Betsy DeVos’ proposed 2020 budget calls for massive cuts to education
We’ve all heard the horror stories about schools that cut art and music programs, sports and clubs, of private citizens like Chance the Rapper or Bill Gates donating their own money to fund their local schools, of schools using crumbling, decades-old textbooks with out-of-date information because they can’t afford new ones. The U.S. has a problem with its commitment and investment to education, and things don’t look like they’re about to get any better.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos just released some proposed numbers for her 2020 education budget, and her plan is to cut $7.1 billion, compared to what lawmakers budgeted for education the prior year.
In a statement, DeVos dug in hard to her platforms about “school choice” and said her budget allocates more money to the charter school system and gives parents more “educational freedom.”
“This budget at its core is about education freedom—freedom for America’s students to pursue their life-long learning journeys in the ways and places that work best for them, freedom for teachers to develop their talents and pursue their passions and freedom from the top-down ‘Washington knows best’ approach that has proven ineffective and even harmful to students,” she said. “This budget also reflects this Administration’s continued commitment to ensuring our nation’s students are safe at school. While there is no one-size-fits all solution to preventing school violence, the Administration’s proposal ensures states and local leaders have the resources they need to develop their own safety plans.
“We have also reaffirmed our commitment to spending taxpayer dollars wisely and efficiently by consolidating or eliminating duplicative and ineffective federal programs. Tough decisions were made, but we made sure that this budget protects our most vulnerable students by requesting level-funding for Title I and IDEA.”
But what this budget actually proposes is eliminating 29 different programs, including after-school and summer programs for kids who live in areas with high poverty rates. That is the exact opposite of “protecting our most vulnerable students.”
Critics are now calling DeVos out for pushing her own agenda of privatizing education, even though it’s not what parents want.
“Rather than increase funding for kids with special needs or for those who live below the poverty line in both rural and urban America, or addressing the issues raised in their own safety report, DeVos once again seeks to divert funding for private purposes in the name of ‘choice,'” American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten said in a statement. “However, if they listened to parents, they would hear that, overwhelmingly, parents want well-funded public schools as their choice.”
It’s unlikely that this budget will pass, now that Democrats have control of the House. But it shows that the Trump administration’s priorities are anywhere but in education. And it doesn’t bode well for the country’s educational system, which has taken serious funding hits in recent years. Even as many states struggle to raise test scores and increase student performance, school funding has not returned to pre-recession levels in more than half of U.S. states.
It’s no surprise that the Trump administration doesn’t have our country’s best interests at heart. But this is a direct attack on our country’s future. Without investing in education, how can we expect the next generations to clean up this mess we’re leaving for them?