Education Week - June 20, 2018 - 20
How Obama K-12 Policies
Have Fared Under Trump
From transgender guidance to preschool grants
> Tossed Out
TRANSGENDER GUIDANCE: This civil rights guidance said that transgender
students should be able to use the restroom or locker room that corresponds
to their gender identity, not the gender they were born into. The Trump
administration scrapped this guidance in February 2017, saying the issue
was best resolved at the state and local levels.
ESSA ACCOUNTABILITY REGULATIONS: In March 2017, GOP lawmakers
in Congress, with the encouragement of the Trump administration, used
the Congressional Review Act to scrap the Obama administration's
accountability regulations for the Every Student Succeeds Act. Republicans
said the regulations went beyond the bounds of the law. Democrats said they
were key to clarifying confusing parts of ESSA. The regulations have not been
TITLE IX GUIDANCE: The Trump administration ditched guidance that
required colleges to use a higher "preponderance of the evidence" (or
more likely-than-not standard) when determining if a sexual assault took
place. Instead, in temporary guidance, the Trump administration gave
schools and colleges the choice of using a "clear and convincing" evidence
standard, which is often used in criminal, rather than civil, cases. The Trump
administration said it plans to issue more permanent guidance in the future.
TEACHER-PREPARATION REGULATIONS: GOP lawmakers in Congress, with
the urging of the Trump administration, tossed Obama-era regulations
that required states to judge teacher-preparation organizations, including
colleges of education, in part on how well their graduates are able to improve
student test scores. The regulations have not been replaced.
SCHOOL-INTEGRATION GRANTS: On its way out the door, the Obama
administration created a $12 million grant program that would have given up to
20 school districts the opportunity to craft new roadmaps for increasing student
diversity and to get started on those plans. The Trump administration did not
move forward with the program, and the money went back to the U.S. Treasury.
20 | EDUCATION WEEK | June 20, 2018 | www.edweek.org
resident Donald Trump has made it clear: He doesn't like much
of what President Barack Obama did as president. And like in
other policy areas, the Trump administration has rolled back
several education initiatives or policies enacted during the Obama
era. But just how much of its predecessors' work has the Trump team
discarded, and how much is still around?
We looked at a range of Obama administration education guidance
documents, regulations, program initiatives, and other actions, and put
them into three categories to highlight where they stand under Trump.
We left out things like Obama's Race
to the Top competitive grants, which are high profile but expired before
Trump took office. And we've tried to look only at policies and initiatives
begun under Obama's watch, not more general shifts in direction under
the current administration.
Supporters of the Trump administration's moves to undo Obama-era
policies say they return appropriate autonomy to educators and state
and local policymakers. However, some groups have pushed back, saying
among other things that these reversals could harm vulnerable students.
> On the Hot Seat
ON THE HOT SEAT
SPECIAL EDUCATION DISPARITIES RULE: In 2016, the Obama
administration issued a rule requiring states to take new, more-robust
approaches in determining whether districts have wide racial or ethnic
disparities when identifying students for special education. However, U.S.
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has proposed a two-year delay in this
STUDENT-DISCIPLINE GUIDANCE: In 2014, the Obama administration issued
guidance notifying districts that they might be violating civil rights law if they
use intentionally discriminatory discipline policies, or if their policies result in
disproportionately higher rates of discipline for students in a particular racial
group. DeVos and her team are reviewing this guidance, which has been in the
spotlight since the school shooting in Parkland, Fla., in February 2018, and she
could decide to rescind it.
> Safe for Now
SAFE FOR NOW
PROMISE NEIGHBORHOODS: The Trump administration in its budget proposals
has tried to shrink the program, which the Obama administration used to promote
various wraparound services for students. The administration sought to cut its
budget from $73 million in fiscal 2017 to $60 million in fiscal 2018, for example.
However, in the most recent spending bill for fiscal 2018, signed by President
Trump, Congress provided a small increase to Promise Neighborhood grants.
PRESCHOOL DEVELOPMENT GRANTS: For two straight years, the Trump
team has tried to eliminate these grants in its proposed budget for the U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services. However, Congress has kept the
$250 million in annual funding for these grants intact so far.
EDUCATION INNOVATION AND RESEARCH FUND: In 2017, U.S. Secretary
of Education Betsy DeVos proposed using the fund, created through the Every
Student Succeeds Act in 2015, to support private school choice programs in states.
Congress, however, rejected this plan in its final appropriations for fiscal 2018.
TEEN PREGNANCY PREVENTION PROGRAM: Although the Trump
administration tried to end these comprehensive sex-education grants,
a federal judge ruled recently that the Trump administration must process
grant applications from groups seeking funding through the program.