How the Trump administration plans to tackle online education
NEW YORK — The administration of President Donald Trump has begun rolling out a series of online education initiatives aimed at closing the achievement gap for disadvantaged students, including the creation of a national program that would provide free online education to all students.
The Education Department and Education Technology Services Office are working with several federal agencies, including states, to launch the initiative, which will be modeled on the federal Department of Education’s Early Learning Partnership.
This is an expansion of the federal partnership launched in 2016 that has helped nearly 1 million disadvantaged students attend preschool and high school and is being expanded in 2020 to include more students from low-income families, according to a department official.
States and cities have been pushing for this kind of support and have been working for more than two decades to develop programs that address the challenges of children of color and their families, said Steve Johnson, director of the office of digital services for the Office of Education Technology.
The new initiative is a step in the right direction for students of color, Johnson said, and will ensure that all students receive a quality education.
In addition to the free online program, the White House is creating an education and workforce development office to provide grants, loans, technical assistance and support to states and localities, and a pilot program will be launched to develop digital tools to support schools that are expanding online programs.
“We have a long way to go,” Johnson said.
“We are trying to make sure that we have a lot of people in the government that understand how we do it and we want to be able to provide it to our states and our localities.”
The president announced the launch of the online program during his State of the Union address in February.
He said the initiative is part of his administration’s commitment to “making America the most inclusive place in the world,” adding that it will help students from every background and provide opportunities for them to achieve.
More than 70 percent of students in America attend school in schools that offer online programs, and the administration is working to increase the number of students receiving such education by expanding the number and quality of the opportunities for students to succeed.
At the same time, it’s important to remember that the White, Brown and Blue lives are all connected, Johnson noted.