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: The Educated Reporter

Advocates Fear Impact of Trump Budget on Arts Education

President Donald Trump’s plans to eliminate some big-tickets items in the federal education budget — such as aid for after-school and teacher quality programs – have sparked sharp criticism. At the same time, supporters of the arts are rallying against the president’s proposal to eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts — which provides some grants for arts education.

Latest News

Devos Praises This Voucher-like Program. Here’s What it Means for School Reform.

Florida has channeled billions of taxpayer dollars into scholarships for poor children to attend private schools over the past 15 years, using tax credits to build a laboratory for school choice that the Trump administration holds up as a model for the nation. But there is scant evidence that these students fare better academically than their peers in public schools.

Latest News

2 Education Dept. Picks Raise Fears on Civil Rights Enforcement

A lawyer who represented Florida State University in an explosive sexual assault case and another lawyer who during the 2016 presidential campaign accused Hillary Clinton of enabling sexual predators have been chosen for key roles in the Department of Education, raising fears that the agency could pull back from enforcing civil rights in schools and on college campuses.

EWA Radio

Why (and How) Vermont Schools Are Getting Personal
EWA Radio: Episode 116

Some school districts are experimenting with ways to get students more engaged in their own learning, and to connect their individual interests to long-term goals. John Tulenko, a contributor to The Hechinger Report, visited Vermont, where a statewide investment in personalized learning is starting to gain traction. What kinds of learning opportunities are students creating for themselves? How are teachers responding to the instructional shift?

Latest News

Judge Approves $25 Million Settlement Of Trump University Lawsuit

A federal judge has approved a $25 million settlement deal between President Trump and students who paid for Trump University real estate seminars, bringing lengthy litigation to a close.

The deal, which calls for Trump to reimburse the students who say they were defrauded, was struck in November but needed approval from U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel. He signed off on the settlement Friday in San Diego.

Trump doesn’t admit any wrongdoing under the terms of the settlement.

Latest News

DeVos Says Accountability Systems Could Promote School Choice

The Department of Education is considering rejecting states’ proposals for new accountability systems if they do not include options that empower parents or provide them with additional educational choices for their children.

“I think there’s certainly going to be a lot of discussion and back and forth as we go through this process,” Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos said Wednesday in answering a question about whether her agency would reject a state’s accountability proposal if she views it as “antithetical to serving parents’ interests.”

Latest News

Devos Compares School Choice Fight to Uber vs. Taxis; Decries State of Test Scores

At a Tuesday event hosted by the Brookings Institution’s Center on Children and Families, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos in a speech compared the the response of the education establishment to taxi services undercut by services like Uber and Lyft.

“Just like the traditional taxi service revolted against ride-sharing, so too does the education establishment feel threatened by the rise of school choice,” DeVos said. (It’s not the first time she’s raised Uber in the context of educational innovation, or the lack thereof.)

Latest News

Ivanka Trump, Education Secretary DeVos Promote STEM Careers

Ivanka Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Tuesday exhorted young girls to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math, saying those fields will provide the jobs and innovation for the future.

Their tour of the National Air and Space Museum with a group of middle school students came as the Trump administration proposed further cuts to education and science, drawing harsh criticism from teachers’ unions and others.

Latest News

Do Vouchers Give Kids Better Educations? Ohio Test Results Are Mixed

The school voucher programs that some federal and state officials want to expand have mixed test results in Ohio that make it unclear how much more students learn than if they had stayed in their local public schools. Ohio’s voucher programs, which give families grants to help pay tuition at private schools, have a low bar to clear to look successful. But the private schools receiving voucher dollars have mixed results, even when compared to these “failing” public schools.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Trump Begins to Flesh Out School Choice Agenda, But Questions Remain

There was no missing the symbolism in President Donald Trump’s first school visit since taking office — a stop at St. Andrew Catholic School in Orlando, Florida, this month.

St. Andrew is “one of the many parochial schools dedicated to the education of some of our most disadvantaged children,” Trump noted, and it’s been helped along by school choice policy.

Latest News

DeVos’ Challenge: Tuning Her Message as New Education Secretary

Few, if any, education secretaries have gotten off to as rocky a start as Betsy DeVos, who took the helm of the U.S. Department of Education last month with opponents ready to pounce.

There was her contentious confirmation hearing, with its much-mocked comment about guns in schools to defend against grizzly bears. Protesters temporarily blocked her first visit to a public school, and a series of perceived gaffes in interviews and speeches drew online outrage and scolding editorials—as well as some off-base criticism.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Trump Budget Signals Education Priorities

President Donald Trump’s first budget blueprint begins to flesh out the areas in which he sees an important federal role in education — most notably expanding school choice — and those he doesn’t. At the same time, it raises questions about the fate of big-ticket items, including aid to improve teacher quality and support after-school programs. 

Latest News

The History of the Office for Civil Rights’ Power

Here is a question nobody asked Betsy DeVos at her confirmation hearing to become the eleventh secretary of education: Is the U.S. Department of Education a civil-rights agency?   The last secretary, John King, thinks so. Over 600 education scholars who protested the nomination of DeVos think so, too.

Member Stories

March 2 – 9
Here's what we're reading by EWA members this week

Chad Livengood of Crain’s Detroit Business reports on how Michigan State Superintendent of Schools Brian Whiston offered an 18-month reprieve to 25 persistently low-performing schools in Detroit facing closure if academics do not improve.


 

As standardized tests in Ohio are ready to begin, Shannon Gilchrist of The Columbus Dispatch looks at whether third-graders are too young to have developed the computer skills to take a timed test.

Latest News

A Tale of Two Betsy DeVoses

Residents of this western Michigan town are having trouble reconciling the Betsy DeVos they know with the Betsy DeVos who serves as President Donald Trump’s controversial education secretary.  

The former is widely seen as pragmatic and generous, even by those who dislike her political leanings and devotion to charter schools. The latter? “Unprepared,” “tone deaf,” and “insulated” were phrases that came up more than once during interviews with people who either know DeVos or her family or are familiar with her dealings in this part of the state.

Latest News

Betsy Devos: President Trump Delivers on Education Promises

President Trump’s first address to the joint session of Congress was clear: promises made, promises kept. The president promised to shake up the status quo in Washington, and he has. From keeping Carrier in the United States to nominating the highly qualified Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, our president continues to follow through on his word.

He’s also delivering on his promises for education.

Latest News

Texas House Education Chief Declares School Choice Bill DOA

The top education policy official in the Texas House said Tuesday that he would not allow the approval of school vouchers this legislative session, a blunt pronouncement that could be fatal to the prospects for legislation that is a priority for many top Republicans in the state.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

What’s Ahead for School Choice in the Trump Era?

If anyone doubted that school choice would be a top educational priority for the Trump administration, the Republican president’s first address to a joint session of Congress laid that question to rest.

“I am calling upon members of both parties to pass an education bill that funds school choice for disadvantaged youth, including millions of African-American and Latino children,” he declared. “These families should be free to choose the public, private, charter, magnet, religious or home school that is right for them.”