The US President’s proposal for deep cuts to budgets of federal administrations has been met with strong criticism by key education unions, stressing that this would greatly undermine public education and students’ equality of chances,EI reports.
Slashing the federal investment in public education programmes by a huge 13.5 percent for the upcoming fiscal year, “this budget takes a meat cleaver to public education,” underlined the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President Randi Weingarten, who talked about “the biggest cuts to the education budget we can recall—even during times of great fiscal stress”.
In her 16 March statement on the US President’s $1.1 trillion USD spending plan, which envisions deep cuts in most areas to pay for a 10 percent rise in spending for military and border security, she went on to say that “only someone who doesn’t know what public schools do and what kids need would contemplate or countenance these kinds of cuts.”
This budget also includes both backdoor and ‘front-door’ voucher programs that further the Trump administration’s ideological crusade against public education, she noted.
“These cuts, if enacted, will turn into real-life effects on kids,” Weingarten further warned, by doing what teacher unionists feared would happen when Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was nominated, most notably to “defund public schools with the aim of destabilising and destroying them,” “slashing community schools, professional development and class-size funding,” and “cutting what works to help students succeed”.
NEA: a budget that “deprives students of opportunity”
The National Education Association (NEA) President Lily Eskelsen García echoed these clear warnings, stating that the outlined budget’s priorities “are reckless and wrong for students and families,” and “if enacted, the Trump budget will crush the dreams of students and deprive millions of opportunities”.
Reaffirming that educators believe a great public education is critical to ensuring student opportunity and success, she was adamant that “the Donald Trump and Betsy DeVos scheme to take taxpayer dollars from public schools to fund private school vouchers is misguided and would harm our students,” failing to provide opportunity to all of them.
According to her, the planned budget also undermines the American people’s core values by depleting public education while wasting taxpayer money to implement a “discriminatory and hateful anti-immigrant agenda”.
She assured that educators will continue to stand up for all students and for the promise of public education.
Other civil society groups joined in the teaching profession’s disapproval and started issuing angry statements against the proposed US Executive’s budget. For example, Christine Owens, the executive director of the National Employment Law Project, called the proposed cuts to the Labour Department a “draconian” budget that “is virtually a complete breach of faith with America’s workers,” and Amnesty International qualified the cuts to foreign aid as “shameful” and predicted “global consequences.” Even members of the US President’s party questioned some of the cuts — and what was not being cut.