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

Responsible Reporting on LGBTQ Students
Tips for coverage of youths' mental health, well-being, and more

The news media must do a better job of covering the challenges faced by LGBTQ youths, a trio of advocates and educators told journalists attending an Education Writers Association seminar on adolescent learning and well-being in February.

Rob Todaro, the press secretary for The Trevor Project, a nonprofit providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention to LGBTQ youths, urged reporters to pay more attention to elevated rates of depression and suicide among such youths, saying increased public awareness “will go a long way towards saving lives.”

Latest News

Back on Capitol Hill, DeVos Addresses Pointed Questions on Budget, Coronavirus

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos struck a familiar note at a Senate hearing Thursday morning, arguing for President Trump’s 2020 budget request with a paean to local control and civic empowerment.

“Federal government spending does not determine everything that’s important to us,” she said before taking questions from members of the appropriations subcommittee on health and education. “Nor is it the only solution when we encounter challenges and opportunities. Instead, we the people overcome challenges and seize opportunities.”

Latest News

Advocates Urge Education Department To Help Student Borrowers with Disabilities

The U.S. Department of Education must act to help thousands of student loan borrowers who have severe disabilities; that’s the message of two letters sent Tuesday to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. Because of their disabilities, these borrowers qualify to have their federal student loans erased. But one letter, signed by more than 30 advocacy groups, says the department has made the application process so burdensome that most borrowers never get the help they’re entitled to.

Latest News

Trump’s Words Used By Kids To Bully Classmates At School

Two kindergartners in Utah told a Latino boy that President Trump would send him back to Mexico, and teenagers in Maine sneered ”Ban Muslims” at a classmate wearing a hijab. In Tennessee, a group of middle-schoolers linked arms, imitating the president’s proposed border wall as they refused to let nonwhite students pass. In Ohio, another group of middle-schoolers surrounded a mixed-race sixth-grader and, as she confided to her mother, told the girl: “This is Trump country.”

Latest News

When the Culture War Comes to Class

Many professors, especially those without the protections of tenure, have come to recognize the danger of politically charged situations. All it takes is one irritated or impatient moment — perhaps secretly recorded on a student’s cellphone — to fuel the outrage machine that exists in social-media circles and on conservative outlets like Fox News. Each new controversy feeds the public appetite for stories about misbehaving liberal professors and the narrative, often misleading, that colleges are increasingly unmoored from, and even hostile to, mainstream culture.

Latest News

New Campus Sexual Misconduct Rules Will Tackle Dating Violence

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s pending rules on sexual misconduct at the nation’s schools and colleges will include provisions to shore up protections for victims of stalking and dating violence, a response to lethal attacks that have underscored the weakness of current policies.

The rules will for the first time cement domestic violence, dating violence and stalking as forms of gender discrimination that schools must address under Title IX, the federal civil rights law that prohibits sex discrimination in education programs that receive government funding.

Latest News

Trump Uses Address to Push for Tax-Credit Scholarships

K-12 education received a rare moment in the national spotlight Tuesday night, as President Trump spent part of his third State of the Union address urging Congress to act on a major piece of pending school choice legislation. 

Speaking before the assembled members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, the president prominently endorsed the Education Freedom Scholarships and Opportunity Act, a bill championed by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos that would change the tax code to help subsidize school choice offerings, including private school tuition. 

Latest News

Who Could Be the Next Secretary of Education After the 2020 Election?

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has shown how politically potent and polarizing ideas like school choice can be when the public attaches them so strongly to a highly visible person. So with the Iowa caucuses upon us, let’s permit ourselves to wonder: Who could be the next secretary of education?

EWA Radio

Higher Education in 2020
Looming Supreme Court decision on DACA, new rules for college admissions, lead Associated Press’ reporter’s list
(EWA Radio: Episode 226)

While it’s a new calendar year, plenty of familiar issues are carrying over from 2019 on the higher education beat, says reporter Collin Binkley of The Associated Press. Many of the biggest headline-grabbers this year are likely to center on admissions – the process of deciding who gets into what college. To settle a federal anti-trust case, colleges recently scrapped old rules that limited what they could do to compete for applicants. Now, a potential admissions marketing free-for-all will create new winners and losers. The Trump Administration’s policies against immigration, and tensions with countries such as Iran can’t help but impact foreign students interested in studying in the U.S. And the growing trend by colleges to drop application requirements for ACT and SAT test scores could also mean big changes to college access.

Latest News

Trump Travel Ban Expansion Could Affect HBCUs

This week, President Trump is expected to announce an expansion of his controversial travel ban that prohibits nearly all people from selected countries from traveling to or immigrating to the United States. The original travel ban was one of Mr. Trump’s first initiatives upon taking office and focused primarily on Muslim-majority countries. It took years of court challenges before it was finally upheld. This latest iteration is focused on a range of countries.

Latest News

Proposed Rule Focuses on Faith-based Colleges, Religious Liberty and Free Speech

The U.S. Department of Education has proposed a new rule clarifying that faith-based colleges are eligible for department grants on the same terms as other private organizations and prohibiting colleges from denying faith-based student groups “any of the rights, benefits, or privileges” allowed for non-faith-based student organizations as a condition of receiving grant funding.

EWA Radio

Will Betsy DeVos Outlast All of Trump’s Cabinet Members?
Plus, what to watch for when presidential candidates talk education
(EWA Radio: Episode 223)

February 7 will mark the three-year anniversary of Betsy DeVos’ confirmation as the U.S. secretary of education. Few observers had bet she would stick around this long. But today, DeVos is one of the longest-serving members of President Trump’s cabinet. Rebecca Klein of The Huffington Post recently talked with dozens of people about the education secretary’s tenure, crafting an in-depth analysis of what motivates her decisions and keeps her on the job.

Latest News

Meet the New International Student

For the past several years, the story of international education has been one of uneasiness and uncertainty.

The travel ban, shifts in visa policy, a trade war with China, doubts about job prospects, increased competition from other countries, even fear of American gun culture — all have contributed to three years of declines in the number of new international students on American college campuses.

Seminar

73rd EWA National Seminar
Postponed

EWA’s National Seminar is the largest annual gathering of journalists on the education beat. This year’s event in Orlando will explore an array of timely topics of interest to journalists from across the country, with a thematic focus on with a thematic focus on the vital roles that education and journalism play in democratic societies.

EWA Radio

A Thousand Days of Secretary DeVos
As President Trump's education chief approaches third year in office, a look at her impact, influence, and why she’s expected to stay the course
(EWA Radio: Episode 223)

When Betsy DeVos was confirmed as the U.S. secretary of education in early 2017, few observers would have bet she would stick around for long. Today, DeVos is one of the longest-serving members of President Trump’s cabinet. Rebecca Klein of The Huffington Post talked with dozens of people about the controversial education secretary’s tenure so far, crafting an in-depth analysis of what motivates her decisions and keeps her on the job.