By Van Tieu
California reported its highest single-day count of coronavirus deaths on Wednesday, July 8, a grim milestone reflective of the easing of the state’s stay-at-home restrictions. But as cases continue to rise across the state, having almost reached 300,000 cases, school districts are scrambling to prepare for the fall.
The struggle to reopen districts comes as President Donald Trump pushes for schools to open doors despite nationwide spikes in coronavirus cases largely due to the relaxing of guidelines against the wishes of many of the country’s top health professionals.
“We’re very much going to put pressure on governors and everybody else to open the schools, to get them open,” Trump said at the White House on Tuesday. “It’s very important. It’s very important for our country. It’s very important for the well-being of the student and the parents. So we’re going to be putting a lot of pressure on: Open your schools in the fall.”
Source: California teachers union pushes back on reopening schools | abc10.com
By Naaz Modan
President Donald Trump announced his proposed 2021 fiscal year budget Monday afternoon, once more suggesting cuts to the Department of Education and its notable K-12 programs.
Overall, the budget allocates $66.6 billion for the Department of Education, 7.8% or $5.6 billion less than the previous year.
Among proposed changes is a push to restructure the Elementary and Secondary Education Act into a block grant of $19.4 billion, which would consolidate major programs into its fold, including the Every Student Succeeds Act’s Title I and Title II, and amount to $4.8 billion less than what Congress approved for 2020.
Source: Trump’s proposed 2021 budget: ESSA overhaul, Title I cuts, CTE emphasis | Education Dive
By Evie Blad
President Donald Trump used his State of the Union Address Tuesday to urge Congress to greenlight a plan that would provide federal tax credits for scholarships to private schools and other education services, offering the largest stage yet for one of his administration’s key education priorities.
“The next step forward in building an inclusive society is making sure that every young American gets a great education and the opportunity to achieve the American Dream,” Trump said. “Yet, for too long, countless American children have been trapped in failing government schools.”
States have sought to “rescue these students” with tax-credit scholarship programs, he said, gesturing to invited guests Stephanie Davis, a mother from Philadelphia, and her 4th-grade daughter, Jayinah, who is on the waitlist for Pennsylvania’s tax-credit scholarship program. Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, vetoed an expansion of the program last year. Trump said a scholarship had “become available” for Jayinah.(A federal official later confirmed that U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos planned to contribute to the cost of her enrollment at a private school.)
Source: Trump Pushes Tax Break to Promote School Choice in State of the Union Address – Politics K-12 – Education Week
By Christina Samuels
There’s been more than 24 hours of social media furor over the Trump administration’s proposal to cut the federal government’s $18 million contribution to Special Olympics.
But at least some anger also has been directed at a cut that doesn’t really exist, amplified by media outlets who repeated a congressman’s misreading of a budget table. When U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos visited a House education subcommittee on Tuesday, she was pressed on the budget by Rep. Mark Pocan, a Democrat from Wisconsin. After sparring over Special Olympics, Pocan interrupted DeVos to talk about other programs.
Source: What Special Education Cuts Are Really Proposed in the Trump Budget? – On Special Education – Education Week
By Alyson Klein
More than $500 million in funding for construction projects at schools serving the children of military personnel could be in jeopardy, thanks to President Donald Trump’s move to declare a national emergency and shift some $8 billion allocated to defense construction and other purposes to build a wall along the southern border with Mexico.
That’s according to an analysis of military construction projects circulated by the House Appropriations Committee, which is controlled by Democrats. The list of potentially impacted projects includes turning the former Fort Campbell High School in Fort Campbell, Ky., into a new middle school. Construction projects at schools on military bases in Germany, Japan, and the United Kingdom could also be affected.
For its part, the Trump administration has said it will divert roughly $3.6 billion from military construction to wall construction, but it has not yet identified which projects would be affected.
Source: Trump Emergency Declaration Could Endanger Aid for School Projects on Military Bases – Politics K-12 – Education Week
By Evie Blad
Nutritious school meals don’t do anyone any good if kids just throw them into the trash. So we’re empowering local schools by providing more options to serve healthy AND appetizing food. We’re publishing our final rule in the Federal Register. Details: https://t.co/tUz8II29Zp pic.twitter.com/rpwF4wjQ30
— Sec. Sonny Perdue (@SecretarySonny) December 6, 2018
The U.S. Department of Agriculture released its final school rule on school meals Thursday, relaxing nutrition standards championed by former first lady Michelle Obama more than most advocates had expected.
The new directive, which finalizes a plan announced in May 2017, will ease requirements related to flavored milk, whole grains, and sodium in meals served through the National School Lunch and breakfast programs.
Source: Trump Administration Further Relaxes School Lunch Rules – Rules for Engagement – Education Week
By Linda Jacobson
The Federal Commission on School Safety, which President Donald Trump formed in response to the February mass shooting at Marjory Douglas Stoneman High School in Parkland, Florida, is expected to make final recommendations before the end of the year.
But most states and districts have moved ahead with their own safety measures, such as adding more school resource officers, upgrading equipment such as security cameras, and creating data-sharing agreements among state agencies.
“Local municipalities and local governments — they don’t wait,” Frank Clark, president of the Chicago Board of Education, said in an interview.
Source: School safety experts weigh in on federal commission’s potential impact | Education Dive
By Rafujio Gonzalez, Courtney Lee
President Donald Trump recently signed the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, or Perkins V, which reauthorized $1.2 billion dollars in federal funds for career and technical educational (CTE) programs. The new law gives states more flexibility to set their own goals for CTE programs, along with reporting progress toward those goals. Who might benefit from these changes, and what new challenges do they present to the state?
Perkins V supports programs that integrate career skills and prepare students at the secondary, postsecondary, and adult education level for the workforce—for such careers as IT technician, accountant, or nurse. Funding is based on student enrollment, and each year California receives more than $110 million in Perkins dollars, the vast majority (85%) of which go to CTE programs in high schools and community colleges. During the 2017–18 school year, close to 780,000 (40%) high school students and 420,000 (35%) full-time community college students participated in CTE.
Source: Career Technical Education: Funding & New State Oversight – Public Policy Institute of California
By Andrew Ujifusa
The new federal spending levels recently approved by President Donald Trump include a $2.6 billion boost for the U.S. Department of Education. But what’s the story behind that number?
Big programs intended for disadvantaged students, special education, and career and technical education are getting significant boosts. Title IV, a big block grant that can be spent on various initiatives, got a nearly three-fold increase. However, it’s not just that the major line items got increases. Several smaller programs that deal with magnet schools, arts in education, and the Special Olympics got more money too.
In fact, we could only find one K-12 program in the Education Department’s new budget that is getting less money in fiscal 2018 than it did in fiscal 2017.
Source: Meet the Only K-12 Education Program to Get Cut in the Spending Bill Trump Signed – Politics K-12 – Education Week
By Mary Emily O’Hara
President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Wednesday aimed at decreasing the role of the federal government in education while giving states and local school districts more power over decision-making.
Trump called the called order, which directs Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to study federal overreach in education, “another critical step to restoring local control, which is so important.”
“We know that local communities do it best and know it best,” the president said as he stood flanked by DeVos, Vice President Mike Pence, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval and others.
Source: Trump Signs Executive Order Reviewing Federal Role in Education
By Carolyn Jones
Days after Congress passed a budget that mostly preserves funding for science education, President Donald Trump released a new budget proposal for 2019 that would eliminate many of those same programs.
Trump’s budget proposal, released on Monday, was drawn up before Congress passed its two-year deal last week. Although Congress already approved a budget, Trump’s proposal can offer funding priorities within approved budget caps, and it lays out his overall vision for the country. It calls for a $26 billion increase in defense spending next year, but $5 billion in cuts to non-defense programs, including a 10.5 percent cut to the Department of Education.
Source: Science education funding still in Trump’s crosshairs, despite being saved by Congress | EdSource
By Andrew Ujifusa
President Donald Trump is seeking a roughly 5 percent cut to the U.S. Department of Education’s budget for fiscal 2019 in a proposal that also mirrors his spending plan from last year by seeking to eliminate a major teacher-focused grant and to expand school choice.
Trump’s proposed budget, released Monday, would provide the Education Department with $63.2 billion in discretionary aid, a $3.6 billion cut—or 5.3 percent— from current spending levels, for the budget year starting Oct. 1. That’s actually less of a cut than what the president sought for fiscal 2018, when he proposed slashing $9.2 billion—or 13.5 percent—from the department.
In order to achieve those proposed spending cuts, the president copied two major education cuts he proposed last year: the elimination of Title II teacher grants and the 21st Century Community Learning Centers. Those two cuts combined would come to about $3.1 billion from current levels. Overall, 39 discretionary programs would be cut, eliminated, or “streamlined.”
Source: Trump Seeks to Cut Education Budget by 5 Percent, Expand School Choice Push – Politics K-12 – Education Week
By Louis Freedberg
A year into his presidency, neither Donald Trump nor his secretary of education Betsy DeVos has inflicted anything like the damage on K-12 education that many public school advocates feared based on his campaign pledges and public pronouncements.
The threat of a major expansion of school “choice” programs from the billionaire duo — in the form of government subsidies for private school tuition — has failed to materialize.
When he ran for president, Trump promised to “pursue” within his first 100 days what he called the School Choice and Education Opportunity Act. In Trump’s pre-election vision, the legislation would “redirect education dollars to give parents the right to send their kid to the public, private, charter, magnet, religious or home school of their choice.”
Source: Despite promises, Trump administration has had little impact on public education in California | EdSource
By Alam Fram, Andrew Taylor and Zeke Miller, Associate Press
President Donald Trump signed a bill reopening the government late Monday, ending a 69-hour display of partisan dysfunction after Democrats reluctantly voted to temporarily pay for resumed operations. They relented in return for Republican assurances that the Senate will soon take up the plight of young immigrant “dreamers” and other contentious issues.
The vote set the stage for hundreds of thousands of federal workers to return on Tuesday, cutting short what could have become a messy and costly impasse. The House approved the measure shortly thereafter, and President Donald Trump later signed it behind closed doors at the White House.
But by relenting, the Democrats prompted a backlash from immigration activists and liberal base supporters who wanted them to fight longer and harder for legislation to protect from deportation the 700,000 or so younger immigrants who were brought to the country as children and now are here illegally.
Source: Back to work: Government shutdown ending as Dems relent
By The Washington Post
For months, officials in Republican-controlled Iowa had sought federal permission to revitalize their ailing health-insurance marketplace. Then President Donald Trump read about the request in a newspaper story and called the federal director weighing the application.
Trump’s message was clear, according to individuals who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations: Tell Iowa no.
Supporters of the Affordable Care Act see the president’s opposition even to changes sought by conservative states as part of a broader campaign by his administration to undermine the 2010 health-care law. In addition to trying to cut funding for the ACA, the Trump administration also is hampering state efforts to control premiums. In the case of Iowa, that involved a highly unusual intervention by the president himself.
Source: As ACA enrollment nears, administration keeps cutting federal support of the law
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
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
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
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
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