WASHINGTON—AFT President Randi Weingarten on President Donald Trump’s 2018 education budget:
“President Trump’s budget proposal is manifestly cruel to kids. It is catastrophic to the public schools our most vulnerable and at-risk students attend, while being a windfall for those who want to profit off of kids or make education a commodity rather than a great equalizer and an anchor of democracy.
“The combined Medicaid and education cuts demonstrate a blatant disregard for children and are far worse than what the administration originally proposed. The $10.6 billion in education cuts, $800 billion in Medicaid cuts and $143 million in cuts to funds that help students afford college, demonstrate a lack of caring about other people’s children and an abandonment of the American value that all our children deserve a pathway to opportunity. The administration’s hypocrisy is stunning:
- While Trump and DeVos chose private schools for their kids, with small class sizes, they want to eliminate the federal funding that helps America’s public schools lower class sizes.
- While Trump and DeVos can afford whatever their children and grandchildren need or want, and while Ivanka Trump got $19 billion for her parental leave project, the budget completely zeros out all current federal programs that keep millions of poor kids safe and well-fed in after-school and summer programs.
- Trump says there is nothing more important than being a teacher, but he eliminates the loan forgiveness program that helps students pursue teaching careers, eliminates funding for teacher preparation and educator support, and guts most other programs that alleviate student debt or make college more affordable.
- Trump says vocational education is the way of the future yet slashes career and technical education funding.
- DeVos promised not to hurt children with special needs, but the budget cuts one-quarter of the Medicaid funding that now pays for essential school-based services like physical therapists, feeding tubes and other medical equipment, and health screenings.
“And while DeVos praised the work in the public schools we saw together in Van Wert, Ohio, this budget rips out the supports and teacher professional development that make that work possible. And for what? This budget provides tax cuts for the wealthy and redirects funding for expanded charters and vouchers. It spends $250 million on further research for vouchers even though the most recent studies, including one on the D.C. voucher program by DeVos’ own Education Department, show that vouchers hurt kids. And it diverts $1 billion from Title I funding—including $550 million in direct Title I cuts—to fund an Arne Duncan-like Race to the Top-style program. Aside from violating the bipartisan Every Student Succeeds Act, in which this approach was proposed and rejected, even DeVos’ friends on the right, including the Heritage Foundation, have criticized this as a federal intrusion.
“Make no mistake, we will fight for America’s children against this federal budget proposal whose cruelty is only matched by its callousness.”