Steven Singer has dreamed up a way to win Trump’s support for education: Declare a war on ignorance!

If Trump can be persuaded that education is part of national defense, he reasons, it will be amply funded.

“Here’s the plan: Trump wants to increase military spending by $54 billion. So we reclassify education as a branch of the military.

“Defense spending already tops $600 billion a year. Federal education spending is only about $70 billion.

“We could combine them and call it an increase in the military!

“I know what you’re thinking. If we do that, the armed forces are going to gobble up school funding. Not necessarily.

“They can’t spend all the money they get now! The waste, fraud and abuse in the military is legendary. Piles of money – literally piles of cash – simply go missing and no one knows where they went or is held responsible.

“But you’re right. We need a reason to prioritize some of that military spending for school kids.

“And there’s a simple solution: disaster capitalism.

“It’s the same way testing corporations and book publishers got the Bush and Obama administrations to invest in high stakes testing and Common Core. We simply make up a problem and then offer a solution that requires all this federal spending.

“I propose we start the following: A WAR ON IGNORANCE!

“Think of it.

“Our country is under attack from ignorance. We can’t let our children get left behind so we need to invest in the Education Forces. We need an army of teachers equipped with brand new military bases (formerly schools) that will protect us from foreign illiteracy. ISIS hates our science and math. Russia is jealous of our reading comprehension and historical acumen. China despises us for our creativity and scholarship.”

A cute satire, but it has already been done. In 1958, the Eisenhower administration used the Soviet launch of the Sputnik satellite the previous year to call for federal aid for math and science, foreign aid, and school construction. It was called the National Defense Education Act.

It always takes threats of a disaster to get education funding. In 1983, the National Commission of Excellence in Education warned that we were losing a war for global. economic supremacy because of a rising tide of mediocrity. But that didn’t produce new money, money, just new demands and standards.

In 2012, Joel Klein and Condaleeza Rice came up with a new twist on the disaster narrative. They claimed that public schools were so dreadful that they were a threat to national security. They said the way to save the nation was was with vouchers, charters, and the Common Core. For real!

Thomas Jefferson long ago declared that we should proclaim a “crusade against ignorance.”

Educated people will listen without false alarms. We need more of them.