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Donald Trump’s Proposed 2018 Budget: At Least He Doesn’t Call Himself an “Education President.”

March 16, 2017

Here it is: Donald Trump’s proposed 2018 budget— all 62 pages of it.

From Trump’s introductory remarks:

The core of my first Budget Blueprint is the rebuilding of our Nation’s military without adding to our Federal deficit. There is a $54 billion increase in defense spending in 2018 that is offset by targeted reductions elsewhere. This defense funding is vital to rebuilding and preparing our Armed Forces for the future. …

The defense and public safety spending increases in this Budget Blueprint are offset and paid for by finding greater savings and efficiencies across the Federal Government. Our Budget Blueprint insists on $54 billion in reductions to non-Defense programs. We are going to do more with less, and make the Government lean and accountable to the people.

This includes deep cuts to foreign aid. It is time to prioritize the security and well-being of Americans, and to ask the rest of the world to step up and pay its fair share.

Many other Government agencies and departments will also experience cuts. These cuts are sensible and rational. Every agency and department will be driven to achieve greater efficiency and to eliminate wasteful spending in carrying out their honorable service to the American people.

From the “Major Agency Highlights” section:

The 2018 Budget is being unveiled sequentially in that this Blueprint provides details only on our discretionary funding proposals. The full Budget that will be released later this spring will include our specific mandatory and tax proposals, as well as a full fiscal path. …

The Budget also proposes to eliminate funding for other independent agencies, including: the African Development Foundation; the Appalachian Regional Commission; the Chemical Safety Board; the Corporation for National and Community Service; the Corporation for Public Broadcasting; the Delta Regional Authority; the Denali Commission; the Institute of Museum and Library Services; the Inter-American Foundation; the U.S. Trade and Development Agency; the Legal Services Corporation; the National Endowment for the Arts; the National Endowment for the Humanities; the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation; the Northern Border Regional Commission; the Overseas Private Investment Corporation; the United States Institute of Peace; the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness; and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

The section on the Department of Education is on pages 23 and 24 (numbered pages 17 and 18):

The Department of Education promotes improving student achievement and access to opportunity in elementary, secondary, and postsecondary education. The Department would refocus its mission on supporting States and school districts in their efforts to provide high quality education to all our students. Also, it would focus on streamlining and simplifying funding for college, while continuing to help make college education more affordable. The 2018 Budget places power in the hands of parents and families to choose schools that are best for their children by investing an additional $1.4 billion in school choice programs. It continues support for the Nation’s most vulnerable populations, such as students with disabilities. Overall, the Department would support these investments and carry out its core mission while lowering costs to the taxpayer by reducing or eliminating funding for programs that are not effective, that duplicate other efforts, or that do not serve national needs.

The President’s 2018 Budget provides $59 billion in discretionary funding for the Department of Education, a $9 billion or 13 percent reduction below the 2017 annualized CR [continuing resolution] level.

The President’s 2018 Budget:

• Increases investments in public and private school choice by $1.4 billion compared to the 2017 annualized CR level, ramping up to an annual total of $20 billion, and an estimated $100 billion including matching State and local funds. This additional investment in 2018 includes a $168 million increase for charter schools, $250 million for a new private school choice program, and a $1 billion increase for Title I, dedicated to encouraging districts to adopt a system of student-based budgeting and open enrollment that enables Federal, State, and local funding to follow the student to the public school of his or her choice.

• Maintains approximately $13 billion in funding for IDEA programs to support students with special education needs. This funding provides States, school districts, and other grantees with the resources needed to provide high quality special education and related services to students and young adults with disabilities.

• Eliminates the $2.4 billion Supporting Effective Instruction State Grants program, which is poorly targeted and spread thinly across thousands of districts with scant evidence of impact.

• Eliminates the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program, which supports before- and after-school programs as well as summer programs, resulting in savings of $1.2 billion from the 2017 annualized CR level. The programs lacks strong evidence of meeting its objectives, such as improving student achievement.

• Eliminates the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant program, a less well-targeted way to deliver need-based aid than the Pell Grant program, to reduce complexity in financial student aid and save $732 million from the 2017 annualized CR level.

• Safeguards the Pell Grant program by level funding the discretionary appropriation while proposing a cancellation of $3.9 billion from unobligated carryover funding, leaving the Pell program on sound footing for the next decade.

• Protects support for Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority-Serving Institutions, which provide opportunities for communities that are often underserved, maintaining $492 million in funding for programs that serve high percentages of minority students.

• Reduces Federal Work-Study significantly and reforms the poorly-targeted allocation to ensure funds go to undergraduate students who would benefit most.

• Provides $808 million for the Federal TRIO Programs and $219 million for GEAR UP, resulting in savings of $193 million from the 2017 annualized CR level. Funding to TRIO programs is reduced in areas that have limited evidence on the overall effectiveness in improving student outcomes. The Budget funds GEAR UP continuation awards only, pending the completion of an upcoming rigorous evaluation of a portion of the program.

• Eliminates or reduces over 20 categorical programs that do not address national needs, duplicate other programs, or are more appropriately supported with State, local, or private funds, including Striving Readers, Teacher Quality Partnership, Impact Aid Support Payments for Federal Property, and International Education programs.

US ed secretary Betsy DeVos released the following statement in complete support of Trump’s education budget– with no mention of her having any problem with any of the $9 billion in federal education cuts:

Today’s Budget Blueprint keeps with President Trump’s promise to focus the U.S. Department of Education on its mission to serve students. The budget places power in the hands of parents and families to choose schools that are best for their children by investing an additional $1.4 billion in school choice programs. It continues support for the nation’s most vulnerable populations, such as students with disabilities, while streamlining and simplifying funding for college and continuing to help make college education more affordable.

Taxpayers deserve to know their dollars are being spent efficiently and effectively. This budget is the first step in investing in education programs that work, and maintaining our Department’s focus on supporting states and school districts in providing an equal opportunity for a quality education to all students. I look forward to continuing to engage with Congress as we roll out the President’s priorities and put the needs of students first.

Congress would need to approve Trump’s budget– which it seems unlikely to do without changes, as NPR’s Anya Kamenetz observes:

This morning President Trump released a proposed 2018 budget that calls for a $9 billion, or 13.5 percent, cut for the U.S. Department of Education.

The document released today is only an initial sketch — a proposal, really — one that must compete with Congress’s own ideas. …

…The blueprint gives the clearest indication to date of where schools and colleges fall on the priority list for this administration….

Kamenetz also comments on the enticement for states to create/expand the back-door voucher– the education tax credit:

[Added to the education budget:] $250 million for an unspecified “new private school choice program,” which may be vouchers. The budget proposal states that total school choice funding will eventually reach the level Trump mentioned in the campaign: $20 billion. (Tax credit scholarships, another potential vehicle to fund private school choice, would be implemented through tax reform, and are not mentioned in this budget plan).

Overall, education is a low priority for Trump, with school choice a worn-out buzzword and Betsy DeVos an established, willing cheerleader.

We’ll see how far Congress will go with the Trump-proposed budget.

  Donald Trump and Betsy DeVos

___________________________________________________________

Want to read more about the history of charter schools and vouchers?

School Choice: The End of Public Education? 

school choice cover  (Click image to enlarge)

Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of two other books: A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education and Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?.

both books

Don’t care to buy from Amazon? Purchase my books from Powell’s City of Books instead.

6 Comments
  1. Stephen B Ronan permalink

    Typo alert: “US ed secretary Betsy DeVos released the following statement in complete support of Trump’s education budget– with no mention of her having any problem with any of the $9 million in federal education cuts:”

    9 billion

  2. At least he’s doing what he promised the voters who elected him. As for money, let there be half day schooling. Same number of teachers supported by twice as many students. Fire the incompetent. Pay the retained properly. Or cut class sizes in half.

    • Laura H. Chapman permalink

      Or adopt the for-profit Bridge Interational schools model. Recycled shipping containers for schools. Scripted lessons delivered and responded to on computer pads, data from answers to questions analyzed for improvement, 8 hours a day for teachers who comply 100% with rules( high school graduates preferred), financed by billionaires.

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  1. Mercedes Schneider on Trump’s Budget: Our First Anti-Education President | Diane Ravitch's blog

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