Feb 13, 2018
What’s the scoop? The Trump administration has released its 2019 federal budget proposals. After last year’s failed attempt to drastically cut federal education spending, and Congress’ recent spending compromise, President Trump now proposes to reduce the U.S. Department of Education’s discretionary spending budget by at least 5 percent, or $3.6 billion.
The cuts include 29 DOE programs that the administration says are redundant or ineffective. All $1.91 billion of funding for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers—a federal grant for before- and after-school programs, including tutoring. Similarly, Trump proposes to eliminate the Corporation for National and Community Service and its $1 billion budget, which went toward tutoring programs to help low-income and at-risk communities.
The Trump cuts also reflect the administration’s commitment to private alternatives to public schooling and after-school programs. The cuts come along with $1 billion in proposed federal spending on “opportunity grants” for private school vouchers, and about $660 million in charter school funding.
How are schools coping? The proposed cuts leave a lot of school districts in the lurch for funding critically needed student programs. For instance, Mitchell School District in South Dakota will need to look elsewhere to fund its tutoring programs because “federal funding is in reduction,” says Mitchell Superintendent Joe Graves, and “there really isn’t any way for the district to fund that program” alone.
The bottom line… As the federal government pulls back from spending on education, investments from the likes of the Gates Foundation and the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative, will be all the more critical in driving innovation, especially in “personalized learning”, and providing more opportunities to connect the students who need academic support to the tutors who can provide it.