Trump’s Dystopian Vision for Schools
I frankly was shocked that Donald Trump finally mentioned children and schooling in a speech Tuesday night; these days, educators are used to dealing with the toxic climate he has created with his bullying and bigotry. So I stopped what I was doing and listened to his speech.
Imagine my surprise that Trump recognized — or someone noted it for him — that too many kids don’t get a fair shot to pursue their dreams, especially in poor urban and rural communities.
Unfortunately, the things he proposed would just make the situation worse.
Trump is dead wrong on the root causes of some kids’ failure to succeed. And rather than propose even one proven strategy that would help kids, he dusted off the status quo Republican playbook of worn-out establishment ideas that simply would destabilize neighborhoods and schools and make it harder and harder to attract, retain and support great teachers.
We have a shared responsibility to ensure all children can receive a high-quality public education, regardless of their ZIP code or background. But nearly two decades of the market-based solutions Trump peddles have overpromised and underdelivered, and in places like Detroit they’ve left kids even worse off.
Trump calls for “school choice” — marketer code for private charters, vouchers and selling off our schools to private firms. While there are some exceptional charters, charters on average perform about the same as traditional public schools, and the sector is rife with fraud and corruption, often discriminatesagainst high-needs students, and has undermined public districts in cities likePhiladelphia, Detroit and Chicago.
That’s part of why social justice groups like the NAACP and Black Lives Matterare speaking out against charter school proliferation and the privatization of our public schools, going so far as to propose a moratorium on charters in a recent NAACP resolution.
And Trump’s other big “choice” idea — vouchers? Voucher programs simply don’t work. They’ve been ruled unconstitutional in multiple states, includingColorado and Florida. Students who attend schools using vouchers often do worse than those who stayed in their neighborhood public schools.
Real school choice is a public system with options that give kids multiple pathways to pursue their passions and learn critical skills like creativity, problem solving and teamwork. We need thriving traditional public schools that anchor neighborhoods, powerful instruction that engages kids, and supports that address students’ and families’ well-being. That can includemagnet schools with specialized programs; community schools that support children and families in hard-hit areas; charters that are part of — not in place of — a public district; and robust career and technical, IB, early college and other programs to prepare kids for college, trades and careers. This starts with an investment in what works, not cutting educational spending as Trump Trump’s Dystopian Vision for Schools — Medium: