When Donald Trump announced that his $20 billion “plan to provide school choice to every disadvantaged student in America” on September 08, 2016, at an Ohio charter school itself having low grades by the state’s standards, he did not offer details regarding where, exactly, the $20 billion would come from or even how he arrived at that figure.
However, according to a February, 22, 2017, Associated Press report, the Trump administration is planning to submit its budget plan to Congress on March 13, 2017.
The degree of detail in that plan remains to be seen, including how Trump’s voucher plan will be financed; whether the dollar amount will be $20 billion, and the number of years associated with such an amount.
As AP reports, Congress already expects Trump budget details to be sketchy:
GOP aides say the plan is due on March 14. They’re expecting Trump’s blueprint to contain fewer details than is typical since it’s a new administration and Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney was only confirmed last week.
Even so, it seems that the DC voucher program– the only federally funded voucher program– is offering a definite “yes” regarding expansion of the program, asWashington Post reporter Emma Brown reports on February 24, 2017:
Kevin Mills, manager of family and community affairs for Serving Our Children, said in a telephone interview that the organization is expecting to expand because of new federal resources. He declined to say how much additional money the organization is expecting to receive, saying that they won’t have a firm number for another week or two.
Meanwhile, U.S. education secretary Betsy DeVos has made it clear that she plans to continue to pitch voucher superiority as she continued campaigning for vouchers in her February 23, 2017, speech at the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) convention using the worn-out reformer call to defy both “zip code” and “status quo.” An excerpt:
Let me ask you: Do you believe parents should be able to choose the best school for their child regardless of their ZIP code or family income? (YES!) Me too. And so does President Trump.
We have a unique window of opportunity to make school choice a reality for millions of families. Both the President and I believe that providing an equal opportunity for a quality education is an imperative that all students deserve. …
As Secretary, I don’t think the Department of Education in Washington should have more power over your decisions than you do. I took this job because I want to return power in education back to where it belongs: with parents, communities, and states. We can do this, but only with your help.
Defenders of the status quo will stop at nothing to protect their special interests and their gig. So we need you to engage, to be loud and to never stop fighting for what we believe. We need you to call, write, email, Tweet and Snap every politician who thinks the status quo is ok and that they know better than you when it comes to your education.
DeVos wants those who agree with her to be vocal. However, she is selling her own status quo, an ideology that touts choice as best because it just is, despite the fact that the very day DeVos gave the above speech, the New York Times carried a powerful piece entitled, “Dismal Voucher Results Surprise Researchers as DeVos Era Begins.”
Researcher Kevin Carey highlights how voucher programs in three states– Indiana, Louisiana, and Ohio– have indeed produced profoundly poor results.
In short, based on research of voucher programs in these three states, the public schools fared much better.
What this means in the world of Trump-DeVos education is that the voucher is being pushed regardless of the evidence that state-level voucher programs are faring embarrassingly poorly.
School voucher superiority is an ideology that Trump says he will finance and DeVos is devoted to proliferating.
By mid-March, America might know just how much the Trump-DeVos voucher non-solution will cost, at least in the short term.
The long-term costs for the thousands of students subjected to dismal “choice” remains to be seen.
Originally posted 02-26-17 at email@example.com.
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Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of two other books: A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education and Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?.