March 16, 2017 (New York)—Today, Educators for Excellence (E4E), a national, teacher-led organization, responded to President Trump’s proposal to slash the Education Department budget by 13 percent. The budget decimates programs that provide extended learning, teacher training and college access.
“The U.S. Department of Education has played a critical role for decades in ensuring that our most vulnerable students - students from low-income families, students of color, students with special needs and English learners - have greater educational opportunity,” said Evan Stone, Co-Founder and Co-Chief Executive Officer of Educators for Excellence. “It is not enough to say that we value every student in our country; our national budget must reflect these values, so that these proclamations are more than platitudes - they are promises. When we invest in after-school programs, student supports, and increasing college access, we are not wasting our dollars, but investing in our students’ futures and the future of our country. We call on President Trump and Members of Congress to reconsider the many harmful cuts laid out in this budget proposal that will jeopardize students’ success and the long-term economic health of our nation.”
Although the proposed budget would increase Title I funds for underprivileged students, the funding would come with a new suggestion to use student-based budgeting, also known as portability, which dilutes funds intended for high-poverty schools by moving them to schools with less need.
“Congress created Title I funds as part of the War on Poverty in 1965 to support schools serving significant populations of low-income students. Sending dollars away from schools with the highest concentrations of poverty undermines the very purpose for which Title I was created,” stated Stone.
And, if enacted, the budget would completely defund Title II, a program that helps states hire and train high quality teachers and was included in the bipartisan 2015 ESSA legislation.
“The cutting of Title II funds that are specifically designed for preparing, training, and recruiting high quality teachers is a direct assault on public education and it shows a blatant disregard for students from low-income backgrounds like mine,” said Richard Johnson, a veteran fifth-grade special education teacher in New York and E4E member.
“A large and widely respected body of research shows that classroom teachers are the most important in-school factor in improving student achievement,” said Sydney Morris, Co-Founder and Co-Chief Executive Officer of Educators for Excellence. “Title II helps our hardest-to-staff schools recruit, retain and reward exceptional educators by providing opportunities for relevant professional development, teacher leadership and collaboration. Eliminating the funds that prepare teachers to learn, improve and excel will weaken the teaching profession and hurt every one of our children. We ask the President and Congress to listen to educators who know that these proven programs are crucial to supporting great teachers and great schools.”