Trump’s Budget and What It Means for Schools: An Overview
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Trump’s Budget and What It Means for Schools: An Overview

– Hey everybody, happy St. Patrick’s Day, and happy day after budget day. We’re Alyson Klein and Andrew Ujifusa. And we are the co-authors
of The Politics K-12 blog. So we have been working around the clock, and not sleeping all that much. – Not much at all. – While chasing down budget numbers. As most of you probably know,
President Donald Trump’s first skinny budget came out yesterday, and by skinny budget I
mean it’s not like a long, detailed document that has all the numbers for every program coming forward, and I actually bought
a visual to show you. – We have props. – We have props. This is the skinny budget
that came out yesterday. This is the actual budget for
the Department of Education that President Obama released last year, so eventually this will grow
to be about as big as this. But we’ll have to wait
until, I think, around May possibly for that to happen. – We’re not there yet, by any stretch. – No, we’re not there yet. So Andrew, do you wanna
talk a little bit about the budget overall? I know that it cut a bunch of programs, but also included this new
investment in school choice. Do you want to talk
about that a little bit? – Yeah, so the big number to know is that it cuts about nine billion
dollars in the overall discretionary part of the
education department budget, so that’s about a 13% cut. It takes it down to
about 59 billion dollars, which for education spending,
that would be at its lowest level in Washington
in roughly a decade. And the big school choice
program that people are talking about is 1.4 billion dollars that the Trump Administration
wants to spend on new school choice programs. This includes 250 million
dollar new private school voucher program. We don’t have a lot of details
about what that looks like, but it’s obviously something
that people are gonna be watching closely since
it’s a new part of the budget. And there’s one billion
dollars in title one money, it’s new that Trump
wants to use to encourage districts to use for public school choice. So that’s an interesting wrinkle. A lot of times when we talk about choice, we talk about private school choice. This would be public school choice, it will be interesting to
see more details about that. And there’s also a
significant increase for charter school grads. So maybe you can talk
a little bit more about the programs that are seeing reductions, or even programs that are
getting eliminated all together. What’s up with that? – So, there’s two kind
of really big programs that are on the chopping block, one of them is the title two program, which is basically stake
grounds for teacher equality. A lot of states this to reduce cost size, it’s also used to train teachers, can help teachers get new certifications. It’s about a 2.25 billion dollar program. – That’s pretty big. – Yeah, it’s not chump
change, I think it’s like maybe the third biggest
K-12 program in the budget, so that’s a big deal. – Yeah. – So that has slated, not
just for like a little cut here and there, but complete
elimination, it’s a big deal. The other program that is
slated for complete elimination would be the 21st century
community learning centers program. – And what do those do? – Yeah, so these are grants
for after school programs, mostly for low income kids. And I have to say, it’s
a really popular program, with some of Trump’s
biggest allies in Congress, including Representative Lou Barletta, who like founded the Trump Caucus, I think he was like the fourth
law maker to endorse Trump. He’s a huge fan of this
program, put out a statement yesterday saying please
put this back into budget, so this program definitely
has some friends in Congress. So actually, I’m wondering,
overall like what’s been the reception in Congress to the budget. Does it look like lawmakers are like, “Yay, we can’t wait to make these cuts.” Or are they balking? – So I think it’s generally
understood that President’s budget proposals are in a
way aspirational documents that are what the President
would like to see, and even in sort of calmer
budget times and circumstances, lawmakers wouldn’t
necessarily (mumbles) to them very closely. But I think in this trivial
environment, especially, there’s a sense that while
the Republicans who control the Congress would like to
make cuts in various areas, I think some of them are looking (mumbles) at some of the reductions
that Trump wants to make, as you just mentioned. And anytime you propose
to entirely eliminate the third biggest line
item in an agency’s budget, that can impact a lot of what states and local districts do. You know, you mentioned
Title Two, it could be state and local governments
are not big fans of losing that money, not
to mention the two national teachers unions,
obviously, who like having that money in the budget
and would be very upset if it were eliminated. So I think it’s a little too
early to say definitively, but I think there are mixed
reactions to this budget overall for education. There’s a possibility that
a lot of its recommendations could be left out. So, I guess, the one thing
I would zero in on in that sense is do you think that
the school choice programs, you know, they’re high
profile now, in part because we have Secretary of
Education Betsy DeVos, how would you describe
the republican response to the new voucher program,
and Title One money that can be moved around
between public schools? Do you think all the
republicans will go for that, or is it more complicated? – Well, I think it’s more complicated. It’s, frankly, really early to say, right? We haven’t seen like a
slew of statements from Capitol Hill in that particular
aspect of the budget, but school choice is not
a super popular proposal in our policy in rural
America because schools are really isolated, it’s kind of hard for… It’s hard to offer choice. If you’re driving like an
hour to get to even just your local public school,
it’s hard to imagine where else are you gonna go. And actually, Betsy DeVos,
the US Secretary of Education, ran into trouble in her
confirmation with republicans from rural states, actually. Susan Collins from
Maine, pretty rural area, Lisa Murkowski from Alaska, probably the most rural state, right? – Yes. – They were the two lawmakers
who voted against her. And rural republicans have
not supported vouchers and school choice in the past. I don’t know if you remember,
but when the Every Student Succeeds Act was kind of winding
its way through Congress, Senator Lamar Alexander,
who’s still the Chairman of the Senate Education community, put forth an amendment that
would have essentially have done pretty much what this proposal does. It allowed federal funds to
follow kids to the school of their choice. – Oh yeah, I remember that. – And Susan Collins, Lisa
Murkowski, also Doug Fischer, who represents Nebraska, Jerry Moran who represents Kansas, they all voted against it and
that’s part of the reason– (mumbles) Yeah, and all the democrats,
of course, voted against it. So that was part of the reason that it didn’t end up passing. And some of those lawmakers
have all ready signaled that they’re not gonna
go along with any sort of voucher program. For instance, Doug Fischer,
right after the State of the Union, told my husband,
who’s the Correspondent for the Omaha World-Herald,
that she did not like any school choice proposals, she’s still getting flack
from folks in Nebraska for her vote for Betsy DeVos. So yeah, so in general though, how are education groups,
and even republicans, reacting to this budget? Are they like ready to
mobilize and hit the streets, or what kind of… Yeah, what are you hearing from them? – So, speaking of reactions,
I just want to remind folks that we’re talking about
the Trump education budget, it’s making big news in Washington and the education community. – Trump education budget. – Yes, and if you want,
you can weigh in with your thoughts in the comment
section of this Facebook Live. So please weigh in as we discuss it. As for the reactions in
the education community, I think, not surprisingly,
maybe a lot of the groups are condemning the budget for
the cuts and the reductions it makes, and they cut a
pretty broad (mumbles). The former Secretary of
Education, John King, put out a statement
saying that this budget will hurt students, not just in schools, but in also in their
future career prospects. The two national teacher unions, again, are struggling (mumbles) to this budget. And there are various sort
of smaller, more narrowly focused interest groups
that are looking to cut from the budget, and they’re not big fans. I think some conservatives
are pleased with the overall direction of the budget, and they say that look, this
isn’t really a pretty dramatic reduction in education spending
if you kind of step back and take a look at where things are. And maybe some of those
cuts are needed anyway, they would say. I think there is some
concern among conservative school choice advocates,
in particular, that while they’re fans of school choice
and private school vouchers, they don’t necessarily
want the federal government having too much of a role
in directing how this programs work, because that
goes against their instincts to leave those key decisions
up to states and districts. They don’t want Washington
meddling with the levers and buttons, and knobs, too much because they’re concerned
that it would just turn into another heavily
regulated part of education and schooling. But a lot of groups are
very concerned about what they see in the budget, I would say. Have we missed anything? What are we missing right now? I mean, you mentioned
that maybe we’ll know more details in May, what can
we expect next, I guess? – So what we can expect next, I think, is basically more details
about where that nine billion dollars in cuts is coming from. But so far, if you kind of add up the cuts that we know are there, which includes, which we haven’t mentioned yet, this sort of cut to Pell Grants. Pell Grants are the main
program to help low income kids afford college, they’re grants
as opposed to student loans. And they have a surplus right now. – Imagine that. – Yeah, it’s amazing, and
this budget would basically take away a part of that
surplus that lawmakers were hoping to use to extend
Pell Grants over the summer, so that kids can finish up college faster. And it would diverted,
essentially, to some of the other priorities the President he has. We’ve talked a lot about
how he’s cutting education spending, we haven’t
mentioned yet that he’s really boosting military spending,
and homeland security, and all those programs. That’s where that four billion,
I would imagine, is going. So it will take some time. – We’re still waiting on a
lot of details (mumbles). – Yeah, so it’s about a four
billion dollar cut there to… Yeah, so we just don’t know,
there’s still like about another billion, two billion, but we don’t know where it’s coming from. And I know Andrew was actually
calling around to find out what these other
programs might be last week. What else were you hearing
would be on the chopping block? – Well, I think that
there’s a sense that maybe the education (mumbles)
research program might be cut. This is sort of the
successor to the investing in innovation (mumbles) that a lot of you are
probably familiar with. – (mumbles) promising
practices at the district level is how we usually put it? – Yes, the very smooth way we put it. It’s a relatively small
chunk of the budget. I think it was funded
under 200 million dollars, so if they’re looking to
make up any sort of major difference between what
they’ve proposed now and the cuts they wanna make in total, that will help a little bit. – What else is in danger? – Well, I think actually a lot
of the things we identified are actually on the chopping block in the very skinny
proposal, like Title Two, the 21st Century Community
Learning Centers. I think there is a sense
that anything that doesn’t automatically fit with either
the main federal education law or with school choice,
there is a possibility that it could get cut. And again, we don’t know
what else has been cut, or what else may be cut. There are a lot of sort of
blank spaces where we would see new funding numbers or
the elimination of programs. We just don’t know, and you know, I will say that we have
heard from Betsy DeVos, the Secretary of (mumbles),
she put out a short statement about the budget
saying she was pleased with the new money for school choice, and that she thinks the budget
sort of properly directs money towards programs
that help students succeed and provide them with
educational opportunities. I will say that DeVos is
slated to testify before the House Committee
that deals with actually doling out money to these programs, the procreators, as they’re
known in Washington. She’s scheduled to testify
before them next Wednesday, March 22, at 10:00. So we might learn a lot more
about what’s in the budget, or what she’d like to
see, or what’s coming, we might not. Maybe we’ll learn more details, we’ll see, but I’m sure that people
will be watching that, maybe, at many times dull hearing, but this time, probably,
won’t be quite as dull. – Less dull than normal, yeah. – Less dull than normal, thank you. And I think a lot of
education folks will be tuning into hear what DeVos has to say. – Yeah, I do remember,
like, I’ve been on this beat for a while, so about 10 years ago, I guess nine years, eight years ago, I was covering the stimulus,
which was like 100 billion new dollars of new money for education, and there was tons of
interest in that right. – It was like a long time ago. – Yeah, so this is sort
of, almost like the reverse stimulus, and people are
just as interested in taking away money as they were in getting it. So we just, yeah, I
think we’ve pretty much covered the waterfront, right? – I think so.
– Anything else? – As we know the
waterfront to be right now. – Yeah, there are a lot of
questions on the waterfront. – Yes, yes. – Well hey, thank you guys
so much for joining us, and (mumbles). Yeah, okay. – Bye guys.
– Bye.

About James Carlton

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2 thoughts on “Trump’s Budget and What It Means for Schools: An Overview

  1. Thanks for taking the time to research and share your knowledge with the masses.
    I personally was initially shocked when Trump's proposal cut the education budget so deep. It didn't take long for me to recall Trump's background in business and his experience as a negotiator. Negotiating is an art but most would agree that your first number or request should reach way beyond your intended goal.

    This is intended to effect the negotiation in a way that would automatically have the other party thinking that meeting in the middle would be a win/win. $0 budget cut vs $9 billion budget cut. The middle win/win number of $4.5 billion budget cut.

    A $4.5 billion budget cut is still considered draconian. This would be disastrous to our youth and our country, in my opinion.

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