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Trump Discusses Highly Anticipated Education Policy Plans

Trump Discusses Highly Anticipated Education Policy Plans

Since early in Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s campaign, experts in the education community have referred to him as a “wild card” when it comes to how he will influence education if elected president.

With no political experience yet under his belt, Trump consequentially has not had experience working in education policy, something that is indicated frequently by his hesitance to the discuss the subject beyond buzz words like Common Core.

Now, as promised last month, Trump has finally provided further detail on his education plans.

Last Thursday, Trump visited Cleveland Arts and Social Sciences Academy, an inner-city charter school, to advocate for his plan to implement school choice on a national level.

If president, Trump says he will direct $20 billion to states to ensure that families have the option of sending their children to charter, magnet, public or private schools. This $20 billion in funding will come from existing federal spending and will be distributed to states in block grants, he said.

”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. Their parents will chose the finest school; they will attend that school. This includes private schools, traditional public schools, magnet schools and charter schools which will be included in any definition of school choice,” he said.

While Trump didn’t clarify where exactly the $20 billion in federal funding would be re-directed from, he said he is confident that the government can “easily” pay for such an initiative. In the past, Trump has said he would abolish the Department of Education, a common task on the Republican agenda, but did not elaborate on who would be responsible for overseeing the initiative in the department’s absence.

Frederick Hess, the education policy expert who originally referred to Trump as a wild card, told The New York Times that Trump’s proposal was designed to signal solidarity with “mainstream Republican thought” through a “symbolic gesture for charter schooling.”

Opponents of school choice programs believe that such programs, especially ones that provide federal funding to for-profit schools like the one Trump delivered his speech at, take money from public schools and inevitably force children to be trapped in failing schools despite the opposite intention.

Trump, however, is convinced that creating a competitive education market is the way to fix K-12 education.

”It would create a massive education market that is competitive and produces better outcomes, and I mean far better outcomes.”

”If we can put a man on the moon, dig out the Panama Canal, and win two world wars, than I have no doubt that we as a nation can provide school choice to every disadvantaged child in America.”

Aside from implementing school choice, Trump has also said he would get rid of the Common Core (despite the ESSA making it illegal for the federal government to incentivize for or against state standards), make it harder for students to study liberal arts, and abolish gun-free zones in schools. 

Watch Trump’s speech in its entirety in the video below.

Nicole Gorman, Senior Education World Contributor

9/12/2016

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