Education Week - March 22, 2017 - 17
High-profile programs targeted;
school choice favored
By Alyson Klein
& Andrew Ujifusa
President Donald Trump spent more than a year on the
campaign trail saying he wanted to take an ax to the U.S.
Department of Education and be the country's biggest champion for school choice. And in his budget proposal last week,
he moved to deliver on both promises-to the chagrin of
many educators and advocates.
The president's first budget plan 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.
At the same time, it seeks a $1.4 billion increased federal
investment in school choice, including new money for private
school vouchers and charter schools, and would add $1 billion in new aid for disadvantaged students that could follow
them to the public school of their choice.
And while it maintains special education funding under
the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act at about $13
billion, the proposal aims to scrap more than 20 programs-
some of them sizable.
The biggest of those slated for elimination: Supporting
Effective Instruction State Grants, or Title II, which is currently funded at $2.25 billion and helps states and districts
hire and provide professional development for teachers and
school leaders. The budget plan also would also get rid of the
21st Century Community Learning Centers program, which
is funded at $1.2 billion currently and finances after-school
and extended-learning programs. Trump's budget says both
programs are spread too thin to be effective.
A slew of education groups expressed deep concerns about
the cuts, including those representing state chiefs, district
officials, teachers, and civil rights organizations.
There are "cuts to the meat and muscle of public school,"
said Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers.
Former Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. was
equally alarmed by the cuts.
"If this proposal were enacted, all students, particularly students of color and low-income students,
throughout the entire continuum of our education system would suffer," said King, who is now the president
of the Education Trust, an advocacy group for disadvantaged students, in a statement.
The federal spending plan still needs to go through
Congress for approval, and cuts of this magnitude will
almost certainly be a heavy political lift. The proposal
would set spending levels for federal fiscal year 2018,
which begins Oct. 1, and generally impacts the 2018-19
Already, some Republicans seem reluctant to embrace
the level of cuts Trump is seeking for the budget overall,
with some other agencies facing far deeper reductions
than the Education Department.
Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., the chairman of the Senate appropriations subcommittee that deals with education spending,
indicated he wasn't totally sold on the overall budget plan,
although he didn't single out education spending.
"The president's budget is the first step in the appropriations process. There are many concerns with nondefense
discretionary cuts," Blunt said in a statement, referring
to the budget category that includes K-12 programs.
And Democrats quickly signaled that they plan to
fight the proposal. The "cuts for programs that serve
America's middle and working class are an assault to
our values," said Rep. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut, the
top Democrat on the House panel that oversees education spending, in a statement.
But Mick Mulvaney, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, said Trump and his team "went
looking for the most wasteful, most indefensible pro-
grams" and eliminated them to make room for big increases to defense spending, law enforcement, and building a wall along the border with Mexico.
Mulvaney was asked at a White House news briefing the
day the budget was unveiled about cuts to an after-school
program in Pennsylvania, which got funding from the 21
Century Community Learning Centers Program.
While saying he was not familiar with the particular program, the OMB director said such programs in general are
"supposed to be educational programs, right? ... They're supposed to help kids who don't get fed at home get fed so they
do better in school. Guess what? There's no demonstrable evidence they're actually doing that. There's no demonstrable
evidence of actually helping results, helping kids do better
Trump is also pitching a $1.4 billion boost for various
school choice efforts, which the budget document bills as
a down payment on Trump's campaign promise to pour
$20 billion into expanding student options.
The charter school grant program, currently funded at
$333 million, would get a sizeable increase of $168 million.
The program helps states and charter organizations start
up, replicate, and expand schools, with a special focus on
helping charter management organizations with a track record of success open new campuses.
Trump is also proposing a new, $250 million private school
choice initiative that could provide vouchers for use at private schools, likely including religious schools.
As part of the school choice push, the budget would
include a $1 billion increase for Title I grants for disadvantaged students, currently funded at nearly $15 billion. But that money would come with a twist: States
and districts would be encouraged to use the funds for
a system of "student-based budgeting and open enrollment that enables federal, state, and local funding to
follow the student to the public school of his or her
Lawmakers debated that policy-known as "portability"-
in crafting the Every Student Succeeds Act. It was part of a
bill passed by the House in the summer of 2015, but didn't
make it into the final legislation.
Lindsey Burke, the director of the Center for Education
Policy at the Heritage Foundation, which promotes limited
government and favors school choice, hailed the budget's emphasis on shrinking the federal footprint in education. She
said the $1 billion in Title I money that would be portable is
a step in the right direction for promoting choice. "This is a
pretty thoughtful approach," Burke said.
But she expressed concerns about the $168 million in
additional money for charter grants, saying, "Folks need to
be careful that we're not crowding out the private market
through federal investments in charters."
The school choice initiatives could be a tough sell with Senate Republicans from rural states, where districts are often
too isolated to offer any high-quality alternative options to
The budget would keep level-funding for Pell Grants,
which help low-income students cover the costs of college,
at $22 billion. But it would nix nearly $4 billion in surplus
funding that both Republicans and Democrats had hoped
to use to help students cover the costs of summer courses.
The proposal also takes aim at other college-access programs, including TRIO, which provides services to lowincome children and first-generation college students, and
Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate
Programs (known as GEAR UP).
The initial budget blueprint did not include details on a
host of other programs across the government affecting children and youth, including Head Start, which is housed in the
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
But the budget proposes eliminating funding for the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, both of which received about
$148 million in fiscal year 2016 and support K-12 education
through grants, programs, and research.
J. Scott Applewhite/AP
Deep Cuts Proposed for Ed. Dept.
FEDERAL SPENDING PLAN: EDUCATION
President Donald Trump proposed a budget for fiscal 2018
that would make deep funding cuts to the U.S. Department of
Education, as well as eliminate several high-profile programs.
The two largest K-12 programs at the department-Title I for
disadvantaged students, and funding for special education
under the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act-would
not be reduced. Other budget line items would take a major hit.
Among the proposal's highlights:
Overall Discretionary Spending: Would decline from $68 billion in
current funding to $59 billion in fiscal 2018, a 13 percent drop.
A $1 billion increase to roughly $16 billion. However, the increased
spending would be designed to follow students to the public schools of
Charter School Grants
A $168 million increase, bringing the program to $500 million
Private School Choice
$250 million for a new federal program
Would maintain current funding of nearly $13 billion
Title II Grants for Teacher and Principal Training
Elimination of a program currently funded at $2.3 billion
21st Century Community Learning Centers
Elimination of a program currently receiving $1.2 billion in federal aid
Elimination of a state literacy program, currently known Comprehensive
Literacy Development Grants, and funded at $190 million
Teacher Quality Partnership Grants
Elimination of these grants to states, currently funded at $43 million
Funding for this program that assists disadvantaged K-12 students
and first-generation college students, among others, would fall to
$808 million from $900 million
Funding for this program that prepares low-income students
for postsecondary opportunities, would fall to $219 million
from $323 million
SOURCE: Education Week
Contributing Writer Jaclyn Zubrzycki provided material for this
EDUCATION WEEK | March 22, 2017 | www.edweek.org | 17
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - March 22, 2017
Education Week - March 22, 2017
The Hard Work of Making School ‘For Everybody’
Parents See Benefits in Spec. Ed. Vouchers But No Silver Bullet
Trump Education Dept. Has Yet to Hit the Gas
DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: Cybersecurity Skills in Demand
News in Brief
Social Media Connects Students to Authors
Fifth graders, from left, Braiden Roy, Pendarrin Cayer, and Lindsay Strout wave to an author visiting them via Skype in Oxford, Maine.
Arts Standards Stress Broad Concepts, Include Media Arts
Plan to Shut Detroit’s Failing Schools Reveals Lack of Options
Kentucky’s Schools Are Poised for a Massive Shake-Up
ESSA Rules’ Rollback Complicates States’ Planning Process
Tuning Up the Message No Easy Lift as Ed. Secretary Settles In
Deep Cuts Proposed for Ed.Dept.
Chris Doyle: Fake News Isn’t New
Nancy Grasmick: The Brain-Health Effect
Q&A With Gary Younge: Seven Bullets a Day
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
Tyrone C. Howard: Why Are We Criminalizing Black Students?
Education Week - March 22, 2017 - DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: Cybersecurity Skills in Demand
Education Week - March 22, 2017 - 2
Education Week - March 22, 2017 - 3
Education Week - March 22, 2017 - News in Brief
Education Week - March 22, 2017 - Report Roundup
Education Week - March 22, 2017 - Fifth graders, from left, Braiden Roy, Pendarrin Cayer, and Lindsay Strout wave to an author visiting them via Skype in Oxford, Maine.
Education Week - March 22, 2017 - 7
Education Week - March 22, 2017 - Arts Standards Stress Broad Concepts, Include Media Arts
Education Week - March 22, 2017 - Plan to Shut Detroit’s Failing Schools Reveals Lack of Options
Education Week - March 22, 2017 - Kentucky’s Schools Are Poised for a Massive Shake-Up
Education Week - March 22, 2017 - 11
Education Week - March 22, 2017 - 12
Education Week - March 22, 2017 - 13
Education Week - March 22, 2017 - 14
Education Week - March 22, 2017 - 15
Education Week - March 22, 2017 - Tuning Up the Message No Easy Lift as Ed. Secretary Settles In
Education Week - March 22, 2017 - Deep Cuts Proposed for Ed.Dept.
Education Week - March 22, 2017 - 18
Education Week - March 22, 2017 - 19
Education Week - March 22, 2017 - 20
Education Week - March 22, 2017 - 21
Education Week - March 22, 2017 - 22
Education Week - March 22, 2017 - 23
Education Week - March 22, 2017 - Nancy Grasmick: The Brain-Health Effect
Education Week - March 22, 2017 - Letters
Education Week - March 22, 2017 - Q&A With Gary Younge: Seven Bullets a Day
Education Week - March 22, 2017 - Readers React
Education Week - March 22, 2017 - TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
Education Week - March 22, 2017 - 29
Education Week - March 22, 2017 - 30
Education Week - March 22, 2017 - 31
Education Week - March 22, 2017 - Tyrone C. Howard: Why Are We Criminalizing Black Students?
Education Week - March 22, 2017 - CW1
Education Week - March 22, 2017 - CW2
Education Week - March 22, 2017 - CW3
Education Week - March 22, 2017 - CW4