Sunday, May 21, 2017

Trump "Loves The Poorly Educated" So Much He Wants To Make More Of Them

   In its continuing crusade to weaken programs that help the poor,  President Trump's budget agenda wants Rapid City Area Schools to lose a significant chunk of  Title I funding. Title I of the
A Worthy Concept
It's Worth The Money
Elementary and Secondary Education Act, enacted in 1965 as one of President Lyndon Johnson's "War on Poverty" initiatives, provides direct federal money to schools and districts with significant concentrations of students from low-income families.  As Trump's proposed budget will cut Department of Education funding by about 14%, or about $9 billion, programs like Title I will follow suit, right down to the local level, with Rapid City public schools losing about $600 thousand from a $4.5 million annual grant.  This is in keeping with President Trump's budget, which will slash funding from 12 cabinet departments and increase it for three, Defense, Homeland Security, and Veterans Affairs.

      As a disabled vet I cheer the support for my brethren, but in the much bigger picture, I don't like this particular prioritization.  When it comes to veterans and defense, reducing support for our many economically-disadvantaged kids seems like a tough way to help our vets--and certainly a questionable method of paying for a Defense establishment that already spends more than the next 7 countries combined.  I wish the White House and our congressional reps would consider what we'd lose here in Rapid City (as well as every other school district in this state) if Trump's budget materializes.  Professional training and technology spending would be most immediately affected, taking away the extra attention and assets that are probably needed to give these disadvantaged kids an extra boost in school.
     Longitudinal (read:  follow-up) studies are probably impossible to find at a local level, but researchers have seen some correlation between Title I spending and individual achievement on a national scale.  Studies on academic success are a mixed bag, but a most interesting conclusion was reached in 2015 at the University of California, where researchers followed participants into their adult economic outcomes and found positive correlations between Title I funding increases and "higher earnings and work hours, reductions in incarceration" and reductions in poverty rates. The Trump administration, focused as it is on "jobs, jobs, jobs" should take note.  The link between poverty and poor academic achievement is a long standing reality in the world of public education, but as Trump, who "loves the poorly educated" should know, when it comes to economic success, the effects of good character are as meaningful as the effects of education.  If the UC researchers are correct, Title I and its strategies for developing self-motivation may have as much, possibly greater, impact on the former than it does on the latter.  
     The pedagogical magic of that connection seems clear enough to researchers.  It would be a shame to weaken an opportunity like that for South Dakota's neediest kids. 


  1. It's the concept of playing one interest against another. Typical republican tactic of the zero-sum principle of civil engagement (if someone gets something, I don't get something - whether or not I need it).

  2. And meanwhile our Junior Senator introduces a bill for another tax cut for the 40 or 50 some percent who pay taxes. Never mind the fact that the reason that the rest of us don't pay tax is that we don't earn enough to qualify. When I paid taxes, I always said I loved to pay, because that the more I paid, meant the more that I had earned.

    But even more to the point, never mind the fact that even though we are still fighting both of the wars started in 2001 and 2003, at the time of the last two tax cuts, we have gone from 6 trillion to more than 20 trillion dollars in debt and are constantly talking about cutting social security and medicare, two programs that those of us who are on, paid for with the taxes which we paid in, and only got in trouble, because Bill Clinton and the legislatures with which he was involved figured out a way to STEAL that money to balance the budgets back then and actually start paying down the deficits racked up by the first two big tax cutters Reagan and Bush Senior.

  3. I have racked my head to try and understand how Trump was elected and keep returning back to the fact that a lot of stu... excuse me, uninformed, voters cast their lot with him. In that light it makes sense to cut education even more. Rinse and repeat.

    I will agree that Ms Clinton/Democrats offered nothing, but at least you had an idea of how you were going to get screwed. Trump is utter incompetence.