Donald J. Trump’s *Vision* for Education
The American public knows little about President-elect Donald J. Trump’s plans for education. However, Trump has posted some information in cyberspace.
The info below comes from his donaldjtrump.com website:
DONALD J. TRUMP’S VISION
- Immediately add an additional federal investment of $20 billion towards school choice. This will be done by reprioritizing existing federal dollars.
- Give states the option to allow these funds to follow the student to the public or private school they attend. Distribution of this grant will favor states that have private school choice, magnet schools and charter laws, encouraging them to participate.
- Establish the national goal of providing school choice to every one of the 11 million school aged children living in poverty.
- If the states collectively contribute another $110 billion of their own education budgets toward school choice, on top of the $20 billion in federal dollars, that could provide $12,000 in school choice funds to every K-12 student who today lives in poverty.
- Work with Congress on reforms to ensure universities are making a good faith effort to reduce the cost of college and student debt in exchange for the federal tax breaks and tax dollars.
- Ensure that the opportunity to attend a two or four-year college, or to pursue a trade or a skill set through vocational and technical education, will be easier to access, pay for, and finish.
Trump wants to institute funding portability (money “following the child”). I doubt that he was following the tediousness of this issue as it related to Title I funding, part of the December 2015 reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), now called the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). And if he wants to “reprioritize federal dollars” to drum up $20 billion for his ed funding portability plans, he could either do so outside of ESSA, like Obama did for his Race to the Top, or convince Congress to once again wade into the ESEA/ESSA mire and somehow vote to trash that plan in favor of reallocating ESSA funds to the Trump funding portability sketch of a plan. (Trump has offered zero details on how national public ed funding portability could possibly work in the real world, but it sure sounds Great *Again* in bullet-point non-reality.)
Of course, there is also the reality that the federal government has been strongly favoring under-regulated charter school promotion and expansion since George W. had his kumbaya moment with Congress in December 2001 with the creation of the last ESEA reuathorization, No Child Left Behind (NCLB)– a reauthorization that took Congress eight delinquent years to exit. (NCLB reauthorization was supposed to be addressed in 2007 but was not accomplished until 2015.)
Trump also provides the following “key issues” regarding education spending and international test scores, and he simply rehashes old news and stale ed reform language as he declares that school choice will solve the cost and test score “problems”:
- At the state and federal level, the United States spends more than $620 billion on K-12 education each year. That’s an average of about $12,296 for every student enrolled in our elementary and secondary public schools.
- We spend more per student than almost any other major country in the world. Yet, our students perform near the bottom of the pack for major large advanced countries.
- Our students continue to lag behind their peers worldwide in knowledge gained. [American Federation for Children Growth Fund]
- Among 34 Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development nations, the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) found 27 countries outperformed U.S students in math. [National Center for Education Statistics]
- The same assessment found 17 countries outperformed U.S. students in reading. [National Center for Education Statistics]
- Our largest cities spend some of the largest amounts of money on public schools:
- New York City spends $20,226 per student.
- Baltimore spends $15,287 per student.
- Chicago spends $11,976 per student.
- Los Angeles spends $10,602 per student.
- School choice is vital to reverse inequities in education and failing government schools in Democrat-controlled inner cities. According to the National Assessment of Education Progress, only one in six African-American students in the eighth grade are considered proficient in math and reading. In 2016, over 2 million high school graduates took the ACT:
- 45 percent of all students tested met three or more benchmarks related to college preparedness.
- Only 11 percent of African American students tested met three or more of the benchmarks for college and career readiness. [The Condition of College and Career Readiness, 2016]
- It is time for school choice to help free children from failing government schools and close the achievement gap. School choice is the civil rights issue of our time.
Does this man not know that school choice is embedded in these cities, and it is a festering sore? Apparently not.
Indeed, it is clear that Trump has given no thought to any downside to school choice. A good place to start would be in reality, with the NAACP’s October 15, 2016, charter school moratorium resolution, followed by the details of the attempted purchase of charter school expansion that was voted down in Massachusetts on November 08, 2016. Add to that Georgia voters’ nixing the idea of a state-run school district that would have become a open door for public-school-defunding charter school expansion, also on November 08, 2016.
It seems that Trump is also calling for the dissolution of the US Department of Education (USDOE). This is not a new idea, but it is a Republican idea. (The USDOE came into being in October 1979 under Democratic president, Jimmy Carter.) In 1980, Ronald Reagan called for the then-year-old department’s dissolution as part of his presidential campaign platform. In 1995, then-Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich wanted to abolish it. Others have followed. However, it would take an act of Congress to abolish the USDOE.
In his Contract with the American Voter, Trump vows to end Common Core. Language is already written into ESSA to prevent Common Core as a federal requirement, and Trump cannot halt Common Core on the state level. So, a Trump vow to end Common Core means nothing.
There is one vision of education that Trump will have to face prior to taking office: On November 28, 2016, Trump is supposed to go to court on the six-year-old Trump University fraud case. On November 10, 2016, US District Judge Gonzalo Curiel (San Diego) advised both sides to come to an agreement. Trump’s lawyers want to further delay the case since Trump is now president-elect. (Read more about the Trump University fraud case in this November 10, 2016, Reuters update.)
Trump’s lawyers tried to have any communications connected to Trump’s presidential campaign excluded from the trial. Curiel did not grant the blanket exclusion but said he would hear arguments about specific evidence that the Trump camp wished to exclude.
Among the evidence that Trump’s lawyers will have to argue to exclude from this Trump University fraud case are Trump’s negative comments about Curiel’s Mexican heritage.
Just part of Making American Education Great Again in the world of Donald J. Trump.