Today Trump announced his decision for Secretary of Education: Betsy DeVos. Not surprising considering how Trump campaigned on school choice. The idea of being able to pick the school you want for your child and keeping the tax benefits through vouchers is tempting. I believe it will expand education inequality.
Most schools fail from lack of resources and diverting the funding from them to private or charter schools exasperates the gap. Charter schools benefit from larger budgets while still receiving local, state, and federal funding in addition to private donations. Charters will less tax payer accountability are able to spend more on fundraising outreach and grant writing. Outside traditionally community control and owned by franchising corporations, Charters are run by the same political elites that enabled the Great Recession. There are great and wonderful Charter schools whose staff and administration care without end for their students and spread their success through a wide network of schools. There are also bad apples. More importantly Public schools with less funding don’t have the luxury of choosing their students. Even if school choice was funded, some students would remain at failing schools and poorly performing charters would operate outside of community input. Many areas don’t have multiple choices to begin with.
A reason to worry is the state of the education system for all Americans. A recent Stanford study found students including Stanford undergraduates both failed to recognize slanted or fake sources and failed to properly research or contextualized the content before them. In the age of unlimited information our libraries and their guardians have become more important. The assumption that Google is enough cannot continue. We need to reinvest in our public resources. Libraries and schools remain a central part of our public infrastructure today. If our fellow Americans are not given the chance to develop the high skill knowledge for today’s workforce both vocational and university. Our republic needs an informed citizenry in order to function. No American left behind.