Morning Education: By Benjamin Wermund | 05/25/2017 10:00 AM EDT
With help from Kimberly Hefling and Caitlin Emma
FIVE PROGRAMS TRUMP WANTS TO SCRAP THAT YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: The Trump administration wants to eliminate nearly two dozen programs that it argues are duplicative, ineffective or better left to states – programs that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos says “sound nice but simply haven’t yielded the desired outcomes.” Many of the programs that the administration proposes to scrap – such as preschool and afterschool programs and funding to improve teacher and principal quality – have drawn attention and outrage, in some cases from congressional lawmakers. But there are a handful of other programs the administration would ax that have been overshadowed by proposed cuts to higher-profile items. Here’s a rundown of several:
- Gifted and Talented education: The administration says the $12 million devoted to a grant program for schools to develop ways to identify and educate gifted and talented students – including those from low-income families and those considered at-risk – would be better used “improving outcomes” for the “most educationally disadvantaged” students than on “high-ability learners,” budget documents say.
- Foreign language studies: The administration says it is “unclear” whether international education and foreign language studies are “consistent” with the Education Department’s “core mission” and wants to do away with $65 million in funding for the programs. The administration “believes that since this is primarily a national security concern, the issue is better addressed through agencies that actually focus on national security issues,” according to budget documents.
- Special Olympics funding: The administration would do away with more than $12 million in grants aimed at expanding Special Olympics programs in schools, arguing in budget documents the grants are unnecessary because Special Olympics, a nonprofit organization, reported over $101 million in revenue from its individual and corporate donors in 2015. The proposal drew several questions from members of the House appropriations subcommittee where DeVos testified on Wednesday. “For the life of me I’ve got to understand what you’re thinking,” Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) said.
- Native Hawaiian and Alaska Native education programs: The administration wants to eliminate roughly $65 million through two competitive grant programs for groups educating Native Hawaiian and Alaska Native students. The administration argues Hawaii and Alaska are better suited to support those programs and budget documents include figures showing those programs have missed performance targets in recent years. For instance, just 46 percent of students served by the Native Hawaiian program scored at the proficient level or higher in reading on the state’s annual assessments in 2015 – a far cry from the goal of 70-percent of students. Hawaii and Alaska, however, don’t receive Bureau of Indian Education Funding that helps educate native peoples in other parts of the country – and the proposed cuts have drawn ire from lawmakers from those states. “Donald Trump’s proposed cuts to the Native Hawaiian Education Program are an attack on an entire people and an entire culture,” said Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), who said the “critical program” has helped tens of thousands of Native Hawaiian students and has helped support the resurgence of the Hawaiian language through immersion programs. The Alaska program is aimed at closing the achievement gap between Alaska Native students and non-Native students, said Mike Anderson, a spokesman for Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Ark.). “Should Alaska Natives receive less federal education support than American Indians in the lower 48?” he said.
- Campus childcare: Parents pursuing a college degree who might have grown accustomed to bringing their children to campus would have to look elsewhere for childcare as the administration would get rid of the Child Care Access Means Parents in School program, which provides on-campus childcare for low-income parents. Budget documents say the $15 million program “provides an important service,” but “subsidizing expenses associated with child care is not consistent with the Department’s mission.” The documents note that the administration maintains funding for other child care programs in the Department of Health and Human Services. The administration is also pitching a new childcare tax credit developed by Ivanka Trump.