The Washington Post reports that President Trump's education budget for fiscal year 2018 would entirely eliminate funding for the Student Support and Academic Enrichments (SSAE) grant program (Title IV, Part A). A federal program which literally just received its first appropriation last year. The Student Support and Academic Enrichments (SSAE) grant program is a block grant intended to help school districts provide well-rounded education to students and cover things like school based mental health programs, school counseling programs and drug and violence prevention. For the current budget year (FY 17) SSAE received $400 million total to sustain school districts nationwide; which compared to the need for such programs, is merely a drop in the bucket. The American Counseling Association (ACA) is extremely concerned and disappointed with the administration’s budget proposal and we urge Congress to reject the President’s budget and fund SSAE at its authorized level.
It is critical that the Student Support and Academic Enrichment grant program receives the funds it needs in order to keep it afloat. ACA is asking you to contact your U.S. Senators and have them sign onto the attached letter before May 23rd!
You can read the full letter below:
The Honorable Roy Blunt The Honorable Patty Murray
Chairman Ranking Member
Subcommittee of Labor, HHS, Education and Subcommittee of Labor HHS, Education and Related Related Agencies Agencies
U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee
Washington, DC 20510 Washington, DC 20510
Dear Chairman Blunt and Ranking Member Murray:
As the Subcommittee begins its consideration of the fiscal year (FY) 2018 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations bill, we urge the Subcommittee to maintain the Senate’s investment in supporting a safe, healthy, and well-rounded education for all students. The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), signed into law on December 10, 2015, included a $1.65 billion authorization level for the Student Support & Academic Enrichment Grant program (Title IV, Part A). The FY17 Omnibus bill provides $400 million for the program, which is a step in the right direction. However, we believe it was the intent of the 114th Congress, who passed the Every Student Succeeds Act, that this program is not only continuously funded, but funded at the authorized level.
While we are aware of the current budget challenges and constraints, Congress conveyed a strong message about the importance of funding the wide array of activities and programs available under the new Student Support & Academic Enrichment Grant program. The data are clear that to best support the academic success of our children, they must feel secure, supported and engaged in their school environment. Assisting states in making meaningful updates in technology, increasing opportunities to provide a well-rounded education, and implementing locally-tailored programs to reduce the use of exclusionary discipline practices are just a few of the activities supported under this grant program.
We have all heard from parents, educators, and students in our states who understand that students need access to a comprehensive education to compete successfully in the 21st century global marketplace. The programs covered under the Student Support & Academic Enrichment Grant program will foster a balanced 21st century learning environment. Moreover, they will support the principle that a well-rounded curriculum should never be a luxury reserved for some, but a necessity available to all.
We appreciate your ongoing commitment to elementary and secondary education and ask that you continue to support our children by honoring the Senate’s commitment to the Student Support & Academic Enrichment Grant program. Specifically, we ask that you continuously fund this program at the authorized level in the FY 2018 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations bill. Thank you for your consideration of this request.