On Feb. 12, 2018, President Trump released his proposed budget cuts for next year. While the main focus of his plan is on healthcare, labor and state funding, the proposal on education also strikes interest. The emphasis is on expanding school choice by cutting the grants of public schools to replenish private and religious schools as well as modifying the principles of federal student aid as stated in the Higher Education Act.
On behalf of the Wheaton Democrats, Samuel Mahler ’19 and Maya Benson ’18 both expressed dismay at how the budget cuts to public schools could endanger these institutions. Keeping in mind the ongoing controversy on gun laws, the money taken away from public schools might impair their ability to enact safety protocols. Mahler and Benson keep their focus on protection by adding that, aside from budget cuts to education, there are restrictions on Title IX which “place students in a greater danger way beyond monetary pressure.” These concerns are relevant to Wheaton College and should be followed attentively.
Francis Kimball ’18, president of the Wheaton Conservatives, referred the Wire to Professor of Political Science Bradford Bishop, who stated that Trump’s education cuts are unlikely to pass without first receiving major modification. Additionally, Bishop mentioned that Congress will be looking to the Higher Education Act with regards to cutting money from student loans and federal work-study. According to Bishop, this issue could have “meaningful consequences for Wheaton,” and he urges the community to keep informed.
Overall, there are many procedures that must be completed that will ultimately decide the fate of Trump’s proposed budget cuts. Until then, Bishop remarked that he has seen “very little evidence that Trump is interested in picking fights with the Congressional GOP over education policy.”
While federal laws may appear large, they suffuse down to state and personal levels. With the proposed 2019 budget cuts in the air, students and staff all over the nation should be attentive to them. Wheaton College is always host to great discussion and debate, and the Wire encourages campus members to participate in healthy conversation about these political events.