In January, there was a hard fought battle over the confirmation of Betsy DeVos as secretary of education. “Compassionate conservative” Rob Portman was begged by Ohioans to vote NO, and considering that it took a tie breaking vote by the Vice President to confirm this nominee, a NO vote by Portman would have made all the difference.
Now in May, as the President’s budget is being rolled out, the real dangers of an anti-public school Education Secretary who has no experience dealing with a huge budget or, apparently, concern for students are clear.
Details of the Proposed Education Budget
Here are some of the “highlights” reported by NPR:
- Overall $9.2 billion in cuts to Education — 13.5% of the overall Education budget
- College students with loans will be hurt:
- Subsidized interest on student loans will end, meaning that students will be subject to market-level interest (just as interest rates are set to go up!)
- Eliminate the public service loan forgiveness plan, an option that encourages graduates to work for the government and qualifying non-profits: professions like teachers, doctors, and lawyers (half a million people are currently enrolled in this program)
- $1 billion in federal K-12 funds will be reallocated to DeVos’ “school choice” program: taking money out of public schools.
- $2.1 billion in cuts to teacher training and class-size reduction programs.
- $1.2 billion in cuts to the after-school program that serves 2 million children
- elimination of a $400 million “fund for student support and academic enrichment.”
Rob Portman Should Fight for Ohio Students, Parents, Teachers, and Schools
In defending his vote for DeVos’ confirmation, Rob Portman said
An important fact that has been missed in the debate over her nomination is that she strongly supports local control of education and has pledged not to impose her own views on states and local school districts, but rather to allow them — along with parents — to make the decisions that best fit the needs of their children.
But through these draconian cuts in funding and by redirected money from public schools to voucher programs that can fund private schools, aren’t DeVos and her ilk imposing a pretty specific view of education? It’s hard to exert local control when localities do not have sufficient funds to train teachers, keep class sizes reasonable, provide programs for underprivileged students, etc.
And what about the financial burdens that this budget will impose on college grads, who are already struggling with debt?
The good news is that this budget requires Congressional approval, so Senators like Rob Portman will have a chance to challenge and change cuts like these.
Rob Portman let us down by voting for DeVos. Tell him that he needs to fight for us when it comes to her budget!