This is for every teacher who refuses to be blamed for the failure of our society to erase poverty and inequality, and refuses to accept assessments, tests and evaluations imposed by those who have contempt for real teaching and learning.
And you completely eliminate any protections for students’ civil rights.
THIS is the brave new world of Trumpian education policy. It’s called HR 610 and was introduced by Republican Congressman Steve King of Iowa.
You may Remember King. He introduced an amendment in the U.S. House that would have prevented Harriet Tubman from replacing President Andrew Jackson on the front of the $20 bill. Sure she was an abolitionist, women’s suffragist and hero who rescued scores of black people from slavery in the Underground Railroad. Why would we want her to replace a former slave trader and architect of the Indian Removal Act and Trail of Tears!?
His new piece of wonderful legislation – not at all written by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) – would turn the U.S. Department of Education into merely an authorizer of block grants to qualified states to participate in a nationwide voucher program.
The department would give out money to local districts to give to parents to home school or send their children to private schools.
Which brings up the question – what about that public school system? Would it still receive the federal help it currently does? Would the there still be Title I Grants to schools serving impoverished students? What would happen to Pell Grants? Who would make sure states are doing their jobs? Where could we go to find accurate data about how our schools are doing nationally and not just state-by-state?
Moreover, abuses against students on the grounds of civil rights, gender, special education, etc. would skyrocket with little to no recourse. And we would be in the dark about how well we were educating our nation’s children.
Oh! And the bill also would reduce nutrition standards for school lunches and breakfasts.
I’m sure this has nothing to do with the fact that these regulations were proposed by the Obama administration. It has nothing to do with undoing legislation from our first black President. It’s all about the children.
He is a hardcore Trump believer. During the election cycle after revelations about the candidate’s admitted sexual molestation of women surfaced, Massie famously said, “Trump is better than 90 percent of the congressmen I serve with.”
The Department of Education is a tool, and like any tool, it can be misused. That doesn’t mean it should be disbanded. Republicans wouldn’t ban all guns because of instances of gun violence. Why disband the Department of Education because administrations of both parties misused it? Put it in check with proper regulations…
Oops. I think I’ve lost them.
Anyway, despite Massie’s slavish devotion for all things Trump, the President appears to be siding with King.
Trump and his mega-donor Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos, have already shown their commitment to King’s voucher legislation.
Who did they invite? One was a public school teacher. One was a public school principal for a building specializing in special education. One was a public school parent who also had children in private school. The rest were homeschoolers, charter school parents or private school representatives.
So 70-80% of the people they invited were not associated with public schools. The Trump administration has made it clear that they are not interested in serving public school students. They are primarily concerned with children going to private and parochial schools who currently make up less than 10 percent of the country’s students.
The only thing standing in the way of this wrecking ball bill is parents and teachers.
We flooded our lawmakers phones, emails and town halls during the DeVos confirmation. We demanded a qualified candidate with a commitment to public education. But because she and her family have paid more than $200 million to these same GOP lawmakers, they voted for her anyway.
Will they continue to override their constituents? Only time will tell.