Here’s What the Latest Push to Repeal Obamacare Could Mean for Schools – Education Week

By Andrew Ujifusa

Educators who thought Congress would leave schools alone and not pass a big health care overhaul any time soon might want to reconsider.

Senators are making one more push to end President Barack Obama’s signature health care law before Sept. 30. The legislation now getting the attention has Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., as the lead co-authors. After Sept. 30, the Senate would in practice have to pass any repeal of Obamacare with 60 votes, which is all but impossible politically given that Republicans control only 52 seats in the chamber. So time is short for this latest GOP effort to send an Obamacare repeal bill, even though some are skeptical that it’s a “true” repeal of the ACA, to President Donald Trump.

Like previous recent efforts to overhaul health care and ditch Obamacare, the Graham-Cassidy legislation would significantly impact the $4 billion in Medicaid money schools receive annually. That dollar amount makes Medicaid the third-largest source of federal funding for K-12, and covers some special education costs as well as other services. School advcoates worked to defeat the last GOP attempt to repeal the ACA over the summer.

Source: Here’s What the Latest Push to Repeal Obamacare Could Mean for Schools – Politics K-12 – Education Week

Grants available for Solano’s K-12 teachers – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Money for some school programs generally is hard to come by and it may be more difficult to get if the Trump administration’s 2018 federal budget proposal, which will slash $9 billion from the Department of Education, is approved,

In the meantime, with area school districts starting the new academic year, the Solano Community Foundation has made available money for Solano County K-12 students in public schools.

Money from the foundation’s Education Plus! Grant Program supports classroom projects, after-school, and mentoring programs. Teachers and educators with innovative programs may apply for the financial support, Samantha Fordyce, the foundation’s development associate, wrote in a press release.

The program’s focus is two-fold: 1) development of grade-level reading skills, preferably by the end of the third grade; and 2) attainment of math skills to allow proper course placement at ninth grade. However, the foundation will fund projects that work toward achieving or improving reading and math skills for K-12 students at all levels, noted Fordyce.

Source: Grants available for Solano’s K-12 teachers

Trump Administration Takes on Obama’s Education Law – New America Media

By Freddie Allen

President Donald Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos continue to make misleading statements about Common Core State Standards, muddying the waters for school districts working to implement the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

President Barack Obama signed ESSA into law on December 10, 2015, reauthorizing the landmark Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). According to the U.S. Department of Education, ESSA includes provisions designed to advance equity in education by upholding critical protections for America’s disadvantaged and high-need students; requires that all students in America be to high academic standards that will prepare them to succeed in college and careers; helps to support and grow local innovations—including evidence-based and place-based interventions developed by local leaders and educators; ensures that vital information is provided to educators, families, students, and communities through annual statewide assessments that measure students’ progress toward those high standards; and sustains and expands this administration’s historic investments in increasing access to high-quality preschool.

Source: Trump Administration Takes on Obama’s Education Law – New America Media

California would lose $400 million in federal K-12 education funding under Trump budget | EdSource

By Mikhail Zinshteyn

Programs run by the U.S. Department of Education, which distributes funding for numerous programs to all states, would be cut by $9 billion under the Trump administration’s proposed federal budget for the fiscal year beginning in October.

California’s K-12 federal allocation would shrink from the 2016-17 level of approximately $4 billion to $3.64 billion in 2017-18.

Presidential budgets typically serve as wish lists, and it is far from clear what parts of the document released Tuesday will be enacted by Congress. But the document provides important insights into President Donald Trump’s education agenda, and where his priorities lie.

Source: California would lose $400 million in federal K-12 education funding under Trump budget | EdSource

State school leader gives fed ed budget proposal a failing grade – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

Tom Torlakson, the state’s superintendent of public instruction, Tuesday urged Congress to reject President Trump’s federal education budget proposal, which includes cuts that he described as “deep” to teacher training, after school programs, mental health services, advanced coursework, among others.

“I give this budget an ‘F’ grade for failing public school students in California and across the nation,” Torlakson, who leads the country’s largest public school system with more than 6.2 million students, said in a press release. “We need to invest more in our public schools, not slash away at programs that help students succeed.”

A former East Bay high school science teacher and athletics coach, he noted that the proposed federal education budget heads in a completely different direction than the California approach to education funding.

 

Source: State school leader gives fed ed budget proposal a failing grade

Trump Gives Commencement Address; Leaked Education Budget Has Big Cuts : NPR Ed

By Anya Kamenetz

It’s graduation season. That means commencement addresses lead off our weekly education news roundup. Last week, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos faced boos at Bethune-Cookman University. This week, President Trump received a warmer welcome when he addressed cadets at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. Far from a conventional graduation speech, Trump talked about his rough week in Washington and how he keeps going in spite of his critics.

“Look at the way I’ve been treated lately, especially by the media. No politician in history, and I say this with great surety, has been treated worse or more unfairly. You can’t let them get you down. You can’t let the critics and the naysayers get in the way of your dreams,” he told the graduates.

Source: Trump Gives Commencement Address; Leaked Education Budget Has Big Cuts : NPR Ed : NPR

Federal support for teacher training to continue, but next year’s funding in doubt | EdSource

By Michael Collier

As Congress struck a $1.1 trillion-dollar budget deal earlier this month to fund the federal government through the rest of the 2016-17 fiscal year and avoid a government shutdown of federal agencies, education leaders in California are relieved that the state will continue to receive federal support for teacher preparation programs.

But support for these programs in the coming fiscal year, beginning on Oct. 1, is still in doubt.

The Trump Administration had proposed to cut federal funding through Title II Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act by half – by $1.2 billion – for the remainder of the current fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30, and to eliminate the program altogether after that. However, the budget bill approved by Congress cuts the program’s funding by only $249 million for the current fiscal year, according to Education Week, to about $2 billion.

Source: Federal support for teacher training to continue, but next year’s funding in doubt | EdSource

Budget Deal for 2017 Includes Increases for Title I, Special Education – Education Week

By Andrew Ujifusa

Federal lawmakers have agreed to relatively small spending increases for Title I programs to districts and for special education, as part of a budget deal covering the rest of fiscal 2017 through the end of September.

Title I spending on disadvantaged students would rise by $100 million up to $15.5 billion from fiscal 2016 to fiscal 2017, along with $450 million in new money that was already slated to be shifted over from the now-defunct School Improvement Grants program.

And state grants for special education would increase by $90 million up to $12 billion. However, Title II grants for teacher development would be cut by $294 million, down to about $2.1 billion for the rest of fiscal 2017.

The bill would also provide $400 million for the Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grant program, also known as Title IV of the Every Student Succeeds Act. Title IV is a block grant that districts can use for a wide range of programs, including health, safety, arts education, college readiness, and more.

Source: Budget Deal for 2017 Includes Increases for Title I, Special Education – Politics K-12 – Education Week

Support for students, not divisive politics, prompts area teachers unions actions on May Day – Daily Republic

By Richard Bammer

Support for all students and their families, rather than overt protests of a political nature, prompted Vacaville-area school teachers to turn out by the dozens Monday morning, as part of nationwide May Day demonstrations against President Donald Trump’s immigration policies and perceived threats to public education.

In Vacaville, teachers who are members of Vacaville Teachers Association began preparing for the statewide Day of Action, organized by the California Teachers Association, some six weeks ago, said Tracy Begley, president of the 680-member VTA.

Teachers and educators at more than a dozen Vacaville Unified school sites participated, she said, adding that teachers, staff, administrators and, in some cases, students wore red, black, a “school spirit” shirt or a VTA button.

In an interview and in a press release issue late in the day, Begley said the demonstrations were a way for the rank and file to say they supported district schools and all students.

 

Source: Support for students, not divisive politics, prompts area teachers unions actions on May Day

Federal Role In K-12 Education Being Reviewed Under Trump Order – White House, US Patch

By Colin Miner

President Trump is ordering Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to review what the administration says is “overreach” by previous administrations that have issued “mandates that take away autonomy and limit the options available to educators, administrators, and parents.”

Trump has repeatedly attacked the education department since his days on the campaign trail, saying its role in education needs to be diminished and the department downsized.

“This executive order makes certain that local leaders will be making the decisions about what happens in the classroom,” said Rob Goad, a senior official at the department.

Source: Federal Role In K-12 Education Being Reviewed Under Trump Order – White House, US Patch

President Trump’s Proposal to Eliminate Federal Support for Certain K-12 Programs – California Budget & Policy Center

By Jonathan Kaplan

As we blogged about recently, President Trump’s budget blueprint for federal “discretionary” spending proposes significant cuts to a range of key public systems and services. While this so-called “skinny budget” lacks important details, it calls for eliminating two K-12 education programs and, by doing so, would reduce the funding available to every California school district as well as to many community-based organizations across the state. California is estimated to receive more than $365 million for these two programs in federal fiscal year (FFY) 2017, which began October 1, 2016: $252 million for Supporting Effective Instruction (SEI) State Grants (also known as “Title II, Part A” funds), which aim in part to increase the number of educators and advance their quality and effectiveness; and $114 million for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program, which supports before- and after-school as well as summer school programs. Although these two federal funding streams represent just a fraction of the $74.5 billion overall that is budgeted for K-12 education in California in 2016-17 (the state fiscal year that began July 1, 2016), their elimination would disproportionately affect students from low-income families because dollars for these programs are targeted to these learners.

Source: President Trump’s Proposal to Eliminate Federal Support for Certain K-12 Programs Would Hurt Economically Disadvantaged Students in Every Part of California – California Budget & Policy Center

“Dreamers” at community colleges urged to apply for financial aid – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

State community college leaders are concerned about a dramatic drop in financial aid applications among undocumented students, due, in part perhaps, to the political climate in Washington, D.C., and the Trump White House.

But Eloy Ortiz Oakley, chancellor of California’s 113 community colleges, reminded that assistance is still available through the California Dream Act and urged eligible students to apply.

His announcement, in a press release issued in February, came several days after President Donald Trump broadened immigration enforcement policies, directing federal officials to find, arrest and deport those in the country illegally, regardless of whether they have committed serious crimes.

Source: “Dreamers” at community colleges urged to apply for financial aid

Torlakson files court brief to protect federal funding – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson on Wednesday filed a court brief supporting a Bay Area county’s request to stop an executive order by President Donald Trump that threatens to stop federal funding for California cities, counties, and possibly public schools.

Torlakson filed an amicus (friend-of-the-court) brief in the Federal Court’s Ninth District, where Santa Clara County has filed for a preliminary injunction to stop the president’s January executive order that would withhold federal dollars from cities that declare themselves sanctuaries.

The injunction request said the order is unconstitutional because it would compel local governments to take an active role in enforcing immigration law and could withhold federal funding from agencies, including schools, which declare themselves “sanctuary jurisdictions.” The order fails to clearly define that term, Torlakson wrote in a press release issued Thursday.

 

Source: Torlakson files court brief to protect federal funding

Charter schools in line to get extra help despite Trump plan to slash education funding | EdSource

By Mikhail Zinshteyn

Charter schools in California and elsewhere stand to be a major beneficiary of President Donald Trump’s proposed budget for the coming year, even though he wants to slash $9.2 billion from many other federal education programs.

Trump called for $1.4 billion in new funding for a “school choice” program that includes an increase of $250 million to subsidize tuition for private schools and $168 million for expanding charter schools. An additional $1 billion is for a program that would allow students to attend a public school of their choice, which could include charter schools. Trump has provided no details for any of these programs.

The extra $168 million for charter schools represents a 50 percent expansion of the Charter Schools Program from its current level of $333 million. The bulk of the funds are shared with states to support new charter schools. Two other grants within the program support the expansion of charter networks and facilities costs. The funds given to states can be spent on purchasing classroom equipment, such as laptops for students and desks, informing parents that schools are opening and training school staff.

Source: Charter schools in line to get extra help despite Trump plan to slash education funding | EdSource

Education Budget Cuts, Student Aid Problems and More : NPR Ed

By Sophia Alvarez Boyd and Anya Kamenetz

National K-12 and higher ed news came fast and furious this week. Here are our highlights to help you keep on top.

The president’s “skinny budget” has cuts for education

The biggest story of our week happened early Thursday morning when President Trump released his budget outline, historically known as a “skinny budget” because it has few details.

The U.S. Department of Education came in for a $9 billion, or 13.5 percent, cut.

During Trump’s campaign, he promised $20 billion for school choice. His 2018 budget is the first small step in that direction, increasing charter school funding by two-thirds, funding an unspecified new “private school choice program,” and adding another $1 billion for Title I, which helps fund high-poverty schools. That Title I money would be earmarked to “encourage” school choice.

Source: FAFSA, Pell Grants And Charters, Oh My! : NPR Ed : NPR

State schools chief vows to battle Trump over cuts – The Reporter

By Richard Bammer

State schools chief Tom Torlakson said President Donald Trump’s proposed $1.1 trillion 2018 budget was very disappointing and goes in the wrong direction with funding cuts that would hurt disadvantaged children, after-school programs, teacher training, and other services, but sets aside $250 million for a nationwide voucher program.

In a press release issued Friday, he said the cuts, should they go into effect, would hobble programs that help prepare California 6.2 million public school students for jobs in the increasingly technological, 21st-century global economy.

Trump’s planned budget would take hundreds of millions of dollars from California by eliminating federal funds for programs that have proven successful in educating at-risk students, especially those from low-income backgrounds. It also reduces financial assistance to low-income college students.

 

Source: State schools chief vows to battle Trump over cuts

Here’s What You Should Know About That Voucher Bill From Rep. Steve King – Education Week

By Andrew Ujifusa

Although he’s made headlines recently for controversial comments not directly about schools, Republican Rep. Steve King of Iowa has also made waves for introducing a bill that would dramatically reshape K-12 and education policy. That’s House Resolution 610, and it would create federally backed vouchers for students.

We wrote about the bill earlier this year. The Choices in Education Act of 2017, the in-plain-English name of the bill, would repeal the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the main K-12 law, of which the Every Student Succeeds Act is the latest version. It would create vouchers funded by Washington for parents to use at private schools if they chose to do so, or to use for home schooling their child. Under King’s legislation, the federal government would fund those vouchers through creating block grants for states.

“As the spouse of a former Iowa teacher, I understand that it’s the right thing for our children to take their education decision[s] out of the hands of the federal government and put it back in the hands of parents who know how best to meet the educational needs of their students,” King said in a statement last year about a similar bill he introduced in 2016.

Source: Here’s What You Should Know About That Voucher Bill From Rep. Steve King – Politics K-12 – Education Week

Special Education Funding Maintained in Trump Administration Budget Blueprint – Education Week

By Christina Samuels

The “skinny” budget blueprint released by the Trump administration Thursday would maintain current spending levels for special education—about $13 billion, most of which is money sent directly to states.

The budget blueprint is just the beginning of a long process. While this document shows the administration’s priorities, it is Congress that ultimately passes spending legislation. And lawmakers have their own ideas about what programs should be cut, and which should be kept.

But, if these funding amounts were to stay in place, the federal contribution for special education and related services would be about 16 percent of the excess costs of educating a student with a disability, compared to a general education student.

In 1975, when the federal government passed the law that was to become the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Congress authorized paying states up to 40 percent of the excess costs of educating a student with disabilities, based on national per-pupil expenditures. But in the 40-plus years of the law’s existence, the federal government has never gotten close to meeting that goal. The Trump administration is not different from other administrations in that regard.

Source: Special Education Funding Maintained in Trump Administration Budget Blueprint – On Special Education – Education Week

New Trump Executive Order Could Lead to a Smaller Education Department – Education Week

By Andrew Ujifusa

President Donald Trump’s proposed budget for education could lead to significant cuts to staff and various programs, sources have told us. But it’s not the only action on the president’s agenda that could shrink the U.S. Department of Education.

On Monday, Trump released a new executive order that directs each agency leader to submit “recommendations to eliminate unnecessary agencies, components of agencies, and agency programs, and to merge functions” to Mick Mulvaney, the director of the Office of Management and Budget. The recommendations, which agency head must submit to Mulvaney within 180 days, must consider the following factors, according to the text of the order:

Source: New Trump Executive Order Could Lead to a Smaller Education Department – Politics K-12 – Education Week

What Happens to Education Spending if the Budget Stays in a Holding Pattern – Education Week

By Andrew Ujifusa

Right now, the federal budget is flying in circles. It’s operating on a “continuing resolution” through April 28 that essentially holds fiscal year 2017 spending levels at their fiscal 2016 amounts. Trump recently released a very broad outline of his spending priorities for fiscal 2018 that includes a $54 billion cut from domestic agencies—fiscal 2018 starts in October—although we still don’t know how that 10 percent cut in non-defense discretionary spending would specifically impact the U.S. Department of Education.

But where does that leave fiscal 2017 in terms of education spending? And what happens if Congress decides to apply that continuing resolution to the rest of fiscal 2017 through September? With each passing day, that looks increasingly likely.

Below, we examine how a few programs in the Every Students Succeeds Act would be affected if Congress approves a continuing resolution for the rest of the fiscal 2017.

Source: What Happens to Education Spending if the Budget Stays in a Holding Pattern – Politics K-12 – Education Week