Center for American Progress

RELEASE: Budget Fight Sets Stage for Deeper Education Cuts
Press Advisory

RELEASE: Budget Fight Sets Stage for Deeper Education Cuts

Washington, D.C. — With the stage set for tax reform following passage of the Congressional Republican budget today, the Center for American Progress and Education Reform Now are releasing a new resource outlining the cumulative damage of proposed spending cuts and tax breaks for the wealthy on students, families, and schools nationwide.

“The education cuts that are on the table for fiscal year 2018 are troubling, but this year there is much more at stake for those who care about public education. The Trump administration and congressional leadership want to make changes across the budget in areas such as health, social services, and tax, that will rip away direct supports for students and working families and force states to deplete education funding to compensate for cuts to Medicaid and other essential programs,” said Lisette Partelow, director of K-12 Strategic Initiatives at CAP.

“Tax reform as contemplated by the Republican leadership is a much graver threat to public education than most realize,” said Michael Dannenberg, director of strategic initiatives for policy at Education Reform Now. “Not only would massive future deficits deplete the ability of the federal government to fund public education going forward, but elimination of the state and local tax deduction that Republicans have in their crosshairs would dramatically undermine the ability of communities to further support local schools.”

The Trump administration and House of Representatives have proposed draconian direct cuts to federal education programs, but those are only the beginning when it comes to a larger plan to defund the public education system. The brief outlines three ways these proposals will affect students, families and schools.

Direct cuts to education programs: The Trump administration and House appropriations bill proposed deep cuts to K-12 and higher education programs. The proposed cuts could result in the elimination of afterschool programs, less high quality teacher professional development, and the instability of the Pell Grant program.

Cuts to health and social services:  The Trump administration’s proposed budget coupled with the House’s ongoing efforts to slash Medicaid, dismantle the Affordable Care Act, and cut key social services programs would influence students’ ability to come to school ready and able to learn. This would lead to unmet health needs and nutritional deficiencies as well as unstable housing situations. Additionally, the cuts may force states to  cut state education funding to preserve funding for Medicaid and other social services.

Tax cuts for the richest Americans will pave the way for even deeper education cuts in the future: Congressional Republican leaders’ current tax reform proposal would cut taxes for the wealthy and corporations, growing the national deficit. It is expected that Republicans will propose disproportionate cuts to nondefense discretionary (NDD) spending to fill the gap. With states still struggling to stabilize their budgets after the 2008 recession, a deep cut in NDD spending would halt positive momentum toward recovery and lead to further cuts in state education spending.

Click here to read “Trickle-Down Cuts to Education,” by Lisette Partelow, Meg Benner, Michael Dannenberg, and Charles Barone.

For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, please contact Devon Kearns at 202.741.6290 or


Education Reform Now’s (ERN’s) mission is to pursue education policies that enable all students, particularly students from low-income families and students of color, to obtain a globally competitive education that empowers them to fulfill their limitless potential. To do that, we are building a durable network of progressive champions, allies, and supporters across the advocacy and policymaking arenas to expand what works and change what is broken in the public education system, with the interests of students and families at the center of everything we do.