John Sipple, director of the New York State Center for Rural Schools and expert on education at Cornell University, says Trump’s pick for secretary of education – which the Senate is scheduled to confirm this afternoon – is pushing a plan that requires diverting federal money away from poor communities where promises for enhanced education choice are unlikely to take place.
“DeVos’ leaning towards choice-friendly programs is not new, but in the current environment – and under Trump’s education plan – ‘choice’ would mean diverting federal money away from poor communities.
“Currently, 43 states allow charter schools, and a handful of cities have voucher programs. But DeVos’ aspiration to make choice a central tenet in all communities, is near impossible in approximately 30 percent of all schools. The parents in these rural areas would have no choice, as sufficient markets do not exist.
“Should DeVos embrace Trump’s plan, $20 billion would be taken from the largest source of federal money for public schools, Title 1 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which are crucial dollars to support reading and math instruction for poor and low achieving children.
“Wealthy communities – who do not receive Title 1 dollars – will not be impaired by the repurposing of Title 1 to support school choice. Poor communities – who receive upwards of 5-10 percent of their local revenues in the form of Title 1 – will be most harmed by their elimination and repurposing for choice.”
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