On Budget Cuts And Student Rights

Students have rights too. Even if they aren’t actively contributing to the country’s economy just yet, they have a right to a good education provided by the state, if possible. After all, the youth is the future of any nation. To make sure they are well-equipped with the knowledge, skills, and attitude they need to succeed in life and make good life choices, later on, a good education is crucial and can make or break their ultimate fate.

While students have inherent rights that are upheld by the constitution, schools and various educational institutions implement their own sets of policies that may or many not always align with a student’s rights. There are likewise instances when government officials subtly try to curtail these rights that they deem aren’t in the best interest of the nation. It’s a complicated topic, indeed, and has not only sparked countless debates but ongoing protest as well.

Democrats sparred with U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos about the budget proposal from President Donald Trump that would direct $1.4 billion to expand school choice and sharply questioning her commitment to protecting students with federal vouchers from discrimination during a House subcommittee hearing Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Republicans questioned the education secretary more gently, focusing on special education and applauding the fiscal 2018 budget plan’s emphasis on new resources for school choice. 

Democratic lawmakers pushed DeVos to explain why public schools wouldn’t suffer and lose out because of a proposed $1 billion in new Title I for public school choice, as well as $250 million for a new research program to study the impact of vouchers on needy students.

“Quite frankly, this puts us on the path to privatization of public education,” said Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., the committee’s top Democrat, in her opening statement.  

(Via: http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campaign-k-12/2017/05/betsy_devos_trump_budget_testimony_house_spending_committee.html)

The issue is often muddled with concerns over schools and school systems when the focus should the students’ welfare and the education they are getting. The priority should be providing quality and world-class education for every American student in the land but politicians end up politicizing the entire matter, which makes thing really messy in the end.

Student press advocates on Wednesday criticized Gov. Doug Ducey for vetoing legislation they say would have shown that Arizona supports the rights of student journalists who investigate shortcomings at their schools.

The measure would have shielded student journalists at public schools, community colleges and universities from administrative censorship of their work at school-sponsored media.

(Via: http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2017/05/24/ducey-veto-of-student-press-rights_ap.html)

Student rights also include the right, or rather, the responsibility to be vigilant on various school affairs even if the medium as to which the expose has been made is one that is supported by the school itself like school publications.

The White House is overwhelmed by leaks on the Russia investigation, but that hasn’t stopped it from conducting business as usual. For the Trump administration, that means reducing much needed resources for low-income people and their families.

The Washington Post obtained access to the full education budget proposed by the Trump administration and published many of its details on Wednesday. The budget prioritizes school choice and undermines or eliminates many of the funds poor students rely on to receive a high quality of education.

The budget would eliminate $1.2 billion for the the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program, which provides academic enrichment for kids during after-school programs and reaches 1.6 million kids. Many of the students who benefit from the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program are poor and their families benefit from the economic stability that comes from an after-school program, as well as a safe place for children to stay after school.

(Via: https://thinkprogress.org/ed-budget-poor-students-91cbbdd71e30)

There is so much going on in the world these days that world leaders have a hard time determining which one to prioritize. It’s a good thing, though, that all these seem to be all in a day’s work for US President Trump. Despite issues on bombings, terrorist threats and an impending war with North Korea, Trump still has time to push for budget cuts he had been advocating for since he assumed office. The sad thing here is that in his attempt to keep up with all the defensive preparations to protect the country, certain sacrifices have to be made, even at the expense of young students, the poor and the marginalized, and even the struggling artists who are just trying to make both ends meet.

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