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Trump’s education budget signals new era of school choice and competition

President Trump is set to release his full federal education budget next week, but recent reports provide a sneak peek into what the administration has in store for America’s schools.

Much like the administration’s initial budget outline released in March, this comprehensive budget signals a massive shakeup to America’s public education system.

For more on the current school choice environment read Infographic: Numbers don’t lie. School choice is here. Here’s how to compete.

“Near-final” budget documents obtained by the Washington Post outline huge cuts, and even the complete elimination of many public education programs in favor of programs intended to expand school choice.

Here’s three big takeaways from the upcoming budget proposal, as reported by the Post:

1. Over $10 billion in cuts

The budget proposal aims to reduce net Department of Education funding by $9.2 billion—or more than 13 percent of its current funding level. At the same, an additional $1.4 billion would go to expanding school choice programs.

2. School choice programs grow by nearly $1.4 billion

It’s no secret that school choice is a top priority for the Trump administration. According to the documents, the latest budget proposal would seek to expand choice options two ways. First, $400 million would be devoted to the expansion of charter schools and voucher programs for private schools. Second, a new grant program would send $1 billion worth of Title I funds to school districts that allow students to attend the public school of their choice, a practice known as portability.

3. After-school and other programs to be eliminated

In all, 22 current education spending programs would be eliminated from the federal education budget. That includes funding for after-school programs as well as teacher training and class-size reduction. The cuts would also eliminate a recently-created fund to support mental-health services, AP courses, and anti-bullying programs. Other initiatives, such as adult literacy and career-technical education programs, would suffer reductions of at least 15 percent.

It’s worth noting that the final budget proposal has yet to be released, and these are just initial reports. It also should be noted that presidents’ early budget proposals rarely mirror the final budgets approved by Congress.

As a spokesman for Senate Education Committee Chair Lamar Alexander reminded the Washington Post earlier this week, “under the Constitution, Congress passes appropriations bills.”

Next week is sure to be an important week for education in America. Along with the budget announcement, Politico reports that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is scheduled to give a major policy speech to the American Federation for Children–the school choice advocacy group she ran before becoming Secretary of Education.

What do you think of the latest on the president’s budget proposal? What steps are your schools taking to stay competitive in the face of expanding school choice programs? Tell us in the comments.