Today’s Federal Flash explains the Trump/DeVos proposal to expand access to private schools while cutting public school funding by nearly $5 billion. We also highlight Congressional action in response to the Trump SNAP proposal that would could cut school lunches for nearly 1 million students, as well as new flexibility provided by Secretary DeVos to four states.
President Trump’s fiscal year 2021 proposed budget continues his Administration’s theme of educational freedom rather than educational equity.
This year’s request proposes to consolidate and decrease funding for dozens of programs that support disadvantaged students while simultaneously calling for the creation of a $5 billion tax credit to fund an Education Freedom Scholarship program for students to attend private schools. Although the FY 2021 budget includes an increase for career and technical education, that increase is dwarfed by an 8 percent cut in overall Education Department funding.
Administration proposes to consolidate nearly every major K-12 funding stream, 29 programs in all, into a new block grant.
The new “Elementary and Secondary Education for the Disadvantaged” block grant slashes the total funding for the consolidated programs by 20 percent—or nearly $5 billion—below last year’s funding levels. The new block grant would consolidate funding that has been dedicated by Congress to support the nation’s most vulnerable students—students from low-income families, homeless students, English learners, migrant students, and others.
All4Ed opposes the block grant and urges Congress to continue to provide robust, dedicated funding for essential programs such as Title I, Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants, Supporting Effective Instruction State Grants, Education for Homeless Children and Youths, and Comprehensive Literacy Development. President and CEO of All4Ed Deb Delisle released a statement about the President’s FY 2021 budget, saying “Under the guise of promoting ‘educational freedom,’ President Trump’s budget would deprive our nation’s public schools of crucial resources needed to support historically underserved students by funding a federal tax credit scholarship program instead.” She added, “The Department’s top priority should be investing in the future of our young people, not slashing the investments on which their future and our country’s future depends.”
Four states were recently approved to participate in Ed-Flex
Over at the Department of Education, four states were recently approved to participate in the Education Flexibility Program, known as Ed-Flex, which allows states to waive certain federal statutory or regulatory requirements under the Every Student Succeeds Act. Massachusetts, North Carolina, Texas, and Vermont were granted Ed-Flex authority. Proposed goals across the four states range from enhancing educator recruitment and development to addressing class size and the school calendar.
All states are eligible to apply to the Ed-Flex program.
House Committee on Oversight and Reform conducted hearings on SNAP
Last week the House Committee on Oversight and Reform conducted two days of hearings to examine the effects of proposed regulations by the Trump Administration to limit the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, known as SNAP. The hearing focused on how cuts to SNAP would impact child poverty, housing, hunger, and health. In July of last year, the Administration proposed tightening requirements on eligibility.
Through the proposed rule 3.1 million households could lose SNAP benefits, including 2 million households with children. In addition, nearly 1 million students could lose free lunch. Hearing witnesses included educators and advocates against hunger who spoke about the direct impact the Administration’s proposed rule would have on students and the strong need for the program.
Digital Learning Day is Around the Corner
Another reminder for our viewers that Digital Learning Day is on Thursday, February 27. Last year, educators hosted more than 2,300 DLD events. Visit digitallearningday.org to add your event to this year’s list and spread the word!