Education has always been a priority for Donald Trump, who is the only U.S. president to serve in office with a college degree.
But a growing number of parents and teachers say they’re seeing their children struggle academically as the Trump administration tries to turn education into a political talking point.
Read moreWhat you need to know about Trump’s new education policiesIn a sweeping effort to promote the president’s agenda, the Education Department announced Tuesday it’s launching a new initiative to bolster teachers’ educational skills.
The White House has asked the Department of Education to develop a plan to boost the teaching of critical thinking and creative thinking skills among teachers, which is critical to the development of new ideas, skills and experiences, the agency said in a statement.
“While the Trump Administration has a long history of promoting critical thinking in schools, we believe this is an area of particular need,” Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said in the statement.
“This new initiative is a first step toward making sure teachers have the tools and knowledge to help their students succeed in their schools.”
In addition to boosting teaching skills, the Trump Education Department is developing new materials and resources for schools to use to help them prepare for the future.
It’s a big change for the Obama administration, which focused more on boosting students’ academic performance than on improving their skills.
The department was criticized for not putting a greater focus on teaching critical thinking.
As Trump has taken office, the number of students who struggle academally has more than doubled, according to data from the National Center for Education Statistics.
In the first three months of 2018, about 5,000 students who have been diagnosed with ADHD had been sent to special education, the Department for Education said in an announcement.
The Trump administration has also proposed raising teacher pay by 25 percent.
It is expected to raise teacher salaries by about $1.4 billion over 10 years, according the Education Writers Association.