Trump Wants Dollars to Follow Students

 

-a97c8b5d79899838Donald Trump unveiled several policy specifics Thursday during a visit to an Ohio charter school. At the inner-city Cleveland Arts and Social Sciences Academy, Trump said, “As President, I will establish the national goal of providing school choice to every American child living in poverty.”

He added, “If we can put a man on the moon, dig out the Panama Canal and win two world wars, then I have no doubt that we as a nation can provide school choice to every disadvantaged child in America.”

Later that day, Trump released a full list of education reform proposals:

  • Redirect $20 billion of existing federal dollars to create a block grant for school-age kids living in poverty. It will be left up to each state to determine how the funds will be spent.
  • Establish a national goal of providing school choice to every American child below the poverty line. Again, the states will decide how to achieve this goal, but the preference will be for dollars to follow the student.
  • Use the bully pulpit to campaign for school choice, and work to elect local officials who support the issue.
  • Support merit pay for teachers, creating a financial incentive for education excellence.

The second proposal is the most interesting, and likely the most important. For decades, Washington has sent federal money directly to the schools, which then slowly trickles down to students. This has led to a massive increase in dollars for school staff and administrators, while the students get dimes. The group EdChoice, formerly known as the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, created a chart showing the number of K-12 public school students versus administrators, support staff, and school districts between 1950 and 2011. The results are shocking:Scafidi3-Figure-11

While the number of students has doubled in 60 years, principals and assistants have tripled, and support staff has quintupled. And despite the number of school districts dropping by more than 80 percent, district staff has increased by nearly 300 percent.

In addition, as education expenditures have grown exponentially since the Department of Education was established, student performance has remained almost stagnant:

796DF8C7C231CFFE366308277E88CF57

Instead of dumping dollars into school districts’ front offices, the Trump plan urges states to let the money follow students to whichever school they choose. So if a parent decides that a charter school or online school is the best option for their child, the dollars go with them. This common-sense market incentive not only encourages non-traditional schools to improve their programs, it will also spur ossified school districts to compete for students.

This single proposal offers the best path to improve education. The other major party nominee would prefer to shovel even more dollars into the old, failed system.

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  1. Cato Rand Inactive
    Cato Rand
    @CatoRand

    It’s awesome that he’s hired an actual Republican to write his speeches now.  And kind of nice that he actually delivers them.  But who believes he’s given 3 seconds thought to education policy or has any understanding of or commitment to any of this?

    • #1
  2. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge
    Fake John/Jane Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    Why must school choice only be for those children in poverty?  It would seem to me that school choice should be available to every child?  I do not understand why school choice programs are good for the very poor but bad for the little less poor.

    • #2
  3. genferei Member
    genferei
    @genferei

    Although this plan gave me some purist qualms (why not abolish the Department of Education and reduce Federal spending on education to zero?) it does have a real political, moral and practical appeal.

    Of course, now that Trump is rolling out substantive policies, the complaint from Politico is “Lifting from think tanks and rivals, the Republican nominee fails to develop a policy portfolio of his own.”

    Do I think this policy represents a long and deeply held conviction of the nominee? No. But it’s pretty darn good.

    • #3
  4. Cato Rand Inactive
    Cato Rand
    @CatoRand

    Fake John/Jane Galt:Why must school choice only be for those children in poverty? It would seem to me that school choice should be available to every child? I do not understand why school choice programs are good for the very poor but bad for the little less poor.

    I think the point is the more well to do already enjoy school choice, even if not government funded.  In any event, the really disadvantaged, stuck in the worst schools, are at least the ones in the greatest need of alternatives.

    • #4
  5. Cato Rand Inactive
    Cato Rand
    @CatoRand

    genferei:Although this plan gave me some purist qualms (why not abolish the Department of Education and reduce Federal spending on education to zero?) it does have a real political, moral and practical appeal.

    Of course, now that Trump is rolling out substantive policies, the complaint from Politico is “Lifting from think tanks and rivals, the Republican nominee fails to develop a policy portfolio of his own.”

    Do I think this policy represents a long and deeply held conviction of the nominee? No. But it’s pretty darn good.

    As long as he picks the right think tanks, I say “lift” away.

    • #5
  6. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge
    Fake John/Jane Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    Cato Rand:

    Fake John/Jane Galt:Why must school choice only be for those children in poverty? It would seem to me that school choice should be available to every child? I do not understand why school choice programs are good for the very poor but bad for the little less poor.

    I think the point is the more well to do already enjoy school choice, even if not government funded. In any event, the really disadvantaged, stuck in the worst schools, are at least the ones in the greatest need of alternatives.

    Note: I said nothing about the well to do or rich or any of that.

    From what I see about the school choice programs as designed is that it is a political gimmick.  In order to get the education voucher you have to be so poor that getting the voucher is pointless since you do not have the extra money to go with the voucher to send your kid to a better school.  Since the voucher itself is not enough to send your child to a different school.  If you actually have a job so you may have the additional funds to make the voucher useful then you pretty much do not qualify for the voucher.   Just typical government Catch -22 BS.

    • #6
  7. Cato Rand Inactive
    Cato Rand
    @CatoRand

    Fake John/Jane Galt:From what I see about the school choice programs as designed is that it is a political gimmick. In order to get the education voucher you have to be so poor that getting the voucher is pointless since you do not have the extra money to go with the voucher to send your kid to a better school. Since the voucher itself is not enough to send your child to a different school. If you actually have a job so you may have the additional funds to make the voucher useful then you pretty much do not qualify for the voucher. Just typical government Catch -22 BS.

    I don’t have any direct experience with how they work in practice, so perhaps you’re right.  Seems to me they have the potential to improve the lot of many kids who are presently stuck on a track that leads to hell, but I don’t know if that’s actually happening where they’ve been implemented.

    • #7
  8. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Kudos to Trump on this one!

    • #8
  9. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge
    Fake John/Jane Galt
    @FakeJohnJaneGalt

    Cato Rand:

    Fake John/Jane Galt:From what I see about the school choice programs as designed is that it is a political gimmick. In order to get the education voucher you have to be so poor that getting the voucher is pointless since you do not have the extra money to go with the voucher to send your kid to a better school. Since the voucher itself is not enough to send your child to a different school. If you actually have a job so you may have the additional funds to make the voucher useful then you pretty much do not qualify for the voucher. Just typical government Catch -22 BS.

    I don’t have any direct experience with how they work in practice, so perhaps you’re right. Seems to me they have the potential to improve the lot of many kids who are presently stuck on a track that leads to hell, but I don’t know if that’s actually happening where they’ve been implemented.

    Potential yes, and potential I am all behind the concept. It is that the implementation seems to be flawed.  Maybe Trump will sort it out.

    • #9
  10. Austin Murrey Inactive
    Austin Murrey
    @AustinMurrey

    Cato Rand:

    Fake John/Jane Galt:Why must school choice only be for those children in poverty? It would seem to me that school choice should be available to every child? I do not understand why school choice programs are good for the very poor but bad for the little less poor.

    I think the point is the more well to do already enjoy school choice, even if not government funded. In any event, the really disadvantaged, stuck in the worst schools, are at least the ones in the greatest need of alternatives.

    I think it’s a camel nose under the tent thing. Once you introduce the idea it’s much easier to expand the program than to introduce it as a wholesale replacement. It worked for social spending before after all.

    It’s also a hilarious stick to beat the Democrats moneyed special interests with “Why do you hate the poor? Don’t you think the poor have a right to the best education possible? Why should only rich people get to pick a school for their kids?”

    I can actually see Trump saying this sentence: “Hillary Clinton wants to keep the poor in failing schools and failing circumstances. Under my plan, which is a great plan by the way, every American child will have the same choice that Chelsea Clinton did – to go the best school they can.”

    • #10
  11. cdor Member
    cdor
    @cdor

    Trump proposes school choice/money following student…preposterous!  Trump isn’t serious, only a conservative could have that view. Trump isn’t a conservative. Boo Trump, yea Hillary. She wants the teachers unions to get all the money so they can turn around and donate to Democrat political campaigns. That’s my kinda gal, sayeth the nevertrump folks. What the heck, Trump can’t be trusted anyway.

    • #11
  12. Austin Murrey Inactive
    Austin Murrey
    @AustinMurrey

    cdor: What the heck, Trump can’t be trusted anyway.

    This is true.

    But we can’t really trust politicians anyway – it’s not like they’re cut from a better cloth than the rest of us.

    • #12
  13. genferei Member
    genferei
    @genferei

    @austinmurrey Too good not to be a meme

    AMTrump

    • #13
  14. Columbo Member
    Columbo
    @Columbo

    genferei:Although this plan gave me some purist qualms (why not abolish the Department of Education and reduce Federal spending on education to zero?) it does have a real political, moral and practical appeal.

    Of course, now that Trump is rolling out substantive policies, the complaint from Politico is “Lifting from think tanks and rivals, the Republican nominee fails to develop a policy portfolio of his own.”

    Do I think this policy represents a long and deeply held conviction of the nominee? No. But it’s pretty darn good.

    I agree. As does David Limbaugh …

    …when I see an improvement in his [Trump’s] demeanor and his approach, when I see him making good, substantive speeches on national security and other subjects, my pride does not interfere with my applauding those developments. Maybe I’m rationalizing, but this may signal that he is listening to the right people and that he will follow through on these ideas.

    • #14
  15. C. U. Douglas Thatcher
    C. U. Douglas
    @CUDouglas

    I still don’t like him, but stating this out loud, whether his idea or not, is a great step in making me feel at least a tiny bit better about him as nominee. At least now I can give a reason why I might actually vote for him against Hillary in November.

    • #15
  16. Viator Inactive
    Viator
    @Viator

    https://img.washingtonpost.com/wp-apps/imrs.php?src=https://img.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/files/2016/09/Qpac_Change.jpg&w=1484

    • #16
  17. C. U. Douglas Thatcher
    C. U. Douglas
    @CUDouglas

    Let me put this another way. With 1 and 99/100ths children, my lovely wife and I are looking at education in the near future. Our biggest concern has been the train wreck that is Common Core. Amanda is especially concerned about it, enough that we are looking at education options while being on a rather tight budget.

    When most candidates say, “We’re going to do more of the same, it just needs a lot more tax money to make it work,” what Amanda and I hear is, “We’re going with the same thing that doesn’t work, and we’re going to make it increasingly difficult for you to opt out.”

    For a major party candidate to just say “We need to try something different to give parents more options,” that alone says a lot in their favor, at least in my book.

    • #17
  18. Z in MT Member
    Z in MT
    @ZinMT

    The increase in administration and support staff is directly caused by Federal education money. All Federal education money comes with strings and compliance mandates attached (more administrators) and most of it is used for special education programs that are filled with Teaching Assistants and Classroom Helpers and the like. Moving the Federal funding away from all these special programs to simple block grants will greatly reduce the need for administrators and allow states to find more efficient ways to deliver special education.

    • #18
  19. TKC1101 Inactive
    TKC1101
    @TKC1101

    This is effective political policy used to fire a mortal wound into the Dems heart.

    It is new, it is popular and the Dems are so beholden to the Unions they cannot do it.

    It is every reason a true conservative would be political disaster.

    “Abolish the Dept of Education” is a negative. Using it to target a conservative policy that is a killshot is good politics and good policy.

    Now if we actually use the DOE to begin programs of turning schools over to private sector innovators who will restructure the eighteenth century labor model used , that will be even better.

    • #19
  20. Judge Mental Member
    Judge Mental
    @JudgeMental

    TKC1101:This is effective political policy used to fire a mortal wound into the Dems heart.

    It is new, it is popular and the Dems are so beholden to the Unions they cannot do it.

    It is every reason a true conservative would be political disaster.

    “Abolish the Dept of Education” is a negative. Using it to target a conservative policy that is a killshot is good politics and good policy.

    Now if we actually use the DOE to begin programs of turning schools over to private sector innovators who will restructure the eighteenth century labor model used , that will be even better.

    Establish accreditation for degrees that is independent of universities.  Basically, if you can pass the exams, you get the degree.  You need to create exams, and then proctor them; something similar to the SAT tests.  This would cause an explosion of online learning.  And no one will go $100k into debt to go to a brick and mortar college, if they can get the same degree for $3k in test fees.

    Rather than try to reform institutions of higher education into something that is not hostile to conservative thought, just destroy them.

    • #20
  21. The Question Inactive
    The Question
    @TheQuestion

    Fake John/Jane Galt:Why must school choice only be for those children in poverty? It would seem to me that school choice should be available to every child? I do not understand why school choice programs are good for the very poor but bad for the little less poor.

    You’re right, but political change is incremental.

    • #21
  22. TKC1101 Inactive
    TKC1101
    @TKC1101

    Judge Mental: Rather than try to reform institutions of higher education into something that is not hostile to conservative thought, just destroy them.

    Agree. I also want the DOE to hand pilot schools over to entrepreneurs who will use software, hardware and subject matter experts to make every student a semi home school student.

    • #22
  23. Topher Inactive
    Topher
    @Topher

    Why dick around? Just do it. All educational funding should flow through the parents, all parents. OK, you can adjust the amount for areas with higher cost of living, provide additional help for kids with genuine problems. But let the schools offer the parents the best they can come up with, and have the parents decide what is best for their kids.

    If teachers want to be treated like professionals–this is how professionals live: at the mercy of their clients.

    • #23
  24. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Trump is really starting to impress me.

    My only quibble with his education plan, as others have already noted, is that it should not be means tested. School choice should be available to every student. The money should follow the student.

    • #24
  25. Duane Oyen Member
    Duane Oyen
    @DuaneOyen

    This is the first thing in a while where I agree with Trump where he might mean it.

    This should be a core platform element for the Right, and should have been for 2 decades- with actual, you know, sincerity, instead of the phony pretending to embrace something at election time that has characterized prior attempts to court African-American votes, and pretending to care about health care issues in between handing the store to the pharmas, the AMA, and the AHA.

    And I understand the purist position about not means testing- see Ron Unz’s ill-fated initiative in California- but I fervently disagree as a practical political matter.

    A charity I was involved with in Minnesota, the Kids First Scholarship Fund, was essentially ineffective because over time it ended up giving the bulk of its money to white kids from single earner families to go to fundamentalist Christian schools.  After starting out working with Howard Fuller, they eliminated their positive effectiveness by wasting resources on kids who were going to do fine because, despite modest means, they had great support at home.

    The only way to seriously accomplish something on this issue is to tie it to civil rights- effective, non-public-union-dominated-education, and use that wedge with a sledge hammer while the Dems visibly and obviously kowtow to the teacher unions.

    In other words, the Right should stop the phony posturing and become the Waiting For Superman party.

    • #25
  26. rico Inactive
    rico
    @rico

    Cato Rand:It’s awesome that he’s hired an actual Republican to write his speeches now. And kind of nice that he actually delivers them. But who believes he’s given 3 seconds thought to education policy or has any understanding of or commitment to any of this?

    Yes, and encouraging that he’s hired policy advisers that put conservative policies on the table. I expect we’ll see more of this in other policy fields, thus simplifying the choice for voters who are, to date, indifferent about the outcome of the presidential election.

    • #26
  27. TKC1101 Inactive
    TKC1101
    @TKC1101

    MarciN: My only quibble with his education plan, as others have already noted, is that it should not be means tested. School choice should be available to every student. The money should follow the student

    Baby steps. If it works, it will.

    • #27
  28. TKC1101 Inactive
    TKC1101
    @TKC1101

    I have been saying, mostly to blank walls that Trump is the best thing that has happened for conservatives ever if they have the courage to sell their ideas instead of waiting for a candidate to come prepackaged with them.

    If conservative ideas work, your best friend in power is a pragmatist.

    • #28
  29. TKC1101 Inactive
    TKC1101
    @TKC1101

    Topher: Why dick around? Just do it. All educational funding should flow through the parents,

    Because when it works, that will be the next political victory for re-election.

    • #29
  30. rico Inactive
    rico
    @rico

    Kudos to Jon for this excellent little piece of reporting. Count me among those who appreciate reading about issues that unify us in our quest for implementation of conservative policy solutions.

    • #30
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