Trump’s Education Budget: Cuts Reduce Federal Control, Common Core

Eliminating ineffective & duplicative programs calls for a $10.6 billion in cuts

By Carole Hornsby Haynes, Ph.D.

Texas Insider Report: AUSTIN, Texas — President Donald Trump has released his first full budget proposal. As promised during the campaign, it includes sweeping cuts AND is a balanced budget.

Since President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Elementary & Secondary Education Act in 1965, the federal government has appropriated nearly $2 trillion — 10% of all K-12 education spending — to improve the educational outcomes of American students.  Yet achievement gaps remain and graduation rates for disadvantaged students are stagnant.

Because the Department of Education is an unconstitutional agency that usurps the power left to states over education, eliminating these ineffective and duplicative programs is a great start toward completely abolishing the agency.

The Trump administration proposal calls for a $10.6 billion cut to federal education initiatives.

Programs With Reduced Spending

Federal Loans. The budget proposes to save taxpayers more than $143 billion over the next 10 years by:

  1. Consolidating the federal government’s various income-based repayment programs of more than $76 billion into a single plan
  2. Axing nearly $39 billion subsidized student loans; and
  3. Eliminating the federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program of more than $27 billion

Federal Work Study.  There will be a significant reduction of 50 percent — $488,000,000. Outdated provisions in program will be improved by limiting eligibility to undergraduate students who can benefit the most.

Gaining Early Awareness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP).  Funding will be cut by $103,000,000 because many of the services duplicate other education programs such as Talent Search, one of the five TRIO programs.

TRIO.  The original three TRIO programs — Upward Bound, Talent Search, and Student Support Services — will be funded while two — the McNair and EOC programs — will be eliminated because they are duplicative and show little evidence of increasing college access or completion. Colleges and universities can also use institutional resources to support the same objectives.

Head Start.  Head Start, a failed Health and Human Services program, will be cut only $85 million.  It was believed that cuts would be deeper because the Heritage Foundation, which has Trump’s ear, supports reduction and elimination of funding over the next decade. A TV ad campaign targeting chairman of the House appropriations committee for education apparently saved the day.

Career and Technical Education.  Career, technical, and adult education will be slashed by 12%, including cutting $166 million from a grant program to states to fund career and technical education. However, the budget increases a federal career and technical program by $20 million to help expand science, technology, engineering and math programs.

Federal School Choice

School Choice.  About $400 million of the savings will be used to expand charter schools and vouchers for private and religious schools. About $1 billion will be used to push public schools to adopt choice-friendly policies.

FOCUS.  The administration proposes $1 billion in Title I money for a new grant program for school districts — Furthering Options for Children to Unlock Success — to allow students to pick the public school they want to attend.

Federal School Choice will be another new federal program, exactly what angers many Americans.  It’s hard to imagine that, at some point, federal “strings” will not be attached to federal funds that go to private and religious schools.

Should a Democrat or an Elizabeth Warren administration decide that eligible schools should have federal anti-bullying programs, then ”he who has the gold makes the rules.” Federal school choice will grow, rather than reduce, federal intervention in education.

Programs To Be Eliminated
(with the administration’s justification)

The President’s 2018 Budget provides $59 billion in discretionary funding for the Department of Education, a $9.2 billion or 13.5% reduction below the 2017 annualized CR level.

The White House budget request would eliminate or phase-out at least 22 programs that are duplicative, ineffective, or are better supported through State, local or philanthropic efforts. These, along with six additional programs already eliminated in the reauthorization of the Elementary & Secondary Education Act (Every Student Succeeds Act), will save taxpayers $5.9 billion.

  • 21st Century Learning Centers (-$1,164,500,000) — Before, after, and summer school community programs.  Attendance is low with fewer than 20 percent of participants showing improvement in reading and mathematics.
  • Alaska Native Education (-$32,400,000) — Before, after and summer schools.  This program has failed to achieve its objective of improving student achievement.
  • American History & Civics Academies (-$1,800,000) — Grants for workshops to improve the quality of American history and civics education.  The program has had limited impact with few teachers and students being reached.
  • Arts in Education (-$26,900,000) — Serves low-income and disabled.  Program has had limited impact and is better supported by other Federal, State, local, and private funds.
  • Child Care Access Means Parents in School (-$15,100,000) — Child care for low income student parents, an activity inconsistent with core mission of USDE. Funding is available within the Department of Health and Human Services.
  • Comprehensive Literacy Development Grants (-$189,600,000) — Competitive awards to States to improve literacy instruction from birth through 12th grade.  This program has had limited impact and duplicates activities that may  be supported by other sources of Federal and non-Federal funds, such as Title Grants to Local Educational Agencies or the Education Innovation and Research program.
  • Full Service Community Schools (-$10,000,000) — Comprehensive academic, social, and health serves for students, their families, and community members. It has had limited impact and can better be supported through other Federal, State, local, and private funds.
  • Impact Aid Payments for Federal Property (-$66,700,000) — Since 1950 the federal government has compensated school districts for lost property tax revenue due to the Federal government acquiring a considerable portion of real property in the local educational agency. Since the majority of LEAs have adjusted their budgets, this program is no longer needed.
  • Innovative Approaches to Literacy Program (-$26,900,000) — Competitive grants to support libraries, professional development for librarians and high-quality books for students.  Funding can be accessed through Title I.
  • International Education & Foreign Language Studies Domestic & Overseas Programs (-$72,000,000) — For economic, foreign affairs, and national security purposes so does not belong in USDE. This is a duplicative program that expired in 2014.
  • Javits Gifted & Talented Education (-$12,000,000) — Identifies and educates gifted and talented students with special educational needs. Only the most disadvantaged students should get Federal money and use State, local and private sources to fund this program.
  • Native Hawaiian Education (-$33,300,000) — Support for very high-needs students.  This duplicative program can be funded through other Federal elementary and secondary programs for Hawaii and through State, local, and private sources.
  • Preschool Development Grants (-$249,500,000) — High-quality pre-school programs in targeted communities to serve as models to expand pre-K for all 4-year-olds from low and moderate income families — lays foundation for universal pre-K.  The Department of Health and Human Services funded this in 2017.
  • Ready to Learn Programming (-$25,700,000) — Development and dissemination of high-quality educational TV programming.  Internet, online games, and “app” make this irrelevant.
  • School Leader Recruitment & Support Program (-$16,300,000) — Limited impact and effectiveness and duplicates other Federal funds that may be available.
  • Special Olympics Education Programs (-$10,100,000) — Better supported with other Federal, State, local, or private funds.
  • Strengthening Institutions (-$86,400,000) — Supports institutional activities, including construction, maintenance, renovation, and improvement of instructional facilities.  This program is also authorized under Higher Education Title III and V programs and is better supported there.
  • Student Support & Academic Enrichment Grants (-$277,000, 000) — These grants were newly authorized under the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 which consolidated four previously authorized programs:  Mathematics and Science Partnerships, Advanced Placement, Elementary and Secondary School Counseling, and Physical Education. Other funding from Federal, State, local and private sources, including Title I Grants to LEAs program, is available.
  • Supporting Effective Instruction State Grants (-$2,345,000, 000) — For professional development and class-size reduction. SEI grants are poorly targeted and funds too thinly spread to be effective for student outcomes. Professional development has been shown to have limited impact on student achievement.
  • Teacher Quality Partnership (-$43,000,000) — Federal restrictions prevent design of suitable programs for local needs. This program is not any more effective than available State and local programs for training and retaining highly effective teachers in critical shortage areas. Funding may be available through ESEA Title I and from competitive grant programs.

Follow Dr. Carole Haynes at www.drcarolehhaynes.com, and on Twitter at CaroleHHaynes

Additional articles by Carole Hornsby Haynes include:

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