A think tank has analyzed Donald Trump’s proposed plan to eliminate the Department of Education – and the potential consequences would be devastating. In his “book,”
Trump Trump’s ghostwriter writes “A lot of people believe the Department of Education should just be eliminated. Get rid of it. If we don’t eliminate it completely, we certainly need to cut its power and reach.” He also went on FOX News and said that the Department of Education “can be largely eliminated. Now, you maybe want to have a little bit of tentacles out there”
By a “lot of people” he of course means “a lot of rich white people who would rather turn public schools funds into vouchers so that white families can send their kids to taxpayer-funded Christian schools.” The Center For American Progress broke down exactly what eliminating the Department of Education and the public school system would do for the American people, and it is truly appalling.
- 8 million students every year would lose Pell grants
- 490,000 or more teacher positions could be eliminated
- $1.3 trillion in student loans would be at risk
- 9 million low-income students would lose $15 billion of Title I funding annually
- 5 million children and students with disabilities would lose $12.7 billion used every year to ensure that they receive a quality education
- 750,000 or more students from military families, Native American students, students living in U.S. territories, and students living on federal property or Native American lands would lose $1.1 billion per year for their schools
- 4,000 or more rural school districts would lose more than $175 million used annually to help improve the quality of teaching and learning in many hard-to-staff schools
- $700 million used by states to support the 5 million English language learners currently in public schools—representing close to 10 percent of all students—would be cut.
The Department of Education receives around $77 billion in funds every year. In contrast, the US government spends $600 billion on defense and military operations every year and has spent $1.6 trillion on overseas wars since September 11th, 2001. Trump’s plans for the economy are projected to cost $9.5 trillion over ten years, so the money “saved” would be a drop in the bucket.
Which doesn’t even begin to include the unquantifiable harm it would do to our nation’s children and their educations. States already are woefully deficient in funding pre-kindergarten programs, which are vital to healthy brain development. However, high school graduation rates and college graduation rates are at an all-time high; cutting all these jobs and all this critical funding would be a terrible blow to our nation’s young people and their futures.
John Adams once wrote that “laws for the liberal education of youth, especially of the lower class of people, are so extremely wise and useful, that, to a humane and generous mind, no expense for this purpose would be thought extravagant.” Unfortunately, it appears that our next president is neither humane nor generous. He and his billionaire cronies would rather spend that money on corporate tax breaks than invest in the next generation of American students.
Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.