President Donald Trump’s newly released 2018 budget calls for an increase in federal spending on school choice programs by $1.4 billion, ultimately reaching an annual total of $20 billion.
According to the budget, state and local matching funds for public and private school choice could mean $100 billion total would be spent on such programs.
Additional spending in 2018 on school choice would include:
A $168 million increase for charter schools, $250 million for a new private school choice program, and a $1 billion increase for Title I, dedicated to encouraging districts to adopt a system of student- based budgeting and open enrollment that enables Federal, State, and local funding to follow the student to the public school of his or her choice.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES):
A public charter school is a publicly funded school that is typically governed by a group or organization under a legislative contract (or charter) with the state or jurisdiction. The charter exempts the school from certain state or local rules and regulations. In return for flexibility and autonomy, the charter school must meet the accountability standards outlined in its charter. A school’s charter is reviewed periodically (typically every 3 to 5 years) by the group or jurisdiction that granted it and can be revoked if guidelines on curriculum and management are not followed or if the accountability standards are not met.
The plan calls for continuing $13 billion in funding for students with disabilities under the IDEA program and $492 million for Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Minority-Serving Institutions. However, Trump’s proposed budget would eliminate $3.6 billion in support for programs for instruction support, before and after-school and summer programs – all of which the plan observes, “lack evidence” of meeting the goals of improving student achievement.
Trump’s budget plan also calls for either eliminating or reducing “over 20 categorical programs that do not address national needs, duplicate other programs, or are more appropriately supported with State, local, or private funds.” Among those programs mentioned are: Striving Readers, Teacher Quality Partnership, Impact Aid Support Payments for Federal Property, and International Education programs.
Overall, Trump’s budget for next year offers $59 billion in discretionary funding for the federal Department of Education, an amount the plan says represents “a $9 billion or 13 percent reduction below the 2017 annualized CR level.”