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Opinion: Donald Trump’s Stance on Education Is a Wild Card

Opinion: Donald Trump’s Stance on Education Is a Wild Card

 Education policy expert Rick Hess has a few thoughts about how President Donald Trump might handle America’s education system.

Not many people have been talking about Trump’s views on education policy because- frankly- many are still in shock that he’s gotten this far in the race. He’s gotten so far, in fact, that he will likely take the Republican nomination and has a real chance of winning the whole thing.

"First, does Trump have a serious chance of winning the election? At the moment, while anything could still happen, he’s the favorite to win the Republican nomination. If Trump does claim the nomination, the RealClearPolitics average has him currently trailing Clinton by less than three points. That means, however disconcerting it may be, that there’s a real chance that Donald Trump could be the next president,” Hess acknowledges.

Therefore, it’s important to familiarize ourselves with how Trump would tackle education. Will he continue with President Obama’s efforts to make STEM a national focus? Will he make proper implementation of the nation’s new education legislation, the Every Student Succeeds Act, a priority? Will he become known for dismantling the Department of Education just like Jimmy Carter is known for creating it?

Seriously- what will Donald Trump do for education in America?

In Hess’ opinion, he thinks Trump doesn’t yet have a stance on education, and if in the White House, won’t until he’s decided who he will be influenced by.

"Trump appears far more intrigued by personalities than by policy proposals, suggesting that his education agenda would be largely a product of which education persona happened to catch his fancy. Given that Trump seems to favor big, public personalities or individuals he’s met through his commercial activities, I tend to think he’d wind up latching onto a colorful character he encountered in New York circles, was turned onto by friend, or spotted on CNN. Who that might turn out to be is anybody’s guess,” Hess speculates.

And while Trump has come out to say that he would abolish both the Common Core and the Department of Education, Hess believes this is a whole lot of talk without intention behind it.

" There’s no reason to believe that Trump necessarily means what he’s said on any issue. In truth, he seems to regard policy declarations as performance art. He’s said that he would ‘outlaw' the Common Core [see video below], but it’s not at all clear he knows what the Common Core is or how he’d try to do that,” Hess says.

Hess also notes that Trump typically contradicts what he says on the issues- saying that most of his opinions come with an “expiration date” as he adapts to what he thinks the people want.

For this reason, Hess pegs Trump’s stance on education as one of the biggest wild cards in the race.

"One reason that Trump makes political veterans observers so nervous is that he could very well be elected President of the United States, and yet no one has any idea of what he’d attempt to do in office. So, what would a President Trump mean for education? I have no idea. And neither does anyone else.”

Read the full post.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

3/2/2016

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