Department of Education budget cut in the eyes of a New American

I am a born and raised Ohioan. My parents came here as refugees in 1990 from Laos with nothing but the clothes on their back and each other because of the Secret War in Laos. They raised 2 boys and 2 girls on a combined household income of over $40,000. Due to language barrier, that provided much of an obstacle preventing them from producing anything higher. We didn’t receive much government assistance growing up because my parents were leery about accepting assistance to have the government in return, not grant their citizenship. Tragically, I lost my mom and brothers in a car accident while I was living abroad in my early teens. As a result, my dad then had to raise my sister and I by himself on an income of over $32,000.

President Donald Trump has released some parts of his proposed Budget for FY18. Something that stood out to me was the Department of Education’s budget cuts. This proposed budget cut would cut 14% of the department’s funding’s. That’s a record change! $3.7 billion of that budget cut will include funding to aid programs to first generation and low income college students. I was a recipient of that aid and quite frankly, without it, I wouldn’t have even wanted to go to college because my dad just did not have the means. Without some college education, most of my prior companies wouldn’t have invested into a superb candidate like myself.

And now, not by choice, I am also a single mother to a school ager. This budget cut will also include funding’s to federal grants for after school and summer programs. I am fortunate enough to work in a firm who invests in technology and tools to work remotely but it comes with limited resources. Also, the rest of America are not always fortunate enough to receive this type of luxury. I cannot afford to take off a whole summer of work or to leave work early every day to pick up my child from school, just like the rest of the working class.

The Secretary of Education is now Betsy Devos. The same Betsy Devos who lobbies for charter schools. Since she continuously advocates for charter schools, the budget is proposing to increase funding’s in charter schools by $168 million. I do not see how that is fair for me as a parent or to a child whose choice is essentially going to be given to charter schools because the charter schools will have the funding for an after school and summer program. Betsy Devos is not a product of public schools and neither are her children. She has the luxuries to never having to take out federal student loans and neither has her children. She’s a millionaire who gets richer when more charter schools open.

I, Tina Maharath, as a business women, the community advocate, and parent to a 5-year-old kindergartner, does not believe this budget will work. It does NOT support the working class and it does NOT work for the poor. I may not share the same story as an American who’s parent was born in the United States but I share a very similar story with surrounding New American’s whose parents came to the land of the free in hopes of better opportunities for their future. We want our children to receive quality education to succeed so that way they don’t have to grow up living through the struggles we had to go through. This budget cut will essentially plummeted the charter school market to benefit Devos’ family and leave the working class working harder and the poor class being even more poor.