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The U.S. Department of Education has withdrawn a proposal that could have fundamentally changed the flow of federal dollars to schools that serve low-income students…Everyone agrees that Title I dollars are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.
The money went to states to distribute to their poorest-performing schools — those with exceedingly low graduation rates, or poor math and reading test scores, or both. Individual schools could receive up to $2 million per year for three years, on the condition that they adopt one of the Obama administration’s four preferred measures. Peter Cunningham writes in Education Next on SIG: “The fact that the study did not even look at the program’s effects on D- or F schools is also important because these schools had nowhere to go but up. As it turns out, that’s exactly what happened in some of them. When the 2015 analysis was released, Edweek reported that, “SIG schools were more likely to see double-digit gains in reading and math than other schools.”
Conservatives are eager for their best opportunity since the Reagan era to shrink the federal role in education and dramatically expand options for parents, while Trump is sure to face fierce opposition from educators and advocates who fear that his administration will move to privatize a sizable chunk of public education. Against this uncertain backdrop, here are six areas for educators to watch closely this year: ESSA implementation, education department and funding, school choice, civil rights, immigration, health care law and education.
Skyrocketing K-12 education costs continue to dominate states’ budget debates, and conservative lawmakers in many states have long been itching to make dramatic changes to how much money they provide to school districts and how districts spend that money. Adding to the stakes this year are the rollout of the Every Student Succeeds Act, which goes into full effect in the 2017-18 school year, and fierce political tensions in a number of states.