“Our nation’s commitment is to provide a quality education to every child to serve the public, common good. Accordingly, we must shift the paradigm to think of education funding as investments made in individual children, not in institutions or buildings.”– Secretary Betsy DeVos, March 29, 2017
From the beginning, the Trump Administration’s number one education priority has been to help ensure every student in America has an equal opportunity for a great education. Realizing that vision begins with giving parents more control and greater options. The President takes significant steps toward that goal with his 2018 budget, restoring decision-making power back to parents and state and local leaders – those who are closest to individual students and best equipped to address the unique challenges these students face every day.
Specifically, the budget supports the expansion of education choice and refocuses the Department’s funding priorities by making the following investments:
- $1 billion increase for new Furthering Options for Children to Unlock Success (FOCUS) grants. FOCUS funds are new dollars to support making sure each student, especially low-income students, has access to a public education that meets his or her needs. These funds are tied to the student, making sure the investment is made in him or her as an individual, not in a building or system.
- $250 million increase for private school choice. Increased funds for the Education Innovation and Research (EIR) program, a competitive award for applicants to provide scholarships for students from low-income families to attend the private school of their parents’ choice.
- $167 million increase for public school choice. Increased funds for the Charter Schools program to strengthen State efforts to start new charter schools or expand and replicate existing high-performing charter schools, while providing up to $100 million to meet the growing demand for charter school facilities.
This expansion of parental choice will especially benefit our most underserved communities, whose students are often trapped in schools that fail to meet their needs. By empowering these parents with choices, they’ll be able to choose an educational environment for their kids where they can grow and thrive.
State and local leaders know the individual students and their communities. Yet onerous regulations passed down from the federal government to state leaders have hindered rather than promoted student success. By removing these barriers, America’s students will be better prepared to bring about a new era of creativity and ingenuity to thrive in the 21st century.