The President’s 2018 budget presents major cuts to the educational budget, including proposing to cut a number of educational programs. The budget reasoned that these programs were overly similar to other programs, that they “lacked strong evidence of meeting…objectives”, and, generally, that they would be better off being carried out by local or private programs, or even by different areas of the federal government.
However, many of the programs listed are, in fact, vital parts of our country’s educational infrastructure, and should be, if not maintained in their current state, at least replaced by a similar alternative funded by the Department of Education. Localizing these programs, as the budget suggests, would only negatively impact schools in areas too poor to take up the slack. Here are a few of the programs on the chopping block that deserve our support:
Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS): The CCAMPIS program provides parents pursuing postsecondary education with campus-based child care. This program encourages low-income parents to go back to school, which improves social mobility and increases the overall American education rate. Additionally, educated parents are much more likely to raise educated children, and be generally supportive of schools of all levels.
Full-Service Community: Full-service community schools are schools that provide not only education, but also youth development, family support, health and social services, and community programs to the surrounding area. These schools provide services in high-risk communities in a cost-efficient and convenient way, while making the school a hub of the community, which improves parental involvement in education.
International Education and Foreign Language Studies Overseas Programs: The United States does not perform well in foreign languages. Even dedicated students, and dedicated schools, find road blocks in a lack of qualified teachers, and an even greater lack of immersion opportunities. The International Education and Foreign Language Studies Domestic Programs were designed to help schools surmount these obstacles, a task that becomes increasingly necessary in today’s globalized world.
Arts in Education: As the name suggests, the Arts in Education program provides children and teens with art programming, specifically focusing on serving low-income and disabled students. Studies have shown that arts education improves creativity and boosts morale, and students that receive arts education perform better in school.
Strengthening Institutions: This funding helps schools maintain good physical infrastructure by supporting construction, funding maintenance and assisting with renovations. It’s not the coolest-sounding program, but it is necessary. Schools cannot function if the school building is not in good condition. Without infrastructural support, underfunded schools can find themselves with overcrowded classrooms, inefficient utilities, and dirty or even dangerous facilities.