Under Trump, decisions about schools and education are uncertain
During the presidential campaign, Donald Trump was not specific about what he would do about education. Trump won the election. He is going to become the new president in January. Now, people are uncertain about how he will handle the questions facing the nation's schools.
Trump's ideas are likely to be different from what President Barack Obama wanted for education. He might want to make the Education Department smaller, or even get rid of it. The Department of Education is a part of the national government. It makes some national decisions about schools.
Giving Parents More Choice
The one campaign idea on education Trump talked about specifically was a $20 billion program. The program would encourage states to give parents more choice in which school their children can go to. This would give parents more control over their children's education. One way would be through school vouchers. These vouchers would be like government-funded coupons that parents can use to pay for their children to go to private schools. This means that public tax dollars could be used to pay for nonpublic schools.
The program would also give parents more control over charter schools and magnet schools. These are schools the government pays private businesses to run. They are liked by many people. Others say they take money from public schools. It is not clear where in the budget the $20 million would come from. Trump has not said.
Public Education Could Suffer
Before the election, Randi Weingarten said that Trump's idea would mean the end of public education. Weingarten is president of a teacher group. She also provided advice to Hillary Clinton, who also ran for president. Like Obama, Clinton was a Democrat. On Wednesday, Weingarten said she hoped Trump would not follow through with his idea.
Another important education program is Title I. It is a national program that gives money to schools with a lot of poor children. The nation currently spends about $15 billion on Title I. Experts believe that the Title I money would be used instead to pay for school vouchers. This would help rich students then, too.
Public schools get money from both the national government and the states. The government wants to make sure the schools are doing a good job of educating children. To do this, they have things like testing. The government tests students to ensure the schools are teaching them.
Education Department Will Take A Backseat
Trump's election could also affect how much control states have over schools. Obama's government officials argued that the federal government needed to have more control. With more control, they can make sure the states are helping everyone learn.
The Trump government could also lessen the work of the Education Department's Office of Civil Rights (OCR). The point of the OCR is to protect students' rights. It has investigated schools that suspend and expel students of color more than they do white students.
Gerard Robinson works at a conservative research group. Republicans, like Trump, are also conservative. Most conservatives want to give states more power to do what they want. Robinson used to be in charge of education in the states of Florida and Virginia. Robinson says Trump will use the Department's OCR less than Obama.
As president, Trump will not have the power to fulfill one of his promises. When he was running for president, he promised to get rid of the Common Core State Standards. These academic standards are deeply unpopular with Trump's political followers. However, each state decides whether to use the standards or not. Federal law specifically forbids the federal government from interfering with states' decisions about education standards.