Home > Uncategorized > Good News! Trump’s Budget Cuts Charter Schools… Bad News! His Budget Redirects that $$$ to Vouchers

Good News! Trump’s Budget Cuts Charter Schools… Bad News! His Budget Redirects that $$$ to Vouchers

February 11, 2020

Jonathan Chait’s Intelligencer article yesterday not only undercut President Trump’s scholarship to a young African-American girl from Philadelphia but also revealed it’s true purpose. Mr. Chait opens his article with these paragraphs:

At his State of the Union address, President Trump created an apparently heartfelt moment on behalf of Philadelphia fourth-grader Janiyah Davis. Having been “trapped in failing government schools,” Trump announced Davis would be granted a full scholarship to a private school, personally financed by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

Except, the Philadelphia Inquirer discovered, Davis doesn’t attend a “failing” school. She attends a high-quality public charter.

That looks like a “big oops” on two counts…. except it seems that it reveals the way the POTUS and the GOP want to fund education going forward. Poor children should rely on rich benefactors if they want to get a high quality education and vouchers should replace all forms of publicly funded schools. Mr. Chait elaborates on the second point in his third paragraph:

Here’s a brief refresher: Charter schools are not the same as private schools. Private schools are funded by tuition dollars, and can select which students to admit. Charter schools are publicly financed, do not charge tuition, and cannot select their student bodies. If they have more applications than available slots, charters typically have to use a lottery. Charter schools and private schools are often confused. A Washington Post story about Trump’s speech says the president appealed to his base on issues like “religious liberty, guns and charter schools,” when, in fact, Trump was touting private school vouchers, not charter schools.

Mr. Chait supports his contention by looking at the budget the POTUS is recommending, a budget that cuts the USDOE’s operations by 8%, eliminates all funding for charter schools, and redirects funds for public schools into a $5 billion dollar tax credit for private school vouchers. He concludes his article with this:

Trump’s plan to cut education funding is a huge political liability. And his proposal to eliminate federal funding for charters should make it clear that supporting charter schools is literally the opposite of Trump’s education agenda. Trump describing a charter school as a “failing government school” in his State of the Union address is not a mistake. It’s his actual worldview.

Alas I fear that these points will be lost on many voters who will miss the nuances Mr. Chait brings to light… and if the President is re-elected unwinding the voucher legislation likely to pass will take years.

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