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Trump Wants to Use Title I to Boost School Choice, But the Devil's in the Details

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By Andrew Ujifusa

School choice proposals were the most prominent pieces of the education budget blueprint President Donald Trump released last week. What's less clear is how he'll achieve his vision.

On Tuesday, the Politics K-12 team took a look at Trump's proposal to use $1 billion in additional Title I aid to states to encourage districts to allow children to attend the public school of their choice. In short, it's not really clear how the U.S. Department of Education could leverage that money to promote choice, since Title I money goes out by set formulas and not through competitive grants.

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There's a weighted student-funding formula pilot included in the Every Student Succeeds Act that might be the Trumps administration's preferred vehicle for this idea, but there are issues with that idea as well that we explore.

We also looked briefly at how Trump's $250 million proposed voucher system could work through the Education Innovation and Research program, as well as its potential political roadblocks.

And keep in mind that Trump's budget blueprint is just a proposal. It hasn't been passed by Congress (we don't even have a lot of details yet), and there are early indications that it might face very stiff opposition and could be disregarded in many respects.

Photo: President Donald Trump, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., left, and U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos hold cards received from the children in a 4th-grade class during a tour of St. Andrew Catholic School on March 3, in Orlando, Fla. --Alex Brandon/AP

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