School Choice & Charters

Charter Leaders to Trump: Your Budget Should Help All Schools, Not Just ‘Choice’

By Andrew Ujifusa — March 29, 2017 1 min read
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The federal charter school grant program was a winner in President Donald Trump’s proposed budget for education. But three big names in the charter school world say that unless Trump provides more support for a broad swath of education programs, his budget won’t help all students succeed.

Achievement First CEO Dacia Toll, KIPP Foundation CEO Richard Barth, and Uncommon Schools CEO Brett Peiser wrote in a USA Today op-ed that Trump needs to think more broadly about education in his budget than just helping charters and private schools.

The three charter leaders say they like Trump’s pitch to double current federal aid to charters and bring the total grant level to $500 million. But they criticize other parts of the budget that slashes work-study programs that help students attend college, AmeriCorps (which promotes national and community service), and restricts surplus funding for Pell Grants. And they want the president to think more broadly about the place of charters in the K-12 world:

We see charters as an important part of a much broader effort to revitalize public education in America. Already, in cities such as New York, Denver, St. Louis and Houston, we see ourselves as partners, not competitors, with traditional school districts. These partnerships, we hope, will only grow in the future. But to make that broader vision work, we need federal support for all schools, for all kids, not just kids in ‘choice’ schools.

Trump’s proposed budget for the U.S. Department of Education would cut $9 million from the agency, or about 13 percent. It would eliminate Title II grants for teacher professional development and class-size reductions, as well as funding for after-school and extended learning time programs.

President Donald Trump listens as Education Secretary Betsy DeVos speaks during a meeting with parents and teachers on Feb. 14 at the White House. --Evan Vucci/AP

A version of this news article first appeared in the Charters & Choice blog.