A second grade teacher greets students

A second grade teacher greets students on the first day of class at Maple Elementary School in Fullerton, California on August 14, 2023.

(Photo: Paul Bersebach/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images)

Top Democrat Accuses House GOP of 'Full-Scale Attempt to Eliminate Public Education'

Rep. Rosa DeLauro said Republicans' newly proposed funding cuts threaten "the future of an entire generation."

The top Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday accused her Republican colleagues of working to completely decimate U.S. public education by proposing steep cuts to key programs in a newly released funding bill.

Republicans on the appropriations panel, chaired by Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), weren't shy about the expansive spending cuts they're pursuing: In a statement, the committee's GOP majority noted that its fiscal year 2025 funding legislation for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and other related agencies would fully eliminate 57 programs, slash 48 more, and reduce spending on K-12 education grants.

An appropriations subcommittee is scheduled to mark up the bill on Thursday morning.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), the ranking member of the House Appropriations Committee, said in response to the majority's legislation that "Republicans are in the midst of a full-scale attempt to eliminate public education that makes the American Dream possible," noting that the proposal gashes "support for children in K-12 elementary schools, threatening the future of an entire generation."

According to a fact sheet released by Democrats on the House Appropriations Committee, the proposed GOP funding levels would cut the Department of Education by $11 billion, or 14% below 2024 levels. Specifically, the measure would slash Title I Grants to local educational agencies by roughly $5 billion, reducing assistance for school districts with a large number of students from low-income families.

Additionally, Democrats on the committee warned the bill would cut "mental health support in schools while children struggle to access the services they need" and eliminate "funding for English Language Acquisition and teacher training opportunities used to increase the number and improve the quality and effectiveness of teachers and school leader," while also targeting programs aimed at helping students access higher education.

On top of its education cuts, the bill would zero out "funding for Title X Family planning," "block funding for Planned Parenthood health centers," slash the Social Security Administration's operating budget, and curb spending on worker protections, according to the Democratic lawmakers' summary.

"This bill is dangerous and threatens programs and services that Americans depend on at every stage of their life," DeLauro said Wednesday.

Republicans' proposed cuts offer a glimpse of the GOP's plans for federal education funding should the party win full control of Congress and the presidency in November.

During a rally in Philadelphia this past weekend, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said he would attempt to cut federal education funding in half if he's elected to another White House term.

Trump claimed such a cut would result in "much better education in some of the states."

"Some won't do as well," added the former president, who has also expressed support for eliminating the Department of Education altogether—a position aligned with that of Project 2025.

Trump's comments and congressional Republicans' latest push for deep funding cuts came as billionaire-funded organizations across the United States continued their effort to privatize U.S. public education by promoting voucher programs that subsidize private schools with taxpayer dollars.

As Common Dreamsreported, an analysis released by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Tuesday highlighted the role that Betsy DeVos—who served as Trump's education secretary—and other billionaires in working to "undermine, dismantle, and sabotage our nation's public schools and to privatize our education system."

"We can no longer tolerate billionaires and multinational corporations receiving massive tax breaks and subsidies while children in America are forced to go to understaffed, underresourced, and underfunded public schools," Sanders said Tuesday.

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