Opinion
Education Opinion

Winter Is Coming: What Trump’s Budget Proposal Means for Public Education

By Megan M. Allen — August 08, 2017 2 min read

This is not my first time seeing clear connections between my favorite show and the state of public education. I also need to preface that much of this information was collected and prepared by The National Network of State Teachers of the Year’s (NNSTOY) Government Affairs Committee and Day on the Hill Committee in preparation for NNSTOY’s Day on the Hill (read more on that amazingly productive day of advocacy here). Mad props to those committees for the work compiled below. The proposed cuts were so great (and amazingly scary), that I thought this needed to not just be inward facing information for NNSTOY members, but outward facing with the larger education community (and all constituents who care about public education).

So the connection to Game of Thrones:

Did you know that Trump’s Budget Request for FY 2018 includes over $9 billion (BILLION) worth of cuts? That’s about 13% cuts to the US Department of Education.

What does this mean? Though schools receive more funding from district and state budgets than federal education, the key here is where the cuts are coming from. Cuts that directly impact teacher learning, which directly impacts student learning. Cuts that impact Title 1 funding that supports our high-poverty students, cuts that eliminate money for after-school programs for our high-poverty students.

Winter is coming.

According to NNSTOY, here are the biggest budgetary blows:


  • $2.1 billion cut from Title II-A of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which consists of grants for states and districts to support personnel development (teacher professional learning and professional development),
  • $1.2 billion cut from 21st Century After School Programs (which provide academic enrichment opportunities for students, particularly in high-poverty and low-performing schools),
  • $600 million from Title 1 of ESSA (these funds provide federal money to make up for inequities in our high-poverty schools),
  • $400 million from Title IV-A of ESSA, which is for Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants (these are flexible funding sources for states to improve academic achievement. States then can source out to districts, who can use the money to promote a “well-rounded education, safe and healthy students, and the effective use of technology”).
  • $148 million cut in Career and Technical Education, and
  • $190 million cut in Literacy Development Grants.

There is more, but according to NNSTOY, these are the biggest losers.

Winter is coming.

So, how can we be our own Jon Snow? And what might this mean for your own classroom or community as Winter draws near?

More to come, for in the next few days, a handful of my colleagues will share what it means for their classrooms and contexts. Stay tuned to meet the student faces that these proposed cuts would impact.

A few resources to check out and share in the meantime:

And sage advice from NNSTOY’s Policy Advisor Jane West (and one of my edu-heroes): The next action is most likely the Senate Appropriations subcommittee and then committee, in September. That should be the focus of the next round of advocacy.

Grab your dragons, advocates. It’s time to fight the good fight.

Photo courtesy of Brian MacDonald with a little meme sparkle from https://imgflip.com/memegenerator.

The opinions expressed in An Edugeek’s Guide to K-12 Practice and Policy are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

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