Call it one of the first decent ideas he’s actually had: Earmarking $20 billion for states in order to promote school choice by turning it into a block grant.
Trump’s first budget would use $20 billion to create a block grant for every impoverished school-aged child in the country, according to a fact sheet released by his campaign.
That way, federal dollars could follow students to whatever school parents enroll them in — public, charter or private.
In order to reach that goal, Trump said, he’d need a major investment from the states.
“If the states collectively contribute another $110 billion of their own education budgets toward school choice on top of the $20 billion in federal dollars, that could provide $12,000 in school choice funds to every single K-12 student who today is living in poverty,” Trump said at a campaign event in Cleveland on Thursday.
The specifics (where the money would come from, whether states could meet the $110 billion, etc.) are unclear, but this is a pretty good start.
Trump, albeit hamfistedly, does acknowledge that public education is a big civil rights issue for the modern era. A block grant is not a terrible way to go about it as it gives families the money to choose where to go to school, rather than forcing children into school zones and failing schools that receive the money with no incentive to make themselves better.
Public education isn’t perfect – and I say that as someone who works within it – and there are several great reforms that could greatly improve them. A block grant is a good start, and hopefully the Trump team and toss around some better ideas and maybe actually listen to some experts on the subject of school reform.
At any rate, it’s far better than Hillary Clinton, who believes the schools should just take over raising our kids for us.