Editor’s note: This story led off this week’s Mississippi Learning newsletter, which is delivered free to subscribers’ inboxes with trends and top stories about education in Mississippi. Subscribe today!
The Trump administration’s budget request for the 2020 fiscal year, released earlier this month, would cut roughly $8.5 billion in spending and eliminate 29 programs funded by the Department of Education. U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos described many of these programs as “duplicative and ineffective.” But what consequences would the cuts have on education in Mississippi? A new report by the Center for American Progress, a liberal-leaning think tank, indicates that Mississippi schools, students and teachers would feel the impact of these cuts, which could result in shutting out thousands of students who attend after-school programs and hampering efforts to improve teaching and keep class sizes down. Here’s how the report suggests the Magnolia state would be affected:
- The state would lose an estimated $29 million from the Supporting Effective Instruction State Grant, which helps districts pay for professional development for teachers and principals and enables it to hire more teachers — resulting in smaller class sizes. If the federal government cuts these funds, Mississippi could lose the equivalent of more than 680 teacher salaries statewide, the report states. A press release from the U.S. Department of Education highlights a new plan under which $300 million would go toward a nationwide teacher professional-development program in which teachers would receive stipends to “chart their own professional development.”
- More than $15 million would be cut from the funding Mississippi receives for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers after-school program, which helps communities create centers where children can participate in academic enrichment while not in school. The reduction in funding would mean nearly 22,000 students would lose access to services that aim to boost student performance in academic subjects and provide enrichment activities. Some centers also offer educational services to families in the community.
- Nearly $15 million would be eliminated from Mississippi’s share of the Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants, funds states can use for a variety of activities, including improving school conditions and expanding the use of technology.
Nationwide, the budget proposal would increase funding for the Charter School Program and double the DC Opportunity Scholarship Program. It would also increase funding for Career and Technical Education programs. Title I grants, which support low-income students, and IDEA grants, which support students with disabilities, would receive level funding.