Trump And DeVos’s Priority For Education — Taking Resources From Public Schools, Giving Tax Dollars To Voucher Schemes And For-Profit Scam Schools

COLUMBUS — The Ohio Democratic Party, Ohio Federation of Teachers and Innovation Ohio held a press call this afternoon to preview Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s visit to the Buckeye State tomorrow.

Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper:

While Donald Trump and Betsy DeVos may say one thing about investing in Ohio students, their budgets have shown their true priority, which has always been taking resources away from programs that help kids and support educators — programs like the one that will be highlighted at Butler Tech tomorrow — while giving away tax dollars to voucher schemes and for-profit scam schools — sort of like Trump’s fake university.

Ohio Federation of Teachers President Melissa Cropper:

In Ohio, we’ve seen what happens in the for-profit education world. We end up with situations like ECOT [the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow], which still owes the state of Ohio more than $100 million for falsifying enrollment and participation data. Earlier this week, we learned that in ECOT’s final year, when they sought funding to cover 4,666 students, not one of those students were actually documented as meeting state attendance requirements. Not one.

Yet rather than fund our traditional public schools, which educate approximately 90 percent of Ohio students, Secretary DeVos wants to give up to $5 billion a year in federal tax credits for donations to state-designated school choice “scholarship programs,” and $500 million for an expansion of charter schools, an increase of $60 million over 2019. These changes would siphon more funding away from essential programs to make our public schools more accessible and equitable.

Innovation Ohio’s Stephen Dyer:

I look forward to Secretary DeVos coming to the Buckeye State to see how her misguided policies have harmed Ohio students. Her blind devotion to removing public tax dollars from children in publicly accountable school districts to give to mostly unaccountable private and charter schools has been an overall failure here. And I welcome her willingness to come see that the best educational work in this state is overwhelmingly done by the teachers, leaders and children who attend Ohio’s local public schools.

From Innovation Ohio (“Private School Vouchers: The Ohio Lesson”):

  • Students who take vouchers perform worse than their public school peers on state assessments. Some of the highest performing school districts in the state lose money and students to vouchers, turning the original intent of the program on its head.

From the Center for American Progress (“Trump’s Education Budget Ignores Needs of Students and Schools”):

  • Trump’s budget proposal would eliminate 29 programs and includes cuts totaling $8.5 billion — that’s a 12 percent decrease from the current fiscal year.

  • The Trump/DeVos budget has a $2.1 billion cut to a federal grant program that supports teacher salaries and professional development. That $2.1 billion cut equals 35,000 teachers across the country.

    • Here in Ohio, the proposed cut would be nearly $74 million — that would cover the salary for about 1,300 teachers in the Buckeye State.

  • The Trump/DeVos budget also slashes funding for 21st Century Community Learning Centers — they provide opportunities for children who come from low-income families to receive academic support outside of regular school hours.

    • Ohio would lose nearly $42 million in federal funding for this program under the Trump/DeVos proposal. More than 58,000 kids in Ohio would lose out.

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown: