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.

Member Stories

Feb. 16 – Feb. 22
Here's what we're reading by EWA members this week.

School shootings dominated headlines this week, including a Wall Street Journal spread dedicated to decades of victims, shared by Tawnell Hobbs.

 

From the teacher’s POV, Education Week’s Madeline Will examines the fear that accompanies school lockdown drills in the wake of the Florida shooting. 

 

Member Stories

Feb. 9 – Feb. 15
Here's what we're reading by EWA members this week.

In this Des Moines Register feature, Kathy Bolten looks at the plight of parents who are mortgaging their future for their children’s higher education through federal parent loans. 

 

Marta Jewson of The Lens reports that the last of the New Orleans’ traditional public schools are set to close or convert to charters. 

 

Latest News

Confusion Over Major Higher Education Changes in Infrastructure Plan

Tacked on to the last three pages of the Trump administration’s $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan unveiled Monday are a handful of higher education policy changes that could have significant ramifications and have some policy experts scratching their heads about how and why they’ve turned up in an infrastructure proposal.

“This is pretty bizarre to include,” says Tamara Hiler, senior policy advisor and higher education campaign manager at Third Way.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Does Trump’s Education Budget Even Matter?
Big cuts to popular programs, boosting school choice proposed

President Trump’s proposed federal budget, unveiled Monday, calls for major cuts to existing education programs and a huge increase for school choice initiatives. The first question stemming from his blueprint is this: How seriously will Congress take his administration’s plan, even with Republicans controlling both chambers?

Latest News

How Betsy Devos Softened Her Message On School Choice

Betsy DeVos became famous — and infamous in some quarters — as the leader of an education movement that pushed for public funding for private schools, including religious education.

But a year into her tenure as President Donald Trump’s Education secretary, DeVos generally steers clear of the words, “school choice,” a phrase she once used often that’s freighted with racial, demographic and religious implications. Instead, she opts for gentler terms such as “innovation” and “blended learning,” and speaks of coming together and “finding solutions.”

Latest News

Idaho Stripped Climate Change From School Guidelines. Now, It’s a Battle.

The political fight over global warming has extended to science education in recent years as several states have attempted to weaken or block new teaching standards that included information about climate science. But only in Idaho has the state legislature stripped all mentions of human-caused climate change from statewide science guidelines while leaving the rest of the standards intact.

Latest News

Four States Raise Their Hands for ESSA Innovative Assessment Pilot

Four states—Arizona, Hawaii, Louisiana, and New Hampshire—told the U.S. Department of Education they are interested in applying to participate in the Every Student Succeeds Act’s Innovative Assessment Pilot. 

That list isn’t necessarily the final word. The department encouraged states that think they may apply to raise their hands early this month. But formal applications aren’t due April 2. Additional states could jump in, or any of the four could change its mind. 

Latest News

Can A School Ban Its Students From Kneeling During The National Anthem?

What started as a demonstration among professional athletes against racism and police brutality has spread to high school athletes, including cheerleaders, and ignited debate over students’ First Amendment rights. Half a century after the US Supreme Court ruled that an Iowa high school had illegally barred students from protesting the war in Vietnam, V.A.’s lawsuit could set new precedents on free speech protections for public school students.

Latest News

Trump Calls on Congress to Help ‘Dreamers,’ Bolster Borders

President Donald Trump used his first State of the Union address to call on Congress to create a path of citizenship to “Dreamers”—including thousands of current K-12 teachers and students who were brought to the country as undocumented children—while boosting border security and significantly restricting legal immigration. 

And he asked Democrats to join him passing an infrastructure bill, without specifically asking for new resources for school construction—a priority for many in the education community. 

P-12 Topic

Educating for Character & Citizenship

image of teacher and children sitting in circle in classroom

The intensive focus in public schools on boosting achievement in core subjects has sparked concerns that the U.S. education system is neglecting an important responsibility: to help foster in children strong character and prepare them for active citizenship in a democratic society.

Latest News

‘Why Can’t I Have My Life Back?’: In Puerto Rico, Living and Learning In The Dark

Neida and her 7-year-old brother, Julio, lost so much when Hurricane Maria struck in September — clothing and schoolwork, books and Neida’s anime drawings and then, after the floodwaters receded, days and days of school. Julio did not return to class until late October, and Neida in mid-November. They were lucky. In other parts of the island, children did not return until December, missing nearly three months.

Member Stories

Jan. 19 – 25
Here's what we're reading by EWA members this week.

Megan Raposa of the Argus Leader (a 2017 EWA New to the Beat rookie) takes a close look at the educational opportunities for students growing up on South Dakota’s Rosebud Indian Reservation. 

 

Writing for The Atlantic, Melinda Anderson explores how hiring biases could be holding back efforts to improve the number of teachers of color.  

 

Latest News

Montana Has Added Hundreds of Preschool Slots, But the Money Behind Them Could Run Out

Montana created more than 300 preschool slots in the last school year, raising the number to 750. And the state did it at a far cheaper cost than a year before.

But as the feds send out the grant’s final check for $10 million, it’s unclear how those seats will be sustained in the future. This is the last payment of a four-year, $40 million federal grant that schools will use through the 2018-19 school year.

Latest News

1,400 Salvadoran Teachers in the U.S. Are at Risk for Deportation Under Trump

Among the 200,000 people from El Salvador who will lose their temporary legal immigration status next year are more than a thousand classroom teachers. 

Earlier this month, the Trump administration announced that these immigrants, who received Temporary Protected Status after earthquakes hit their country in 2001, must return to El Salvador by September 2019 or be subject to deportation. 

Latest News

In Divisive Political Times, an East Harlem Government Teacher Strives For Nuance

Some teachers might prefer to avoid politics in the classroom. Not Steven Serling.

As a government teacher at Park East High School in East Harlem, it seemed impossible to ignore the polarized debates that bombard his students on social media and the nightly news. So, along with a fellow teacher, Serling came up with a series of lessons to help students search for nuance in a world of bombastic soundbites and firey tweets.

Latest News

Impact of Government Shutdown on Higher Education

Congress failed to reach a last-minute agreement Friday night to avoid a government shutdown. That won’t mean immediate consequences for federal student aid recipients or institutional funding. But institutions and students depending on Education Department programs could see an impact if the shutdown drags on.

Latest News

The Government Shutdown and K-12 Education: Your Guide

Here we go again: President Donald Trump and Congress were unable to reach agreement on temporary spending plan late last week to keep the government open, so the U.S. Department of Education and other government agencies were on a partial shutdown as of midnight Friday. It’s the first time this has happened in four years. 

Latest News

Betsy DeVos Approves Six More ESSA Plans

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has given six more states the thumbs-up on their plans to implement the Every Student Succeeds Act: Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Kansas, Montana, and New Hampshire. 

These approvals bring the grand total of approved state ESSA plans to 33, plus Puerto Rico’s and the District of Columbia’s. Sixteen states and the District of Columbia submitted plans last spring, and all but one of those states—Colorado—have been approved. Another 34 states turned in plans last fall, and so far, 18 have been approved.

Member Stories

Jan. 12 – 18
Here's what we're reading by EWA members this week.

Portland Public Schools has cut ties with a special education teacher who was on leave for alleged misconduct — two years after a district administrator declared him a danger to students and paid him to resign, reports Beth Slovic of the Portland Tribune.

 

Latest News

‘Truth Decay’ in American Society: What Is Schools’ Role?

“Fake news,” the “post-truth” era, “alternative facts.”

As the line between objective facts and opinion grows increasingly blurred, more and more researchers are raising alarm bells about what these terms could mean for society, including: the erosion of civil discourse, an increasingly polarized Congress, and an inability to solve complex public policy problems.