Here is why Trump’s school choice and education act will do more harm than good.
The President-elect of the United States unveiled a $20B school choice plan that will allow low-income students to be able to expand their options regarding school choice — something that has good intentions but may hurt the cause rather than help it
According to Trump, allowing low-income students to have more school choices will benefit minority students who are forced to stay in “failing government schools.” With the school choice plan, there is an expected increase in enrollment to Charter schools, with more than half of the students enrolled being Black or Latino. However, the problem is that the charter schools that Trump mentions are often failing itself.
Taking the Cleveland Arts and Social Sciences Academy in Ohio as an example, it is a charter school with predominantly African-American students. According to the school’s report card, we can see that although the K-3 literacy improvement has an overall ‘A’ ranking, the school earned an ‘F’ in overall progress in science and math, with a mere 31.3% of students passing the state exams.
While parents should have the right to determine where their child should go to school, it is not the government’s job to interfere by paying for education because not only will the country be in more debt, but the federal education budget can be used for things more beneficial instead. Moreover, public schools across the country will suffer because the government will essentially be stripping funding from them in order to help a few students in return. According to policy advisor Maya Harris, the proposal would strip funding from public schools that serve 21 million students, while only serving 1.4 million students in return.
“The federal government has no constitutional authority to meddle in education, and as it has proven over the last several decades — including by coercing states to adopt the Common Core — once it starts paying for education it starts controlling it, telling everyone what to do and how to do it, ” said Neal McCluskey
Why is this proposal bad for the economy?
Trump laid out his plan for education policy here, but details are far from clear. To begin with, it is unclear how exactly Trump will acquire $20 billion in the first place. It might mean that more of taxpayers’ money will go towards private schools, and public schools will lose some of their funding. Also, funding from the federal government on grants to disadvantaged children would have to be cut as well as other education programs. With 11 million low-income students in the US, $20 Billion split amongst them would amount to roughly $1800 per student, which is not enough to cover the high cost of private school, should the student wish to go there.
Providing vouchers for low-income students to be able to afford college also may not make sense economically because there is always a risk that students will get degrees that won’t get them a job in the future. Not only is this terrible for the economy, but these students will be unable to support themselves. While Trump’s intentions to improve the quality of life for low-income students are genuine, the government should simply not have the right to interfere with and mandate education policy.