Trump's proposed budget would cut education funding by 13.5% in favor of one of his top priorities: school choice.
Under the new budget, the Trump administration wants to spend $1.4 billion to expand vouchers for public and private schools, leading to an eventual $20 billion in annual funding. About $250 million of these funds will go to a private school choice program, while $168 million will be set aside for charter schools.
We have an obligation and a responsibility to create great public schools for every student in America, which requires more public funding, not less; and that only happens if public taxpayer dollars go to public schools.
Furthermore, the budget would cut $168 million in so-called Perkins funding, which are block grants to states used to support career and technical education (CTE) in high schools and community colleges. This cut is particularly bewildering, given the administration's professed love of programs that fuel economic growth. CTE (also known as vocational education) gives kids practical skills as a complement to coursework: It's not just about auto repair and cosmetology any more, but increasingly includes programs in high-tech, high-growth industries like information technology and health services. Kids with CTE are well-positioned to help start and grow small businesses and fill job demand in some of the fastest growing industries in the nation.
Under normal Senate procedure, the cuts to education funding would face stiff opposition, due to the 60-vote margin usually required to pass a budget. (Meaning, eight Democrats would need to join the 52 Republicans.) However, Republicans plan to use the 50-vote budget reconciliation procedure to move this vote forward. (Sound familiar?)
WHO TO CALL:
Senators Kennedy and Cassidy
Senator Bill Cassidy - DC Office: (202) 224-5824; Metairie office: (504) 838-0130; Monroe Office: (318) 324-2111; Lake Charles Office: (337) 493-5398; Alexandria Office: (318) 448-7176
Senator John Kennedy - DC office: (202) 224-4623; New Orleans Office: (504) 581-6190; Lafayette Office: (337) 269-5980; Monroe Office: (318) 361-1489; Alexandria Office: (318) 445-2892; Baton Rouge Office: (225) 926-8033; Shreveport Office: (318) 670-5192
Reminders: Identify where you're calling from (town and zip code is fine) so they know you're an actual constituent. Be concise – the office will get through more calls that way. Be polite and don't argue with the staffer – they don't set policy. If you get a voicemail, then leave a message. And if you get a busy signal – call back later!
Hi, my name is [Your Name] from New Orleans, zip code 70118 [or wherever you're from].
I'm calling to urge the Senator to reject the current 2018 education budget proposal as it stands. The budget resolution, which the Senator voted for, includes deep cuts to education, including vocational education. As the budget resolution is converted into legislation, I want the Senator to know that I object to public tax dollars being used to fund private school vouchers. I also object to cuts to vocational education funded by Perkins grants. These proposed cuts will limit opportunities for students and deprive them of a quality education. Public schools, when properly funded, can be an engine for economic growth and technological innovation. This is how you make America great.
Thank you for your time and your hard work answering the phones. Stay safe out there.
This call is courtesy of Metairie Indivisible.