Alan Singer writes here of Trump’s proposal to let federal funds follow students to the school (or the computer) of their choice, which would put a knife into public education, which has been a central institution in American democracy.
Donald Trump has never had much use for public schools, or for that matter, his own children when they were younger. As a boy The Donald attended the private (and expensive) Kew-Forest School in Queens, New York. Because of “behavior problems” there, he completed secondary school at the New York Military Academy, a private (and expensive) boarding school. Sons Eric and Donald Trump Jr. were shipped out to attend and live at the private (and expensive) Hill School in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, while daughter Ivanka went to the private (and expensive) Chapin School in New York City and then the Choate Rosemary Hall boarding school in Wallingford, Connecticut. At Hill the tuition for 2015-2016 school year was $54,570. Choate is currently a relative bargain at $48,890 a year. Tiffany Trump escaped with her mother, Trump’s middle wife, to Calabasas, California, where she attended the private Viewpoint School. The youngest Trumpster, Barron, age 10, still lives at home and attends the private (and expensive, annual tuition is over $45,000) Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School on the Upper West Side in Manhattan.
All of this makes The Donald as much an expert on public education as he is on the military, foreign policy, or life on the economic margins. But that isn’t stopping Trump from promoting his education plan, one designed to destroy public education in the United States. The basic Trump proposal is to divert $20 billion in federal grants from public school districts to charter, private, parochial, and online schools, effectively bleeding public school systems to death.
Trump calls his school plan choice, as if ordinary Americans will ever be able to choose the kind of schools he chose for his kids. He demands that Americans trust him and boasts they should give him a chance because he will be a great president. The thing is, we already know Trump’s school plan is a recipe for disaster.
He says, “Trust me.” Why should we? Like the students who were defrauded at Trump University? No, thanks!