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Education Department’s Budget Includes Some Words Barred at the CDC

By Alyson Klein — December 21, 2017 2 min read
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Alert George Carlin: As you probably know by now, the Center for Disease Control has been told not to use seven words and phrases in its budget request for 2019, which will be officially released early next year, along with the rest of the Trump administration’s budget.

Those words are: “vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “diversity,” “transgender,” “fetus,” “evidence-based,” and “science-based.” (The Department of Health and Human Services, which administers the CDC, disputed the report in a statement to CNN, calling it a “mischaracterization.”)

So are there certain words that the U.S. Department of Education has been told are no-no’s? No, according to a spokesman. In fact, at least three of the words that the CDC has been told are no-go’s were included in the Education Department’s most recent budget request, released last spring by the Trump administration.

Here’s a quick look at a few examples:


  • The Trump administration sought "$370 million for Education Innovation and Research to expand support for evidence-based initiatives to develop, validate, and scale up effective education interventions that help states and districts meet [federal] requirements.”
  • The budget asks for "$2 million for Supporting Effective Educator Development (SEED) to provide evidence-based professional development activities and prepare teachers and principals from nontraditional preparation and certification routes to serve in high-need [districts].”
  • The phrase is also used multiple times in the budget for the Institute for Education Sciences, the department’s research arm. That includes a description of the agency’s mission. The documents say IES works “to produce and support the use of evidence-based practices in the field and in the Department.” And it says the agency can help “states and school districts implement the new [Every Student Succeeds Act] requirements to use evidence-based interventions in schools” singled out for extra help.


  • The budget proposal describes both Title I grants for districts and special education state grants as programs benefitting “vulnerable” students.


  • The budget notes that charter school grants can be allocated to schools that embrace “strategies for increasing racial and socioeconomic diversity.”

Want more? Check out this commentary piece from Gloria Ladson-Billings is the president of the National Academy of Education on the potential impact of “banned words” on schools.

Photo: AP Photo/Pablo Martinez

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Holly Peele, Library Director contributed to this article.