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

Why Race and Equity Matter in Education Reporting

Education journalists must think more critically about the ways in which race, ethnicity and gender play into the stories they tell, a panel of experts said at the first keynote session at the Education Writers Association’s national seminar in Los Angeles last week.

Latest News

Education Writers’ Conference Weighs School Violence, Teacher Unrest – Education and the Media

Education journalists from across the nation gathered here this week with a focus on diversity in their profession, recent activism by teachers, and the scourge of school violence, among other topics.

The Education Writers Association’s top award for education reporting went to John Woodrow Cox of The Washington Post for a compelling three-part series on children and gun violence, which was published last June.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Parkland Survivors and Other Youth Activists: ‘You’re Going to Listen to Us’ on Gun Violence
EWA National Seminar puts spotlight on students

Parkland Survivors and Other Youth Activists: ‘You’re Going to Listen to Us’ on Gun Violence

In an emotionally charged session at the Education Writers Association’s national seminar, several student activists urged journalists to keep the national spotlight on gun violence and not let the shootings at a Florida high school and elsewhere be forgotten.

Member Stories

May 4 – May 10
Here's what we're reading by EWA members this week.

Education Week’s Andrew Ujifusa and Alex Harwin examine pronounced fluctuations in the number of desegregation cases reported by school districts.

In Charlotte, N.C., officials want more money to hire mental health workers because of increased demand in schools, Gwendolyn Glenn reports for WFAE.

 

Latest News

Ave Maria Commencement Speaker Betsy DeVos Gets Standing Ovation

U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos delivered the commencement address to a welcoming crowd Saturday at Ave Maria University.

In her roughly 20-minute speech, DeVos focused on the teachings of religious figures, including Jesus Christ, former Pope John Paul II and Mother Teresa, and emphasized the importance of service to God, country and neighbor.

The speech earned DeVos a standing ovation from the roughly 230 undergraduate students and their relatives and friends.

Member Stories

April 27 – May 3
Here's what we're reading by EWA members this week.

In suburban Illinois, vocational training is getting fresh attention — and funding, writes Rafael Guerrero of The Courier News. 

Reporting for Colorado Public Radio, Jenny Brundin looks at allegations of misconduct and abuse against a teacher at a public school for the arts. 

 

Latest News

Documents Show Ties Between University, Conservative Donors

Virginia’s largest public university granted the conservative Charles Koch Foundation a say in the hiring and firing of professors in exchange for millions of dollars in donations, according to newly released documents. The release of donor agreements between George Mason University and the foundation follows years of denials by university administrators that Koch foundation donations inhibit academic freedom.

Member Stories

April 20 – April 26
Here's what we're reading by EWA members this week.

Denver Post reporter Danika Worthington explains why Colorado teachers are walking out of class and rallying at the state capitol.

 

In DeKalb County, Ga., a school bus driver sickout is drawing complaints — and sympathy — from parents, Marlon A. Walker reports for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

 

Latest News

Teacher Walkouts Threaten Republican Grip on Conservative States

An intensifying series of red-state battles over education funding and teacher pay threatens to loosen Republicans’ grip on some of the country’s most conservative states, as educators and parents rebel against a decade of fiscal austerity that has cut deeply into public education.

Latest News

It Oversaw For-Profit Colleges That Imploded. Now It Seeks a Comeback.

The organization at the center of one of the largest fraud scandals in the history of for-profit colleges is planning a comeback.

The Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools was stripped of its powers in December 2016 amid the collapse of two for-profit university chains, where tens of thousands of students were encouraged to take on hundreds of millions in debt based on false promises, including jobs after graduation.

Latest News

Advice For Student Activists: It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint

On Saturday, thousands of youth activists are expected to participate in the “March for Our Lives,” — in Washington, D.C.; in Accra, Ghana, Israel, Chile and elsewhere around the world.

Lane Murdock, a 15-year-old from Connecticut, will be in D.C. for the protest. Murdock wrote a petition after the Parkland shooting calling for gun control — it went viral and morphed into a school walkout planned for April with more than 1,000 schools.

Lane is part of a larger organized youth effort for gun control — which comes amid a resurgence of liberal activism.

Latest News

As DeVos Faces Congress, Officials Say She Hid Plans to Overhaul Department

WASHINGTON — Education Secretary Betsy DeVos will go before a House panel on Tuesday to defend her agency’s budget, including a sweeping overhaul of the Education Department that has strained relations within her agency and with Congress — and defies the White House’s budget office.

In recent weeks, Ms. DeVos has clashed fiercely with department staff members over the plan, which they say she tried to withhold from Congress as she imposed on the department what they call an illegal collective bargaining agreement.

Latest News

From Oakland to San Diego, California Students Demand Gun Control and Safe Schools

At 10 a.m. on Wednesday morning, the youth of California made themselves heard.

Thousands, from elementary schools to college campuses, left their classrooms to take part in the National School Walkout to both honor those killed in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., and demand stricter gun control laws. They were all given the same 17 minutes — one minute for each victim of the Parkland massacre — but they used their time in different ways.

Member Stories

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

As students mobilized for #NationalWalkoutDay, journalists joined them on the streets and in the schools. A highlight: Ray Routhier’s interview with student organizers in Maine for The Portland Press Herald.

 

Meanwhile, administrators at a California middle school tried to discourage discussion of gun policy in school-sanctioned memorials, reports Mackenzie Mays of The Fresno Bee. 

 

Latest News

‘A Hug Wasn’t Enough. So We Walked.’ Parkland Students Defy Administrators and Head to a Park.

The students were supposed to gather on their school’s football field Wednesday morning for 17 minutes, and then go back inside their classrooms.

School administrators scheduled the event to mark the tragedy that had befallen their school — Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where 14 students and three staff members were shot and killed Feb. 14 — and remember the victims. It went according to plan, until the 17 minutes were up.

Latest News

Some Students Face Consequences to Walk Out

Some of the of students who walked out of school Wednesday faced unexcused absences or more serious penalties, as school districts in a number of states cracked down on demonstrations aimed at pressuring politicians to toughen gun laws.