Posted On September 25, 2017
Lost amid the flurry of recent headlines about the White House was how the Trump administration’s first education budget proposal is faring. The budget proposed dramatic cuts to long standing programs and hundreds of millions of dollars that public schools use for a range of services targeting the nation’s most vulnerable students, while adding more than a billion to advance policies friendly to school choice policies.
Washington Post writers Emma Brown, Valerie Strauss and Danielle Douglas-Gabriel report in a May 7 story about the budget:
“The cuts would come from eliminating at least 22 programs. … Gone, for example, would be $1.2 billion for after-school programs that serve 1.6 million children, most of whom are poor, and $2.1 billion for teacher training and class-size reduction. …
“Other programs would not be eliminated entirely, but would be cut significantly. Those include grants to states for career and technical education, which would lose $168 million, down 15 percent compared to current funding; adult basic literacy instruction, which would lose $96 million (down 16 percent); and Promise Neighborhoods, an Obama-era initiative meant to build networks of support for children in needy communities, which would lose $13 million (down 18 percent).
School choice is a clear budget priority for the administration. The proposed budget put $400 million towards expanding charter schools, as well as vouchers for private and religious schools. Another $1 billion was included to persuade public schools to adopt choice-friendly policies.
In Michigan, where school choice policies are unfolding in real time, a recent analysis from Bridge Magazine [http://bridgemi.com/2016/09/school-choice-producing-segregation-in-districts-across-the-state/) found that the state’s school choice law has accelerated segregation statewide.
Today, more than 300,000 students in Michigan, more than 20 percent of all K-12 taxpayer supported students in the state, attend a charter school or a traditional public school other than the district in which they live.