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While Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton fight about events from 20 years ago and their approval ratings continue to fall, there are important issues worth discussing and debating. Education has only been brought up in the context of secondary education and it’s been Hillary Clinton preening about “free” college tuition. Donald Trump has largely ignored the issue.
Education is largely a state and local issue so it doesn’t rise to the level of importance in presidential elections as it might in a gubernatorial election. Still, it is an issue that resonates. School choice, whether it is access to private schools through opportunity scholarships or the expansion of charter schools, is quickly becoming an issue that is consistently finding approval, even in geographic areas that might have rejected it ten years ago.
For example, in Massachusetts:
A new poll finds a majority of likely voters in Massachusetts support expanding the number of public charter schools in the state.
The poll found that 52 percent of likely voters plan to vote yes with 41 percent planning to vote no.
The poll, taken from Sept. 15-20, was conducted by UMass Amherst and WBZ.
This is related to a measure, voters in Massachusetts will decide on in November:
Massachusetts voters will decide on Election Day if they want to eliminate the state’s cap on the number of charter schools and allow 12 new charters to be approved every year on top of the current 78 charter schools there.
Naturally, it would be better to eliminate caps entirely and allow as many charter schools to open as possible. Why? Because they work.
As they say, “The science is settled” on this issue. Study after study has shown, students who attend private/parochial schools as well as charter schools, outperform their public school counterparts. School choice opponents often argue such studies are “misleading” as the other schools are allowed to “choose” their students while public schools have to take all students.
Their accusation is misleading. While private schools may be more selective with some admission requirements, charter schools are open to all students. Students are not bound by money or their zip codes. There are not charter school “zones” that limit students from attending.
There is only one major problem when it comes to charter schools. There aren’t enough to serve students. Currently, if more students want to attend than there are spots available, a lottery is held. It’s pathetic to think parents have to rely on a lottery system so their children receive the best education possible.
Hillary Clinton is entirely beholden to the teachers unions who oppose school choice in all forms — even charter schools. This would be a golden opportunity for Donald Trump if he could take more time out of his day to do something other than get into Twitter wars. Trump could easily propose portions of the Department of Education budget be directed to states for the purpose of opening more charter schools giving parents more options for their children.
Sadly, it is an issue seemingly forgotten in this presidential campaign.