Weekly News Roundup: Trump Administration’s Budget Priorities

Our team is always seeking the latest news in the field of education. As advocates for a high-quality education for ALL students, we know we have to stay up-to-date on everything that’s going on in the education spheres of our nation…from the White House to the local public school district, from new legislation to the small acts of bravery and kindness made by a single teacher, from the milestones and celebrations to the hazardous injustices affecting many of our nation’s students.

Here are some stories we came across recently that we’re focused on.

Betsy DeVos Backs $5 Billion in Tax Credits for School Choice via The New York Times

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Thursday pitched a $5 billion federal tax credit that would fund scholarships to private schools and other educational programs, throwing her weight behind what will be a difficult legislative undertaking to fund the Trump administration’s signature education initiative.

While the program is meant to offer a more politically palatable alternative to budgetary proposals by the Trump administration to create a national voucher program by diverting federal funding from public schools, public school advocates denounced it as a backdoor way to generate voucher dollars if states choose to primarily use the program for private school tuition scholarships.

Trump seeks to slash $8.5 billion from Education Department budget via The Washington Post

Trump’s budget request again seeks to cut popular programs, including one that supports after-school activities for children in impoverished communities and another that offers wide-ranging grants that underwrite textbooks, equipment, counseling services and other needs for schools. That pool of money — the Student Support and Academic Enrichment grant program — also underwrites school safety efforts, including mental-health services and school safety equipment.

The administration wants to eliminate a $2 billion grant program for teacher professional development. But it is hoping to increase funding for a grant program that would give teachers “vouchers” and allow them to pick their own professional development.

We need more teachers of color, so why do we use tests that keep them out of the classroom? via The Conversation

Students of color seldom see teachers who look like them. This is because many aspiring teachers of color are pushed out of the profession before they have a chance to start. It’s not poor performance in college courses or teaching internships that take the biggest toll. It is the standardized tests aspiring teachers must pass to earn a teaching license.

Critics say these exams cover too narrow a slice of professional knowledge. They may also function as a culturally biased gatekeeper to the profession.

One thing to read this weekend

Cops and no counselors via the ACLU

In the wake of high-profile school shootings, many schools over the past decade have invested scarce educational funds into putting more police in schools. School districts have shown a near obsession with “hardening” schools despite federal data revealing that the real crisis of schools isn’t violence, but a broad failure to hire enough support staff to serve students’ mental health needs.

The glaring deficit of mental health staff in schools is inexcusable, especially given the growing use of law enforcement in schools. This dangerous combination is a central reason the most vulnerable students are being funneled into the school-to-prison pipeline.

Did any of these articles particularly speak to you? We would love to know your thoughts! Let us know in the comments below:


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