 plans-previously just for
college savings-for K-12 costs, including private school tuition.
DeVos called that a good "first step," but acknowledged it
won't do much to help children from low-income families.
However, it's unclear if lawmakers will do more on school
choice. Last year Congress rejected DeVos' other school choice
pitches-a new voucher program and the chance to allow
Title I money to follow students to the school of their choice.
It is unlikely she'll have much more luck this year, since
presidents typically are in the best position to advance their
favorite programs during their first year in office. DeVos isn't
backing down yet.
DeVos could try a new school choice proposal, such as
turning the $1 billion Impact Aid program into a voucher
system. (Impact Aid helps districts make up for revenue
lost because of a federal presence, such as a reservation or
military base.) That's something the conservative Heritage
Foundation has pitched. But the Impact Aid community
really doesn't want to see this happen.
Will Congress come up with a legislative fix to save the
"Dreamers" from deportation?
Last year, President Donald Trump rescinded the
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or
DACA, an Obama-era initiative that gave some 800,000
undocumented immigrants that came to the country as
By Alyson Klein
President Donald Trump was sworn in one
year ago this week, and at this point in their
tenure, the past five presidents had gotten at
least one splashy K-12 accomplishment over
the finish line, or come close to it.
So how does Trump-who hardly made
education a central part of his 2016 presidential bid-stack up?
While Trump has made his mark on K-12
through an aggressive, government-wide
deregulation push and a limited victory
for school choice in the recent federal tax
overhaul, there are sharply differing views
on just how consequential his first year has
been on education policy overall.
"I would certainly have to give him, in
comparison to any of the others, a failing
grade," said Christopher T. Cross, who
served as an assistant secretary at the U.S.
Department of Education during President
George H.W. Bush's tenure and now runs
an education consulting firm.
But Lindsey Burke, the director of the
Center for Education Policy at the conservative Heritage Foundation, thinks Trump is
off to a strong start. "I think they've struck
a really good balance between using the
bully pulpit and advancing [school] choice"
through the recent tax overhaul, she said.
Trump, she said, has made important
headway in allowing families to use collegesavings plans for K-12 private school tuition
and in scrapping a number of regulations.
What did Trump's five predecessors have
to show for themselves at this point in their
* President Barack Obama had signed
the American Recovery and Reinvestment
Act, which included some $100 billion for
education and set the stage for Race to the
Top and the expanded School Improvement
* President George W. Bush had put his
signature on the No Child Left Behind Act,
the first reauthorization of the Elementary
and Secondary Education Act to require annual testing, among other measures.
* President Bill Clinton was well on his
way to getting Goals 2000, which authorized
nearly $400 million for states and districts to
devise education reform plans, enacted.
* President George H.W. Bush had gotten
nearly every governor to attend an education summit in Charlottesville, Va., and was
putting the finishing touches on a set of
national education goals.
* And President Ronald Reagan was able
to get some education programs consolidated
into block grants through an update of the
nation's main education law, while pushing
to close down the Education Department.
Trump's First Year
Trump came into office promising a
$20 billion initiative for school choice, but
got only language in the recent tax overhaul allowing families to use 529 collegesavings plans for K-12 private school tuition
He also pledged to get rid of unnecessary
regulation and slim down the size of the
Education Department, helmed by his controversial pick for education secretary, Betsy
DeVos. Along those lines, he was able to
work with Republicans in Congress to scrap
Obama-era accountability regulations for
the Every Student Succeeds Act and teacher
preparation. But it's still unclear if there will
be a broader regulatory reduction, or if the
size of the department will seriously shrink.
And DeVos has gone on to ditch dozens
of regulations she said were duplicative or
outdated. The Trump administration also
eliminated Obama-era guidance dealing
with sexual assault on college campuses
and giving transgender students the right
to use the restroom that corresponds with
their gender identity.
Trump may have missed his best chance
to get something big done on K-12, said
Jack Jennings, who served as an aide to
Democrats on Capitol Hill for nearly three
22 | EDUCATION WEEK | January 17, 2018 | www.edweek.org
There are sharply differing views on how much impact President Donald Trump and
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos had on K-12 during his first year.
decades. If history is any guide, he likely
won't have better luck going forward.
"A president generally has the most
effect in the first year" when his popularity tends to be at the highest point,
Jennings said. Republicans are expected
to lose House seats in the 2018 midterm
election, and some may be looking to
distance themselves from the president,
not run out and embrace his proposed
cuts to education or school choice agenda,
But the Heritage Foundation's Burke
sees the extension of 529 plans to K-12
expenses as "a big deal and maybe a bigger
deal than a lot of folks realize" at this point.
The regulatory rollbacks were "big victories"
for local control, she said. And she thinks
that the tax bill, which will slow revenue
growth, could lay the foundation for some
serious-and her view, necessary-cuts to
the department's budget.
Still, Burke acknowledges that Trump
didn't get as many big-ticket education
items over the finish line as many of his
recent predecessors. But in her mind, that's
a good thing.
"I would be worried if we saw them
coming out of the gate trying to push huge,
sweeping national education policy," she
said. The country, in her view, should be
moving in the opposite direction. "I think
caution is wise, and I'm glad they are
TAKING STOCK: Digging Deeper
Into First-Year Achievements
President Barack Obama
* Signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
in January 2009, his first month
in office. The law included nearly
$50 billion in grants to states to
help avert teacher layoffs and cuts
to K-12 spending.
* ARRA also included $4 billion for
competitive grants to entice states
to improve their standards, tests,
school turnarounds, data systems,
and teacher-quality initiatives.
That money eventually became the
Race to the Top program, which gave grants to a dozen
states of up to $700 million in exchange for agreeing
to evaluate teachers in part on test scores and adopt
uniform standards aimed at preparing students for
college and the workforce.
* The prospect of securing a Race to the Top grant
enticed more than 40 states and the District of
Columbia to adopt the Common Core State Standards,
developed by governors and state chiefs.
* ARRA included $3 billion for the School Improvement
Grant program, which the Obama administration
revamped. The supercharged version called for states
to adopt dramatic turnaround strategies, including
firing a principal and getting rid of half a school's staff.
* The recovery law also provided $650 million to help
school districts scale up promising practices. The
money eventually became the Investing in Innovation
YEAR ONE: K-12 Presidential Scorecards
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - January 17, 2018
Education Week - January 17, 2018
QUALITY COUNTS 2018: Grading the States
Cheating Scandal in Atlanta Casts Long Shadow
Unknown Fate for DACA Leaves Dreamers on Edge
News in Brief
Ed. Dept. Finds Texas Suppressed Spec. Ed. Enrollment
How Classroom Location Matters In Teacher Collaboration
How Much Reform Is Too Much? Teachers Weigh In
Students Thrive When They See Purpose In Their Learning
K-12 Districts Advised on Rights in Post-‘Net Neutrality’ Era
What’s on the Runway for Trump, Congress on Education?
Year One: K-12 Presidential Scorecards
States Slow in Adopting ESSA’s Testing Flexibility
At Halfway Mark, Congress Faces Pile of Education Issues
K-12 Key Topic for State Legislators
Patrick J. Wolf: Four Sound Practices for Public Debate
DATA: Which 2018 RHSU Edu-Scholars have the greatest social-media influence?
Pedro A. Noguera: How to Decide When Your Voice Is Necessary
DATA: Where are the Edu-Scholars?
Robert Kelchen: Some Cautions for Junior Scholars (and Their Institutions)
DATA: Percentage of 2018 RHSU Edu-Scholars with Twitter accounts
Diana Hess: Scholars, Don’t Overstep Your Expertise
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
Frederick M. Hess: When Public Scholarship Gives Way to Bombast and Bluster
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - Unknown Fate for DACA Leaves Dreamers on Edge
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - 2
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - 3
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - News in Brief
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - 5
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - Ed. Dept. Finds Texas Suppressed Spec. Ed. Enrollment
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - How Classroom Location Matters In Teacher Collaboration
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - How Much Reform Is Too Much? Teachers Weigh In
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - Students Thrive When They See Purpose In Their Learning
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - K-12 Districts Advised on Rights in Post-‘Net Neutrality’ Era
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - 11
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - 12
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - 13
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - 14
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - 15
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - 16
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - 17
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - 18
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - 19
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - 20
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - 21
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - Year One: K-12 Presidential Scorecards
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - States Slow in Adopting ESSA’s Testing Flexibility
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - K-12 Key Topic for State Legislators
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - DATA: Which 2018 RHSU Edu-Scholars have the greatest social-media influence?
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - DATA: Percentage of 2018 RHSU Edu-Scholars with Twitter accounts
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - Diana Hess: Scholars, Don’t Overstep Your Expertise
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - Letters
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - 30
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - 31
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - Frederick M. Hess: When Public Scholarship Gives Way to Bombast and Bluster
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - CW1
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - CW2
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - CW3
Education Week - January 17, 2018 - CW4