Everything Kids

The Proposed Education Budget Will Cut Programs for Special Education, Low-Income Families, and the Arts

The Administration is proposing the elimination of some important K-12 programs.

Dollar bill used as a bookmark in a book Sergej Cash/Shutterstock
The Washington Post has obtained a preliminary—but "near final"—version of the Education Department's 2018 budget proposal, which means we're getting our first glimpse at what kind of changes the Trump administration has in store.

The current documents outline a more than $10.6 billion cut to the Education Department. This includes things like mental health services, arts education, anti-bullying activities, and gifted and talented programs.

According to the Post, the administration plans to cut $1.2 billion for after-school programs that serve poor children; a $27 million arts education program; two programs targeting Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian students totaling $65 million; two international education and foreign language programs, $72 million; a $12 million program for gifted students; and $12 million for Special Olympics education programs.

Other programs cut significantly include grants to states for career and tech ed, adult basic literacy instruction, and Promise Neighborhoods, an Obama initiative that supports kids in needy communities.

The current documents also outline axing the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program, which was created under George W. Bush in 2007 in order to encourage college graduates to pursue careers as social workers, teachers, public defenders, or doctors in rural areas, and which allowed students to have the remainder of their federal education loans waived after 10 years of making payments.

Funding for college work-study programs would also be cut in half, and a $15 million program that provides child care for low-income parents in college would be eliminated.

So where is all the money going? The administration plans to spend about $400 million to expand charter schools and vouchers for private and religious schools, and another $1 billion on a new grant program for school districts that would let students decide which public school they want to attend.

Liz Hill, an Education Department spokeswoman, told the Post that all figures are preliminary, which means the proposal is still subject to change before it is officially released by the Trump administration next week.

This is in addition to some cuts to special education that were included in the House version of the American Healthcare Act, and a rollback of Michelle Obama's Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids initiative, which had required school lunch programs to reduce sodium, increase whole grains, and ban flavored milk.  

What do you think of the proposed changes?

Hollee Actman Becker is a freelance writer, blogger, and mom of two who writes about parenting and pop culture. Check out her website holleeactmanbecker.com for more, and then follow her on Instagram and Twitter