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

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.

Latest News

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.

Member Stories

October 19 – October 26
Here's what we're reading by EWA members this week

Ann Dornfeld at KUOW public radio examines how an extremely high rate of homelessness at a Seattle elementary school, exacerbated by recent redistricting, has overwhelmed the school’s support structure. 

 
 

Wayne D’Orio reports for Wired on a Colorado school that is incentivizing project-based learning with a paycheck. 


 

Latest News

Why Having Police in Schools May Be a Risk for Undocumented Students

Throughout the nation, there are more than 17,000 school resource officers (SRO), sworn law enforcement tasked to prevent crime, respond to emergency situations and educate youth about safety on K-12 campuses. Their presence, which has swelled over the last 15 years, may be good-natured, but it has precipitated the school-to-prison pipeline, the streamlining of students, mostly black and brown, into the juvenile justice system through punitive discipline practices on minor, nonviolent school infractions.

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

How to Report on Undocumented Students in the Time of Trump
As clock ticks on DACA, journalists must consider practical, legal, and ethical challenges in coverage

When the Trump administration announced plans in September to remove protections for some undocumented immigrants, Sasha Aslanian, a reporter with APM Reports, contacted an undocumented student to get a personal reaction to the news.

Having received a number of interview requests that day, the student told Aslanian: “I feel like I’m just trauma porn. People are leaving me messages saying, ‘I want to hear how you feel about this and I’m on deadline. Can you call me back within two hours?’”

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

Covering the New Reality of Adult Learners at College
Non-traditional students account for almost half of undergraduates.

In the last year, newspapers published more than 100 stories focused on admissions to Harvard University, an institution with fewer than 7,000 undergraduates.

Meanwhile, a Nexis search over the same time period turns up fewer than 50 articles using the phrase “adult undergraduates.” The U.S. has 7.6 million undergraduates aged at least 22 – more than 1,000 times Harvard’s enrollment. These older students account for fully 44 percent of the population on the nation’s college campuses.

Latest News

Apprenticeships, Long Common in Blue-Collar Industries, are Coming to White-collar Office Work

Andrew Skelnik grew up in what he calls a “strong blue-collar background” in Chicago. His father was an electrician, his uncle was a carpenter and his first job out of high school was in the mailroom of a printing plant, where he worked his way up to become a pressman. The word “apprenticeship,” to him, meant learning a similar skilled trade: He was waitlisted for two he applied for at local unions earlier in his career.

Latest News

For the Non-Rich, the Child Tax Credit is the Key to Tax Reform

The tax reform framework released three weeks ago by the White House and Republican congressional leadership has lofty goals: Simplify the tax code; provide relief for middle-class families; cut taxes for businesses; end many narrowly focused special tax benefits; and keep the reformed tax code “at least as progressive” as the existing one.

Many of the policies proposed in the framework remain ambiguous. Yet it is those policies, in particular the details of the child tax credit expansion, that will determine whether most American families win or lose.