The Trump administration’s budget plan cuts $9 billion dollars from the federal Department of Education, which is approximately 13 percent. Trump’s largest cuts, nearly $3.45 billion, will eliminate Supporting Effective Instruction State Grants (Title II, Part A) and 21st Century Community Learning Centers. According to Education Week (5/10/17), these “funds help states hire and provide professional development for teachers and school leaders … (and) finances after-school and extended-learning programs.” 

The budget plan maintains an allocation of $13 billion to support special education (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act). If Congress includes this amount for special education, it will represent 16 percent above the cost for non-special education students. In 1975, Congress authorized “paying 40 percent of the excess costs of educating a student with disabilities, based on national per-pupil expenditures” (Education Week 3/16/17). While few administrations have met this goal, many districts have and will continue to struggle with funding for special-needs children, whether they are placed in separate classes or “mainstreamed” in with the general student population.

Nicolas Buschini’s powerful film, My Name Is Brandon (2017), demonstrates one parent’s challenge to prevent cuts in relevant special-needs programs. Nick made this film for his Social Justice Documentary Filmmaking class at Antioch University in Santa Barbara. 

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