Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Teapot, Meet Tempest, Education Edition

As JD Tuccille mentions at Reason ...

[T]he Trump administration has proposed (don't hold your breath for it to happen) to cut the Department of Education's budget by 13 percent and slightly reduce the federal role in education.

Even supposing the cut actually happens -- I predict that the US Department of Education's budget will actually end up being increased -- how big is it, really?

I don't want to waste a lot of time on it, but I did a bit of quick Googling:

  • "Total expenditures for public elementary and secondary schools in the United States in 2013–14 amounted to $634 billion" (source: National Center for Education Statistics)
  • "In academic year 2013–14, postsecondary institutions in the United States spent approximately $517 billion" (source: Ibid.)
  • The 13% cut in Trump's budget request comes to $9 billion (source: US Department of Education)
So while the cut amounts to 13% of one agency's budget, it represents only about eight tenths of one percent of actual US spending on education -- as of four years ago. Such spending  has almost certainly gone up by more than that since then, and it's likely still going up virtually everywhere outside us DOE.

Calling Trump's proposal a tempest in a teapot is actually kind of grandiose. More like a slight perturbation in a shot glass.

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