Statement on President Trump’s proposed budget

Chiefs for Change
May 23, 2017

Today, President Trump released his proposed federal budget for the upcoming fiscal year. The President’s budget has some bright spots, such as increased funding to help more students attend quality public charter schools. However, we are deeply disappointed that the Trump Administration has proposed slashing more than $9.2 billion for education programs, including the entire Title II-A program to support high-quality teachers and school leaders.

Chiefs for Change members believe that all students should have quality public school choices, and kids shouldn’t be restricted to a school that doesn’t meet their needs. An additional $168 million in funding for the Charter Schools Program to open, expand, and replicate high-quality charters and their networks will help additional students and families in our communities access great schools and educational opportunities that will prepare them for college and careers.

“By their nature, school choice initiatives have the potential to dramatically expand opportunity for disadvantaged American children and their families,” said Louisiana State Superintendent John White. “To realize that potential, policy makers must provide critical assurances regarding quality, equitable access, and equitable funding. These assurances, far from hindering the expansion of options for families, catalyze the expansion of quality school choices and provide for their sustainable management and governance at great scale.”

Chiefs for Change’s full statement on school choice can be read here.

But great schools cannot exist without great teachers and principals. This budget, if enacted, would strip our state and district Chiefs, collectively, of more than $280 million each year in Title II-A funding that they are using in effective new ways to improve teacher and principal quality and, ultimately, increase student success. These opportunities are significant and critical.

“Eliminating the Title II-A program would not only make it harder to recruit, prepare, and retain great teachers but would also squander the opportunity to use federal funds in more innovative ways as envisioned in the bipartisan Every Student Succeeds Act,” said Deborah Gist, Superintendent of Tulsa Public Schools.

We’re also disappointed to see that the former School Improvement Grant program funds were not moved into Title I-A as authorized under the Every Student Succeeds Act to support school improvement efforts. This could lead to an ultimate cut in Title I formula funds going to states and districts.

“As bold, innovative state and district leaders, we recognize that smart investments in public education will help close achievement gaps and ensure all students receive an excellent education regardless of background, zip code, or economic situation. Those funds should be spent on practices that directly improve teaching and learning while expanding access to quality schools equitably,” said New Mexico Education Secretary Hanna Skandera.

We look forward to working with Congress to ensure that any final spending bill includes robust funding for critical programs, like Title II-A, so that our members can continue to lead the country in using these funds in more effective ways on behalf of the students and educators they serve. And we further look forward to working with Congress to ensure that investments in school choice initiatives lead to the expansion of quality school options, especially for our most disadvantaged students.

About Chiefs for Change:

Chiefs for Change is a coalition of state education Chiefs and district superintendents dedicated to excellence and equity for all students. Chiefs for Change members lead education systems serving 5.3 million students, 350,000 teachers, and 10,000 schools.