As I finish my senior year of high school, Donald Trump’s proposed budget is sending my peers and me off to college with a terrifying uncertainty about our financial futures.

On Monday, I waited for Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to announce the details of her education plan, and it wasn’t particularly surprising when she danced around the details. Instead, the details came when Trump’s education budget was published the next day.

Myriad programs will face cuts, but Trump is trying to paint a different picture. Apparently, eliminating important aspects of public education, like teacher training, summer and after-school programs, class-size reduction, college work-study financial aid, subsidized loans and vocational education (that’s $10.6 billion!) is OK, because he’s offering something better: school choice.

Essentially, Trump’s “school choice” means reallocation of funds from low-income public school districts to charter and private schools in wealthier areas of the nation.

And on Wednesday, DeVos testified in front of Congress. The response to that testimony and to the opening statements of her confirmation hearing has made it clear that Republicans and Democrats alike disagree with Trump’s slashing of budgets for programs with bipartisan support. During her confirmation hearing in January, DeVos testified that schools may need guns to protect themselves from grizzly bears. This week, she froze on major policy questions – “should be decided on a state and local level” could be the U.S. Department of Education’s new motto.

Here’s hoping that Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King vote for the stable futures of young Mainers – instead of helping Trump cut deeper into programs that help millions of Americans pay for education.

Kinnon McGrath

Cape Elizabeth

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