The Trump administration is seeking to cut $9.2 billion — or 13.5 percent — from the Education Department’s budget, a dramatic downsizing that would reduce or eliminate grants for teacher training, after-school programs and aid to low-income and first-generation college students. Along with the cuts, the administration is also proposing to shift $1.4 billion toward one of President Trump’s key priorities: Expanding charter schools, private-school vouchers and other alternatives to traditional public schools.
U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos Monday released a new application for states to use in developing their accountability plans for the Every Student Succeeds Act. And, as you might expect, it is shorter and includes fewer requirements than an earlier application released by the Obama administration in November. The biggest difference seems to be on the requirements for outreach to various groups of educators and advocates.
The great school turnaround: President Barack Obama didn’t fix failing schools even with billions of dollars, can President Donald Trump?
Many remain skeptical of any school choice plan that includes vouchers, a scholarship tax credit or making federal Title I funding portable for poor students and those with disabilities. Indeed, a slate of studies recently published on the effectiveness of voucher programs in Florida, Indiana, Louisiana and Ohio – the largest voucher programs in the country – do much to discredit their effectiveness.
The Trump administration is contemplating dramatic cuts to K-12 spending, including a possible $6 billion reduction to existing programs in the U.S. Department of Education, according to multiple education policy sources who have gleaned details about budget documents still being finalized. The department currently has a budget of about $70 billion.
This year, the bear market looks to be turning, and with Trump’s promise of a $20 billion investment in school choice, the school choice bulls are ready to run. However, any good investment advisor will advise diversifying because going big on any one push can end in disaster. The question for advocates should not be how to make fast gains on a $20 billion investment in school choice, but how to structure that investment to pay off in the long run.
Districts should look out for an upcoming “compliance supplement” on the issue from the federal Office of Management and Budget, Krvaric said. This supplement will be designed to help districts navigate how to meet the requirement. And further guidance from the administration might prove helpful as districts navigate the language, she added.
When Congress passed ESSA in 2015, it created a requirement that states report per-pupil spending levels at both the district and individual school levels, disaggregating federal, state, and local funds, as well as personnel and non-personnel expenditures. In the coming months of 2017, states have an opportunity to demonstrate leadership and a commitment to equity and excellence by not just complying with the requirement, but by designing and implementing a methodology that will allow districts to use data to make strategic and smart decisions for the equitable distribution of resources.
The tax-credit structure is especially significant when considering what could happen under DeVos in the Trump administration, because it could be a way to promote school choice on a federal level without writing big checks. “There isn’t that much money that is fungible from the federal education budget,” points out Samuel Abrams, an expert in education policy at Teachers College, Columbia University.
Scott’s bill — the Creating Hope and Opportunity for Individuals and Communities through Education Act, or CHOICE Act — is a three-pronged approach to devoting more federal funding to voucher programs for children to attend the private schools and, in some cases, the public schools of their choice.
The U.S. Department of Education has withdrawn a proposal that could have fundamentally changed the flow of federal dollars to schools that serve low-income students…Everyone agrees that Title I dollars are not supposed to gap-fill. They’re meant to be extra — the technical term is “supplemental” — for low-income kids who need them most. What the sides don’t agree on is how districts prove they’re not just filling gaps and that state and local resources are being spread fairly.