How Trump’s Newest Budget Cuts Will Affect the Department of Education
The Department of Education is looking at an approximate 16% budget cut in the 2018 budget from the 2017 budget, which was $68.2 billion; cutting $11 billion. According to NPR, “the cuts would be spread across K-12 and aid to higher education, according to documents released by the White House.”
Both President Donald Trump and the U.S. Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos, have repeatedly stated they want to “shrink the federal role in education.”
On May 22nd, Devos delivered keynote remarks to the American Federation for Children’s National Policy Summit in Indianapolis, Indiana.
“The time has expired for ‘reform’. We need a transformation – a transformation that will open up America’s closed and antiquated education system.”
DeVos maintained the budget prioritizes students.
What’s Getting Cut?
According to The Department of Education, the budget seeks to cut several programs that span from a $15 million program that provides child care for low-income parents in college, to a $27 million arts education program. President Trump is also looking to target a $12 million program for gifted students; and $12 million for Special Olympics education programs.
The budget has received a large amount of backlash since it has been made public. So much so, that former Education Secretary John B. King, Jr. called it “an assault on the American Dream.”
The budget eliminates the International Education and Foreign Language Studies Domestic and Overseas Program; originally designed to strengthen the capability and performance of American education in foreign languages and international studies.
The proposal notes that “other federal agencies whose primary mission is national security implements similar programs, and are better equipped to support the objective of these programs.”
The current budget also does not include any funding for the Strengthening Institutions Program (SIP) to fund institutional support activities. Thankfully, the budget preserves funding for Title III and V programs that support Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority-Serving Institutions, consistent with the President’s executive order.
The budget proposes to eliminate activities supported through federal appropriations at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, “given these activities can be supported through private fundraising” and the administration does not consider them to be core Federal responsibilities.
It also includes a $2 million cut to the Office for Civil Rights, the group responsible for enforcing civil rights law in the nation’s schools.
Student Loans and Grants
The Trump administration is proposing to eliminate subsidized student loans and end student debt forgiveness for those who enter public service, according to a budget document released late Monday.
According to The Washington Post, President Trump is calling to end Public Service Loan Forgiveness, with the aim of saving $859 million. This is a federal program introduced by the Bush administration where loans for students who go on to work in government or for non-profits are forgiven after 10 years of income-based payments, instead of the current 20.
BuzzFeed News Reporter Molly Hensley-Clancy noted, “Trump’s budget also eventually eliminates the federally subsidized Stafford Loan program, which provides low-income students loans at lower interest rates — meaning many poor borrowers would be saddled with higher interest rates than they face now.”
These proposals would apply to loans that were issued on or after July 1, 2018. They would not apply to loans issued after July 1, 2018, if those loans are used to finish the borrower’s current course of study.
Community Centers and Comprehensive Literacy
The budget proposes eliminating the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program given performance data showed the program is not reaching its goals, and the program has low participant attendance rates.
President Trump also proposes to decrease comprehensive literacy development grants, formerly known as Striving Readers. Hoping to save $190 million, the budget stated the grants currently have “limited impact” and duplicated activities that may be supported with other federal, state, local and private funds.
Instruction State Grants
The budget proposes eliminating Supporting Effective Instruction (SEI) and state grants (Title II state grants), by reducing the funds by $2.3 billion. This is a program that provides funds to states to improve the quality and effectiveness of teachers, principals, and other schools leaders.
“SEI grants are poorly targeted and funds are spread too thinly to have a meaningful impact on student outcomes. In addition, there is limited evidence that teacher professional development, a primary activity funded by the program, has led to increases in student achievement.”
What Isn’t Getting Cut? Funding to Research
The administration also wants to spend $250 million on “Education Innovation and Research Grants,” which would pay for expanding and studying the impacts of vouchers for private and religious schools. According to Valley News, it’s not clear how much would be spent on research versus on the vouchers themselves.
The budget hopes to allocate $616.8 million for the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) for the continued support of state and local research, evaluation, and statistics that help educators, policy makers, and stakeholders improve outcomes for students.
$370 million would go towards Education Innovation and Research to expand support for evidence-based initiatives to develop effective education interventions to help states and LEAs meet Elementary and Secondary Education Act requirements.
The Supporting Effective Educator Development Program would get a $42 million raise of funding to provide evidence-based professional development activities and to prepare teachers and principals from “nontraditional preparation and certification routes” to serve in high-need LEAs.
Will This Pass?
After students and parents alike read through President Trump and Secretary Devos’ budget, many were outraged, but more were concerned.
According to the New York Daily News, Lily Eskelsen Garcia, President of the National Education Association, described the plan as “a wrecking ball of a budget” and said it will be probably defeated in Congress.
Ben Miller, an analyst at the left-leaning Center for American Progress, said “There’s not really any winners here,” he said. “It’s a question of who loses the most. Ultimately, what’s being proposed here is to take tens of billions of dollars from the student loan program.”
Jess is a senior at Emerson College, studying journalism with a primary focus in news management. She is also an anchor and on air personality for 88.9 WERS FM Boston. When she isn't writing or doing her radio thing, you can find her on the beach with a New York Best Seller.