A Project for Better Journalism chapter

Trump’s proposed budget cuts education, prioritizes school choice

Recently, President Trump announced his much-anticipated budget plan. As promised, he has increased defense spending substantially. Consequently, numerous other governmental department budgets were cut, some in a major way. (Bear in mind that at this stage this budget plan is really just a blueprint/executive wish list, and is not ready to be implemented.)

One such program experiencing the budget cuts is the Department of Education, which will be slashed by 14%, a 9.2 billion dollar decrease. But what exactly does this behemoth of a number mean?

Many programs designed to help students from low-income families are being cancelled. $200 million in federal aid will be taken away from TRIO and GEAR UP, two programs which help such families prepare for college. Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants, (SEOG’s), responsible for providing 1.6 million students with additional financial support each year, are being completely wiped from the budget.

More significantly, teacher training programs will lose $2.4 billion in federal aid per year, and $1.2 billion of summer and after-school programs will be cut.

By decreasing money allocations to these programs, and many others, cash is freed up for the administration’s larger priority: school choice. $1 billion dollars will be set aside to encourage public school districts to allow money provided for low-income students to follow that student to any school of their choice. In addition to this, $168 million will be given to charter schools. This is an unprecedented shift in allocation of federal spending, as generally private schools are supported by student tuition.

All-in-all, the proposed budget is going to be a strong blow to public education and low-income students, but it will give students looking to attend both public, private and charter schools more choice in which school to attend. It is still not settled as to what the nation’s priorities should be.