Ruba would be provided to “alternatives” to traditional public



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5, 2017



      “Education is the foundation upon which
we build our future” (Christine Gregoire). Education is what has been shaping
the children of every generation. Its importance is something that cannot and
should not be ignored. Donald Trump and Secretary of Education Betsy Devos have
definitely been giving education a lot of attention. This past March Donald
Trump released his administrations first full budget, and all hope for more improvement
in the education department is lost. Here’s the nightmare that this Nations
education has in store.

There will be incredibly deep cuts for all, from kindergarten to higher
education. The $9.2 billion cut represents a 13.5 percent drop from the US
Department of Education’s budget $68.2 billion. These cuts remove the funding that
goes to many long-standing programs and federal government supports that aid children
and youth from low-income households. At the same time, more money would be
provided to “alternatives” to traditional public schools at the k-12 level. In doing
this many children and youth coming from low income families would not be able
to afford an education. These cuts are also going to increase the cost of
student loans, loans that student are already struggling to pay.

       In addition to eliminating funding to
teachers and after school programs the budget intends to dismantle 20 other critical
programs. These programs include but are not limited to, arts; foreign
language; science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM); literacy; history
and civics; gifted programs; mental health; bullying prevention; and enrichment
programs. Trump will also cut $12 million in funding for Special Olympics, not more
than a year after mocking a disabled reporter on the campaign trail.

       Trump and Devos have been very clear
about their priorities, and the administration is adamant on channeling part of
their savings to their top priority, school choice. It plans to spend about $400
million to expand charter schools, market strategies and vouchers to private
and religious schools. Multiple studies confirm that these strategies have hurt
kids. Recent studies of voucher programs in Ohio and Washington D.C., show that
students in these programs did worse than kids in traditional public schools. Private
voucher schools take money from neighborhood public schools, lack the
accountability that public schools have, fail to protect kids from
discrimination and increase segregation. It’s incredibly dangerous when facts like
these aren’t taken into account when it comes to education. Schools are meant
to be safe places for children, they’re meant to be welcoming and comfortable
for students. This is believed by parents who send their children to voucher
schools and parents who send their kids to public schools. Unfortunately, both
Devos and Trump emasculate the rights of kids who look and feel different,
especially by cutting funding for school health and safety programs.

       What is being done by Devos and Trump
stands as the complete opposite of the bipartisan consensus the US reached in
2015 when Congress passed an education law that shifted the focus from testing
to teaching, pushed decision making back into states and communities and
invested funds into the schools that needed it most. It gave us the opportunity
to finally focus on what is known to be most beneficial for students, promoting
the well-being of the children, engaging in powerful learning, building larger
capacities of teachers and fostering cultures of teamwork and cooperation. Not only
does the Trump agenda jeopardize their work, their view on education as a
commodity rather than a public good threaten the foundation of democracy and
the peoples’ responsibility to provide opportunity to all of Americas people.

       The deep connection Americans have to
public schools and how strongly they believe in them isn’t hard to notice. It can
be seen in the way parents, teachers, students, and communities talk about
public schools and what they want for public schools. This surpassed politics
and has a greater impact. It’s the reason why we saw such a massive response to
the nomination of Devos in all corners of the country.

       People love, value and invest in their
public schools. From strong early childhood programs to robust robotics and
other activities that involve kids in powerful learning, to a community school
that guides kids who are at risk of dropping out on a path to graduation leading
them to a life of success. People value the public schools that provide a full-service
community health clinic, in-school social workers, a food pantry, parent
resource center, and so many more services for parents and kids. The public
schools that kids participate in after school programs, where there is a library
in every classroom and a reading room where students can build and improve in
their literary skills. The great things happening in these school are all
funded by federal dollars and under the Trump/ Devos budget they will cease to
exist. Those who voted for Trump did so because they believed that he would
provide them with the best and keep his promise to stand up for working people and
create more jobs. They didn’t vote for the dismantling of public education and
the promise and potential that it offers their children. Education is a right
that belongs to every individual of every race, religion, class etc. and society’s
main goal should be to continue improving education and making it more
accessible to those who are less fortunate. Hopefully, with the well-being of
all American people in mind, a new education plan will be introduced that doesn’t
throw vulnerable student under the bus, and will benefit everyone.