The Hill reports that Trump has rolled back the Obama Administration’s education measures intended to ensure adequate teacher preparation and assess school performance.
The teacher preparation regulations included training requirements for educators, and the school accountability rules were meant to gauge schools’ effectiveness.
The rules drew sharp criticism from Republicans, who argued states should have more control over the classroom. This falls in line with the philosophy of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.
Republicans lawmakers earlier this month voted to strike down the two rules through the Congressional Review Act, which gives them the power to roll back certain regulations. In the Senate, the special procedure prevents the use of the filibuster.
Trump signed the bills Monday, not only eliminating the Obama-era education rules, but also prohibiting future presidents from issuing similar rules.
Repealing these rules will “encourage freedom in our schools,” Trump said.
Yes indeed. States like Indiana should be free to bleed resources from public schools without having to comply with pesky rules from Washington requiring that they actually evaluate the performance of the (primarily religious) schools that are receiving those resources.
Parents should be free to use taxpayer money to send their children to private schools without some bureaucrat requiring confirmation that the people teaching in those schools actually know anything about subject-matter or pedagogy.
Evidently, the respect for “freedom” shown by Trump and DeVos doesn’t extend to the freedom of taxpayers to demand accountability for enterprises being supported by our tax dollars.
In fact, a discussion about what elements of our social and physical infrastructure should properly be provided by citizens’ tax dollars is long overdue.
We have bridges failing and roads that look like those of third-world countries. We barely–and grudgingly– support public transit. Our tattered and insufficient social safety net is under unremitting assault by politicians who demean Americans who rely on any aspect of it, while ignoring their own dependence on the public purse. (Yes, Paul Ryan, I’m looking at you–but you have a lot of company.)
The public school system is a key element of our social infrastructure. At its best, it provides skills enabling children to escape poverty, a “street corner” through which diverse citizens come to know and understand each other, and an introduction to civic competency.
Do all public schools meet that standard? No. But we have an obligation to fix those that don’t–just as we have an obligation to fix our decaying bridges. Instead, the Republican response is to privatize education and let private interests build–and toll–our roads and bridges. That approach is a rejection of the very definition of an infrastructure–utilities that serve all citizens.
Trump and the GOP don’t want to fix either our schools or our bridges; their definition of “freedom” is enriching private interests at the expense of the public good.