Trump Era


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.

Latest News

20,000 DACA Teachers At Risk and Your Kids Could Feel the Fallout, Too

Last month, the Trump administration began winding down Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), the 2012 Obama administration program designed to protect undocumented immigrants brought here as children.

If lawmakers can’t fix DACA, Cambrón and thousands of teachers like her could face deportation when their work permits expire — in her case, that happens in February 2018.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

School Vouchers: What Do Latino Parents Want?

President Donald Trump and U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos both say they want to expand school choice, including with public funding for private schools.

Recently, two parent activists on the front lines of the school voucher debate — one from Wisconsin, the other from Arizona — spoke to journalists attending the Education Writers Association’s convening for Spanish-language media.

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

A Reporter’s Guide to Covering Campus Protests

Long the site of sit-ins, protests, and acts of civil disobedience, college campuses have, once again, become flash points for broader debates around race, free speech, and other highly-emotive issues.

Lisa Pemberton, an award-winning journalist and news team leader for The Olympian, knows well the challenges of covering protests, having spent much of her time recently covering racial tension and student protests at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington.

Blog: Higher Ed Beat

Jose Antonio Vargas Calls for Context, Clarity When Reporting on Undocumented Immigrants

An elderly black woman with a crumpled piece of paper helped reframe the way Jose Antonio Vargas views the debate over immigration in America.

Vargas is a longtime journalist, an undocumented immigrant, and an advocate for immigrants. He was at a Tea Party event in North Carolina a couple of years ago when the woman, who recognized him from television, approached. She held a document she said her great, great, grandmother was handed after landing in South Carolina.

It was a bill of sale.

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Security for Betsy Devos Could Cost Up To $6.54 Million Over the Next Year

The Education Department will pay the U.S. Marshal’s Service up to $6.54 million to guard Education Secretary Betsy DeVos for the next 12 months, providing “the amount of security around her [that] matches the threats around her,” her spokeswoman said.

DeVos is the only cabinet member to receive protection from the U.S. Marshal’s Service, law enforcement officers who are generally responsible for protecting federal judges, transporting prisoners, apprehending fugitives and protecting witnesses.

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For DACA Teachers, Uncertainty Lingers on the Last Day to Renew

There are nearly 700,000 people in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivalsprogram, and Thursday is the final deadline for them to renew their DACA status, which the Trump Administration announced would be discontinued unless Congress steps in to save it.

With an application fee of $465, the program allows the recipients, often called DREAMers, to renew their temporary two-year work permits. But with no contingency plan, many are left with a feeling of uncertainty.

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For-Profit Schools Get State Dollars For Dropouts Who Rarely Drop In

Last school year, Ohio’s cash-strapped education department paid Capital High $1.4 million in taxpayer dollars to teach students on the verge of dropping out. But on a Thursday in May, students’ workstations in the storefront charter school run by for-profit EdisonLearning resembled place settings for a dinner party where most guests never arrived.

In one room, empty chairs faced 25 blank computer monitors. Just three students sat in a science lab down the hall, and nine more in an unlit classroom, including one youth who sprawled out, head down, sleeping.

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After a Speaker Is Shouted Down, William & Mary Becomes New Flash Point in Free-Speech Fight

The protesters who shouted down a speaker from the American Civil Liberties Union at the College of William & Mary last week weren’t engaging in free speech, but deploying a “classic example of a heckler’s veto” aimed at stifling debate, the executive director of the ACLU’s Virginia office said on Thursday.

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U. of North Texas President Tried to Stop Donald Trump Jr. From Speaking on Campus

The president of the University of North Texas has tried without success to cancel a speech by Donald Trump Jr. slated for this month, according to more than a thousand pages of emails obtained by The Dallas Morning News.

“I am trying to stop it, but it isn’t an easy thing,” wrote Neal Smatresk, president of the university in Denton, Tex., in an August email to a professor who opposed the controversial appearance by President Trump’s son.

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Republicans Hammer Out Child Tax Credit Details

Family advocates want to further boost the child tax credit; others want cuts

Republicans left out many details from the tax-code outline they released last week, and few are more important for middle-income households than the fate of the child tax credit.

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Across the Divide: Where is School Choice Headed Under President Trump?

For years, state lawmakers have been expanding school choice throughout Wisconsin, allowing public dollars to follow kids to private schools. Now, the Trump administration is looking to expand voucher programs nationally.

WUWM and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel held a community conversation, titled  Across the Divide: Where is School Choice Header Under President Trump?, at Anodyne Coffee in Walker’s Point on September 19 to bring together people with different perspectives on school choice.

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Iowa ESSA Survey Asks Students to Gauge Teachers, Schools

Students’ opinions about their teachers, classmates and schools may be included in measures that hold Iowa schools accountable.

The effort to include student voices comes as teachers and parents clamor for ways to measure schools beyond math and reading tests.

The state recently submitted its Every Student Succeeds Act plan for federal approval. It replaces the state’s plan under the No Child Left Behind law.

Key Coverage

Inside ESSA Plans: How Are States Looking Beyond Test Scores?

School officials: Get ready to figure out whether your students have a problem with chronic absenteeism. And while you’re at it, see if you’re getting them ready for college and the workplace. 

Attendance—particularly chronic absenteeism—and college-and-career readiness are by far the most popular new areas of focus for accountability among the 40-plus states that have filed their plans to implement the Every Student Success Act, an Education Week review shows.

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Funding for Home Visiting Set to Expire, Leaving Early Intervention Services in Limbo for Many

Home visiting programs, like the one that Avelar De Andrade is involved in, pair low-income struggling parents with trained nurses, social workers, or educators, who provide support throughout the stressful first years of their children’s lives. Through regular visits, the support workers provide resources to help families with basic needs and teach habits and skills to parents to promote the healthy development of their children.

Blog: Latino Ed Beat

Trump Urged to Renew Advisory Panel on Improving Education for Hispanics

For nearly three decades, a White House commission created to help boost Hispanic student achievement has advised four presidents and their secretaries of education. The advisory panel, however, is set to expire on Sept. 30 unless President Donald Trump issues an executive order to keep it going, according to Patricia Gándara, a commission member who is rallying to preserve it.

Latest News

Indiana Lawmakers Appealing for Reprieve from Federal Graduation Rate Changes

Indiana’s congressional delegation is seeking a moratorium on federal guidelines that would drastically lower Indiana’s high school graduation rate.

Thousands of Indiana diplomas would not count toward Indiana’s graduation rate under new rules put in place by the U.S. Department of Education and the Every Student Succeeds Act, a new federal education law. 

Indiana’s rate would fall to 76.5 percent, from 89.1 percent, for the 2016 class if the rule had taken effect earlier.