President Donald Trump, who is seeking to cut the U.S. Department of Education’s budget by $9 billion, plans to donate his $100,000 salary for this quarter to the agency, to help pay for a camp focused on science, technology, engineering, and math, or STEM. His press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, announced the donation Wednesday.
Trump has already moved to get rid of existing federal programs that school districts can and do use for STEM in his first-ever budget request, released earlier this year. For instance, he wants to totally scrap the $1.1 billion 21st Century Community Learning Center program, which finances after-school and summer programs, including many with a STEM focus.
The White House has also sought to zero out the brand-new Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants, one of the few federal programs that school districts can use for science and technology. Lawmakers in the House who oversee education spending ignored Trump’s asks and approved funding for both programs anyway.
Trump’s education secretary, Betsy DeVos, did not address those proposed budget cuts in short remarks at the White House budget briefing Wednesday.
Instead, she thanked Trump for his “generous gift” and talked about having hosted a summer reading event Tuesday with the president’s daughter, Ivanka, at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, at a STEM-focused exhibit.
“It was fun to see their eyes light up as they got to explore, create, and experiment in a collaborative environment,” DeVos said of the kids attending the event. “Today’s and tomorrow’s economy requires engaged students, boys and girls, are prepared for STEM careers. ... We want to encourage as many children as possible to explore STEM fields in the hope that many develop a passion for these fields.”
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, right, hands Education Secretary Betsy DeVos a check signed by President Donald Trump in the Brady Press Briefing room of the White House on July 26. President Trump donated his second quarter salary to the Education Department.
--Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP
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