Trump’s Budget Proposal Calls for Deep Cuts to Education
Posted by Michele Bellso on May 25, 2017 in categoryNewscategoryAdvocacy

We advocate against these deep cuts that will hurt adult literacy programs and their learners and families.

President Donald Trump’s 2018 budget proposal includes dramatic cuts to adult education funding and the complete elimination of many federal programs that support adult literacy, workforce development, and human services.

The Department of Education is facing an overall cut of $9 billion (13%), including a $95 million cut (16%) to Adult Education and Family Literacy state grants.

The few areas that would see increased funding pertain to school choice, an idea that Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos have touted as a top priority. Under this spending proposal, hundreds of millions of the dollars would go toward charter-school and voucher initiatives, while another $1 billion in grants would encourage states to adopt school-choice policies.

Interesting notes from the budget report:

1. Budget report says: American workers and their families have not seen significant gains in their wages in recent years. The president suggests there are a number of reasons that our nation’s economic growth has stagnated. One reason for this economic stagnation is that American workers and their families have not seen significant gains in their wages in recent years. That has left hardworking taxpayers and American families feeling like the American Dream is out of their reach. In 2015, 13.5 percent of Americans lived in poverty. The poverty rate among children was even higher at 19.7 percent.


Increased efforts toward adult literacy can reduce poverty. According to the 2015 Census, 43.1 million Americans lived in poverty. Of that group, 46% are adults who cannot read. The American Dream is not out of reach for those who have the chance to increase their literacy skills with the help of free and low-cost adult basic education programs nationwide. Why shrink federal funding for some of these programs when we can significantly decrease in number of adults living in poverty?

Research proves that it is critical that our country invests in adult basic education. The Case for Investment in Adult Basic Education discusses recent research by Dr. Stephen Reder. Reder’s research provides significant evidence on the correlation between participation in adult basic skills programs and future increases in income, literacy levels, high school equivalency attainment, and postsecondary engagement. This research provides a strong case for the need for increased investment in adult education through federal and state policies, private foundations, and individual donors

2. Budget report says: Spark economic growth by reforming the current immigration policy. The president’s budget proposes bold steps to spark economic growth. One such step includes reforming the current immigration policy. In 2012, census data reported that 76 percent of households headed by an immigrant without a high school education used at least one major welfare program. That is compared to 26 percent for households headed by an immigrant with at least a bachelor’s degree. Estimates from a recent report by the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), The Economic and Fiscal Consequences of Immigration, indicate that each individual immigrant who lacks a high school education may create as much as $247,000 more in costs at all levels of government than they pay in taxes over the next 75 years.


ELL and HSE programs are essential for immigrants. The lack of high school education and proficient English language skills of the immigrants in the United States severely limits their access to jobs and job training, college, and citizenship. This increases their vulnerability to unemployment and living in poverty. Not only are the adults at risk, but so are their children. Poverty in immigrant populations adds to the strain on the U.S. society. Why shrink federal funding to programs that teach English language skills and HSE to this critical audience when we can significantly lower the number of immigrants living in poverty? Learning basic skills is essential for all adults.

It is critical that we advocate against these deep cuts that will hurt adult literacy programs and their learners and families. Please tell Congress not to pass a budget that increases defense spending by $52 billion at the expense of programs that help further the education, health, and employment of Americans.

How can you act? 

Learn about Letters for Literacy and take action now.



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