Trump Budget Proposal Threatens AmeriCorps Program

Trump Budget Proposal Threatens AmeriCorps Program

My daughter is in her second year as an AmeriCorps service member. She works not at a school but for a nonprofit that connects the arts community to low-income families, exposing them to museums, galleries, and performances they wouldn’t experience otherwise.

Some AmeriCorps members work directly in schools, however, making a difference in the lives of students whose schools have few resources.

Here’s an excerpt from Chalkbeat, a nonprofit news organization that covers education, which looks at how Trump’s budget, if implemented, would devastate AmeriCorps–and with it many of the education supports the corps members make possible.

From when the first students arrive until the last ones leave, eight young adults in white AmeriCorps T-shirts are a constant presence at Denver’s North High, a comprehensive high school where “Viking Pride” has not traditionally translated to academic success.

The corps members, part of a program called City Year, help run North’s social justice and writing clubs, hold kids accountable for their attendance and behavior, and team up with teachers to make math and literacy skills stick with ninth-graders.

All of that could vanish next year. President Donald Trump is set to propose slashing the AmeriCorps program from the federal budget, according to a document obtained by The New York Times. That would cost more than 11,000 schools support that they use to help students who’ve fallen behind, build playgrounds, and offer after-school programs. On a recent morning, North High School Principal Scott Wolf watched a City Year corps member pull four struggling students out of an algebra classroom and into a hallway, where he sat with a whiteboard explaining how to identify the intersection points of two variable equations.

“A student in those classrooms, they may otherwise just be checked out, sitting there not knowing what to do,” Wolf said. “The corps members allow us to provide supports we could not otherwise offer our kids. Our students open up and can relate to them.”

AmeriCorps has been threatened before, but members and supporters have good reason to fear this time could be different. President Trump has promised significant cuts to government programs, and Republicans control Congress and can easily sign off on them.

The prospect of the elimination of federal funding has brought uncertainty to the 80,000 working AmeriCorps members and the schools and communities that rely on them. It has also mobilized the organization’s leadership and supporters to make their case to Congress that the relatively modest investment–just .03% of the federal budget–is worth it.

To read more, go to Chalkbeat.