It may not have gone unnoticed, but it hasn’t gotten the response it deserves. The very first school our president went to visit was a private Catholic school. This should have made headlines, drawn criticism from the National Teachers Union, and the separation of church and state should have been part of the discussion around the CNN newsdesk.
I am not against private school or private religious schools. If parents want something different than their local public school and a non-secular education based on agreed upon standards and curriculum, they can pay for it and make that choice. They have the choice to take their child to a public school out of their district out of their area and still have that education paid for. That is very different than our government paying for private schools. His visit sent me, a public school teacher, a clear message. Our president is going to follow Betsy DeVos’s lead and work to funnel some of our meager education dollars into private religious schools. Where is the separation of church and state?
The idea that somehow this will make education better, that the students of my little rural school will reap the benefits of this potential change in policy is ludicrous. Unless the parents of these children are willing to drive their child long distances each day they will be educated in their local school. Who are those parents willing to make that drive? Families who can afford the gas, families who care deeply about their child’s education, and parents who are involved. Not to say that many lovely families who value education will choose to keep their children in their local school…but there may be an exodus of many of the best and brightest to schools where they can screen out children who struggle to behave, are low academically or demand too much attention from a teacher.
Who will be left in public education? If Trump has his way, I fear for public education, where we will have to make do with less and less while educating an increase percentage of those most difficult to educate.
This voucher system has not been thought through, but someone needs to start doing some serious thinking and stand up for our children, all of our children… and in standing up for all our children we ARE standing up for public education.
This disturbing visit should have sent shock waves through advocates of public education but instead we were freaking out over 3am tweets. Don’t let him shift our focus on what really matters…if we become caught up in his distractions we may just miss what is really happening…