Here’s Your Proof That Something’s Really Wrong at Central Regional High SchoolFebruary 17, 2023
Assembly Republicans Propose School Funding Plan That Would Fully Fund Districts in Exchange for Lower Property TaxesFebruary 22, 2023
Joan Quigley is the president and CEO of North Hudson Community Action Cor and a former assemblywoman from Jersey City.
Whether or not you have kids in public schools, you may be alarmed by the first of Donald Trump’s policy proposals, issued as he strives to regain the White House next year.
If enacted, they’d thoroughly change the way children learn, teachers teach, and schools get equal funding
There’d be fewer teachers, too, I think. And plenty more fights at school board meetings. And, oh yeah, your local taxes would probably go up, as well.
That’s because Trump wants to cut federal funding for any school or program that includes critical race theory, gender ideology or what he calls “inappropriate racial, sexual or political content onto our children.” You know if federal funding goes down, state and local taxes must go up to support education, the most expensive item in any budget.
Trump also would open civil rights investigations into any school district that engages in race-based discrimination especially against Asian-Americans, and he vows to keep men out of women’s sports.
He said, “Personnel is policy and at the end of the day if we have pink-haired communists teaching our kids, we have a major problem.” He intends to solve that “problem” by calling for special certification for teachers who “embrace patriotic values” and he will give “funding preferences and favorable treatment” to states and school districts that abolish teacher tenure.
And if abolishing tenure isn’t enough, he demands school principals be elected, not appointed.
He also calls for “cutting administrative roles” and adopting a parental bill of rights. He promised (or threatened) to “remove the radical zealots and Marxists” who he claims have “infiltrated” the Department of Education.
He seems to have forgotten about those pesky gender-neutral restrooms in high schools. That was a favorite target of Trump’s Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, but since she turned against him on January 7th, after the riots at the Capitol, maybe he left that out on purpose.
You know how Trump loves riling up a crowd and then feasting on their discontent. This education proposal will do that for sure. Taxes, crime and immigrants weren’t enough last time, so this time he’s aiming to get parents screaming at one another over children’s education and kids sports.
Attacking teachers, counselors and principals along the way.
Imagine, for instance, either the federal government deciding what “patriotic values” a teacher must display or a local school board trying to reach accord on such a thing. Fistfights galore and spite fences going up in every neighborhood.
Under Trump’s plan, America could soon be like China or North Korea, teaching youngsters only what government wants them to learn, not allowing young minds to question and experiment.
That “parental bill of rights” ought to be a doozy, too. What parent now does not have right to determine what their kids learn? And where they go to learn it? But, what parent should have the right to determine what every kid in the neighborhood learns?
That’s why we elect school boards, have Mother’s and Dad’s clubs, and allow religious and charter schools.
Actually, I’m sure this is a good campaign strategy for Trump. His proposals will be welcomed in many super-conservative areas where parents are already ripping books out of school libraries, demanding Christian prayers in schools, and suggesting teachers be armed.
But nowhere are such policies ever going to be unanimously adopted, and forcing them on school districts by withholding essential funding is unthinkably unfair.
That parental bill of rights ought to consist of only one statement, saying, “Parents determine how, what and where our kids learn and schools are funded with no interference from government at any level.”