Education Week - May 31, 2017 - 18
Budget Plan Spares Some Ed. Research Efforts, Cuts Others
By Sarah D. Sparks
The Institute of Education Sciences escaped mostly unscathed
in President Donald Trump's 2018
budget proposal, which otherwise
called for cuts to some of the nation's largest education research
For fiscal 2018, Trump proposed
$617 million for the Institute of
Education Sciences, the U.S. Department of Education's research
arm. That's up slightly from Congress' current spending levels based
on the April budget agreement for
fiscal 2017, but still down from the
agency's fiscal 2016 spending level.
The agency's main programs on
research and development, statistics, special education studies, the
National Assessment of Educational
Progress, and state data systems all
would receive about the same funding as they do now.
"We have to constantly remind
people that flat is the new up, and
that if you don't have a target on you,
you are doing OK," said Wendy Naus,
executive director of the Consortium
of Social Science Associations.
By contrast, at the National Science Foundation, the education directorate would be cut nearly 14 percent from current spending levels, to
$760.5 million. Social, behavioral,
and economic research across the
agency would be cut by $28 million,
to $244 million.
At the Department of Health and
Human Services, the White House
proposed $1.032 billion for the National Center for Child Health and
Human Development, a 23 percent
cut from fiscal 2017. The overall
HHS budget proposal would reduce research grants in general
by more than $3.7 billion, or about
The budget blueprint highlights
the importance of the Centers for
Disease Control's research into birth
defects and geographic tracking of
the more than 120,000 children born
with birth defects every year, but it
cuts the program to $100 million, $35
million below the fiscal 2017 level.
"The overall zeitgeist is not so
sweet even though we may look at
IES as kind of steady-state," said
Felice Levine, the president of the
American Educational Research Association. "This is not a time to reduce investment in science. I think
there are many persons on the Hill
who see that very clearly. I think we
need to take this budget [proposal]
now and have some very serious
Research advocates are also concerned about the proposed $1.52
billion funding for the Census Bureau. That's up from current spending, but experts warn it's far from
enough. The decennial budget is
cyclical and usually spikes at this
point, as the bureau enters the final
phase of preparations for the 2020
Census. "If the Trump budget is enacted, we face the possibility of an
historic Census disaster," said Phil
Sparks, co-director of the Census
Project, an advocate for the surveys.
Eric Hanushek, a senior fellow at
Stanford University's Hoover Institution, said the proposals more generally suggest that "education policy
is being viewed too narrowly" by the
"The research [approach] is particularly problematic, because that's
really the seed of the future," Hanushek said. "On a number of these
issues that involve data collection or
long-term research projects, actions
today can have huge ramifications
for the policies and programs we use
in the future."
Maria Ferguson, the executive director of the Center on Education Policy
at George Washington University,
"For me the larger issue around the
research budget cuts is the lack of understanding regarding why education
research matters," Ferguson said. "If
the federal government is going to invest billions of dollars in education programs, a healthy portion of that money
should go to support a wide range of
research to help policymakers and local
educators/leaders make informed strategic decisions about those programs."
For example, Michele McLaughlin, the president of the Knowledge
Alliance, which advocates for public
and private research groups, noted
IES' comprehensive centers, also
level-funded at $51 million, will be
needed to support state and district
implementation of the Every Student
School Voucher Research
One research program at the Education Department seemingly would
get a big boost. The $100 million
Education Innovation and Research
grant program would get more than
triple the funding under President
Trump's proposed budget, to $370
million, but the increase would go
almost entirely to study private
school voucher programs.
But the grants-which evolved
from the Obama-era Investing in
Innovation grants to help promising
education programs build the organization and evidence of effectiveness they needed to scale up-may
prove an awkward fit for the Trump
administration's plans to expand
private school vouchers nationwide.
About $250 million of that $370
million in proposed spending would
go to a separate round of up to 10
grants on private school voucher projects. All together, the grant recipients
would be able to provide 17,500 to
26,000 vouchers to private secular
or religious schools, in the range of
$8,000 to $12,000 per student.
Separately, the program would
continue a $100 million "open EIR
competition" for any other education
interventions that want to build up
their research base.
"There seems this terrible irony of
this innovation program that was a
real baby of the Obama administration to be made into a voucher program," Ferguson said.
The budget proposal got a mixed
first reception in Congress, and
Trump was overseas for the first
several days of reaction.
"I have a really hard time believing Donald Trump will waste a lot of
political capital on education; it just
doesn't seem like something he's really interested in," Ferguson said.
Trump Budget Draws Ire, Tepid Support From School Choice World
By Arianna Prothero
If there's a clear winner in President Trump's proposed budget for
K-12, it's school choice. With steep
cuts slated for many cornerstone
programs, the president, as expected, wants to boost investments
in charters and vouchers.
But prominent players in the
school choice world are hardly
mooning over Trump's plans to sink
$1.4 billion into private and public
The proposed budget for fiscal
2018, which would pump more
money into grants to create charter
schools, establish a program to research and promote vouchers, and
direct $1 billion in Title I funding
for public school choice in districts,
drew divergent reviews from advocates. The budget also would slash
spending on teacher and principal
training, after-school programs, and
career and technical education.
Some of the harshest criticism
came from charter supporters.
"The fundamental problem is that
this budget doesn't invest in anything other than choice," said Shavar Jeffries, the national president
for Democrats for Education Reform.
"It's unbelievably bad policy, because
while we support choice, we also
have to support college access, and
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we have to support teacher training,
and we have to support investments
in traditional public schools as well."
Eli Broad, the Los Angeles billionaire who is a major financial backer
of charters, also condemned the
budget, saying in a statement that
it "would hurt the very communities that have the most to gain from
high-quality public school options."
Reaction from private school
choice supporters, most of whom
also advocate for a limited federal
role in education, was more mixed.
"On the one hand, it is a good thing
to see an administration be positive about the potential in all school
choice-public and private," said
Jonathan Butcher, the education director for the Goldwater Institute, a
conservative think tank. "But the fact
remains, states should be the ones to
take the lead and make school choice
a reality for their communities."
A 'Down Payment'
School choice emerged as Trump's
favored K-12 policy during the
campaign when he pledged to sink
$20 billion into school choice
If choice advocates were hoping
for the budget plan to clarify-or
even hint at-what shape a major
school choice program would take,
they were likely disappointed.
Among the more prevalent predictions is that such a proposal will
eventually take the form of a federal tax-credit scholarship program
where businesses and individuals
receive a tax credit for donating
to scholarship funds that students
may use at private schools.
Instead, Trump's budget calls for
an additional $167 million for the
federal grant program that promotes
the growth of high quality charter
schools, a $250 million increase to the
Education Innovation and Research
grant program to study and test
voucher programs, and the additional
$1 billion in Title I funds that would
follow eligible low-income students to
the public schools of their choice.
While the administration missed
a chance to update Trump's $20 billion school choice promise, said
Jeanne Allen, the chief executive
officer of the Center for Education
Reform, she noted how the White
House called its budget plan a
"down payment" on school choice.
Otherwise, she categorized the budget as "fairly traditional," worthy of
neither excitement nor outrage.
Even so, Trump's clear support for
school choice will continue to be hotly
debated, as evidenced by U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos' contentious testimony during a House
subcommittee hearing the day after
Trump's budget was released last
week. There, Democrats pushed
DeVos to say whether she would
prohibit federally funded vouchers
from going to private schools that
don't admit certain groups of students, such as LGBT students.
DeVos demurred, saying it would be
up to states to make those decisions.
She later clarified in a statement on
Twitter that the "Department of Education can and will intervene when
federal law is broken."
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - May 31, 2017
Education Week - May 31, 2017
Where Career Plans Start Early
States Struggle to Define ‘Ineffective Teachers’
Trump Priorities on Full Display In K-12 Budget
For Schools, Rating Students’ Character Is a Tricky Prospect
News in Brief
Charter Win Brings Big Shift to L.A. Unified
Reading and the Mind : An Author Q&A
Letters to Districts Prompt Worries About E-Rate’s Future
States’ Spec. Ed. Work Offers a Jump on ESSA’s Demands
Amid Fiscal Crisis, Puerto Rico Shuts Down Scores of Schools
Budget Plan Spares Some Ed. Research Efforts, Cuts Others
Trump Budget Draws Ire, Tepid Support From School Choice Worl
Darienne Driver: A Collective-Impact Approach to Equity
Steve Canavero:Two-Party Support Gives School Funding Wider Reach
Peggy Lehner: Money Doesn’t Ensure Equity
Veronica Palmer: Empowering Families to Lead
Pedro A. Rivera: A Fair Formula for Funding
John Schoenig: Our Children Are Made for Greatness
Tammy Wawro: Confronting the Realities of a Changing Population
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
Danielle Gonzales & Ross Wiener: Yes, Schools Have an Equity Problem. What Should We Do About It?
Education Week - May 31, 2017 - For Schools, Rating Students’ Character Is a Tricky Prospect
Education Week - May 31, 2017 - 2
Education Week - May 31, 2017 - 3
Education Week - May 31, 2017 - News in Brief
Education Week - May 31, 2017 - Report Roundup
Education Week - May 31, 2017 - Charter Win Brings Big Shift to L.A. Unified
Education Week - May 31, 2017 - Reading and the Mind : An Author Q&A
Education Week - May 31, 2017 - Letters to Districts Prompt Worries About E-Rate’s Future
Education Week - May 31, 2017 - 9
Education Week - May 31, 2017 - 10
Education Week - May 31, 2017 - 11
Education Week - May 31, 2017 - 12
Education Week - May 31, 2017 - Amid Fiscal Crisis, Puerto Rico Shuts Down Scores of Schools
Education Week - May 31, 2017 - 14
Education Week - May 31, 2017 - 15
Education Week - May 31, 2017 - 16
Education Week - May 31, 2017 - 17
Education Week - May 31, 2017 - Trump Budget Draws Ire, Tepid Support From School Choice Worl
Education Week - May 31, 2017 - 19
Education Week - May 31, 2017 - Steve Canavero:Two-Party Support Gives School Funding Wider Reach
Education Week - May 31, 2017 - Pedro A. Rivera: A Fair Formula for Funding
Education Week - May 31, 2017 - Letters
Education Week - May 31, 2017 - TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
Education Week - May 31, 2017 - 24
Education Week - May 31, 2017 - 25
Education Week - May 31, 2017 - 26
Education Week - May 31, 2017 - 27
Education Week - May 31, 2017 - Danielle Gonzales & Ross Wiener: Yes, Schools Have an Equity Problem. What Should We Do About It?
Education Week - May 31, 2017 - CW1
Education Week - May 31, 2017 - CW2
Education Week - May 31, 2017 - CW3
Education Week - May 31, 2017 - CW4