The Trump administration has proposed an 8.4 percent budget cut for the U.S. Department of Education.
The $66.6 billion request, released Monday, represents not just a proposed cut, but several proposed funding shifts.
School choice. Trump wants to put $5 billion into Education Freedom Scholarships, a federal tax credit to support scholarships for public or private schools. This isn’t a big surprise; Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos have repeatedly pushed this tax credit plan, and Trump mentioned it in his State of the Union address last week.
“People want school choice,” Trump said in the department’s budget report. “They want to have their child go to a school that they want to have their child go to. It’s very simple.”
Block grants. The budget would fold nearly 30 federal programs into a single, $19.4 billion block grant program. The merged programs would include everything from Title I funding for high-poverty schools to Title II programs for teacher training to migrant education initiatives. The feds would distribute the $19.4 billion using the same formula now used to provide Title I money to the states.
“Instead of Washington politicians and bureaucrats forcing local schools to spend limited resources on D.C.’s priorities, this budget proposes putting state and local leaders, teachers, parents, and students themselves in control of education,” DeVos said in a statement Monday. “We know states will spend their money differently, and that’s okay. In fact, that’s what we hope they do.”
Career-technical education. CTE is another winner in the budget proposal. Trump proposes nearly $2 billion in state grants for CTE, up from $1.3 billion.
Trump’s budget proposal appears to face an uncertain future, particularly in the House. The chair of the House Appropriations Committee, Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., dismissed the new budget as a “disastrous repeat.”
“Just as we did last year, House Democrats will write responsible appropriations bills that invest in American families and communities,” Lowey told Education Week.