This weekly segment by Democrats for Education Reform CT looks at the top education stories Democrats are watching, providing bite-sized analysis and links to recent articles. On the roster this week: CT’s legislature contemplating school immunizations, the cuts to education in President Trump’s budget proposal, and ongoing ed mentions on the presidential trail.
Vaccine Legislation Rolls Out
Legislators on the General Assembly's Public Health Committee released language that would repeal the religious exemption from vaccination requirements on Friday. The first draft of the bill would prohibit unvaccinated children from attending public and private schools in the 2020-21 school year (unless they have medical exemptions). We applaud the legislature, and outspoken advocates like House Majority Leader Matt Ritter and Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff, for undertaking this important initiative to protect the health of Connecticut students. Every student has the right to safe classrooms.
HB No. 5044 (Public Health Committee of the CT General Assembly)
Our position: repeal non-medical exemptions (CT Mirror - August | ERN CT 1 pager)
Education Cuts in Trump’s Budget Proposal
This week, President Trump released his $4.8 trillion budget proposal, featuring additional military and defense spending—as well as considerable cuts to affordable housing efforts, welfare services, environmental protections, student loan assistance programs, and education. The proposal would consolidate 29 K-12 education programs into a single block grant, cut Education Department spending by 7.8%, reduce Department administrative costs, and give states greater autonomy over use of federal education funds. The programs proposed for consolidation cover issues like: school safety, English language acquisition, charter expansion, education for homeless children, and Title I aid for disadvantaged students. A press statement from our national office said, “Since becoming President, Donald Trump has proposed one budget after another that slashes critical safety net programs and cuts deeply into education funding. When it comes to those issues, on the whole, this year’s proposal is the worst yet—amounting to nothing less than a full on assault on public education.”
Ongoing Ed Mentions on the Presidential Trail
Last week, presidential candidate Tom Steyer released his education plan, advocating for some familiar ideas: increasing federal funding for high-poverty schools, universal preschool, banning for-profit charters, and raising teacher pay. However, the plan also calls for requiring states to adopt dropout reduction plans, and supporting teachers in scientifically-backed methods of reading instruction.