Peter Greene writes here about the budget approved by Congress for the Department of Education.

There is good news and bad news. Peter Greene thinks it’s mostly good news. I’d say there is both.

Congress did not appropriate a penny for Betsy DeVos’s top priority, her $5 billion request for vouchers (aka “education freedom scholarships”). Sorry, Betsy, nada. Even Republican Congressmen and Senators represent public school parents.

But Congress appropriated $440 million for Betsy’s charter school slush fund, otherwise known as the federal Charter Schools Program. The CSP is a swamp of fraud, waste, and abuse, as the Network for Public Education demonstrated in its “Asleep at the Wheel” and “Still Asleep at the Wheel” reports, which showed that more than $1 billion in federal funds were wasted on charters that either never opened or closed not long after opening. The House (controlled by Democrats) wanted to cut CSP to $400 million (which is $400 million too much), but the Senate (controlled by Republicans) negotiated it back to level funding. The CSP was created by the Clinton administration in 1994 to help start-ups, mom-and-pop or teacher-led charters that needed some extra funding. Betsy has turned it into a big fat plum for corporate charter chains like KIPP and IDEA, which are not start-ups and which are already richly endowed with funding from billionaires, most of them right-wingers. At present, the federal government is the single biggest funded of charter schools in the nation, even in states that don’t want them or need them, like New Hampshire, where Betsy gave the state $46 million to double the number of charters, but the state legislative fiscal commission rejected the money. Congress showed its lack of concern for accountability; that’s for the little people.

Peter Greene writes:

Trump asked for a 10% cut to the department and the elimination of twenty-nine programs. That didn’t happen (though it’s worth noting that many Trump appointees like DeVos have figured out that you can cut spending in your department by simply letting positions stand empty).

There is more money for Title I. It’s about a 3% increase, while Democratic candidates are calling for increases of 200% to 300%.

The Charter Schools Program– the fund that has wasted a billion dollars on charter school waste and fraud– will stay art current levels, with neither the boost the GOP wanted nor the cut that Democrats called for.

And special ed funding will once again not be increased to its full, required level. This makes forever years for Congress to stiff the states on the granddaddy of all unfunded mandates. Thanks a lot, Congress.