La. teachers’ group worried about proposed federal cuts

(The Daily Advertiser) – The Louisiana Federation of Teachers has expressed strong concerns about proposed budget cuts to the U.S. Department of Education.

According to the organization, Louisiana could lose up to $73.5 million in federal funding that currently goes toward more than 1,000 teachers’ salaries, after-school programs and more.

More than 33,000 Louisiana students participate in after-school programs that could be eliminated or reduced, the LFT said.

LFT President Larry Carter said his organization is concerned that President Donald Trump and his administration will attempt to divert dollars away from public education and into private schools.

The proposed budget includes cutting $2.4 billion from the Supporting Effective Instruction State Grants program and $1.2 billion from the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program.

Other proposed cuts include $190 million from the Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy program, $43 million from the Teacher Quality Partnership, $67 million in support payments for federal property and $7 million from international education programs.

Trump administration officials have said many of the programs are poorly targeted and/or show little positive impacts.

While Congress will almost certainly amend the budget, Carter said it sends a signal about the president’s priorities.

“His budget prioritizes private and religious education over the public schools that serve more than 700,000 Louisiana students,” Carter said. “Our public schools are getting better every year. We can make public education the best choice for parents and their children. Drastic cuts to vital services can only slow down our progress.”

Proponents of public education say strong traditional public schools are vital to communities and families, particularly because they must accommodate all students, regardless of background or need.

Supporters of school choice options, such as charter schools, private schools and vouchers say parents should have more opportunities to find the right educational environment for their children, especially in areas where traditional public schools have histories of low academic performance.

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