Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Trump's Education Budget Proposal

Posted By on Wed, Feb 14, 2018 at 2:28 PM

Trump's budget proposal isn't just being called DOA—Dead On Arrival. It's being called DBIA—Dead Before It Arrived—since the congressional budget deal he signed means some of his proposals were outdated before they were printed.

But nothing Trump proposes, or says, or does, no matter how ridiculous or mendacious, can be considered dead so long as congressional Republicans buckle and bend the knee whenever it's time to show some independence. They're like a character in The Sopranos saying, "Sure I hang around with Tony Soprano sometimes, but I'm my own man. I know when to say no." Uh huh. Sure you do.

So let's look at Trump's DOA, or DBIA, proposals for the education budget, because everything that comes from his mouth or his tweets or his office matters, to the shame of his weak-kneed enablers.

Trump proposes to cut about 5 percent, or $3.6 billion, from education spending.

First, the education budget losers. Here are programs which would end.
• $2 billion for teaching training and class size reduction efforts. Gone.
• $1.2 billion for after-school programs. Gone.
• $400 million for districts to use for a variety of purposes including health-related programs and improving access to technology. Gone.
• $340 million to help get low-income and first-in-their-family students prepare for college. Gone.
• $250 million for states to develop preschool programs in low income areas. Gone.
• $190 million for grants supporting reading programs. Gone.
• $140 million for educational research programs. Gone.
• $73 million for pairing academic programs with health and related services. Gone.

Next, the education budget winners.
• $1 billion for grants states can use for private and public school "choice" programs. Added.
• $500 billion for funding charter schools, on top of the $1 billion currently allotted. Added.
• $200 million for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) funding. Added.
• $43 million for opioid-related student issues. Added.
Little would change in the funding for Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Title 1 or Head Start.

"Education Reform" privatizers like Ed Sec Betsy DeVos sell "school choice," meaning private school vouchers and charter schools, as programs to help poor kids, even though children from well-off families are among the biggest "choice" consumers. So the White House's plan to add $1.5 billion to the school choice budget will be sold as a way to help poor kids, while the same plan zeroes out $3 billion worth of programs designed specifically to help low income students.

I guess, in keeping with the best tradition of conservative bullshit, the benefits of the school choice programs are supposed to trickle down to the people most in need of educational enrichment. Who needs preschool and reading programs and health services? More charter schools and private school vouchers are all we need to fix our schools and turn students into high achievers.

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