Students should not be forced to attend a low-rate school just because their parents live in the corresponding school zone and can’t afford to relocate.
This was Donald Trump’s biggest argument last Thursday when he met with students and educators in Cleveland, Ohio before laying out a specific education policy plan that focuses on the controversial issue of school choice. “We are fighting to give every child in every forgotten stretch in this country the chance to live out their dreams in safety and peace,” said Trump.
Trump vowed to create a $20 billion grant that would give low-income families the ability to choose between competing schools. This budget will be covered by existing federal funds, he said, but states will be encouraged to add $110 billion to the effort.
“As your president I will be the nation’s biggest cheerleader for school choice,” stated Trump. “If we can put a man on the moon, dig out the Panama Canal, and win two world wars, then I have no doubt that we can provide school choice to every disadvantaged child in America.”
The billionaire also plans to support merit pay for educators, a controversial policy in which a teacher’s salary is affected by students’ test scores. He argues that the tenure system we have in place today “rewards bad teachers and punishes the good ones,” and that a merit pay system would do the opposite.
Trump’s bold talk on education policy is part of a series of moves designed to answer lingering questions, attract voters who haven’t made up their minds, and distance himself from Hillary Clinton.
In recent days, the billionaire has also suggested that he is open to legalizing some of the illegal immigrants currently living in the US and has promised to bolster military spending in order to ramp up the fight against ISIS.
Trump states that his plans for education, foreign policy, and the economy signal a break from the failed policies of his predecessors. “The Democratic party has trapped millions of African-American and Hispanic youth in failing government schools that deny them the opportunity to join the ladder of American success,” says Trump. “It is time to break up that monopoly.