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Donald Trump won. What's next for afterschool?

By Rachel Clark

Photo by Michael Vadon

After a marathon campaign, property developer and reality television personality Donald Trump has been elected the 45th President of the United States with 279 electoral votes to former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s 228—31 electoral votes are still up for grabs.

Despite dominating the headlines for the last 18 months, the race for the White House has devoted little attention to key domestic policy issues like K-12 education and child care, thus leaving many voters wondering what to expect under a Trump Administration.

We examined Trump’s proposals and public statements, as well as the Republican Party platform, to get a sense of what the afterschool community can expect from the next president.

The Republican platform

The Republican Party platform emphasizes “choice-based, parent-driven accountability at every stage of schooling.” It promises to repeal the Common Core State Standards, and supports a constitutional amendment affirming parents’ rights to “direct their children’s education, care and upbringing.”

The platform prioritizes building a “choice-based” education system that gives families a range of educational options, including homeschooling, career and technical education, private and parochial schools, charter systems, online programs, and early college high schools. It also recognizes teachers’ role as partners in children’s education and the importance of supporting teachers while maintaining accountability, proposing merit pay structures to recognize effective teachers, as well as background checks for all personnel who interact with children.

Trump on child care

Earlier this fall, our Vice President for Policy Erik Peterson compared the candidates’ respective child care proposals. President-elect Trump released his child care plan in September, with key components that include:

  • Providing six weeks of paid maternity leave, financed through unemployment insurance reforms
  • Changing the tax code for working parents, allowing an income tax deduction for care of up to four children for households earning up to $500,000 and individuals earning up to $250,000
  • Offering a rebate of up to $1,200 per year for low-income families
  • Creating universally-available Dependent Care Savings Accounts (DCSAs) for families to set aside extra money to foster children’s development and offset elder care expenses, allowing both tax-deductible contributions and tax-free appreciation year-to-year, and guaranteeing that the government will match half of the first $1,000 deposited per year
    • When established for children under 18 years old, DCSA funds can be applied not only to traditional child care but also to afterschool programs and school tuition

For additional details, see our summary from September or review the full proposal on President-elect Trump’s website.

Trump on preK-12

President-elect Trump has echoed the Republican platform’s emphasis on school choice, establishing the national goal of providing school choice to every child living in poverty and pledging to reprioritize federal dollars to invest an additional $20 billion in school choice. Distribution of the new grant “will favor states that have private school choice, magnet schools, and charter laws.” The Trump Administration would give states the option of allowing these new funds to follow each student to the public or private school they attend.

According to President-elect Trump’s website, this $20 billion investment combined with a total $110 billion contributed from states’ own education budgets toward school choice could provide $12,000 in school choice funding to each K-12 student living in poverty.

Additionally, to reduce spending, President-elect Trump has said that he “may cut the Department of Education.”

What’s next?

As President-elect Trump prepares to take office, the Afterschool Alliance has sent his transition team a memo sharing the priorities of the afterschool community, most notably a “bold and historic investment” that would double the number of low-income students participating in federally-assisted afterschool and summer learning programs.

In the coming days and weeks, we’ll outline the actions encouraged in our transition memo; preview what might be expected in the first 100 days of the Trump presidency; and dig into the consequences of critical senatorial, congressional, state and local elections across the country.

In the meantime, you can make an impact by introducing yourself to local and state officials who have just been elected in your community. By using the sample letter available in our election kit, you can begin cultivating these lawmakers as allies for your afterschool program and plant the seeds of a valuable partnership.

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