The Trump administration has released its budget proposal, and there’s mixed news for education: some budget cuts and some budget increases. So far, there is no word on budget proposals for Head Start and other early childhood programs.
As the National Women’s Law Center explained in an email, Trump has released a “skinny budget” that lists some details about “spending priorities” including “very deep cuts to non-defense discretionary programs while increasing defense spending by $54 billion.” The center analyzes the budget’s impact on families here.
But bear in mind that Trump’s budget is only a proposal. Congress will be hammering out its own budget for the nation.
For now, however, here’s what we know about Trump’s budget.
In a speech she delivered to the National Association of State Boards of Education, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos said:
“This budget reflects an intention to invest in education programs that work, while reducing duplicative programs and empowering the state and local levels to administer others that are best kept at those levels.
“Most importantly, this budget maintains our Department’s focus on supporting states and school districts, with the goal of providing an equal opportunity for a quality education to all students. I look forward to working with the president, Congress and all of you in pursuing these reforms that put students first.”
Education Week reports that Trump’s budget would cut U.S. Department of Education Funding by 13 percent, cutting $9 billion from the department’s roughly $68 billion allocation.
Trump would boost the budget for school choice. He has proposed “a historic $1.4 billion federal investment in school choice, including new money for private school vouchers and charter schools, as well as directing $1 billion to follow students to the school of their choice.”
Explaining the budget increases, the Washington Post says:
“The president is proposing a $168 million increase for charter schools — 50 percent above the current level — and a new $250 million private-school choice program, which would probably provide vouchers for families to use at private or parochial schools.”
“Trump also wants an additional $1 billion for Title I, a $15 billion grant program for schools with high concentrations of poor children. The new funds would be used to encourage districts to adopt a controversial form of choice: Allowing local, state and federal funds to follow children to whichever public school they choose.”
- “For children, the budget eliminates the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program that provides critical summer, before-school, and after-school programs to low-income children and youth.
- Low-income students face a perfect storm of cuts that undermine their ability to start and complete postsecondary education. The budget slashes student aid by $4.6 billion; proposes a ‘significant’ reduction to the Federal Work-Study program; removes $3.9 billion from the Pell Grant program, which already covers less than 30 percent of the average cost of college attendance, leaving students with significant unmet need; and eliminates Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, a federal program that provides $733 million to help students with the greatest need cover the cost of attending college.”
The local reaction? Governor Charlie Baker expressed concern, according to the State House News Service. “Preparing for the worst and hoping for the best is also the mantra Bay State Democrats, and even Baker, are taking toward President Donald Trump’s new budget blueprint,” notes reporter Matt Murphy. Trump’s budget would also cut “federal research funding, community block grants, low-income heating assistance, Meals on Wheels, environmental protection… Baker called the 22 percent cut to the National Institutes of Health proposed by the president ‘particularly alarming.’”
According to The Hill, House Speaker Paul Ryan says, “Trump’s spending blueprint is just the beginning of a ‘very long, multi-stage progress of budgeting.’”
“Congress takes its power-of-the-purse role seriously, which is why a president’s budget almost always lands on the other side of Pennsylvania Avenue with a bit of a thud.
“President Trump’s blueprint for the next fiscal year, released Thursday, was no different.”
“The president’s spending plan was only the first step in months of negotiations between the White House and Capitol Hill over how to allocate funding. Trump will put forward a more detailed spending proposal in May, and various legislative committees will scrutinize his requests, calling on Cabinet secretaries, agency heads and others in the administration to explain their wish lists.”
In other words: Stay tuned. It will take a lot more work and compromise to finalize the national budget and carve out funding for early education and care.