Home > Uncategorized > Trump’s Education Plan: Use “Redirected” Federal Funds to Get Poor Children Out of “Failing Government Schools”

Trump’s Education Plan: Use “Redirected” Federal Funds to Get Poor Children Out of “Failing Government Schools”

September 10, 2016

Like most progressive minded educators, I was distressed that neoliberal Hillary Clinton won the Democrat nomination for President given her embrace of charter schools and the “reform” movement that unpinned NCLB, RTTT, and now ESSA. But after reading the downright scary “detailed plan” for public education on the Trump-Pence web page there is no doubt that Ms. Clinton would get my vote. The Trump-Pence “New American Future” plan is a privatizer’s dream. Here’s the opening salvo from his policy speech on public education:

Our campaign represents the long-awaited chance to break with the bitter failures of the past, and to embrace a New American Future.

There is no failed policy more in need of urgent change than our government-run education monopoly. 

The Democratic Party has trapped millions of African-American and Hispanic youth in failing government schools that deny them the opportunity to join the ladder of American success.

It is time to break-up that monopoly.

I want every single inner city child in America who is today trapped in a failing school to have the freedom – the civil right – to attend the school of their choice. This includes private schools, traditional public schools, magnet schools and charter schools which must be included in any definition of school choice.

Our government spends more than enough money to easily pay for this initiative – with billions left over. It’s simply a matter of putting students first, not the education bureaucracy.

The “government school monopoly” meme is a favorite of Tea Party Republicans, who favor vouchers as a means of providing “choice”… but not COMPLETE choice. A child raised in Philadelphia, for example, couldn’t use his or her voucher to attend a school in Lower Merion because even if the voucher covered the child’s total per pupil cost it wouldn’t be sufficient to cover the expenses. Moreover the Lower Merion Schools couldn’t absorb the children even if they could pay. So… where could these children “choose” to attend? In Mr. Trump’s world they could enroll in ANY “…public, private or religious school of their choice.

And where would the money come from?

My first budget will immediately add an additional federal investment of $20 billion towards school choice. This will be done by reprioritizing existing federal dollars. 

Specifically, my plan will use $20 billion of existing federal dollars to establish a block grant for the 11 million school age kids living in poverty.

We will 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 and charter laws, encouraging them to participate.

Can anyone say portability? But wait! There’s more! Mr. Trump was making this announcement for his bold initiative for voice from a charter school in Ohio that was one of hundreds in the state that was deemed to be “failing” based on the State standards… and in that venue Mr. Trump went on to say:

A state like Ohio will benefit greatly from these new funds. Ohio is a leader in school choice. Ohio has 5 private school choice programs that serve over 30,000 students, and 384 charter schools serving 123,844 students.

Mr. Trumps advisors might have looked at some of these reports before touting Ohio’s charter experience… especially the on-line charters that scammed taxpayers out of millions of dollars.

But wait again! Mr. Trump is finished with offering re-hashes of bad ideas! He wants to provide teachers with… MERIT PAY! And… he’s going to add millions of jobs by lifting “…restrictions on the production of American energy (that) will not only make home energy bills cheaper, but (also) add an estimated half a million jobs per year” and by deregulation.

In the final analysis Mr. Trump’s detailed education plan is a regurgitation of Milton Friedman’s theories and those of the “reformers”: he sees education as a product to be sold like his steaks, airlines, and casinos… and if he is elected the schools he is selling will be as bankrupt as his business ventures.

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