President Trump’s budget proposal includes nearly an eight percent cut to the Department of Education, a choice that has received backlash from Democrats.
The $5.6 billion cut, or 7.8 percent, includes cancellation of $3.9 billion from the Pell Grant Surplus, as well as elimination of both subsidized student loans and the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, according to Forbes and Inside Higher Ed. The proposed budget would total $6.66 billion, The New York Times said.
The budget does, however, include a nearly $900 million increase in career and technical education funding, which “supports the administration’s goal of ensuring every high school student in America has access to CTE programs that provide multiple, high-quality pathways to success after graduation,” according to a statement from the office of Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.
Trump also included a $680 million increase for CTE State Grants and $83 million increase for CTE National Programs.
The proposed budget introduces new ideas, such as a streamlined student loan repayment plan and options for incarcerated students to receive Pell grants. It also called for a block grant program that would consolidate “nearly all existing K-12 formula and competitive grant program,” DeVos’ office said.
“This budget proposal is about one thing — putting students and their needs above all else,” DeVos said in a statement. “That starts with creating Education Freedom Scholarships and helping one million more students find the best educational fit for them. We know education freedom helps students succeed, and it’s long past time for Congress to act to give students and their families more choices and more control.”
The budget was also backed by various education members, including LeAnn Wilson from the Association for Career and Technical Education.
“High-quality career and technical education programs prepare millions of students in high schools and community and technical colleges around the country for careers in in-demand fields,” Wilson said in a statement. “An increase in Perkins funds to support these programs, particularly if leveraged with other important federal resources for education and workforce development programs, will help to ensure today’s learners are fully prepared with the skills needed to power America’s 21st century economy.”
Not all supported Trump’s budget, however.
U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) slammed the entire budget in a statement released Monday.
“Trump’s budget request yet again seeks billions of dollars for immigration enforcement, nuclear weapons, and a wasteful and ineffective border wall, to the detriment of American families’ healthcare, education, and safety,” Schakowsky said. “He is once again putting his personal interests over our nation’s. After running up the deficit by giving massive tax cuts to himself, millionaires, billionaires, and large corporations, he is asking working and middle-class families to pick up the tab while cutting the services they rely on most.”
U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) also criticized the budget on Twitter.
Budgets reflect values, and those behind Trump's budget are clear:
Cuts to Medicaid. Cuts to children's health care. Cuts to Medicare. Cuts to the EPA. Cuts to the Department of Education. Cuts to the CDC. Cuts to affordable housing programs.
These are not our values. https://t.co/72OTxvFvwM
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) February 10, 2020
“Budgets reflect values, and those behind Trump’s budget are clear: Cuts to Medicaid. Cuts to children’s health care. Cuts to Medicare. Cuts to the EPA. Cuts to the Department of Education. Cuts to the CDC. Cuts to affordable housing programs,” Schiff wrote. “These are not our values.”
DeVos said that the budget puts students at the heart of its focus.
“Our budget puts an end to education earmarks. Instead of Washington politicians and bureaucrats forcing local schools to spend limited resources on D.C.’s priorities, this budget proposes putting state and local leaders, teachers, parents and students themselves in control of education…” DeVos said. “States will be free to focus on people, not paperwork. Results, not regulations. We know states will spend their money differently, and that’s okay. In fact, that’s what we hope they do. They know best how to serve their students.”
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Jordyn Pair is a reporter with Battleground State News and The Michigan Star. Follow her on Twitter at @JordynPair Email her at [email protected]