The Trump administration is looking to decrease the Education Department’s funding by $7.1 billion compared to what it was given last year, as part of next year’s proposed budget. The budget proposal suggests eliminating 29 programs, including after-school and summer programs for students in high-poverty areas, among other things. The budget proposal is unlikely to pass through Congress – especially with Democrats in control of the House, however, it is a glimpse into the Trump administration’s priorities going into the next fiscal year. The proposed budget includes DeVos’ school choice platform by asking for an increase in $60 million for the Charters Schools Program. The budget also requests $700 million for school safety measures from multiple agencies, including the Education Department, the Justice Department and Health and Human Services.
The American Federation of Teachers, the 1.7 million-member teachers union, announced a major education initiative Monday aimed at pressing lawmakers in state capitals and Congress to increase funding for public schools and universities. The initiative, Fund Our Future, focuses on the fact that 25 states spend less on K-12 than they did before the Great Recession in 2008 and 41 states spend less on higher education. It calls on state lawmakers to prioritize education and higher education spending, especially for the most disadvantaged students, including students of color, students with disabilities and those still learning English.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Thursday pitched a $5 billion federal tax credit that would fund scholarships to private schools and other educational programs, throwing her weight behind what will be a difficult legislative undertaking to fund the Trump administration’s signature education initiative. Ms. DeVos will join Republican lawmakers in championing legislation that would allow states to opt into a program that provides individual and corporate donors dollar-for-dollar tax credits for contributing to scholarship programs that help families pay private-school tuition and other educational expenses. The program would also allow states the flexibility to fund other programs, like apprenticeship, dual enrollment, after-school and remedial programs.
Though the guidance does not require a spending test, it does require all districts to provide an allocation methodology. This is a spending rationale articulating how the district divvies up its funds across schools – something that’s missing in most districts. District leaders and school board members often don’t recognize the enormity of their role in deciding how to spend the country’s $650 billion public education budget. Many may not have ever articulated an approach to apportioning their public funds, or even thought through the range of options. Hopefully this requirement will prompt them to explore whether their budgets reflect an intentional strategy, habit, or something else.
House Democrats unveil $100B school facility upgrade bill, urge inclusion in long-sought bipartisan infrastructure deal
Congressional Democrats introduced a bill to spend $100 billion on improving school infrastructure. Spending on improvements to schools, congressional Democrats said, should be part of any large-scale infrastructure bill, like the one President Donald Trump has proposed. “Every day across districts in America, students and educators attend schools that are either unsafe or lack basic resources, or both, and this is simply unacceptable,” Rep. Bobby Scott, the Democratic chairman of the Education and Labor Committee, said at a press conference in Washington. The bill, dubbed the Rebuild America’s Schools Act, would put $70 billion in grants and $30 billion in bonds toward improving schools, with a priority given to the schools in worst condition and those serving high numbers of low-income students. Funds could also be used for technology upgrades.
Supplement not supplant is back: Why education advocates are concerned a wonky new ESSA spending proposal will hurt poor kids
Education advocates say a new Education Department proposal on school spending undermines a key rule that could help ensure equitable spending for low-income students. The wonky “supplement not supplant” rule, included in several reauthorizations of federal K-12 law, including the Every Student Succeeds Act, requires districts to show they’re not using federal Title I grants intended for low-income students when they should be using state and local money instead. Under the Education Department’s proposal, released Friday, districts would have to show their method for allocating funding is “Title I neutral,” meaning the district isn’t explicitly giving less to schools that educate large numbers of low-income children. That flexibility would give districts too much leeway in spending their federal grants, cutting at the heart of legal protections for low-income children, advocates say.
Puerto Rico Education Secretary Julia Keleher told Education Week it will cost $11 billion and take from three years to seven years to bring the U.S. territory’s 856 public schools up to new building codes after they were devastated by Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017. Keleher said she will try to secure $100 million of unspent Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Category B financial assistance, which pays for urgent health and safety work including mold remediation. In a December 2018 news release, FEMA said work on the schools will focus on resiliency and energy efficiency.
Americans in a new poll of education priorities say they have a couple of top assignments for the new Congress — slash student debt and boost funding for public schools. The majority of Americans — both Republicans and Democrats — said “finding ways to lessen student debt” and “increasing spending on K-12 public education” were “extremely important” goals for the Congress…Respondents were given a list of six education policy areas and asked which they believe are “extremely important” for Congress to tackle. Seventy-nine percent picked cutting student debt, making it first on the list. Seventy-six percent selected public education funding, putting it second.
How many K-12 public schools, districts, and students are there? And how much are we, as a nation, spending on the education of these youth? The Education Week library provides answers to these questions. In 2014-15, $625 billion was spent on public elementary and secondary education by local, state, and federal agencies. On average, the nation spends $12,536 to educate each student. These expenditures vary state to state. Vermont has the highest per-pupil expenditures in the nation at $20,795, as adjusted for variations in regional costs. At the other end of the scale, Utah spends the least at $7,207 per student.
The field of education, just like other industries, has been fascinated by innovation in recent years, but this wave, as a federal report demonstrates, doesn’t guarantee positive change among the students it’s oftentimes supposed to help. Since 2008, the U.S. Department of Education has spent more than $1.5 billion in grants on nearly 200 educational innovations, but out of 67 evaluations of these innovations — which make up $700 million of the total — only 12, or 18%, found positive effects on student achievement, this report finds.