State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said President Donald Trump’s proposed budget is very disappointing and goes in the wrong direction with funding cuts that would hurt disadvantaged children, after school programs, teacher training, and other important services.
Torlakson said these cuts hurt programs that help prepare California students for jobs in the fiercely competitive, 21st century global economy.
Trump’s planned budget would take hundreds of millions of dollars from California by eliminating federal funds for programs that have proven successful in educating at-risk students, especially those from low-income backgrounds. It also reduces financial assistance to low-income college students. “These devastating cuts shortchange our schools. By failing to invest in our students, we fail our society, our economy, and our nation,” he said. “This proposal takes us backward, jeopardizing California’s progress in improving our schools and preparing students for college and the 21st century economy.”
The President’s proposal would take away up to $132 million from California’s award-winning after school programs, which provide academic support, fitness, nutrition, and other engaging programs that help keep students in school. California has the nation’s largest after school network with more than 4,500 before and after school programs serving about 825,000 students.
The budget proposal would also wipe out $241 million to train principals and teachers with the latest education techniques and information. Trump’s budget proposal also sets aside $250 million for a nationwide voucher program that would give public money to private schools. California voters have twice voted by large margins against voucher ballot measures.
“Voucher programs take taxpayer dollars away from public schools, starving them of the resources they need to provide a first-class education to students who remain in public schools,” he said. “Californians have said loudly and clearly that they do not want vouchers.” Torlakson said he will urge Congress to reject these proposals when he travels to Washington, D.C. next week to meet with legislators from both parties.
Torlakson said he was pleased that the Trump budget proposal retains support for special education programs, but called for the federal government to make good on its commitment to fund 40 percent of its mandates, a pledge that has never been fulfilled.
The California Department of Education is a state agency led by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. For more information, please visit http://www.cde.ca.gov/.