Federal budget proposal would slash teacher training funds
- In a budget proposal released Monday, the Trump administration called for increased funding for school choice programs and cuts in funding for teacher training and after-school initiatives — but this proposal, like last year’s, may be ignored, Chalkbeat reports.
- The administration is seeking about a 5% cut to the U.S. Department of Education overall, amounting to about $3.6 billion, though federal dollars account for only about 10% of most public school budgets.
- Hardest hit would be Title II funding for teacher training and class-size reductions, as well as the 21st Century Community Learning Centers, an after-school program, because the administration considers both programs ineffective in their current form.
While the budget drama continues to dominate education headlines, schools may need to look to other options when it comes to professional development. Cuts to these programs are not new. A 2009 webinar put together by Education Research Strategies, Inc, entitled “Continuing to Improve Teaching Quality During Tough Economic Times," outlines ideas that are still valuable today, including the idea that school districts need to take a hard look at professional development strategies to see which are working and which are not.
The controversial budget battle is not over. The current budget is still evolving, and there is still wiggle room for funding through Title IIA of the Every Student Succeeds Act. However, the current administration is clearly signaling that programs that do need seem to pull their weight, such as the current federally-funded after-school program, will feel the budget ax. School administrators may also need to look to lower-cost online professional development programs to fill in some of the gaps in required PD. Grant funding is another option, especially for teacher development in STEM fields. And states and local governments may need to increase their funding for these areas, as well.