photo courtesy of npe.org
The White House released the proposed education budget this week. The budget is harmful to public education- cutting teacher training and funding to reduce class size, and ending the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, which would affect 400,000 students. And no surprise to anyone who has been following, charter schools would receive $500 million in new funding, an increase of 50%. This is bothersome.
Equally as disturbing is the $1.2 billion cut of the 21st Century Community Learning Center. This program provides after school academic enrichment for 1.6 million children in the US (ThinkProgress). Children who benefit from this program generally come from high poverty, under-performing schools.
According to the program’s 2014–2015 performance report:
- 80% of parents whose children are served by after-school programs say that those programs helped them keep their job.
- 65.2% of teachers reported an improvement in homework completion and class participation for students served by the program.
- 56% of teachers reported improvement in student behavior (ThinkProgress).
Halley Potter, a fellow at The Century Foundation whose work focuses on educational inequality said, “Their stated reason for cutting after-school programs is the idea that there isn’t evidence quickly boosting student achievement.”
This budget is adding $500 million to a voucher program which has very little evidence to support its effectiveness (especially with regard to the positive effects on children living in poverty), while cutting programs which positively affect 1.6 million poor children and data supports its effectiveness. How does this make sense?
With data collected from 30 states, the program’s performance report shows how this program has an overlapping positive impact on the children and families who participate. Let’s not forget the report which came out recently showing how the DC voucher program was not working.
What’s in the budget for DeVos? “An additional $158 million for salaries and expenses in the Education Department.” A portion of this money will go for increased security for DeVos, who has contracted the U.S. Marshals Service instead of the ED’s security team (The Fader).
This budget is aligned with what Trump and DeVos have been pushing all along – the privatization of public schools. It’s interesting to note that with all the president has on his plate lately, he still has time to destroy public education and ignore the needs of so many children in this country.
DeVos and her husband are deeply rooted in their evangelical Christian beliefs. Her actions and her beliefs seem to take distinctly different positions on educating poor children. The irony is not lost on me.
If you would like to get involved in the campaign to let your representatives in Congress know how you feel about the proposed budget: https://networkforpubliceducation.org/2017/05/act-now-stop-cuts-public-education/
These are my reflections for today.