Now, only a few months ago, Donald Trump pledged that—should he be elected president—he will immediately invest $20 billion in school choice. This plan would, essentially, reprioritize existing federal dollars in order to establish a grant that will allow for children who live in poverty to attend the school of their choosing. Trump actually argued that this voucher system would not be the only thing that could help such children to enroll in higher quality schools, but also that a better—and more truly—free market economy would revamp all of the education system.
Of course, simply introducing a voucher system is one thing; implementing it is another thing entirely. After all, eligibility for these vouchers will vary from state to state. As such, Trump has also promised to campaign across the country to call upon each state (and city, effectively) to elect the right officials who will support the school choice initiative.
At a campaign event in Cleveland, on Thursday, Trump said, “If the states collectively contribute another $110 billion of their own education budgets toward school choice on top of the 20 billion in federal dollars, that could provide $12,000 in school choice funds to every single K-12 student who today is living in poverty.”
Supporters of the program attest that the vouchers will help disadvantaged students. For example, Center for Education Reform communications director Michelle Tigani comments, “Voucher programs largely help low-income middle-class kids—these are the kids that most need access [to quality education].”
Obviously, the proposal also has its share of opponents. Those opponents argue that the bill will siphon crucial funding away from the already shallow pool of public-school funds available. Some even argue that this bill is unconstitutional (because these taxpayer-funded voucher could benefit religious schools).
But Trump also supports the charter school system. These are publicly funded schools run by private firms; and he supports them because he believes that “the traditional way” is not working as well as it should. He argues that teachers unions may be something that stands in the way, especially since these unions are loudly against school-choice policies.
Furthermore, Trump continues to blast the Common Core State Standards as well as the cost (and policies behind) higher education. Of course, how he will manage to change these things we are yet to discover