(Editor: www.thereportcard.org Donald Trump is advocating spending $20 billion on school choice-voucher, charters and magnet schools. His position has drawn fire from teachers unions who oppose anything that takes funds away from public schools and their own benefits. “Donald Trump isn’t serious about doing what’s best for our students, and he’s clueless about what works,” said National Education Association president Lily Eskelsen Garcia in a press release. “His silver bullet approach does nothing to help the most-vulnerable students and ignores glaring opportunity gaps while taking away money from public schools to fill private-sector coffers.” Randi Weingarten of the American Federation of Teachers stated: “Donald Trump hasn’t done his homework all the available evidence shows his ideas will only destabilize public schools and hurt kids.”
Actually, the evidence is quite the contrary, charters and vouchers work, and generally produce superior results. The status quo merely provides benefits to the unions).
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump unveiled his policy stances on school choice on Thursday, revealing a $20 billion plan Trump believes will shift public education in the right direction.
By Allison Nielsen
Appearing in Cleveland, Trump said he would redirect $20 billion federal dollars into state funding to establish a block grant for states to use to help poor children attend different public schools, private schools or magnet schools.
“Each state will develop its own formula, but the dollars should follow the student,” Trump said.
A similar voucher program is already in place in Florida, where nearly 100,000 low-income students receive scholarships to attend private schools. Private companies fund Florida’s school choice program, who then in turn are given tax breaks for their participation in the program.
Trump didn’t say exactly where the federal dollars would come from in the budget, but said the block grants would go to the 11 million school age children living in poverty nationwide.
Trump said the goal of school choice would become a “shared national mission” if he were president, aiming “to bring hope” to every child nationwide. It will then be up to constituents to elect officials at the local, state and federal levels who support school choice.
States would provide up to $12,000 per student to attend a different school.
“The school choice proposals unveiled today by Mr. Trump are a bold set of policies that will increase accountability and lead to better results for our nation’s children,” said Trump’s running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence.
Trump also said he would support merit-pay for teachers, a controversial platform which bases teacher salary on how well a student performs on standardized tests. Trump slammed the tenure system, which is a virtual guarantee of employment for life if a teacher works anywhere from five to 10 years in the field.
The billionaire businessman-turned-GOP nominee also criticized the Common Core State Standards, a national set of education standards implemented nationwide. Trump deemed them a “disaster.”
“Obviously Common Core does not work,” Trump said Thursday.
Teachers refused to jump onboard with Trump’s education policies, attacking him for being out of touch with the realities facing students nationwide.
“Donald Trump isn’t serious about doing what’s best for our students, and he’s clueless about what works,” said National Education Association president Lily Eskelsen Garcia in a press release. “His silver bullet approach does nothing to help the most-vulnerable students and ignores glaring opportunity gaps while taking away money from public schools to fill private-sector coffers.”
Critics of school choice believe, however, that funneling money into school choice programs negatively affects traditional public schools by shuffling tax dollars away from them. Teachers unions like the National Education Association are strictly against them.
The subject of school vouchers and school choice has been at the center of a lengthy lawsuit from the Florida Education Association, which sued over the state’s Tax Credit Scholarship Program for those same reasons.
Trump’s school choice stance is a favorite among the Republican crowd, which generally favors school choice. In Florida, the Tax Credit Scholarship Program is regularly supported by GOP lawmakers and opposed by many Democrats.
The education platform announcement comes after recent calls Trump has made to dramatically scale back or eliminate the U.S. Department of Education.
“Education has to be run locally,” Trump wrote last year.
Restoring authority to the local level, he says, is at the heart of his priorities.
“Common Core, No Child Left Behind, and Race to the Top are all programs that take decisions away from parents and local school boards,” he wrote. “These programs allow the progressives in the Department of Education to indoctrinate, not educate, our kids.”
But some large groups of teachers disagree to whether Trump has the right idea on education.
“Donald Trump hasn’t done his homework,” wrote Randi Weingarten of the American Federation of Teachers, which represents nearly 1.6 million teachers nationwide. “All the available evidence shows his ideas will only destabilize public schools and hurt kids.”