Trump Era

Overview

Education in the Trump Era

The election of Republican Donald Trump as president, coupled with the GOP's success in retaining control of Congress for two more years, appears likely to reshape federal education policy in significant ways, from preschool to college. Already, Republican lawmakers have moved to repeal key Obama administration regulations on school accountability and teacher preparation. The Trump administration made waves by backing away from Obama-era guidance for schools on bathroom access for transgender students.

The election of Republican Donald Trump as president, coupled with the GOP’s success in retaining control of Congress for two more years, appears likely to reshape federal education policy in significant ways, from preschool to college. Already, Republican lawmakers have moved to repeal key Obama administration regulations on school accountability and teacher preparation. The Trump administration made waves by backing away from Obama-era guidance for schools on bathroom access for transgender students. And early signals suggest expanding school choice will be the president’s top educational priority, one that could find favor among GOP lawmakers.

Even before the 2016 election, the bipartisan rewrite of the No Child Left Behind Act handed states and localities significantly greater control over school accountability and other aspects of education. In 2017, all states are revamping their accountability systems, which must be approved by the U.S. Department of Education now led by Secretary Betsy DeVos.

Beyond the K-12 level, Congress is overdue in reauthorizing the Higher Education Act. And the Trump administration is widely expected to pivot away from Obama priorities such as Title IX enforcement on sexual assault and increased oversight of for-profit colleges. Other issues that may gain favor include new strategies to pay for college, such as “risk sharing” arrangements, as well as competency-based education and more skills training at community colleges.

Meanwhile, the 2016 elections didn’t just shake up things in Washington. Republicans made further inroads in states, particularly notable given the push to give states and localities greater power over education. Currently, the governors of 33 states are Republican, while just 16 are Democrats and one is Independent. Republicans have what Ballotpedia calls a “trifecta” in 25 states (compared with six for Democrats), where the party controls the governorship and both legislative chambers.

Furthermore, there are plenty of fresh faces in key state positions of power that influence education policy. As Education Week recently noted, half the nation’s state legislatures have at least one new education chairman in 2017, and one-quarter of state superintendents are less than one year into the job.

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

Top 10 Higher Ed Stories You Should Be Covering, 2017 Edition

Undergraduate enrollment is slated to increase by 14 percent between 2015 and 2026, but some liberal arts colleges may not see a boost in their number of students or have enough faculty to support the few who enroll.

Grinnell College in Iowa saw applications drop by more than 20 percent this year, Warren Wilson College in North Carolina is laying off faculty and Wisconsin’s Northland College is slashing faculty salaries, said Scott Jaschik, editor and co-founder of Inside Higher Ed.

Latest News

School Vouchers Get 2 New Report Cards

Do low-income, public school students perform better when they’re given a voucher to attend a private school? For years, the answer from researchers has been a muddle, while a handful of recent studies have clearly shown voucher students backsliding academically. Today, much-anticipated reviews of not one but two of the nation’s largest voucher programs add some depth and a few twists to the voucher narrative.

EWA Radio

Betsy DeVos Goes From Ideas to Action
EWA Radio: Episode 127

Alyson Klein of Education Week and Andrew Kreighbaum of Inside Higher Ed discuss recent developments on the federal policy front, and what’s been a busy month for  U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. The Education Department has hit the “pause button” on regulations aimed at reining in for-profit colleges, announced plans to scale back civil rights investigations, and suggested federal scrutiny of state accountability plans for K-12 education could be more forceful than some people — particularly Republicans — were expecting.

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Year-Round Pell Grants Available July 1

Summer Pell Grants will be available to students beginning July 1, the Department of Education announced Monday.

“This decision is about empowering students and giving them the flexibility and support needed to achieve their goals,” said Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. “Expanding access to the Pell program, so that students who need additional resources can graduate more quickly and with less debt, is the right thing to do.”

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‘Dreamers’ to Stay in U.S. for Now, but Long-Term Fate Is Unclear

President Trump will not immediately eliminate protections for the so-called Dreamers, undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as small children, according to new memorandums issued by the administration Thursday night.

But White House officials said Friday morning that Mr. Trump had not made a decision about the long-term fate of the program and might yet follow through on a campaign pledge to take away work permits from the immigrants or deport them.

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Rural America Gets Attention in Trump Era, But Will Its Schools Benefit?

Rural communities and small towns have gained new political currency since the election of President Donald Trump, but the public schools in those areas lag in equitable funding, early childhood education programs, and career and workforce readiness.

A new report released Wednesday by the Washington-based Rural School and Community Trust highlights the challenges that rural schools and districts continue to face, even as many of their students, on average, do as well on some national academic tests as their peers in more resourced suburban communities. 

Latest News

Trump Administration Quietly Rolls Back Civil Rights Efforts Across Federal Government

For decades, the Department of Justice has used court-enforced agreements to protect civil rights, successfully desegregating school systems, reforming police departments, ensuring access for the disabled and defending the religious.

Now, under Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the DOJ appears to be turning away from this storied tool, called consent decrees. Top officials in the DOJ civil rights division have issued verbal instructions through the ranks to seek settlements without consent decrees — which would result in no continuing court oversight.

Latest News

Education Department to Hit Pause on Two Primary Obama Regulations Aimed at For-Profits

The U.S. Department of Education is hitting pause on two of the Obama administration’s primary rules aimed at reining in for-profit colleges.

Department officials said they will block a rule, set to take effect next month, that clarifies how student borrowers can have their loans forgiven if they were defrauded or misled by their college. The plan was first reported by Inside Higher Ed Wednesday.

Latest News

Trump Administration Wants More Info on Three State ESSA Plans

The Trump administration has given three states—Delaware, Nevada, and New Mexico—a detailed list of information that they need to supply in order to get their plans for the Every Student Succeeds Act approved.

And some of the asks—especially to Delaware—give clues as to how the U.S. Department of Education is interpreting parts of ESSA. For instance, the department wants Delaware to reconsider its proposed student achievement goals, since it doesn’t consider them to be “ambitious.” (ESSA calls for states to set “ambitious” achievement goals, but doesn’t say what that means.)

Latest News

DeVos Delivers Tough Love to Charter School Advocates

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Tuesday delivered a gut check to thousands of charter schools advocates gathered in Washington, D.C., reminding them that when it comes to school choice they are not the only player.

“Charters’ success should be celebrated, but it’s equally important not to, quote, ‘become the man,’ Devos said at the annual conference of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.

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Betsy DeVos to Charter School Leaders: Your Schools ‘Are Not the One Cure-all’

In an address to charter school advocates, leaders, and teachers in Washington D.C., U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos appeared to chide charter supporters who oppose her push to expand private school choice.

She also criticized rules designed to ensure charter quality, but that — in her telling — had turned into red tape, stifling innovation.

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Trump Will Push Apprenticeships, Using Accreditation and Student Aid

President Trump plans to rework college-accreditation and student-aid policies in a bid to encourage greater use of apprenticeship training in higher education, a White House official said on Wednesday.

Mr. Trump, who promoted the value of apprenticeship training throughout his presidential campaign, will outline the strategy next week at a meeting with the nation’s governors.

EWA Radio

NPR Digs Deep on School Vouchers
EWA Radio: Episode 123

Cory Turner discusses the NPR education team’s deep dive into school vouchers, with a focus on Indiana, home to the largest voucher program in the nation. Among NPR’s findings: less than 1 percent of participating students transferred out of public schools that had been labeled by the state as low performers, and many students using vouchers were already attending private schools. With school choice as a centerpiece to President Trump’s education policy agenda, what does the evidence show when it comes to academic outcomes for students using vouchers?

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What Trump’s Decision to Withdraw From the Climate Accord Means for Teachers

President Donald Trump has announced that the United States would withdraw from the Paris climate accord, the landmark pact that nearly 200 nations signed two years ago in an effort to curb global warming. How climate change should be presented in classrooms has long been a source of contention. Recent research has shown that about a third of teachers still teach that global warming is likely due to natural causes, and that many textbooks being used contain outdated information about the causes of climate change.

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‘Rural is hot, who knew?’

The surprising election of President Donald Trump put a spotlight on rural America, where voters across “Flyover Country” helped put him in office.

Since Trump’s election, major news outlets based in America’s coastal urban hubs have descended on rural communities in an effort to refocus on issues of poverty, unemployment and drug abuse in the nation’s small towns and agricultural communities.

It has made rural America a trendy subject in mainstream media.

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

Fear and Loathing in Higher Education: No One Knows What Trump’s College Agenda Looks Like

Confusion and uncertainty. Gridlock and disagreement.

Sound familiar?

No, we’re not just talking about the political machinations on Capitol Hill. It’s also a pretty good characterization of the discussion on “The Changing Politics of Higher Education” at the 2017 Education Writers Association seminar at Georgetown University.

Latest News

Top Education Department Official Resigns

The head of the Education Department’s student financial aid office has resigned after more than seven years on the job following an apparent dispute with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos over his scheduled testimony before the House Oversight Committee.