President Trump's Education Budget Proves White House Needs Some Book Learning

May 19, 2017 Issues: Education

Sky Valley Chronicle: President Trump's Education Budget Proves White House Needs Some Book Learning

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) — Rep. Rick Larsen (WA-02) Thursday excoriated President Trump’s proposed education budget which, according to the Washington Post, proposes to eliminate more than $10.65 billion in public education in order to funnel money into “school choice” programs. 

“I grew up in a working class family in which neither of my parents attended college, but all eight of my brothers and sisters and me went through the public school system and on to college,” said Larsen in a statement issued by his office.

“So I know how important education is for building a better life. By putting public education on the chopping block, especially programs targeted to low-income students, the Trump administration is standing between young people in my District and the skills and training they need to access jobs of the future. It should go without saying, but that is the wrong message to send young folks and the wrong way to grow the economy. Just yesterday, a nine-year-old girl called my office and asked what I would do to make college more affordable for her. My response is to oppose this budget.”

Thursday, the Post reported the President’s plan would cut $168 million from career and technical education programs, $700 million in Perkins loans for disadvantaged students, $490 million from the work-study program, end public service loan forgiveness and take a first step toward ending subsidized loans.

Additionally, the programs noted in the graph at upper right (click to enlarge) would be entirely eliminated in Fiscal Year 2018.

Earlier this month, Rep. Larsen visited Liberty Elementary’ s 21st Century Community Learning Center, a program run by the Washington Alliance for Better Schools in partnership with the Marysville School District.

This after school program provides academic, artistic and cultural enrichment opportunities in order to help students meet state and local achievement standards. Larsen also recently visited Arlington High School, where he learned about the school’s Career and Technical Education Program and toured student classes.

In February, the Congressman reintroduced his Youth Access for American Jobs Act which seeks to help students access good-paying American manufacturing jobs by creating partnerships between high schools, community colleges, and state apprenticeships.

There are as many as 25,000 unfilled science, technology, engineering and mathematics jobs in Washington state, according to the Boston Consulting Group and according to the Department of Labor, workers who complete apprenticeships earn $50,000 annually on average.

Larsen’s bill is designed to support students starting in high school, through an associate’s degree and into an apprenticeship, thus helping them become "job-ready" quickly and effectively.

Additionally, in February Larsen teamed up with Republican Rep. Luke Messer (IN-06) to introduce legislation aimed at reducing the financial burden on veterans seeking higher education by making application fees eligible under the Post 9/11 GI Bill.

The bipartisan H.R. 1206, the Reducing Barriers for Veterans Education Act of 2017, would allow the Post 9/11 GI Bill to cover up to $750 of applications to colleges, universities, graduate schools, as well as technical and vocational schools.