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DeVos to reveal school choice plans Monday

19 May 2017

"The Trump administration's reported education budget is an abomination", Booker said in a statement sent to PoliticusuSA.

The Trump administration is taking its first big step to shrink the role of the federal government in education. These programs serve nearly two million children, most of whom are from poor families.

The documents obtained by the Post - dated May 23, the day the president's budget is expected to be released - outline the rest of the cuts, including a $15 million program that provides child care for low-income parents in college; a $27 million arts education program; two programs targeting Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian students, totaling $65 million; two worldwide education and foreign language programs, $72 million; a $12 million program for gifted students; and $12 million for Special Olympics education programs.

Finally, they plan to cut the loan forgiveness program, which was instituted in 2007 as a way to encourage matriculating students to enter careers in public service.

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Educational programs the Trump budget would entirely eliminate in Fiscal Year 2018.

Under the proposal, no funds would be dedicated to student support and academic enrichment, which aids schools in paying for mental-health services, anti-bullying initiatives, physical education, Advanced Placement courses and science and engineering instruction.

Another cut affecting low income college students would eliminate a $15 million program that provides childcare for low-income parents attending college.

The new education budget should not be a surprise. However, high-poverty schools are likely to receive fewer dollars than in the past because of a new law that allows states to use up to 7 percent of Title I money for school improvement before distributing it to districts.

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The Post reports that the plan includes an additional $400 million to advance charter schools and vouchers for private and religious schools and an additional $1 billion that would support public schools in adopting choice-friendly policies.

In addition, the budget would channel $1 billion of Title I funding to a new grant program. Current funding is not "portable" to public schools of choice, according to Education Week. In such a way, Title I money, along with other school funds, will migrate into wealthier districts at the expense of the districts for which the program was designed. At the same time, $158 million is proposed for salaries and expenses at the DoED; among these expenses are expanded student loan "servicing" (i.e., collections) and increased security for education secretary Betsy DeVos, who spurned the in-house security team, contracting instead with the US Marshals.

While DeVos champions a school "choice" agenda, her proposal would actually create a federal program that would supersede state and local control of charter schools and voucher programs.

DeVos previously chaired the group, and is a longstanding champion of tax credit scholarships and vouchers.

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DeVos to reveal school choice plans Monday