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

What You Missed at EWA’s Seminar on Rethinking High School

Education journalists from across the U.S. gathered this week in San Diego, on the campus of High Tech High, to explore efforts to rethink the American high school. Along the way, they heard from fellow reporters, as well as educators, analysts and students.

Member Stories

November 30 – December 7
Here's what we're reading by EWA members this week

Emily Hanford and Alex Baumhardt explore the higher education divide for rural students in the first part of a series from The Atlantic and APM Reports. 

 

Parents and community leaders are faced with tough choices in Denver’s child care deserts, as Ann Schimke and Yesenia Robles report for Chalkbeat Colorado. 

 

Latest News

Russlynn Ali on Sharing Lessons from the $102M XQ Super Schools Project — and Why Trump May Be Damaging School Choice

At a gathering of education writers Tuesday, the Emerson Collective’s Russlynn Ali walked not one but several fine lines, promising an “open source” ethos when sharing lessons gleaned from the group’s XQ Super Schools Project but declining to commit the private philanthropy to transparency in political spending and education technology investment.

There is no way XQ could finance the creation of enough new models to change the institution of high school, so lessons from the 18 Super Schools recognized to date must be available to all, she said.

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Rethinking High School (and Accountability, Choice, and Philanthropy): Russlynn Ali of XQ Institute

As the CEO of the XQ Institute, Russlynn Ali oversees the ‘Super School Project,’ a high-profile, $100+ million competition aimed at spurring the “reinvention” of U.S. high schools.

As managing director of education at the private “impact investing” entity known as the Emerson Collective, she’s also on the frontline of some tectonic shifts in the world of education philanthropy.

Latest News

Senate Tax Plan Could See Vote Today

With the GOP’s tax reform efforts moving swiftly along, higher education groups are stepping up their efforts to persuade lawmakers to strip the plans of provisions they say would make college more expensive, such as a plan in the House bill to scrap deductions on student loan interest and tax as income tuition waivers for graduate students.

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Betsy DeVos Just Might Save the Beauty School Industry

Steve Sullivan and his family had run their beauty school for more than 30 years when the letter arrived from the government to tell him the Stone Mountain, Georgia, college was failing.

Sullivan wasn’t alone. Hundreds of cosmetology schools across the country were suddenly in danger of losing access to government financial aid and shutting down. Obama’s rules promised to decimate the industry, likely shutting down 91 of the country’s nearly 900 programs and putting another 270 in the “zone,” at risk of closure.

Member Stories

November 23 – November 30
Here's what we're reading by EWA members this week

A new project by The Hechinger Report, The Teacher Project, and Slate features early learners.  

 

In California classrooms, teaching LGBT means teachers face difficult questions about historical figures who were not necessarily “out,” explains EdSource’s Theresa Harrington.

 

The AP’s Maria Danilova looks at U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ plans for scaling back the Office for Civil Rights. 

 

Member Stories

November 9 – November 16
Here's what we're reading by EWA members this week

Victoria Pasquantonio reports on how a professor uses her story of personal tragedy to teach students about media literacy, for PBS Newshour

 

A Florida couple whose son attends a private school for special-needs students contested U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy Devos’ use of their story to promote voucher programs, reports Ann Schimke for Chalkbeat Colorado

 

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Tight Budgets Force Hard Choices Among Child Care Providers
Funding constraints, high cost of quality leave early learning programs feeling squeezed

“An impossible equation.” That’s how Phil Acord describes the challenge of keeping afloat a high-quality early learning program that serves children from low-income families.

As the president of the Chambliss Center for Children, a nonprofit organization that provides around-the-clock care and education to young children in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Acord knows well how difficult it can be for child care providers to simply keep their doors open each month.

Latest News

Comments About Muslims, Women in Science Sink Trump Education Nominee

The Trump administration is yanking the nomination of Tim Kelly, a Michigan state representative who President Donald Trump tapped to lead the office of career, technical, and adult education at the U.S. Department of Education, after it became clear he was the author of a personal blog that made offensive statements about Muslims, Head Start parents, and federal efforts to recruit women into the sciences, a source said.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

EWA’s Early Education Seminar in 14 Tweets

About 45 education reporters gathered in Chicago this week for EWA’s two-day seminar on covering early learning. They got a primer on early education research and the complex web of funding sources for zero-to-five education and care. Reporters visited highly recognized early learning centers in the Windy City and got tips on what to look for during visits.

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Inside Betsy Devos’s Efforts to Shrink the Education Department

The department’s workforce has shrunk under Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who has said she wants to decrease the federal government’s role in education, including investigations and enforcement of civil rights in schools. In all, the department has shed about 350 workers since December — nearly 8 percent of its staff — including political appointees. With buyouts offered to 255 employees in recent days, DeVos hopes to show even more staff the door.

Latest News

Trump’s Immigration Policies Leave Empty Seats at an Indianapolis School

When the Indianapolis Public Schools newcomer program opened its doors last year, there was a burst of enrollment, with new students trickling in throughout the year.

But with the Trump administration’s months-long ban on refugee admissions, the school — and the students it serves — are facing new challenges this year. Fewer students than expected are enrolling in the program, and many of the families at the school are living in fear of deportation.

Latest News

GOP Tax Plan Would Eliminate Student Loan Deduction, Educational Assistance Programs

The tax plan unveiled by House Republicans on Thursday permits the use of previously off-limits education savings accounts for tuition at K-12 private schools, though it stops short of allowing states to create a scholarship tax credit or voucher to help cover private school tuition – originally one of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ top priorities in her school choice agenda.

Latest News

Why Donald Trump and Betsy Devos’s Names — and Faces — Are All Over This Fall’s Denver School Board Races

Angela Cobián has spent much of her young career as a teacher and community organizer. The daughter of Mexican immigrants, the 28-year-old has advocated for justice for immigrants and spent two years teaching English language learners at a low-income northeast Denver school.

So when the political newcomer running to represent heavily Latino southwest Denver on the Denver school board saw an election campaign mailer that pictured her face alongside those of President Donald Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, she felt “genuine shock.”

Latest News

Jerry Falwell Jr. Relishes New Fight For Donald Trump As Liberty University Peaks

This mash-up of religion, technology, politics, cultural identity and celebrity has come to define Jerry Falwell Jr. and the suddenly powerful university he has led for a decade. But neither president nor university found the right mix immediately — both were stranded in proverbial deserts before stumbling upon successful strategies.

Latest News

The Education of Betsy DeVos

It was the final day of her “Rethink School” tour, the familiar fly-around trip taken by a Cabinet secretary to capture some local news coverage and emphasize priorities—in DeVos’ case, to highlight unique and innovative learning environments across the country. But at this particular stop, tension filled the air. Several hundred protesters gathered outside—vastly outnumbering the 76 students, grades 6 through 12, who attend the school—while a procession of speakers denounced DeVos as a destroyer of public education and an enabler of campus rape.

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

Do Affirmative Action Policies Harm Asian-American College Admissions?

The often secretive and arbitrary-seeming acceptance and rejection decisions by elite colleges have long sparked controversy and, thus, news stories.

But new complaints by high-achieving students of Asian descent are raising questions about a kind of racism that may well be surprising to most Americans, as well as challenges to long-standing affirmative action policies, according to a panel of admissions experts who spoke at the Education Writers Association’s Higher Education conference Oct. 2-3.

Latest News

Betsy DeVos’s Schedule Shows Focus on Religious and Nontraditional Schools

For years, Betsy DeVos traveled the country — and opened her checkbook — as she worked as a conservative advocate to promote the expansion of voucher programs that allow parents to use taxpayer funds to send their children to private and religious schools.

A detailed look at the first six months of Ms. DeVos’s tenure as the secretary of education — based on a 326-page calendar tracking her daily meetings — demonstrates that she continues to focus on those programs as well as on charter schools.