Your Education Road Map

Politics K-12®

ESSA. Congress. State chiefs. School spending. Elections. Education Week reporters keep watch on education policy and politics in the nation’s capital and in the states. Read more from this blog.


Spending, Guns, and That DeVos Interview: 10 Big Federal Policy Stories of 2018

By Andrew Ujifusa — December 26, 2018 3 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Not quite ready to let 2018 go? Then hang on for a bit longer by reliving some of the biggest education stories of the year on the federal beat.

From a list of some of our most-read stories from Politics K-12, and one more from one of our fellow Education Week reporters, we selected 10 pieces that really resonated with our audience. Check out the list below:

1. Donald Trump Signs First Major Education Policy Bill of His Presidency

This Congress hasn’t gotten a great deal done on education, but it did pass a reauthorization of the federal law governing career and technical education over the summer, which President Donald Trump was very happy to sign.

2. Trump Seeks to Cut Education Budget by 5 Percent, Expand School Choice Push

For the second year in a row, Trump sought to slash the U.S. Department of Education’s budget while also creating new funding streams for school choice. For the second straight year, he failed.

3. DeVos May Bypass Congress to Get Rid of the Office for English-Learners. Can She?

Written by our colleague Corey Mitchell, this story explored Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ move to scrap the federal office of English-language acquisition, potentially without seeking approval from federal lawmakers.

4. Was Betsy DeVos’ ‘60 Minutes’ Interview a ‘Trainwreck’ or ‘Selectively Edited’?

DeVos caught a ton of heat for how she handled—or failed to handle, depending on your point of view—questions from interviewer Leslie Stahl. DeVos’ detractors said she revealed her ignorance, but her defenders said the interview was heavily edited.

5. President Trump Signs Spending Bill That Includes Billions More for Education

We mentioned earlier that Trump tried—and failed—to slash education spending in his fiscal 2019 budget plan. In fact, Congress sent him a spending bill that boosted Education Department funding as part of a larger appropriations package, and Trump signed it.

6. What Happens When States Un-Standardize Tests?

Ready for some sweet, sweet, non-Beltway content? Then read this story about new kinds of assessments states are trying out. This is an Every Student Succeeds Act story, so there’s an obvious federal angle, but it’s really about what states are doing.

7. Here’s Betsy DeVos’ Plan if There’s a Government Shutdown

Government shutdowns tend not to have a huge, immediate impact on schools. But the constant drama over a possible shutdown that always seems just around the corner creates more interest.

8. Trump Team Mulls Merger of Education, Labor Departments, Multiple Sources Say

Trump and company ultimately proposed merging the two departments in a proposal pitched by Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney. It made a big splash, but then sank like a stone and hasn’t really been heard of since—the proposal requires approval from Congress.

9. Here’s How the Public Views Teachers, Their Salaries, and Their Impact

Amid a wave of teacher protests and walkouts, we stepped back a bit and took a look at the public’s perception of whether educators are paid appropriately, whether teachers are seen as honest and ethical, and more.

10: Trump: Nation Should Consider Arming Teachers to Prevent School Shootings

Shortly after the school shooting in Parkland, Fla., the president said that an armed school staff member might have helped to prevent the tragedy. Trump’s school safety commission ultimately did say some districts should explore arming trained staff.

Photo: President Donald Trump speaks as he hosts a listening session about school violence with high school students, teachers and parents in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington a week after the shooting in Parkland, Fla. (Carolyn Kaster/AP)