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Jersey Jazzman cringed (I imagine) as he watched Donald Trump Jr. spout off about the failures of American public education. Young Trump wants all children to have the same choices that he had. That’s what makes great education, right? Choice.
But Jersey Jazzman (aka teacher and doctoral student Mark Weber) knows that all children will never have the same choices that the son of a billionaire had.
Trump Jr. said:
Growing up, my siblings and I, we were truly fortunate to have choices and options that others don’t have. We want all Americans to have those same opportunities. Our schools used to be an elevator to the middle class. Now, they’re stalled on the ground floor. They’re like Soviet era department stores that are run for the benefit of the clerks and not the customers. For the teachers and the administrators and not the students.
You know why other countries do better on K through 12?* They let parents choose where to send their own children to school. That’s called competition. It’s called the free market. And it’s what the other party fears. They fear it because they’re more concerned about protecting the jobs of tenured teachers than serving the students in desperate need of a good education.
Don Trump Jr. and his brother Eric attended The Hill School in Pottstown, PA, where the tuition for boarding students is $55,600 per year. (Ivanka attended the Choate School, another elite boarding school.) The student-teacher ratio at the Hill School is 7:1. The average class size is 12-14 students. Many of the teachers get free housing on campus. The facilities, the academic curriculum, the extra-curricular activities, and the sports offerings are splendiferous.
Don Trump Jr. is right! All children should “have those same opportunities.”
But that means spending much more money on education, not giving kids a voucher worth $7,000. How about a voucher worth $55,000 so they can go to the Hill School or Choate?
Jersey Jazzman gives almost equal heat to Hillary, not because she sent Chelsea to Sidwell Friends (a choice also made by the Obamas, the Nixons, and Al Gore), but because she has not addressed the need to increase funding for the schools with the greatest needs.
Since George H.W. Bush in 1988, every president has promised to be the “Education President,” but none has been willing to make sure that the nation’s schools have the resources they need for the children they enroll. Instead they prefer to push choice or testing or standards or some other “fix” that fixes nothing.