President Donald Trump’s administration is urging Congress to scrap the federal government’s longstanding role in school education, as it seeks to dismantle the Obama-era Education Department.
The White House announced Thursday it was pulling out of the Education Department’s “equity, inclusion and inclusionary” partnerships, which have been instrumental in providing critical support for disadvantaged students.
The administration also plans to eliminate the White House’s school voucher program, which offers low-income students financial assistance to attend private schools.
“The Trump Administration will be rolling back a significant amount of federal funding for public education,” Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said in a statement.
“In light of the President’s actions, Congress should reauthorize the Education Act, which provides vital support for our Nation’s students.”
The Education Department has been involved in the development of the nation’s education system since the administration took office in January.
Under the Education Reform Act of 2005, the Department of Education is tasked with providing grants to schools that meet certain benchmarks for graduation rates and achievement.
Under DeVos, the department has been taking an increasingly hands-off approach to education, which has helped to drive the growth of charter schools and private schools and to make sure students can go to college.
The department has also pushed for increased transparency in its grants, as well as better testing and accountability for schools.
The Education Reform act has not been renewed since the 2016 election, and Trump has promised to replace it with a more effective and more efficient program.
DeVos has also announced plans to close the Education Technical Assistance Center, a division of the department that provides support to educators and their students.
Trump has not mentioned education during his campaign, but he has taken some important steps in the past few weeks, including canceling a plan to move the White Trump Tower into a cheaper space at the University of Southern California.
Education Department officials said they have not yet decided how the office will be run in a Trump administration.
“We are not abandoning our commitment to the principals, teachers, students and families of our schools, but we want to ensure that we do so in a way that respects the interests of the teachers, principals, and students, while providing them with the most effective, best-equipped and best-funded assistance possible,” DeVos said.
“Our priorities are aligned with the president’s goals for improving public education and strengthening our nation’s public schools.”