Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Trump, DeVos Budget Proposal for Public Education

We need your help. When Betsy DeVos was nominated to be secretary of education, we sounded the alarm because of her role in Michigan and Florida as an anti-public education and pro-voucher lobbyist—what I call a “public school denier.” The public agreed with us, but the White House and GOP-led Senate ignored the outcry of millions of Americans from across the country and confirmed her appointment—using a tiebreaking vote by Vice President Mike Pence. The budget DeVos and the Trump administration issued today reaffirms our concerns—big-time. 

We feared DeVos was ill-prepared to be education secretary, and now, after seeing this budget, we know she doesn’t care. The Trump-DeVos budget is manifestly cruel to children and catastrophic to public schools, while being a windfall for those who want to profit off of children or make education a commodity.

That is why we are reaching out to everyone, regardless of your job title, where you live or your political party. We need your help in taking on the Trump-DeVos budget and its consequences.

Write to Betsy DeVos and oppose this cruel and catastrophic budget today.

Just look at what the DeVos budget proposes: 
  • While Trump and DeVos chose private schools for their children, 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 children 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 what do they fund with all these cuts? This budget provides tax cuts for the wealthy and redirects funding for expanded charter schools 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.

Tell Betsy DeVos that our children deserve better. She must stop her crusade for private, religious schools and failed voucher programs and fully fund public education.

Federal and state funding is vitally important for our public schools to help children. Just ask the people in Van Wert, Ohio, who spent a day hosting DeVos and me. DeVos saw examples of great public schools in this rural area that voted big-time for Donald Trump. She saw the importance of early childhood education, observed hands-on learning in robotics classes, and learned about after-school programs, including a senior project that helps provide backpacks filled with food for the weekend to kids who receive free and reduced-price lunch. 


These, and many more, are the programs that will be decimated under DeVos’ education budget. Imagine the impact on your own public schools. 

DeVos has a track record of trying to dismantle public education. In her home state of Michigan, she’s spent millions of dollars—to divide communities and defund, undermine and privatize public schools. DeVos lobbied for a school voucher law that voters in Michigan overwhelmingly rejected. But she was able to push through the vast expansion of for-profit charter schools with little oversight and accountability. And now she wants to bring this same agenda to every city and town in America.

Americans want the secretary of education to strengthen and support the public schools that 90 percent of American children attend, not strip them of vital resources and support. Tell DeVos to fully fund public education.

The promise of our public schools is to create a pathway of opportunity for students and communities across America. The Trump-DeVos budget cuts promise only to block the path for students and families who depend on public education to find the way to a better future. Nobody who understands the importance of meal programs, after-school programs, access to a gym after school, and the availability of a therapist to help kids with depression and anxiety, would propose cuts so staggering and harmful.

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