President Trump and Secretary DeVos released their first full education budget on Tuesday. Below is State Superintendent Chris Reykdal’s statement.
OLYMPIA—MAY 23, 2017—Public education is the foundation of prosperity and democracy, and it allows every child in the U.S. the opportunity to receive the tools they need to succeed in their post-high school aspirations, careers, and life.
The first full budget proposed by President Donald Trump and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos would cut $9.2 billion from our nation’s education system. The budget proposal would eliminate 22 federal education programs, including:
•an afterschool program that mostly benefits low-income students,
•Special Olympics education programs,
•career and technical education,
•international education and world language programs,
•educator training and class-size reductions, and more.
The cuts are proposed under the guise of increased efficiency, but the administration is really suggesting less funding for some of our most vulnerable students.
The President and Secretary are pushing an ideological agenda by abolishing programs that students and parents rely on for successful graduation, and trading our public school values with the offer of privatization: voucher programs, charter schools, private schools, and religious schools.
Moreover, Article IX, section 4 of the Washington State Constitution explicitly prevents state dollars from going toward religious schools. This notion actually pre-dates statehood! Never before have we in the Pacific Northwest thought it was acceptable to spend state dollars on religious schools. The Trump administration’s plan steps on our core values as Washingtonians.
Additionally, public schools are led by elected local school boards. Their meetings are open to the public and minutes are posted for public access. That transparency is not required of private, religious, and charter schools. For private and religious schools; decisions about where and how money is spent and how decisions are made are not required to be disclosed to the public.
Washington state will not make this false “choice” of privatization a priority. Our priority will always be to create an equitable, effective, and high-quality public education system that prepares every student for life beyond high school.
Data consistently show that Washington state does not receive an equal return on what we give to the federal government. Washington is consistently in the top 20 states of federal taxes paid but in the bottom 20 when it comes to federal dollars spent in our state. So taking program funding from our students to support privatization in other states is an ideological jab from the Trump administration.
Please: contact your U.S. Representative and Senators to make your concerns heard about this downright cruel budget proposal.
Washington state will not give in to false ideological beliefs about the privatization of education, because we value what our public schools offer: an opportunity for success for every single student.