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Trump School Choice Proposals Drive Wedge Between Charter School Advocates

The Trump administration’s plan to ax $9 billion in federal education spending but direct millions to a new program that would help students afford private school exposed a fissure among charter school advocates, one not publicly acknowledged but privately widening at an increasingly fast pace since the election.

In reacting to the fiscal 2018 blueprint, organizations that support charter schools split: Some admonished the administration for its proposed education cuts, as well as billions in cuts to health care and wraparound social service programs on which the country’s most disadvantaged students rely. Others touted the increases for school choice policies, which, in addition to a $250 million private school choice program, included $168 million more for charter schools and a $1 billion boost in Title I for poor students whose states allow them to use the money to enroll at any public school of their choice.

“Today, President Trump demonstrated that he is a strong supporter of charter public schools,” Nina Rees, president and CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, said in a statement. “The charter school movement is grateful for the president’s support, and we applaud his commitment to providing critically needed funding.”