Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Congress To DeVos: "Nope"

The House has passed a budget, and Betsy DeVos's Education Freedom Tax Dodge is not in it.

This is not a big surprise, though both Kellyanne Conway and Donald Trump stepped up in recent weeks to try to help sell it.

EdWeek reports that the deal struck by federal lawmakers has nary a cent for the Education Freedom Scholarships program. The program was "ignored" and there is neither money for administering that "fund a private school and get out of paying your taxes all at the same time" program, nor does it address the $5 billion budgetary hole that the DeVos plan would create. The program, despite all the DeVosian love lavished upon it, has been ghosted.

EdWeek notes a few other education items.

Trump asked for a 10% cut to the department and the elimination of twenty-nine programs. That didn't happen (though it's worth noting that many Trump appointees like DeVos have figured out that you can cut spending in your department by simply letting positions stand empty).

There is more money for Title I. It's about a 3% increase, while Democratic candidates are calling for increases of 200% to 300%.

The Charter Schools Program-- the fund that has wasted a billion dollars on charter school waste and fraud-- will stay art current levels, with neither the boost the GOP wanted nor the cut that Democrats called for.

And special ed funding will once again not be increased to its full, required level. This makes forever years for Congress to stiff the states on the granddaddy of all unfunded mandates. Thanks a lot, Congress.

Notably, for the first time in twenty years, the budget will fund studies of gun violence by the Center for Disease Control and the National Institute of Health. Apparently the DeVos-led school safety commission recommendation that schools need more guns and surveillance didn't settle the issue for everyone. Go figure.

All in all, an encouraging batch of results, and a reminder that one good thing about Betsy DeVos as ed secretary is that she's incapable of getting much done.

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