Federal Flash: Examining President Trump’s Education Budget

President Trump proposed a 12 percent cut
to education funding; Education Secretary Betsy DeVos may have found a way to provide
religious organizations federal funds; and the Department of Education will be implementing a special education regulation it sought to delay. Hi, I’m Monica Almond and I’m joined by
Anne Hyslop. Let’s begin with the President’s budget
request. Anne? President Trump issued his budget request
to Congress for Fiscal year 2020. Every year, the president outlines his budgetary
priorities, including how much money the administration wants Congress to provide each federal program. Congress has the final say, but the president’s
request gets the process started. Lately, the budget request hasn’t had much
influence, but it’s still worth reviewing the administration’s priorities. President Trump’s budget proposes to cut
Department of Education funding by $8.5 billion or 12 percent, and to eliminate 29 programs
including Title II funds that support professional development for educators, afterschool programs,
and the Title IV Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grant program – which received
a major increase last year in response to the tragic school shooting in Parkland, Florida. The president also proposed to eliminate $190
million to improve literacy instruction. In a letter to Congress, All4Ed joined 60
other organizations in opposing the cut. More information on the president’s budget,
including a full list of programs that would be eliminated, is available at the link below. The president’s budget request doesn’t
just propose cuts to education funding. The administration is also proposing to expand
private school vouchers through $5 billion in tax credits. More on that proposal is available in our
previous edition of Federal Flash. In addition, the budget request includes an
increase of $170 million for the Education Innovation and Research program to study stipends
for teacher professional development, and $50 million for a Student-Centered Funding
Incentive Grant program that would support weighted-student funding in ten school districts. In other news, Secretary DeVos notified Congress
the administration believes it is unconstitutional for the Every Student Succeeds Act to prohibit
religious organizations from providing what are known as “equitable services” in private
schools. Federal law requires school districts to provide
low-income students in private schools the same services that low-income students in
public schools receive. School districts can provide these services
directly or contract with an outside entity – but they cannot be provided by a religious
organization. That is, until now. Secretary DeVos sent a letter to Congress
saying that she will no longer be enforcing the prohibition based on a 2017 Supreme Court
decision. It’s quite likely that DeVos’s decision
will end up in court as well. Our last story– After a two-year delay,
a federal judge has ordered Secretary DeVos to begin implementing a regulation supporting
students with disabilities. The rule, drafted by the Obama Administration,
would require states to identify districts that disproportionally identify students of
color for special education services, restrictive classroom settings, or discipline. Identified districts would be required to
examine policies and practices that contributed to the “significant disproportionality”
and fund remedies to address it. In arguing to delay the rule, the Department
of Education expressed concerns that it would create an environment where children needing
special education services would be denied them if districts were concerned about reaching
racial quotas. A federal judge disagreed and ordered the
regulation to be implemented immediately. Civil rights groups and Chairman of the House
Education Committee, Bobby Scott, lauded the ruling as a win for students of color. It is yet to be seen how the Department will
respond, but we’ll keep viewers posted as we learn more. That’s it for today. For an email alert when the next federal flash
is available, email us at [email protected] Thanks
for watching.

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