March 21, 2017
I stand with the Council of Great City Schools in their statement on the Trump administration’s preliminary education budget. The council, which represents and advocates for the nation’s largest urban school districts, correctly identifies the extreme dangers of this budget, due to overall funding cuts and unprecedented investments. These concepts – vouchers and portability – were roundly rejected in the successful bipartisan effort to pass the Every Student Succeeds Act.
Both Republicans and Democrats agreed at the time that supporting strong neighborhood public schools was a national priority. President Trump’s preliminary budget negates any sense of bipartisan cooperation moving forward, and diverts essential funding for our neighborhood schools toward unprecedented investments in untested and unproven programs.
The president’s proposed education budget is a reckless gamble with the aspirations of children and families, who rely on public education to fulfill their American dreams. Eliminating teacher improvement programs, college access programs and afterschool programs represents a draconian attack on communities that depend on these investments to improve instruction and to keep our kids safe. Flat-lining funding for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and non-portability Title I programs sends a clear message that our president and our education secretary do not care about urban public school students, their families, their teachers or their communities.
I am proud to align with L.A. Unified Superintendent Michelle King, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson and public education leaders across the nation as we vow to resist this budget, and all efforts to defund and privatize public education. We now turn to congressional leaders from both parties, asking them to reject this attack on our core values and upon the soul of our public schools. Together, we can send a very different message of hope to our students, their teachers and our school families.