Trump’s first full education budget: Deep cuts to public school programs in pursuit of school choice

 May 17

Funding for college work-study programs would be cut in half, public-service loan forgiveness would end and hundreds of millions of dollars that public schools could use for mental health, advanced coursework and other services would vanish under a Trump administration plan to cut $10.6 billion from federal education initiatives, according to budget documents obtained by The Washington Post.

The administration would channel part of the savings into its top priority: school choice. It seeks to spend about $400 million to expand charter schools and vouchers for private and religious schools, and another $1 billion to push public schools to adopt choice-friendly policies.

. . .

The budget proposal calls for a net $9.2 billion cut to the department, or 13.6 percent of the spending level Congress approved last month. It is likely to meet resistance on Capitol Hill because of strong constituencies seeking to protect current funding, ideological opposition to vouchers and fierce criticism of DeVos, a longtime Republican donor who became a household name during a bruising Senate confirmation battle.


In Arizona, teachers can now be hired with absolutely no training in how to teach

By Valerie Strauss  Washington Post The Answer Sheet blog.

New legislation signed into law in Arizona by Republican Gov. Doug Ducey (R) will allow teachers to be hired with no formal teaching training, as long as they have five years of experience in fields “relevant” to the subject they are teaching. What’s “relevant” isn’t clear.

The Arizona law is part of a disturbing trend nationwide to allow teachers without certification or even any teacher preparation to be hired and put immediately to work in the classroom in large part to help close persistent teacher shortages. It plays into a misconception that anyone can teach if they know a particular subject and that it is not really necessary to first learn about curriculum, classroom management and instruction.

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Facing ‘Dire’ Budget Deficit, Brockton Schools Will Lay Off Nearly 200 Teachers


Layoffs are on the horizon for 189 teachers in Brockton.

The district says the move is a last resort seen as the only way it can attempt to close a $16 million budget gap that the city says is partially caused by changes to the way the state counts low-income students.

New Method Misses Some Students 

Two years ago, 81 percent of students in the Brockton School District were considered “low income,” and like all districts, Brockton received extra money to educate them.

Today, the number of counted low-income students hovers around 55 percent. What accounts for a 26-point drop in just two years?

Brockton Public Schools Chief Budget Officer Aldo Petronio says part of the district’s financial woes is a change in the way the state counts low-income students.

“They now look at our student population — they receive it electronically — they match that against four state lists that they have,” Petronio said.

For Massachusetts to count a student as low income, the student must be registered for Medicaid, foster care or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). This is a shift from how low-income students used to be counted, when all that was needed was proof of income to be eligible for free or reduced lunch. Districts would use this information to determine how many low-income students they had.

Now students must be receiving some sort of state benefits to qualify. And for places like Brockton, which has a significant immigrant population, students that may be living in poverty are not necessarily receiving any state benefits. Petronio says many Brockton students are newcomers to the country.

“They’re not on any state assistance program,” he explained. “They don’t qualify. It takes upwards of five years in this country before you can qualify, along with the fact that some of them are just afraid to get on any state assistance because there’s a good chance they’re not here legally.”

This leaves a huge hole in Brockton’s budget, because according to Petronio, not all of its low-income students are being counted.

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Trump’s Education Budget Will Undermine Teaching and Schools

By Leonie Haimson / Network for Public Education – In Altnet

Class size reduction is not only extremely popular among parents and teachers – it is one of the very few reforms proven to work through rigorous evidence, and to provide especially large benefits for children from low-income families and students of color, who see twice the academic gains from small classes. Indeed, it is only one of a handful of educational policies that has been shown to significantly narrow the achievement gap between economic and racial groups.

Research has also linked smaller classes to improvements in many other ways, boosting non-cognitive skills and parent involvement. Class size reduction lessens disciplinary problems because students are more engaged in classroom discussion and debate and less likely to be disruptive.

Small classes also ease teacher attrition rates – particularly in high-needs districts, because teachers are more successful they are less likely to quit the profession or transfer to schools with more advantaged students. See the Class Size Matters research summary, showing these and other benefits.