Donald Trump and Education Reform — Disrupting America

Donald Trump and Education Reform

Tom Landquist Education 0 Comments

One of Donald Trumps broader legislative promises on his first “100 days in office” is to enact the “School Choice And Education Opportunity Act. This would “Redirects education dollars to give parents the right to send their kid to the public, private, charter, magnet, religious or home school of their choice. Ends common core, brings education supervision to local communities. It expands vocational and technical education, and make 2 and 4-year college more affordable.”

So What Does That Mean?

It means that federal money for education will be used directly by citizens in choosing how they educate their children. You are free to choose from the options at your disposal, with no obvious restrictions.

SOUNDS GREAT!

Well maybe… This legislation would direct federal funding to private organizations, and the decentralization of education by eliminating agreed upon standards could create some pretty bleak educational outlooks.

Think about this… How would you feel knowing your federal tax dollars are funding a religion you disagree with? How would you feel if your tax dollars were funding K-12 schools based on the doctrine of Scientology? What kind of effects will those vouchers have on the funding of an already struggling public school system? Will we be able to maintain their funding to keep them open? If not, what are your options when they close?

I know some of that sounds a little presumptuous, and you have a point. However, does any of it sound far fetched? This creates entanglements of federal funding with all forms of education, eventually making them dependent on that funding, and vulnerable to changes in policy. The ideals of small government may be playing out by providing more choices, but taking federal money and building a budget off of it doesn’t seem to be a foolproof answer.

The point of religion was referenced earlier, and this does seem to toe the line where the separation of church and state are concerned.

There are laws governing hiring practices when federal money is concerned. There are lots of things to consider when federal money is concerned. Lots.

There are countless hypotheticals to run through, but there is no doubt that court cases would begin popping up quickly. Again, this isn’t a foolproof way to avoid big government’s ever-growing sphere of influence in our lives.

Well At Least It’s Eliminating the Common Core, Right?

We have all seen the memes floating around the internet. A child brings home a math problem that asks us some obscure series of nonsense and the headline is COMMON CORE IS TERRIBLE!!!  

But these headlines are often misleading and people don’t understand what’s behind Common Core. However, we aren’t getting into that here.

What is Common Core?

Corestandards.org defines it as a a process where “state education chiefs and governors in 48 states came together to develop the Common Core, a set of clear college- and career-ready standards for kindergarten through 12th grade in English language arts/literacy and mathematics. Today, 42 states and the District of Columbia have voluntarily adopted and are working to implement the standards, which are designed to ensure that students graduating from high school are prepared to take credit bearing introductory courses in two- or four-year college programs or enter the workforce.”

This taken at face value doesn’t appear to be harmful in any way. If there are specific lesson plans being handed down full of gibberish, then by all means eliminate them. But creating standards for education and making them voluntary seems like a reasonable proposition.

But I Hate Common Core!

I doubt most of us have an actual opposition to reasonable education standards. We want our children to continue our country’s economic success, and a large part of that rests on the education we provide them. The standards aren’t the issue, the prepacked ideas of how to teach children those standards are the issue.

Given the freedom to achieve those goals however they see fit, would give educators a clear standard, and the ability to choose the method in which they meet that standard.

Full Disclosure Warning

I do not have children, and I understand this is an issue with strong feelings held by a lot of people. This was not intended as a look into the possible pitfalls of some popularly held positions. It was meant to make you stop and think about possible repercussions dumping Common Core could have and create an informed conversation.

Something to Think About

If executed flawlessly, this plan of Trumps’ would actually be interesting to watch play out. Innovation could increase if a competitive element was added to the way schools pursue students. The best schools will draw the most students, schools would be more motivated to show parents and students what they have to offer. If the conflicts are somehow avoided, or limited, this could provide a spark that public education has been lacking for some time now.

Could it work?

What Do You Think?

This is a topic we all have had a hard time truly getting a grasp on. People hold so many positions, and those positions have strongly held emotional responses. It’s difficult to have a discussion about the concerns and to keep it civil. We want to know what you think, what your take is and how you feel. Let us know in the comments, here on the blog and on Facebook, and let’s keep tackling important issues until we find common solutions. 

PS… Don’t for get to shre this with your friends.

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