News Release

Trump-DeVos: A Budget that Will “Decimate Public Education”

devos news releaseTIME magazine reports: “Donald Trump’s 2018 Budget Slashes Education Department romunding by 13.5 Percent.” See Politico’s education policy page.

DIANE RAVITCH, gardendr at gmail.com, @DianeRavitch
Ravitch’s books include Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Public Schools. She is a research professor of education at New York University and served as Assistant Secretary of Education and Counselor to the Secretary of Education from 1991-1993 under the George H. W. Bush administration. She now blogs at dianeravitch.com. She just wrote the piece “Don’t Like Betsy DeVos? Blame the Democrats” for The New Republic. She writes: “In 2001, Ted Kennedy, the Senate’s liberal lion, teamed with Bush to pass No Child Left Behind. For the first time, the government was mandating not only ‘accountability’ (code for punishing teachers and schools who fall short), but also ‘choice’ (code for handing low-performing public schools over to charter operators).”

CAROL BURRIS, burriscarol at gmail.com, @Network4pubEd
Executive director of the Network for Public Education Fund, Burris was a New York State High School Principal of the Year. She just wrote an initial analysis of Trump’s budget.

KEVIN KUMASHIRO, kevin at kevinkumashiro.com, @Kevinkumashiro
Kumashiro is the former dean of the University of San Francisco School of Education, and author of Bad Teacher: How Blaming Teachers Distorts the Bigger Picture.

He said: “Brace yourself for a budget that will decimate public education. The hardest hit will be children and families in highest need. Examples effecting K-12 students include after-school programs that serve mostly poor communities, class-size reductions, mental-health services, anti-bullying programs, programs for indigenous students and students with disabilities (like Special Olympics education programs), and vital curriculum areas like the arts, STEM, career and technical education, and Advanced Placement courses. Although Title I wouldn’t be cut, the increased flexibility in how those funds can be used could mean that less funds are following the neediest students. Higher education is also effected, including massive cuts to work-study programs, Perkins loans, loan forgiveness for public service, child care for students who are parents, and adult literacy programs. Overall, the Department is expected to cut 150 positions.

“The simultaneous disinvestment in public schools alongside increased investment in private and charter schools continue the trend of the Obama/Duncan administration to leverage federal funds to fuel the deregulation and privatization of schools. Although the overall $9.2 billion cut and the $1.4 billion increase for choice/vouchers/charters is far less than the $20 billion reallocation to expand choice that then-candidate Trump pledged, it’s, nonetheless, a frightening proposal that builds on failed policies. Look at the DeVos-led expansion of choice in Michigan, which has been criticized even by supporters of choice, or the federally funded voucher program in D.C., the only such program in the country, which the Education Department itself reveals to have failed to raise achievement for those students who participate. Ample research exists about how best to leverage federal funds to improve the education for our next generation — we should not continue with business as usual, and we certainly should not do worse, which is exactly what is here proposed and what the American people must stop.”