Coons Concerned About Trump’s Deep Cuts To Education Budget

A couple of weeks ago, I posted responses I received from U.S. Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (DE) and U.S. Senator Thomas Carper (DE) concerning the FY2018 U.S. Department of Education budget.  Yesterday, I received the following from U.S. Senator Chris Coons (DE).

Dear Mr. Ohlandt:
 
Thank you for contacting me regarding President Trump’s Fiscal Year 2018 budget and the proposed cuts to education programs. I appreciate your taking the time to write to me about this issue.
 
As someone who has served as a countywide elected official charged with writing balanced budgets, I have long viewed budgets as not just a collection of numbers and programs, but also a statement about our basic values. Unfortunately, the budget proposed by President Trump denies our basic values by balancing the budget on the backs of children, seniors, the poor, and the middle class, while cutting investments essential for our nation’s future. We need a budget that preserves our social safety net and recognizes that investments in infrastructure, research, health care, and education are critical to growing our economy and supporting a strong middle class.
I am particularly concerned about the President’s proposed $9.2 billion cut to the Department of Education. Among other programs, this budget eliminates the 21st Century Community Learning Centers afterschool program, Title II grants for teacher training, and Title IV grants for academic enrichment and student support. The budget also proposes drastic cuts to programs like TRIO, GEAR UP, and Federal Work-Study that help low-income students access college, as well as eliminates the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program that incentivizes individuals to take public sector jobs. These cuts help fund $1.4 billion in school choice initiatives, including $1 billion for Title I portability, an increase for the charter school grant program, and a new private school choice initiative.
As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, you can be sure that I will advocate to reverse these cuts to critical Department of Education programs, as well as support access to quality public K-12 and post-secondary education. You might be pleased to know that I cosigned a number of letters this May to the Senate Appropriations Committee advocating for funding for a variety of education programs, including: 21st Century Community Learning Centers; Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA); Title II School Leader Recruitment and Support Program; Title IV Student Success and Academic Enrichment Block Grant; Teacher Quality Partnership Grants; Pell Grants; and, campus-based student financial aid programs like Federal Work Study and Perkins Loans. Please know that I will do all I can to prioritize funding these important programs as Congress moves through the Fiscal Year 2018 Appropriations process.
Again, thank you for contacting me. I am honored to represent Delaware in the United States Senate and value hearing from constituents on issues of concern. My website, http://www.coons.senate.gov, can provide additional details about my work in the Senate, including legislation and state projects. I value your input and hope you will continue to keep me informed of the issues that matter to you.
Sincerely,
 
Christopher A. Coons
United States Senator

 

Secretary Godowsky Wants To Add $87 Million To Delaware Education Budget & His Stance On House Bill 50

I support the Governor’s position.

Thank you Matt Bittle with the Delaware State News for covering the budget talks in Dover yesterday.  Delaware Secretary of Education Dr. Steven Godowsky wants to increase the education budget by $87 million for more funds to go towards the general operating budget and an additional $5 million for the capital portion of the education budget.  The article explained how the education portion of the state budget is currently $1.3 billion and the proposed increase would bring it to $1.39 billion.  Of the requested increases, $44.7 would go to salaries, $15.8 towards “projected growth”, and $9.5 to “technology initiatives”, “safety measures”, and funding for “ELL students”.

The article also reported Godowsky does not stand with parents and educators on the controversial opt-out legislation, House Bill 50.  The bill passed the House and Senate earlier in the year, but Governor Jack Markell vetoed the popular legislation.  As predicted, he talked about the whole assessment inventory and how there are too many tests.  But no one with the ability to change things is talking about getting rid of the Smarter Balanced Assessment.  That will be number one with a bullet for me in 2016!  Godowsky’s whole claim about communicating and sharing information better is a crock!

That’s our big priority, that we communicate better, share information and get a good sense of where we’re going,” he said.  He described himself as “optimistic” that cooperation would be improved.

I have yet to see this renewed sense of transparency Secretary Godowsky…