Trump-O-Meter

Dramatically scale back the U.S. Education Department

"Largely we can eliminate the Department of Education."


Updates

Trump administration Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan read to second-grade students at Carderock Springs Elementary School in Bethesda, Md. (Washington Post/Sarah L. Voisin)
Trump administration Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan read to second-grade students at Carderock Springs Elementary School in Bethesda, Md. (Washington Post/Sarah L. Voisin)

Trump budget proposal would cut department by 13% overall

As a presidential candidate, Donald Trump promised to dramatically scale back the Education Department. In his fiscal year 2018 budget proposal, he doesn't come close to eliminating the department, but he did urge deep cuts.

Overall, his proposed budget would fund the department at $59 billion -- a $9 billion, or 13 percent, reduction from the prior year.

The cuts would include:

• Eliminating Supporting Effective Instruction State Grants program, which generally supports professional development for teachers and efforts to reduce class size. (Savings: $2.4 billion)

• Eliminating the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program for before-school, after-school and summer programs. ($1.2 billion)

• Eliminating the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant program, which offers need-based financial aid for higher education. ($732 million)

• Reducing funding for federal TRIO programs (eight separate efforts targeted toward low-income and first-generation college students as well as students with disabilities) and for the GEAR UP program (which offers grants to states and partnerships to improve high-poverty, middle- and high schools). ($193 million combined)

That said, the budget proposal would maintain current spending levels for historically black colleges and universities; Pell Grants, a financial-aid program for higher education; and IDEA programs for students with special-education needs.

In addition, the budget would increase funding in certain areas favored by conservative education reformers, including an additional $1.4 billion for public- and private-school choice.

Presidential budget proposals are always opening volleys in the debate between the administration and Congress over how much executive branch agencies should be funded, so we'll have to see whether these cuts are actually enacted before giving this promise a final rating. The proposal also doesn't "largely … eliminate" the department.

Still, Trump's budget shows that he continues to seek deep cuts in the Education Department, so we rate his promise In the Works.

Sources:

Office of Management and Budget, presidential budget proposal, fiscal year 2018

Education Department, main web page for GEAR UP program, accessed March 29, 2017

Education Department, main web page for TRIO programs, accessed March 29, 2017

New America Foundation, "Should 'Supporting Effective Instruction State Grants' Be Saved?" March 17, 2017

PolitiFact Trump-O-Meter promise, "Ensure funding for historic black colleges," accessed March 29, 2017