By Peggy Venable
While the pundits are analyzing the Presidential election, we at Texans for Education Opportunity are eager to share the President-elect’s stated education policy.
There is an education revolution taking place in America and Presidential candidate Donald Trump captured that reform mantle as he made school choice the cornerstone of his education policy.
While recent polling indicates that 70 percent of the voters support school choice, Trump vowed to leave education policy to the states.
Trump selected a pro-school choice running mate in Vice President-Elect Mike Pence. As governor of Indiana, Pence has a record of defending and advancing educational opportunity and access, and has a record of improving Indianapolis schools.
In addition to public charter schools, Indiana has a choice scholarship program, a tax credit scholarship program and an individual tax credit deduction for private and homeschool families.
Both Trump and Pence consider school choice as a vehicle to help improve inner cities and to provide options particularly for low-income families trapped in failing schools.
In early September, Trump pledged to immediately invest $20 billion in school choice and outlined a plan to an audience in Cleveland to reprioritize existing federal spending to establish a grant program to allow children living in poverty to attend the school of their choice.
Trump made the case that not only would the private school choice system help low income children enroll at quality schools, but also that a competitive market would improve the entire education system. Studies have confirmed that public schools improve when school choice is provided an option for parents.
With 31 states having enacted over 60 school choice programs, eligibility for school choice varies by state.
Trump promised to campaign nationwide and call upon individual states, cities and school boards to elect officials who support school choice.
“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,” Trump said at a campaign event.
Trump has also advocated for expanding charter schools.
Trump was quoted in the media when he spoke with a group about his desire to increase the number of charter schools across the nation because, he said, “the traditional way, it’s not working so well,” The Washington Post reported.
No newcomer to education policy, Trump has long been a critic of a monopoly public school system.
“Our public schools have grown up in a competition-free zone, surrounded by a very high union wall,” he wrote in his book “The America We Deserve” which came out in 2000.
Trump also campaigned to get rid of Common Core and was critical of Hillary Clinton’s plan for debt-free college tuition.