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.

EWA Radio

What Does Hate Look Like in Schools? Education Week and ProPublica Show Us.
Is President Trump's Fiery Rhetoric Fueling Incidents at Public Campuses?
(EWA Radio: Episode 177)

Swastikas scrawled on bathroom walls. A confederate flag hanging behind a teacher’s desk. Chants of “build the wall” aimed at Hispanic students. As part of ProPublica’s “Documenting Hate” project, Education Week tallied incidents of harassment, bullying, graffiti and more at public schools across the country. The team, including Education Week’s Francisco Vara-Orta, sifted through thousands of tips, as well as news coverage of incidents from across the nation.

Member Stories

August 10 – August 16
Here's what we're reading by EWA members this week

In New Orleans, students who drink from a school water fountain may be exposed to lead, reports Marta Jewson of The Lens.

The Washington Post’s Moriah Balingit examines a new legal strategy to improve literacy instruction in resource-deprived schools.

For Parkland students, recovery comes in many forms, reports WLRN’s Jessica Bakeman.

Latest News

She Was A Teen Mother Who Became Teacher Of The Year. Now, Jahana Hayes Wants To Become Connecticut’s First Black Democratic Member Of Congress

In Waterbury, Conn., where she taught high school history, Jahana Hayes always told her students to never become resigned to the challenging conditions they were raised in. Hayes, who was raised amid drug addiction and became a mother before she graduated high school, understood firsthand her students’ struggles with poverty and broken homes.

“I built my teaching career by telling my students you don’t get to complain here,” said Hayes, who in 2016 was named National Teacher of the Year. “If you see a problem in your community, you go and fix it.”

Latest News

Jeff Greene Touts Private School In Run For Florida Governor

Billionaire developer Jeff Greene is an unconventional Democrat running an unconventional campaign for Florida governor. So, naturally, his ideas on how to change Florida’s vast public education bureaucracy stem from an unconventional place.

Standing in a former West Palm Beach car dealership that he converted two years ago into a schoolhouse, Greene explains how the future of Florida’s schools lies in shrinking class sizes, replacing letter grades with detailed evaluations and adopting the latest technologies.

Member Stories

August 3 – August 9
Here's what we're reading by EWA members this week

Education Week’s Franciso Vara-Orta takes an in-depth look at hate and bias in schools. 

A slowdown in charter school growth in California has some advocates worried, report Louis Freedberg and John Fensterwald of EdSource.

For The 74, Mark Keierleber examines the booming business of school security.

Latest News

Education Looms Large in the Wisconsin Governor’s Race – The Atlantic

Voters think about a lot of things at the polls: immigration, the economy, health care, gun policy, and—more cynically—party affiliation. But education is an issue that doesn’t typically poll near the top of the list, even though it’s often thought of as a bedrock of society. Tony Evers, Wisconsin’s public-schools chief, and the most likely Democratic candidate to take on Governor Scott Walker in November’s gubernatorial election, is banking on the fact that that’s changing.

Latest News

Parkland Students Are Still Going Strong. Their Message to Students: Vote

They came from all over Virginia, battling gray weather and buckets of rain, to see the faces of a student-driven movement that shows few signs of stopping.

They came by the hundreds, young people and older ones—at least a third of the attendees were parents, judging by a show of hands—to hear first-person testimonies from the survivors of the mass shooting in February at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. They came to learn how they might be involved in ending gun violence. In a few cases, they came to protest.

Latest News

‘Lies My Teacher Told Me’ and America’s Post-Truth Era

Now, with the release this summer of a new paperback version of Lies My Teacher Told Me, Loewen contends that his bestselling book has “new significance … owing to detrimental developments in America’s recent public discourse.” By providing students an inadequate history education, Loewen argues, America’s schools breed adults who tend to conflate empirical fact and opinion, and who lack the media literacy necessary to navigate conflicting information.

EWA Radio

Want Reporting With More Impact? It’s Complicated.
In age of Trump, researchers look to high-quality journalism as tool for bridging divides (EWA Radio: Episode 176)

At a time of deep political polarization in the United States, how might journalists play a role in bridging the divide among Americans? Complicate the narrative, suggests veteran journalist Amanda Ripley. “We need to find ways to help our audiences leave their foxholes and consider new ideas,” she writes in a new piece for the Solutions Journalism Network.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Covering Immigrant Students and Families in the Time of Trump

Covering immigrant students and their families – always challenging given legal and privacy concerns — has arguably never been more timely, as recent shifts in federal policy have thrust them into the national spotlight.

A panel of researchers and journalists offered advice on pressing issues, including: how reporters can explain the stakes of their stories to sources, whether undocumented students should be named, and how to discuss complicated immigration policy shifts in a clear and compelling way that draws in readers.

Seminar

Seminar on the Teaching Profession
Chicago • October 18-19, 2018

From state capitols to the U.S. Supreme Court, teachers are making headlines. Perennial issues like teacher preparation, compensation, and evaluation continue to be debated while a new wave of teacher activism and growing attention to workforce diversity are providing fresh angles for compelling coverage.

Latest News

With Successful Strikes Behind Them, Teachers Are Now Running for Office

Thousands of angry teachers across the country walked out of their classrooms this spring to protest low wages, cuts to school funding, and other changes to education policy. They scored some legislative victories, but many remained frustrated that the statehouse seems far removed from the schoolhouse when it comes to their priorities.

Now, scores of teachers are turning from the picket lines to the polls with a new mantra: If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.

Seminar

Higher Education Seminar Fall 2018
Las Vegas • UNLV • September 24-25, 2018

The Education Writers Association will hold its 2018 Higher Education Seminar Sept. 24-25 on the campus of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

The theme of this year’s intensive training event for journalists will be “Navigating Rapid Change.” This journalist-only event will offer two days of high-impact learning opportunities. The seminar will focus on how both postsecondary education and journalism are adjusting to an increasingly divisive political environment, the decline of traditional revenue sources, and continuing technological innovations that are upending much of the economy.

EWA Radio

Districts Double Down on Student Data
Will investments in digital accountability, family engagement pay off for schools?
(EWA Radio: Episode 173)

All Systems Go! Andrew Hart Flickr

From test scores to parent portals, districts are making big investments in data management systems intended to inform everything from classroom instruction to staffing decisions. But as Jenny Abamu reports for EdSurge, school systems are also struggling to hire qualified data managers to oversee these often complex networks, and to make sure that educators are both inputting — and using — the collected information appropriately.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

Tawnell Hobbs: ‘Always Get the Data’
The Wall Street Journal reporter offers advice about tapping data on the education beat.

Tawnell Hobbs doesn’t shy away from data.

When reporting on credit-recovery programs in public schools, she analyzed U.S. Department of Education figures on the number of students taking those courses. For context, she added stats about the nation’s high school graduation rates, which are climbing, compared to national test scores, which remain flat.

Blog: The Educated Reporter

How to Break News Using Social Media and Avoid ‘Bots And Trolls
Journalists need to join the technological arms race against misinformation

robot at computer

The scariest moment of the 2018 Education Writers Association National Seminar came when Steve Myers, the editor of The Lens, demonstrated how to alter reality in less than thirty seconds.

He pulled up an unsuspecting person’s tweet, and with a few clicks, made the text say something totally new. He only tinkered with the coding to change how the tweet appeared on his screen. (It went unchanged to the rest of the world.) But it was there long enough to take a screenshot.

Member Stories

June 29-July 5
Here's what we're reading by EWA members this week

Sally Ho of the Associated Press explains where and why prominent charter school supporters are wading into state elections.

A lawsuit filed on behalf of Detroit students ends in disappointment for its supporters, reports Lori Higgins of the Detroit Free Press. 

For EdSource, Theresa Harrington examines why teachers in Oakland are preparing to strike.