It is no secret that when it comes to public schools and other facets of American life, many Republicans do not like the federal government. Donald Trump used to speak of local control of schools. This is very much the old Republican Party talking.
But last night, Donald Trump cheered school choice. He no longer mentions local control. I think he may now realize that school choice is the opposite of local control of schools.
And the other night, Donald Trump, Jr. sniped at teachers and public schools and spouted the weary argument that America needs choice when it comes to public schools. Somewhere in that speech he praised vouchers in other countries. He failed to do his research. Here are the “disastrous” results in Sweden.
Local control is also an area that many value when it comes to the traditional idea of community schools. Many Democrats support community schools.
But local control and school choice don’t work together and you see this fight playing out in communities across the country.
With school choice, private companies run schools and parents may get to pick their school, but they will not likely have control of what that school does. They will have to follow the rules of the school. They give up local control.
Democrats don’t like school choice, but they do embrace charter schools. There is not much difference between the two. Charters run by non-profit or for-profit management operations do not usually follow the local concerns of the community either. They run by their own rules.
Yet, who is better to embrace the local needs of school children than parents, teachers, and the community? Who is more worthy to hammer out curriculum and instructional needs—to pull families and children together?
Just think about what is lost without local control—or what is gained. Shouldn’t those who pay taxes have some say in how their public schools are run?
In recent years, however, even local school boards have been corrupted by outside groups who come into a school district to create havoc. The nonprofit Stand for Children comes to mind. Many from Stand don’t even have children who attend public schools. They are a group that is all about the privatization of public schooling.
It is the old fashioned idea of a local school board governed by the people that this country should fight for.
The problem is that Trump, and many Republicans, support school choice—vouchers.
Vouchers, like charter schools, often “skim” or “cream” to get the brightest students. And because the school will be about making a profit, children will likely get lower quality teachers and programs.
For example, most Republicans hate Common Core State Standards, however, if they look around they will see that CCSS is supported by those who love other school reforms—like charter schools and school choice.
And while Trump Jr. slammed teachers, many teachers despise CCSS too. A lot of teachers have left their teaching positions because of it. It is the school choice advocates—the charter school lovers—who are on board for Common Core.
If Americans go the choice route they will most likely get a glut of ineffectual charters. We already see this occurring with charter schools.
We see charter school scandals around the country. Americans may like the idea of choice, but they must understand they will lose all local control of their schools in the process. I think that’s a very big loss.