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Center for American Progress Says Trump Plan to Eliminate U.S. Department of Education Puts 500,000 Teacher Jobs at Risk, Scraps Pell Grants for 8 Million Low-Income Students, and Cuts Resources for Over 25 Million Disadvantaged Students

Washington, D.C. — Ahead of a scheduled address from Donald Trump that will in part focus on education, a new analysis released today by the Center for American Progress Action Fund reveals the devastating national and state effects of the Republican presidential candidate’s proposal to eliminate or drastically cut the U.S. Department of Education. Under Trump’s plan, close to 500,000—or 14 percent—of all K-12 public school teachers nationwide could be at risk of losing their job, 8 million students would lose Pell grants, and more than 8 million students could be affected by the loss of their teacher. Other findings include:

  • 9 million low-income students would lose $15 billion of Title I funding annually
  • 5 million children and students with disabilities would lose $12.7 billion used every year to ensure that they receive a quality education
  • 750,000 or more students from military families, Native American students, students living in U.S. territories, and students living on federal property or Native American lands would lose $1.1 billion per year for their schools
  • 4,000 or more rural school districts would lose more than $175 million used annually to help improve the quality of teaching and learning in many hard to staff schools
  • $700 million used by states to support the 5 million English language learners currently in public schools—representing close to 10 percent of all students—would be cut

The analysis includes an interactive map with state-by-state breakdowns of potential teacher jobs lost, students affected, and budgets harmed.

Trump is scheduled to speak in Detroit, Michigan, this Saturday where he is expected to outline a plan to improve education for the most at-risk neighborhoods, including many schools serving communities of color. However, one of the few details Trump continues to mention on this topic thus far is his desire to eliminate or drastically cut the Department of Education in order to help pay for his tax plan—a savings that would cover a fraction of the annual cost of said plan.

“Reducing disparities and improving an education system that gives everyone the tools to succeed in life should be a priority at all levels of government,” said Will Ragland, Campaign Director for Education Policy at the Center for American Progress Action Fund. “A Trump presidency would devastate state and district education budgets and exacerbate inequities between the working class and the wealthy elite.”

“For decades, the Department of Education has worked to ensure factors such as race, income, or disabilities do not stand in the way of receiving a quality education,” said Ulrich Boser, Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress Action Fund. “There is much more work to be done on this front, but Trump’s plan would reverse the gains America’s students are making—especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds.”

With high school graduation rates hitting all-time highs, dropout rates at historical lows, and college-going rates close to the highest they have ever been—more, not less, should be invested in public education to continue this growth. Trump’s plan to sacrifice resources for America’s students, particularly the most vulnerable, to pay for tax cuts that would unduly benefit the country’s top earners is as shortsighted as it is callous.

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