Federal Flash: How Education Programs Fare in Final Spending Bill; DeVos on Capitol Hill

Hello and welcome to Federal Flash. I’m Phillip Lovell and I’m joined by Nikki
McKinney. Federal funding for education takes center
stage in this week’s Flash, with Congress reaching a deal to fund the government through
September 30th and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos testifying on the Hill. Nikki, what can you tell us about Congressional
action on the budget? Well, Phillip–Congress has agreed to a $1.3
trillion appropriations bill to fund the government though September 30th. As we’ve reported in previous Flashes, funding
for the government was set to expire at midnight tonight, but Congress moved quickly to pass
the bill and avoid another government shutdown. Overall, Congress increased funding for the
Department of Education by $3.9 billion. Among the increases were an additional $700
million for a total of $1.1 billion for Title IV-A of the Every Student Succeeds Act, also
known as the Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants. Funds in this program can be used to support
advanced coursework, access to technology, and safe schools. This program became popular among lawmakers
looking to show a response to the school shooting in Parkland;
Other programs receiving increases were: Title I state grants, which help support education
of students from low-income families and received an increase of $300 million; Special education grants, which received a
$275 million increase; and Career and technical education state grants,
which received an increase of $75 million; If you would like to see all the details,
visit the link below to read the more than 2000 pages of the omnibus. One important policy missing in all these
pages is a resolution to the fight over immigration policy. Unfortunately, the bill did NOT include a
legislative fix for DREAMERs. And, much to everyone’s surprise, President
Trump issued a veto threat via Twitter this morning, saying, QUOTE “I am considering a
VETO of the Omnibus Spending Bill based on the fact that the 800,000 plus DACA recipients
have been totally abandoned by the Democrats (not even mentioned in Bill) and the BORDER
WALL, which is desperately needed for our National Defense, is not fully funded.” END QUOTE The tweet was surprising for two reasons. One, it left open the possibility of a government
shutdown, especially considering that most lawmakers have already left Washington for
a two-week recess. And two, it fails to recognize that these
students’ futures are in peril because President Trump chose to end the DACA program. As Congress was putting the finishing touches
on the fiscal year 2018 budget, Secretary DeVos testified before House appropriators on the Department’s budget for fiscal year 2019. Members of the Committee asked the Secretary
a range of questions, touching on school safety in the light of the shootings in Florida and
Maryland, racial disparities in suspensions and expulsions, and impact aid. There wasn’t much, if anything, that Democrats
and the Secretary could agree upon. And there wasn’t much, if anything, Republicans
were willing to disagree and or press her on. If you support Secretary DeVos, you probably
thought she fared well and stayed on message. If you don’t you were probably left feeling
frustrated by some of her answers. Visit the link below to view the hearing in
its entirety. Finally, tomorrow, March 24, thousands of
students and their supporters are expected to descend upon Washington, DC in the March
for Our Lives. Born out of the student movement following
the shooting in Parkland, this march follows student protests outside of the Florida state
capital and the National School Walkout on March 14th. Antonino, a senior at Democracy Prep Charter
High School in Harlem, shared his reasons for marching with his classmates tomorrow. The Alliance for Excellent Education supports
Antonino and every student and American across the country fighting for common-sense measures
to keep our nation’s school children safe. Access the link below to read All4Ed’s statement
on Gun Violence in America’s Schools and Communities and to find out how to support
the March on Saturday. That’s all for now. For an alert when the next episode of Federal
Flash is available, email us at [email protected] Thanks for watching.

1 thought on “Federal Flash: How Education Programs Fare in Final Spending Bill; DeVos on Capitol Hill”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *