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Trump Budget Would Make Massive Cuts to Ed. Dept., But Boost School Choice

President Donald Trump’s first budget seeks to slash the Education Department’s roughly $68 billion budget by $9 billion, or 13 percent in the coming fiscal year, whacking popular programs that help districts offer after-school programs, and hire and train teachers.

At the same time, it seeks a historic $1.4 billlon federal investment in school choice, including new money for private school vouchers and charter schools, as well as directing $1 billion to follow students to the school of their choice. 

But the proposal would completely scrap two big programs Supporting Effective Instruction State Grants, or Title II, which is currently funded at $2.25 billion and helps states and districts hire and provide professional development for teachers. The budget proposal would also get rid of the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program, which is funded at more than $1 billion currently and finances after-school and extended-learning programs. Trump’s budget says both programs are spread too thin to be effective.  

The federal spending plan still need to go through Congress for approval, and cuts of this magnitude will almost certainly be a tough political lift. And it could be months before lawmakers decide which of these cuts to accept or reject. The proposal would set spending levels for federal fiscal year 2018, which begins Oct. 1 and generally impacts the 2018-19 school year.