The reality of a Trump presidency has elicited a wide number of responses from people across the political spectrum — and within education.
Donald Trump ran what was arguably one of the most contentious presidential campaigns in United States history. Some the policies Trump proposed, such as erecting a wall across the border of Mexico (which was denounced by architects as nearly impossible to build) took up the bulk of media attention during the past election season. These issues drew criticism and praise alike, but where does the Trump presidency stand on education — the topic most near and dear to teachers?
On the Trump campaign’s website, the education section is broken down into key issues and the president-elect’s vision for education in the country. A few highlights from his proposed policies are listed below:
During his campaign, Trump was vocal about Common Core State Standards, saying they have been a “total disaster” and that he will get rid of them if a Trump presidency came to fruition. However, On Nov. 19, Trump met with former Washington schools chancellor Michelle Rhee, who has been a Common Core supporter in the past, to discuss the position of Secretary of Education.
Trump has previously spoken out against Common Core standards as a means of indoctrinating students into a government-led agenda. It’s important to note that the federal government played no role in the development of the Common Core and that state adoption of the standards is not mandatory. According the Washington Post’s analysis on the issue, no U.S. president or education secretary can force a state to abandon Common Core standards.
Trump said during his campaign that he supports merit pay for teachers, but is opposed to teachers unions.
The Trump presidency website states that Trump aims to ensure the opportunity to “attend a two or four-year college, or to pursue a trade or a skill set through vocational and technical education, will be easier to access, pay for, and finish.” The details of how that will be accomplished have not yet been released.
School Competition and Charter Schools
Trump has said that he encourages school competition and is an advocate for charter schools. His campaign website states that funds should follow the student to the public or private school they attend and distribution of grant money will favor states with a private school choice.
President-elect Trumps has proposed taxpayer-funded vouchers for low-income students to attend a range of schools, including private schools. He has referred to public schools as “failed government schools.”
This contentious presidential campaign has highlighted rifts within our communities and increased incidents of bullying have been reported within our schools across the country. Whichever area of the political spectrum you or your students align with, practicing empathy in the classroom can benefit everyone as the Trump presidency moves forward. Read more about ways you can teach empathy here.