Donald Trump silhouetteEducation leaders, administrators, teachers and parents alike are still surveying the possible damage that will be imposed by President Trump’s newest proposed budget that will cut funding for California early learning programs, student aid, teacher retention and K-12 schools. The measure, which would be part of his overall plan to redistribute school funding, has a lot of California education leaders up in arms.

If his cuts get the approval of Congress, they would be just a few that the administration proposes. The President is looking to cut several federal programs including those that specifically benefit the elderly and poor, while increasing government spending for the military and for homeland security.

The cuts would affect all states, but because California receives a larger chunk of funding due to its size, the cuts would affect a greater proportion of Sunshine State students.

Trump’s cuts would be consistent with the Republican party’s historical policies of cutting funding for the Department of Education. There has been talk that the administration would like to eliminate the department altogether. These cuts would take a $9 billion chunk of cash from the Department of Education, while investing more in “school choice” programs, charter schools and private schools.

A significant amount of teachers have voiced their concern at the administration’s plan to cut Title II Part A. As part of the “Every Student Succeeds” Act, $2.4 billion is set aside each year to recruit highly skilled teachers and provide them with additional training. This measure has been said to be instrumental in retaining the top teachers and delivering a high quality educational experience.

California receives more than $250 million for the grant, and the administration plans to slash that. Trump’s team posits that there is no evidence that these programs have measurable impact on student learning, and that the funds are spread thinly and the programs are not effective overall.

These proposed cuts are coming at a particularly inopportune time. California is experience a severe teacher shortage across multiple subject areas. Estimates by the Learning Policy Institute support the idea that funding for retention, one of the major cuts proposed, could eliminate this problem.

Another set of programs headed for the chopping block is the 21st Century Community Learning Centers funding. There programs provide free before and after school care to millions of children across the state. They also provide an outlet for students in the summer when school is out. The administration states that there have been no clear connections between these programs and student achievement and is slated to cut a major chunk of the $113 million that the state currently receives.

It is not only K-12 students that will feel the effects of these cuts. The president and education secretary Betsey DeVos plan to make cuts to college funding, including the widely used Pell Grant programs as well.

California educational administrators, teachers and students will see a huge reduction in their allocated resources if Congress approves the president’s proposed budget cuts. From school lunches to college student aid, these cuts will drastically change California’s access to public education and programs for low income students. n/a

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