Trump to release ed plan; details so far show little understanding

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by Félix Pérez; image courtesy of Gage Skidmore

Donald Trump has said education is a central part of his campaign to “make America great again.” But based on the absence of policy proposals to date and an analysis of his campaign website, you’d have to come to a different conclusion.

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Perhaps this week we’ll learn more beyond generalities and sound bites. The Trump campaign has announced that the reality TV star and real estate developer will finally release his plan this week.

In the meantime, what we do know shows Trump has little understanding of the challenges facing the nation’s students, educators and public schools.

In his most recent pronouncement, the candidate said:

It is time to have school choice, merit pay for teachers, and to end the tenure policies that hurt good teachers and reward bad teachers. We are going to put students and parents first.

More to the point, Trump, the product of private schools, stands behind school vouchers, which in community after community have diverted scarce resources from community schools to private and religious schools that are allowed to reject students with special needs.

His support for merit pay parrots a well-worn idea pushed by corporate ed reformers. But research shows that linking teacher pay to student achievement is rife with unanswered questions, such as, ‘How do you reward teachers who do not teach tested subjects?’ ‘How do merit pay advocates account for study findings that merit pay has no overall effect on student achievement?’ ‘What of the factors unaddressed by merit pay that are more important to recruiting and retaining quality teachers, such as collaborative environments and adequate resources?’ ‘How do you measure factors other than a teacher that affect student performance — his or her motivation, for example, or the amount of parental support?’Trump education plan

Trump’s overall assessment of public schools is as harsh as it is uninformed. “Schools are crime-ridden and they don’t teach,” he wrote in his book “The America We Deserve.”

What do we know about who Trump would turn to inform and implement his education policies?

According to Trump, Ben Carson, who was vanquished by Trump in the primaries, will play a major role. “I’m going to have Ben very involved with education, something that’s an expertise of his.”

Tellingly, Carson takes a dim view of public school students. “The best education is the education that is closest to home, and I’ve found that for instance homeschoolers do the best, private schoolers next best, charter schoolers next best, and public schoolers worst.”

When it comes to teacher-led unions, Trump, not surprisingly, is not a fan. “Our public schools have grown up in a competition-free zone, surrounded by a very high union wall. Why aren’t we shocked at the results? After all, teachers’ unions are motivated by the same desires that move the rest of us.”

Beyond any policy prescriptions Trump might propose, there is the matter of the leadership he would project to the world, including our students. So far on that score, the results, commonly referred to as “The Trump Effect,” are alarming. According to a national survey of educators by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the presidential campaign “is producing an alarming level of fear and anxiety among children of color and inflaming racial and ethnic tensions in the classroom.”

Characteristic of comment after comment in the report, one teacher from a middle school with a large population of African American Muslims said:

My students are terrified of Donald Trump. They think that if he’s elected, all black people will get sent back to Africa.

The report revealed that:

  • More than two-thirds of the teachers reported that students—mainly immigrants, children of immigrants and Muslims—have expressed concerns or fears about what might happen to them or their families after the election.
  • More than half have seen an increase in uncivil political discourse.

Reader Comments

  1. Interesting reading. I definitely cannot in any form vote for Hillary. I like that Trump has brought up what a lot of people feel about illegal immigrants. And I stress illegal. A lot is wrong with our system . I also do not believe Hillary did what she has been accused. I believe that the FBI is doing what it is told, but this is not new. Can’t trust Trump. Too much of a hot head and doesn’t truly say anything. His son comes across better.

    1. I also cannot vote for Hillary for many reasons. As scary as Trump’s Ed Plan sounds, it could very well contain the right ingredients to fix the shift in accountability. Too many students are ruining the education experience for others. Students have so many “rights” in public school that they’re able to abuse their privilege at the expense of quality education for the remaining students. The national debt cannot continue to fund public schools with the current funding structure. We need to wait for details and potential change in charter school mandates.

  2. Yeah, quit being so mushy, liberals. Just trust, like Bob does, that Donald knows more about education than any educator on the planet, just like he knows more about Isis than those silly generals.

  3. Bob, voting for Trump because Ms. Clinton is a liar is senseless. Hillary is a crook. She does not deserve to be president. I agree.
    Mr. Trump is equally bad in most respects, but is far more dangerous in ways that count much more than her greed and dishonesty.
    Mr. Trump’s attitudes, language, and behavior paints him as oligarchical. He would be taking executive power at a time when Congress is poorly equipped to act as a proper check to his executive power: See the trend in current executive orders by presidents acting as Law of the Land in the last 12 years. Such a man, with such power would propel the US to a dangerous precipice. I am honestly, strongly considering moving to Mexico and volunteering to help build the wall, so I may survive the Trump presidency if he is elected.

    I am not voting for Hillary. I think she exactly fits Swift’s description: ” I cannot but conclude the Bulk of your Natives, to be the most pernicious Race of little odious Vermin that Nature ever suffered to crawl upon the Surface of the Earth,” and she thinks herself the Queen of them. Write your own name in. Write any name in. vote for the Libertarian Candidate. I am going to vote for myself.

    But if Hillary wins, I do not fear for my life. I will have to struggle more. i will have to live with more unfunded mandates. I will still be teaching with inadequate resources on outdated and used equipment. But I will not need to fear for annihilation of the species of Homo Sapiens Sapiens with a Clinton in the white House.

  4. When you can’t attack the message then it’s time to attack the messenger, eh Bob? Retorts like yours are a common refusal by many supporters to deal with Trump’s misogyny, racism, serial lying, evident lack of policy specifics, or his lack of interest in gaining knowledge about specific policy issues. Education is just one area where’s he’s deficient. All these things point to his overall lack of fitness and temperament to be Commander in Chief. Instead, the rebuttal is always Clinton’s use of a personal email server. Is that all you folks have?

    1. Nope, watch the video/documentary: Clinton Cash, then if you still think she is fit to become POTUS, go have your brain examined. Her, and Billie Bumpkin are probably the most corrupt couple ever to grace the disgusting halls of this government. She is a sleaze, will do anything to become president, support Obama after bad mouthing him when she ran against him, sell the nation’s pride for personal gain. Never worked a day in her life at a real job, pathological liar ( Marine Corps recruiting story, dodging sniper rounds on the tarmac). I suppose you feel better believing the ramblings of a pathetic woman who will sell out this nation in a minute if it earns her a buck.

      It is evident that the liberal establishment supporting her has bought out Bernie and is now prepared to sell out the nation.

      It is sad that so many people in the world of education have such a myopic view of national events, security, the economy.

      Again, your response typifies a liberal view of the world: pretend its what you want it to be, not see it for what it really is and deal with the facts. I will go out on limb and suspect you have never worked at a for-profit company. I will bet you never served in the military, and it may be likely that you would never join the military, love there is no draft and discourage your kids from serving in the military. I could be wrong but those are characteristics of liberal thinkers I have seen. You likely think the scum bag quarter back who will not stand for the Anthem is just exercising his rights.

      Attack what message? Clinton’s email scandal and illegal actions(the FBI was told how to recommend no action) are child’s play for her nonsense. Try researching her dealings in Haiti with the earthquake recovery efforts.. try researching TD Bank’s payoff in the form of a $750,000 speech to the philanderer and then Hillabeast’s immediate sell out the environmental activists to approve the XL pipeline. I know this will be too much for you to digest but take a look, see how she deals. Criminal, immoral, disgusting. The Clintons make Bonnie and Clyde look like a Mary Poppins movie.

      1. Not sure how not liking a divisive, hateful, megalomaniacal misogynist who seems to have no clear proposals on education or much else, makes me a tool of the liberal establishment Bob. For all you know, I could’ve been a former Ted Cruz supporter.

      2. Bob, calm down. You have no idea what you are talking about when it comes to education. The federal government is really very little involved. I’m not going to even dispute what you are saying about Hillary, but even if everything you accuse her of is true, it pales next to what Trump has done (and promises to do)

        1. Tell us , what has Trump done to disgrace the country when he was in an appointed government position? That ought to be a fairly quick list to assemble.

          For those who think Hillary ‘is better than the alternative’, it does not exonerate her from her lies, deceit, cronyism, flagrant abuse of power. Do yourself and the country a favor. Research her and the Bumpkin’s activities, both before he got to the federal level, how she abused the Secretary of State position with sweet heart deals, and see how the so-called Clinton Foundation is simply their political arm and money laundering organization. From my research, about 10% , ten percent, of so called donations actually get to the needs of those presumably being served. Where’s the other 90% go to?

          Good, efficient charitable organizations should get to about 80-90% of contributions going to the needs of their constituents. The Clintons’ group is the opposite. One could argue, well, they like greasing the palms of their friends, but the problem is, most of that 90% goes to peddling influence. Hillabeast, as SecState did a number of 180 deg reversals on the environment and economy with direct connections to those associated with favors in response to payoffs: many of the payoffs were in the form of insanely lucrative speaking fees for Billie Bumpkin. Research the background and then decide if this is the woman who would lead the nation.

          Trump is wacko, but is not beholden to any political entity. Both parties are scared sh…less he will get into office. Do you think the 6-7-8 term elected officials want him busting up their nice neat little arrangements with businesses and powerful individuals?

          Trump is an unknown. He is not wrong to say things like illegal aliens ought not to be here. He is right when he says law and order needs to be reinstated in our cities.

          Hillary does not give a hoot about anything that will not get her richer. She was a war protester when the nation was at war, she did not protect diplomats in Libya, she lies about everything, now she can’t remember?

          So for those who are afraid that Trump will do everything he says, most of which this country needs, why don’t you go back and see what the liberals’ hero, Barak has done compared to what he said he was going to do. Politicians run their mouths, little of what they say actually gets to the plate. Trump on the other hand has a clear understanding of what is wrong with the country: most of which is related to long term, re-elected and re-elected and re-elected politicians.

          Electing him would be the start to what is really needed, term limits for every elected office in this country. People like HIllabest will never support such rational ideas.

          The bottom line is best is not necessarily good enough. Hillary is a criminal, there are dozens of examples of her abuse of power. She has stated openly she will have the philandering Bumpkin working closely with her. All he will be useful for is chasing interns around the White House and becoming a Viagra spokesman.

          Would you let your daughter work as an intern in a Clinton White House? Ya think that Billary can keep Billy Boy away from the women in her administration? There is certain to be a continuation of the convenient ‘suicides’ if she ever gets elected. If nothing lese: google that little Clinton secret; suicides associated with the Clintons.

          1. Uh, Trump has never served as a government official. I’m not sure where you are getting your information. When you say Hillary has never worked a day in her life, you truly must not understand anything but a structured nine to five job. I think you are so pleased to be part of a bandwagon mentality, that you have forgotten to think for yourself.

  5. (My comment is being said with a calm tone of voice and from a sincerely questioning place.) Why is it that grown people can act so disrespectfully and think it’s okay? Differing opinions are expected, but name calling should have been left behind in elementary school. This type of behavior as well as the other aggressive, disrespectful, bullying behaviors (demonstrated by both parties, but more so by the Trump campaign) do nothing to persuade others to consider a differing viewpoints. Why aren’t we able to just stick to the facts and have calm, adult discussions? What are we modeling for our own children and our students? For example:
    Saying…
    Has Hillabeast ever told the truth?
    Hire real leaders to run schools, not ticket punched administrators who could not lead you of a corn maze.
    How naive are you?
    ….by Lynch, Obama’s puppet.
    Now Hillabeast can’t remember?
    Then she is stupid.

    How will these statements help? Like Martin Luther King, Jr, I have a dream…that ALL people will treat EVERYONE with dignity and respect.

    1. I’m guessing it’s you Bob who gave my comment a thumbs down. Extreme emotions make it difficult for one to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Can you see what you’re doing?

  6. Let’s face it, Education Votes is a liberal Democrat support group. As a former Middle School teacher, I find your quote from the middle school teacher with a large proportion of African American Muslim students to be a perfect example of what’s wrong with the education system today and Education Votes. How did these students decide to tell their teacher they are all afraid of Donald Trump, and they think if he’s elected all black people will get sent back to Africa? Did the students all spontaneously decide to bring this topic up in class, or did the teacher prompt them? This should have been teachable moment to assure the students no one (especially Donald Trump) has ever claimed he will send all black people back to Africa. If this issue really happened, a GOOD teacher would have calmed the students “fears” by reassuring them there was no factual basis for their fear and they did not have to worry.

    1. Has Hillabeast ever told the truth? There are a few issues beyond public education. Trump is more likely to get the federal government out of education.

    2. Amazing, 12 people who know that Trump has never seen a public school. What have you been doing the past 60 years? Following him?

  7. There is nothing wrong with competition. Maybe then, teachers would have what they need to support their students, because those that control the purse strings would have to be more responsible to let the teacher order what is needed. Every year I buy (throughout the year) hundreds of dollars worth of basic school supplies. Sometimes parents will donate extra pencils and boxes of tissues. Where I get frustrated is the misconception that Common Core Standards is a packaged curriculum. I even had one well-meaning person ask me what I needed that didn’t come ordered with the Common Core “Curriculum.” Teachers are expected to use everything as a “tool” now. The consequence of this is teachers make all their own lesson plans or get them off the internet. I am nowhere near compensated for the time and expense I put into my lesson plans, although I take great pride in creating these lessons and my students are quite successful. Any other profession would charge overtime or be paid a higher rate for “living the job.” I think Trump knows that competition will help improve education. If parents are given school choice and the local school boards find out the competition school actually purchases textbooks, or encourages Service Learning, or hires Masters level or beyond educators, or supports materials for hands-on learning, etc,, then the local school boards will become more educated to follow traits of successful, desirable schools. Although I mentioned compensation here, we all know not all successes are a result of more money, but of money used wisely. It does take careful budgeting of public monies to entertain a school budget, but often the teachers are not consulted, as it is the job of the local school board (at least in my state). Competition will support the development of successful schools and the demise, or change, of unsuccessful schools. I welcome Trump’s ideas on school choice.

    1. It’s so easy for people to say that the answer to our failing schools is school choice. I don’t have a problem with school choice. I have a problem with taking money from public schools to fund these choices. They are “robbing Peter to pay “Paul” and leaving those who cannot attend charter schools and private schools because of enrollment and other limitations with a public school that is poorly underfunded. Let’s face it. Education is not valued in this country. It is always on the chopping block during budget negotiations. Unfortunately, charter schools and private schools are not always held to the same standards imposed on public schools. In many cases, these schools are not required to provide free breakfast, free lunch, and free transportation. What happens to those families that need these services? What’s wrong with putting more money back into public schools?

  8. The needs of education varies from state to state. I believe that the Federal Department of Education should be abolished as it’s not improved the state of education. We need to allow the states determine what is best for their students. In rural communities, the needs are much different from the needs of urban communities. Some states have their education ran by unions, where in other states, the unions have no voice. There is no blanket solution to the education problems, but taking the authority away from the states has clearly been an epic failure from the start.

    1. This is exactly on point. Get the Feds out of education. Minimize unfounded state mandates. Hire real leaders to run schools, not ticket punched administrators who could not lead you out of a corn maze.

    2. Local control is precisely how education most fails students. It is rife with racism, and with poor dissemination of resources. Consider the expense paid by local control for administration, consider the costs of redundant positions in nearby counties, consider the overhead of various Boards of Education, each controlling their own little fiefdoms of power, rather than providing any services to students.

      How many of those people have not been in a classroom, or directly affected a student in years?

      There is too much local control, and excuses for failing students.

      Local control also isolates communities by race and economic state, so poor people, and people of color often get poor, and segregated schools. This completely defeats the purpose of education as a gateway to prosperity. Instead, poor communities remain poor, and groups of people are Ghettoized by the education system. Stop crying about local control; it is a poor use of resources which is why no other country in the world has adopted it.

  9. This is a truly frightening prospect. It seems as though public education would be dismantled under a Trump administration with Ben Carson leading the education reform. Please, please, please wake up America. Don’t vote for Trump.

      1. That would make him like the vast majority of intelligent people. Common Core is Bill Gates attempt to get Pearson some lucrative contracts to write, administer, and support excessive testing. Follow the bucks, look at the history. I thought liberal thinkers didn’t ;t like big businesses? If you like Common Core you must love Microsoft.

        1. Do you see anywhere in my statement that I either like or dislike common core? But I guess you’re implying Trump is anti-business since he’s against common core. That’s a strange position for a businessman don’t you think?

          1. Again, a comment by an all or nothing concept person. I do not like Common Core, few people understand the idea, many people see it as a wonderful thing Which in some states it is an upgrade to that state’s standards In Massachusetts most school would have to dumb down to only achieve the CC standards. The argument is get the Federal government out of education.

            The Federal government exists to provide for common defense and regulate interstate commerce. We have allowed the government to far outsteps its bounds.

            1. I was replying to your all or nothing statement that “liberal thinkers don’t like big businesses.” How does makes me an all or nothing concept person? I’m merely responding to your own myopic viewpoint by inferring its opposite.

  10. I actually heard on TV this morning a Republican state school board member say that he was not able to know what Trump’s policy toward education included. He also said this is the first time that he was not able to know the Republican candidate’s position this late in the campaign. Trump’s lack of knowledge and his unwillingness to pay attention that he will listen to the loudest voices, usually the loudest conservative voices, rather than adapting a well thought out policy. This is no good.

    1. Obviously, Trump’s visceral hatred toward people of color and immigrants would stand in the way of supporting a PUBLICALLY FUNDED educational system that is truly designed to teach the full, diverse community.

      1. Visceral hatred of people of color and immigrants? How about not wanting people here who break the law? Can you please reference where is demonstrated a visceral hatred of people of color and immigrants? I never saw that, only references to illegal activity. Maybe I missed something

    2. But you would rather have a criminal lead the country. Who now cites effects of a concussion on her ‘memory’ problems? Just because you don’t want reform to public education makes a to be developed policy bad.

      1. Criminal is a word that could be applied to Trump also. He welches on contracts he had with small business owners in his building contracts. That’s fraud. I understand the “anybody but” mindset on both sides, but do people really want someone of Trump’s persona to be that “anybody but?” The fact that the Republican Party, my party, would nominated and legitimize this model of leadership makes it clear to me that the grossly inappropriate desire for power has “trumped” the need for common sense that is needed to unite this country. The GOP had to do better than this to get my vote, no matter what the issue is, education or not.

      2. The FBI has already ruled there was carelessness and not criminality Bob. The real question is which candidate by their temperament is the most qualified to lead of the two alternatives presented to us. Trump has proven time and time again that he’s the unthinkable choice.

        1. How naive are you? The FBI ‘s actions are directed by Lynch, Obama’s puppet. The whole point of Comey’s joke was no ‘no intent.’ Pure comedy. Now Hillabeast can’t remember? She lied to congress about not passing classified info in her emails…..but she didn’t know? Then she is stupid… I vote for lying….which do you chose?

          1. If whether someone has lied is your only standard for determining who’s best qualified to be POTUS, then I think you’d better take a hard look at your own nominee Bob. Enough said.

            1. Hillabeast lied about placing the country’s secrets in jeopardy.. Good god, I have never seen such myopic views of something so important. Hardly enough said, typical liberal retreat. Someone presents a compelling argument you are too naive to believe, and you deny, redirect, and attempt to disengage.

              Grow up, stop giving money to useless teacher organizations that pollute your mind. Read, listen and attempt to apply reason, not mushy feelings. Not enough said.

  11. Trump knows as much about education as I do about flying a rocket to Venus!! The day the idiot has anything to do with schools will be a sad day for the education of youth in this country. The man is a total bigot, an egoist, a braggart, and a total imbicile who knows nothing about any of the things he claims to be an expert on, with the possible exception of using people, filing law suits, and dodging taxes. LOSER in capital letters!

    1. The idiot seems to know how to LEGALLY make money. Who was it, Calvin Coolidge, who said the Business of America is Business? The business of America should not be scum bag politicians peddling influence to line their pockets. There is nothing wrong with legally dodging taxes. Unlike the Clinton’s, Trump has avoid illegal activity and there is not a string of accusations of harassing women, lying about national security issues, forgetful moments when push comes to shove, lost laptops, ten of thousands of missing emails, multiple suicides in their wake ? The Clinton’s do not deserve even a place in a federal prison. That would be too good for them. Although, once incarcerated, I would bet Hillabest would be running the joint in a month.

      1. Legally make money is true. What this means is that he has found every loophole, and devised ways around the law to avoid responsibility for his debts. You need to read “Trumps, Three Generations” he comes by his knowledge of legal extortion honestly. His father and grandfather helped perfect the method.

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