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Trump’s budget targets charter school program


With help from Nicole Gaudiano, Juan Perez Jr., Michael Stratford and Taylor Miller Thomas

Editor’s Note: This edition of Morning Education is published weekdays at 10 a.m. POLITICO Pro Education subscribers hold exclusive early access to the newsletter each morning at 6 a.m. Learn more about POLITICO Pro’s comprehensive policy intelligence coverage, policy tools and services at politicopro.com.

— President Donald Trump, in his “fantasy budget” sent to Congress on Monday, called for making dramatic changes to the federal program designed to fund the expansion of charter schools, even as he pressed for more school choice. Check out our roundup of Trump’s biggest education budget requests.

— A bipartisan group of House lawmakers today is calling on DHS to improve its communication with colleges and universities through a federal higher education advisory panel that they say has been dormant.

— A new Federal School Safety Clearinghouse website, which was created in light of recent school shootings, is up and running. DHS was expected to unveil the site in October.

IT’S TUESDAY, FEB. 11. WELCOME TO MORNING EDUCATION. LET’S TALK ABOUT THE BUDGET. Ping me at bquilantan@politico.com with your thoughts, questions or concerns about Trump’s education budget. Share event listings: educalendar@politicopro.com. And follow us on Twitter: @Morning_Edu and @POLITICOPro.

TRUMP UNVEILS ‘FANTASY BUDGET’: The TLDR list you’ve been waiting for. Here are some of our biggest takeaways on the education front:

K-12:

— Trump wants to combine nearly 30 of the nation’s K-12 grant programs and cut billions from their funding.

— He proposed combining the Charter Schools Program, created in 1994, and 28 other federal elementary and secondary education programs into a single, $19.4 billion block grant program, called the Elementary and Secondary Education for the Disadvantaged Block Grant. Trump is focused on his administration’s Education Freedom Scholarship proposal. Charter schools aren’t happy.

— Trump proposed a nearly $900 million increase for career and technical education programs, which his administration has pitched as a way to expand vocational education in America’s high schools.

Trump left Special Olympics education programs alone, a shift from previous requests that sought to eliminate the funding.

Higher Education:

— Trump wants to evaluate DeVos’ plan to spin off the Office of Federal Student Aid into a “stand-alone government corporation, run by a professional, expert and apolitical board of governments.” Trump’s budget doesn’t propose establishing Federal Student Aid as a new independent agency.

— Trump wants restrictions on PLUS loans: The budget calls for capping the amount a parent could borrow under the program at $26,500 and sets a $100,000 aggregate loan limit for graduate students.

— He wants to eliminate the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, and get rid of the interest rate subsidy on federal student loans, which is based on a student’s financial aid.

— His budget seeks to cut funding for Federal Work-Study by more than half. It proposes $500 million for the coming fiscal year, down from the nearly $1.2 billion that Congress appropriated last year. Read more from Michael Stratford.

DELAURO: TRUMP’S BUDGET ‘IS GOING NOWHERE’: Trump’s budget request is “decimating programs that help working people and the middle class,” said Rep. Rosa DeLauro, who leads the House Appropriations panel overseeing education. “As with his previous budgets, this one is going nowhere.”

— “With $19 billion in cuts to programs at the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, President Trump has once again shown his disdain for those who are struggling to make ends meet,” she said in a statement.

SCOTT: TRUMP’S BUDGET MAKE ‘DEEP AND PAINFUL CUTS’ TO EDUCATION: “It eliminates the bedrock K-12 education programs that fund America’s public schools and replaces them with inadequate block grants,” House Education and Labor Chairman Bobby Scott said in a statement. “In sum, the proposal cuts nearly $5 billion from public education in 2021, while sinking $45 billion into private-school voucher schemes over the next ten years.”

— “The budget also makes college more expensive for students by eliminating the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program and cutting vital sources of financial aid for students from low-income families,” he added.

BREAKING DOWN THE BUDGET BY AGENCY: Trump’s fiscal 2021 budget request includes a total of $4.8 trillion in funding. Pro DataPoint’s Taylor Miller Thomas has more on where the Education Department stands:

View the full graphic online. Want to add DataPoint to your POLITICO Pro account? Learn more about DataPoint on POLITICO Pro.

LAWMAKERS CALL FOR DHS TO REVIVE HIGHER EDUCATION COUNCIL: The bipartisan group wants the agency to “expand” its outreach through the Homeland Security Academic Advisory Council, which the Trump administration re-established in 2018 but hasn’t met since June 2017 and no longer includes major higher education associations.

In a letter to Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf, the 51 lawmakers said that both colleges and DHS would benefit from “enhanced dialogue” through the advisory council. A DHS spokesperson did not have a comment on the letter.

The letter, led by Reps. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) and Ralph Norman (R-S.C.), was signed by 13 Republicans and 38 Democrats.

The lawmakers say that the increased communication between the academic world and national security officials is needed especially as colleges seek to protect themselves against “undue foreign influence or illicit access to research” and grapple with “delays in visa processing that undermine their ability to continue attracting the best and brightest from around the world.”

TRUMP ADMINISTRATION LAUNCHES FEDERAL SCHOOL SAFETY CLEARINGHOUSE WEBSITE: SchoolSafety.gov, a website created in a partnership among DHS, DOJ, HHS and the Education Department, “is a resource for the American public, primarily K-12 school administrators, to access free information, guidance, best practices, and tools that make school safety initiatives more actionable in schools,” according to the press release announcing the launch.

— The clearinghouse has been a priority for Parkland parents and is among the recommendations of the Federal Commission on School Safety after the 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. Trump established the commission to review safety practices and make actionable recommendations to keep students safe.

— On Monday, Trump met in the Oval Office with Parkland families, including Max Schachter, whose 14-year-old son Alex was killed. He was pushing for the site’s release. Read more from Nicole Gaudiano.

TENNESSEE PARENTS JOIN SUIT TO KEEP VOUCHER LAW: A group of parents partnered with the Institute for Justice to defend the Tennessee Education Savings Account Pilot Program, a school voucher program being challenged in court.

Last week, two counties that are home to Tennessee’s largest school districts filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the state’s school voucher law that is expected to go into effect in the 2020-21 school year.

— The program, which was signed into law last year by Republican Gov. Bill Lee, would divert “tax dollars to private education by allowing participating families to receive up to $7,300 in state education money each year,” according to the Associated Press.

— “I am defending the ESA program because it will help me provide a better education for my sons,” Natu Bah said in a statement. Bah is a parent who plans to send her children to Christian Brothers High School in Memphis using the voucher program, according to the Institute for Justice.

SENATE DEMOCRATS URGE FDA TO BAN USE OF ELECTRIC SHOCK DEVICES ON CHILDREN AND ADULTS WITH DISABILITIES: In a letter sent to FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, eight Senate Democrats — led by Patty Murray and Chris Murphy — asked Hahn to finalize a 2016 proposed rule to ban “electrical stimulation devices used for self-injurious or aggressive behavior. The FDA announced its intent to finalize the rule by December 2019, but missed the deadline, the Democrats said. The group wants an update from the agency no later than Feb. 28.

SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENTS ASSOCIATION RELEASES PRELIMINARY FINDINGS OF DECENNIAL STUDY: AASA, The School Superintendents Association unveiled some new findings on the demographics, background and experiences of American school superintendents from its survey, “American Superintendent 2020 Decennial.” Copies of the full report will be available in September.

Some of the findings:

— The average superintendent was a married white male, who had prior experience as a principal, with two to eight years of experience being a superintendent.

— The percentage of female superintendents increased slightly from about 24 percent in 2010 to nearly 27 percent in 2020.

— The racial/ethnic diversity of districts where the superintendents work increased since 2010. Only 34 percent of respondents (compared with 50 percent in 2010) worked in districts where less than 5 percent of the students were non-white. The percentage of respondents employed in districts with high racial diversity ( more than 50 percent non-white students) remained at 15 percent.

NEW BRIEF ANALYZES HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION RATE COMPARED TO OVERALL CAREER AND ACADEMIC ATTAINMENT: The Hoover Education Success Initiative released “The Diploma Dilemma,” a policy brief that shows how high school graduation rates continue to rise even as overall academic and career skill attainment remain flat.

— When the culture war comes to class: The Chronicle of Higher Education

— New campus sexual misconduct rules will tackle dating violence: The New York Times

— A college president’s advice to college students of the future: Don’t borrow: Houston Chronicle

— For universities that have come to rely on China, the coronavirus poses an unprecedented risk: Fortune



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