The Trump administration’s proposed education budget would cut vital funding from programs that benefit our nation’s most vulnerable students and schools. Congress is debating this proposal between now and the end of the year. They need to hear from you!
Here are 5 reasons you need to help shine a light on the Trump education budget.
1. It’s an unprecedented cut to the Federal education budget
The budget calls for an unprecedented $9.2 billion—or 13.5 percent—cut to the U.S. Department of Education. These cuts include significant reductions to, or the complete elimination of, several programs designed to help our nation’s most vulnerable students, including teacher recruitment and training, after-school tutoring, nutrition programs, and need-based aid for low-income college students. We can all agree our system is leaving too many students behind. Significant changes will be required to ensure all students have access to a high-quality public education. But cutting vital programs at a time when millions of students are already struggling isn’t the way forward.
2. Deep cuts to civil-rights watchdog agency, after-school programs, teacher training, and other essential education equity funding
President Trump’s education budget proposal includes a $2-million cut to the Office for Civil Rights, the group responsible for enforcing civil rights law in the nation’s schools. This office plays a critical role in leading ensuring that students of all backgrounds are treated fairly by their classmates, their schools, their communities, and their country.
Programs such as 21st Century Community Learning Centers program (CCLC) would see their $2.1B budget completely eliminated. CCLC serves 2 million children at 11,500 centers nationwide. At these centers, children receive additional help to improve their abilities in math and English, and learn how to enhance class participation skills and improve classroom behavior. Ending this program would take critical assistance away from students who need it the most.
Research shows that high-quality teachers and school leaders have a tremendous impact on student achievement, especially for those who are already far behind. The Trump budget cuts over $2.3B from Title II grants for “supporting effective instruction.” This program provides funding for grants to national non-profit organizations for projects to prepare or provide professional enhancement activities for teachers, principals, or both. By failing to invest in our teachers and principals, we’re failing to invest in our children.
The budget would also cut nearly $100M from education programs for Alaskan native populations, native Hawaiian students, and the Special Olympics.
3. It is deeply unpopular (even with those who voted for Trump)
A recent poll (Hart Research Associates) found that Trump’s budget is deeply unpopular with the American people:
Voters strongly reject the Trump administration’s proposal to cut spending on education by 13.5% while reducing taxes on large corporations and wealthy individuals. Fully 74% of voters oppose this policy, including 54% who strongly oppose it. Half (48%) of Trump’s own voters are in opposition. Large majorities deem many specific elements of the Trump administration’s education budget to be unacceptable. Cuts to programs and services for students with disabilities, elimination of funding that public schools use to reduce class sizes, and reduction of funding for career and technical education are examples of cuts that evoke deep opposition from voters. This opposition is shared across diverse communities—with large majorities of urban, suburban, small town, and rural voters saying they are unacceptable.
4. It falls short of the moral test of government
As stated in our Matthew 25 Declaration on Public Education, signed by thousands of people of faith across America, we believe budgets are moral documents, and the moral test of any nation is how it treats the most vulnerable. Unfortunately, by slashing programs that benefit vulnerable students the President’s budget falls short.
5. Congressional leaders have serious concerns about Trump’s budget
Even members of President Trump’s own party have serious concerns about his education budget. Rather than simply accepting the President’s education budget proposal, both the House and the Senate have produced alternative proposals.
The House version saves many of the programs that the Administration seeks to eliminate, but still calls for a $2.6B cut to the education budget. Their proposal eliminates programs such as Supporting Effective Instruction, 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC), and School Leader Recruitment and Support.
The Senate version steps even further away from President Trump’s proposal, maintaining Fiscal Year ’17 funding for all of the programs that the Administration seeks to cut or eliminate. The Senate’s proposal even includes slight increases for Pell Grants, Title I Grants, and TRIO Programs, which help students from disadvantaged backgrounds enter and complete college and post-graduate education programs.
HERE’S THE GOOD NEWS
The debate isn’t over yet. It’s just reaching fever pitch.
As you read this right now Republican and Democratic leaders in Congress are negotiating with the Trump Administration over the final contours of this budget.
They need to hear from you.
As Americans and Christians, we believe God stands with the most vulnerable, those who Jesus called “the least of these” in Matthew 25.
Don’t stand by and watch. Speak out for those who Jesus called “the least of these.”