Home > Uncategorized > Trump V – Priebus as Chief of Staff = Implementation of Republican Platform for Education

Trump V – Priebus as Chief of Staff = Implementation of Republican Platform for Education

While everyone on NPR seems to be enthralled with Trump’s decision to make Stephen Bannon his strategist, I’m more disturbed that he’s chosen Rance Priebus to be his chief of staff… because Stephen Bannon has no sway over the Republicans who have been elected to lead the Senate and House but many of those Congressmen DO own a debt to Priebus… and as a consummate insider Priebus will know how to get legislation done. And what might that mean for public education? Here’s Politico’s synopsis of the 2016 Republican Platform as it pertains to education with my translations in red italics:

— On campus sexual assault: The Obama administration’s crackdown on campus sexual assaults has distorted Title IX “to micromanage the way colleges and universities deal with allegations of abuse,” the platform says. Republicans said that sexual assault reports should be resolved only by law enforcement, rather than by university officials. Say goodbye to harassment… only a rape will count

— On White House directive on transgender students’ rights: The platform says the guidance, which requires schools to allow transgender students to use the restroom or locker room that matches their gender identity, is “at once illegal, dangerous, and ignores privacy issues.” Republicans said they “salute the several states which have filed suit against it.” Transgender kids better stay home or be ready to be harassed

— On student loans: Republicans called for ending the federal direct student loan program and restoring greater “private sector participation in student financing.” There goes USDOE’s piggy bank, which might not be a bad thing… but the lower loan rates could also disappear, which could be awful

— On college accreditation: The platform says that “accreditation should be decoupled from federal financing.” And it also echoes some of the accreditation overhaul ideas that lawmakers like Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) have proposed. The document says, for example, that “states should be empowered to allow a wide array of accrediting and credentialing bodies to operate.” Such a model, the platform says, would “foster innovation, bring private industry into the credentialing market, and give students the ability to customize their college experience.” Hello deregulated for profit schools… good bye consumer protection… oh, and Trump University might rise from the ashes along with University of Phoenix

— On for-profit education: “We need new systems of learning to compete with traditional four-year schools,” the platform says. “Technical institutions, online universities, life-long learning, and work-based learning in the private sector.”See above… 

— On recent campus protests and student activism: As it has in previous years, the platform laments “political indoctrination” on college campuses. This year, the document specifically criticizes “zones of intellectual intolerance or ‘safe zones” — adopting the term that some student activists have used to describe spaces on campus where marginalized students feel comfortable discussing sensitive issues. Some conservatives have said such efforts keep out contrary viewpoints and infringe on students’ free speech rights. “Colleges, universities, and trade schools must not infringe on their freedom of speech and association in the name of political correctness,” the platform says. Hello unbridled racist, sexist, and xenophobic insults… good bye civility, which some Alt-Right media conflate with “political correctness” 

— On school choice: Republicans are, unsurprisingly, very supportive of school choice, “especially … innovative financing mechanisms that make options available to all children: education savings accounts (ESAs), vouchers, and tuition tax credits.” The platform specifically cites the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program as “a model for the rest of the country” that should be expanded. “We deplore the efforts of Congressional Democrats and the current President to eliminate this successful program for disadvantaged students in order to placate the leaders of the teachers’ unions,” the platform says. Hello deregulated for profit schools… good bye unions and public schools… oh, except in those affluent communities who are more than willing to pay for their kids to get a good education

— On testing and the Common Core: Republicans “congratulate” states that have “repealed” the academic standards. And on testing, they find some common ground with Democrats: The platform rejects “excessive testing and ‘teaching to the test’ and supports the need for strong assessments to serve as a tool so teachers can tailor teaching to meet student needs.” The platform also encourages “instruction in American history and civics by using the original documents of our founding fathers.” Hello standardized tests on the constitution and American excelptionalism… good bye Howard Zinn

— On the Bible and abstinence: “A good understanding of the Bible being indispensable for the development of an educated citizenry, we encourage state legislatures to offer the Bible in a literature curriculum as an elective in America’s high schools,” the platform says. Republicans say that “family planning” programs for teens should be replaced with abstinence education. And they oppose “school-based clinics that provide referral or counseling for abortion and contraception.” Hello school prayer, Just Say No To Sex programs, and handouts on Bible verses in the nurse’s office… good bye to the Wall between church and state, sex education, and planned parenthood leaflets in the school nurses office

— On teachers: The platform says teachers should be “protected against frivolous lawsuits and should be able to take reasonable actions to maintain discipline and order in the classroom … Rigid tenure systems should be replaced with a merit-based approach in order to attract the best talent to the classroom. All personnel who interact with school children should pass background checks and be held to the highest standards of personal conduct.” Hello paddles, at will employees, and moral codes for teachers… good-bye to guidance counselors, unions, and freedom outside of schools for teachers

— On K-12 spending: Republicans say the Education Department has spent more than $2 trillion dollars “with little substantial improvement in academic achievement or high school graduation rates.” The platform supports the notion of Title I portability, which Republicans failed to include in a reauthorization of No Child Left Behind. “We propose that the bulk of federal money through Title I for low-income children and through IDEA for children with special needs should follow the child to whatever school the family thinks will work best for them,” the platform says. Good bye equitable funding… 

— On changing the U.S. constitution: The platform calls for a constitutional amendment protecting the right of parents to direct their children’s education, care and upbringing “from interference by states, the federal government, or international bodies such as the United Nations.” Hello to Christian madrases, good bye to “government schools”

And here’s the really good news for Donald Trump: Priebus an Bannon will probably see eye-to-eye on each of these making it even more probable each will find their way into law. The bad news for public education, especially those schools that serve the less affluent, should be self evident… The worse news is that reversing this trend will be difficult to impossible unless the public’s sentiment about their schools can be changed.

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  1. Elyssa Gersen-Thurman
    November 15, 2016 at 12:17 am

    Hello depression & anxiety!

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