School Choice

President Trump Calls for "Renewed Commitment To Expanding School Choice"

Issues proclamation in favor of National School Choice Week and expanded options for all K-12 students.


Nick Gillespie

Whatever negative you can say about President Donald Trump (which is plenty!), he has been unwavering and full-throated in his support for increasing school choice for K-12 students and their parents.

His controversial Education Secretary pick, Betsy DeVos, is an activist in the school-choice movement and now Trump has issued the first-ever presidential proclamation recognizing National School Choice Week (NSCW). Now in its seventh year, NSCW runs through January 28 this year and involves over 21,000 events in all 50 states the celebrate school choice in all its forms. Go here for more information and to find events happening near you.

Trump's proclamation begins by noting "too many of our children are stuck in schools that do not provide…[a great education]." "By expanding school choice and providing more educational opportunities for every American family," it continues, "we can help make sure every child has an equal shot at achieving the American Dream."

By most accounts, about 3 million students attend charter schools, which are publicly funded indpendent schools that receive a portion of the typical per-pupil funding of traditional public schools and operate with greater autonomy. The first charter school law was passed about 25 years ago in Minnesota and now most states have some version of them. Other popular forms of school choice include home schooling, private and publicly funded voucher programs, and Education Savings Accounts (ESAs), which operate like Health Savings Accounts, giving families varying amounts of money to spend on their children's educational needs.

Last summer in a widely viewed segment, HBO's John Oliver glibly and inaccurately attacked charters as largely unregulated scams. Such dismissals are possible only if one doesn't bother to look at the large and growing body of research that shows charters, which educate a majority of children in school districts such as New Orleans and Detroit, produce better results especially for urban, low-income students. Education researchers such as Jay P. Greene at the University of Arkansas argue that despite only currently teaching about 6 percent of the country's 55 million K-12 students, school choice has "reached escape velocity" because the same demand for increasing personalization and individualization that we prize in our commercial lives is making itself known in the educational sphere. (Click here for Reason's podcast with Greene about why the benefits of school choice extend far beyond test scores and academics).

Andrew Campanella, the head of National School Week, notes that the president joins a unanimous U.S. Senate, 29 governors, and over 700 city and county officials in celebrating NSCW. Here's the text of Trump's proclamation:

White House

National School Choice Week runs from through January 28. Over 21,000 events involving almost 17,000 schools from all 50 states will take place over the coming days. Go here to get more information about events and data about how increasing school choice—charters, vouchers, educational savings accounts, and more—is one of the best ways to improve education for all Americans.

As a proud media sponsor of National School Choice Week, Reason will be publishing daily articles, podcasts, videos, interviews, and other coverage exploring the ways in which education is being radically altered and made better by letting more people have more choices when it comes to learning. For a constantly updated list of stories, go to Reason's archive page on "school choice."

NEXT: Trump Is Wrong About Crime in Chicago (and His Voters Are Wrong About Crime Everywhere Else Too)

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  1. can we get one of those tiny bug drones to follow Obama around for the next 4 years? I'll bet his frustrated outbreaks of confused idiocy are hilarious.

    1. "Obama reacts to today's newspaper" YouTube channel? Tens of millions of subscribers! Too bad CPMs have gone to shit...

      1. "Obama reacts to today's newspaper" YouTube channel

        I'm picturing something similar to the Hitler Rants channel except with footage of Obama's speeches dubbed over with alternate audio.

    2. If only he had the twitter-presence of our current POTUS we wouldn't even need the drone.

  2. I know it's not Friday Funnies, but that photo lacks labels or alt-text. Pls explain relevance of "Trump is stinkyhead" to the article in question.

    1. damn my slow fingers

  3. I call for a renewed commitment to alt-text

  4. Wherz muh national school choice EVENT

  5. Last time a President did anything for schools, he put his wife in charge of students' lunches. About the extent of it, unless kissing teachers' unions' asses counts as "doing something for schools."

    1. unless kissing teachers' unions' asses counts as "doing something for schools."

      It does in The Proggieverse.

  6. Basically right now it seems like there's things I like about Trump and things I dislike.

    But that was the case with Bush and Obama, and those two tended to ignore the things I liked about them in practice, so while this proclamation is nice I find I can't hold much faith in it until he actually does something to expand school choice. Last two presidents have left me too jaded, I suppose.

    1. The problem is there's not really a lot they can do federally for school choice. It is good that they are at least vocally pro choice, though.

      1. The problem is there's not really a lot they can do federally for school choice.

        They've got leverage they can use, in the form of the $15bb a year in federal funding for low-income school districts, for starters.

  7. I'm from Indy, and as far as I can tell we have one of the largest voucher programs in the country. I know a couple people who have interacted with it, and they seem to like what's going on. However, I decided to dip my toe in the rest of the internet to see how our voucher program was doing after 5 years. Apparently it's a total scam and the end of education as we know it based on almost every news source that came up.

    Maybe I'm spending too much time around poor people and libertarians, but man do people get nasty and make some oddly conservative sounding arguments when defending public schools.

    1. "news source"

      There ya go right there. You stumbled on some "fake news".

  8. This almost looks like Reason getting around to maybe, maybe recognizing that Trump has some ambitious plans to shrink the government in some interesting ways. But of course, making sure to shit on him before and after, so no one gets the wrong idea. Something something cocktail parties.

    1. Reason doesn't need to go to the bathroom on Trump! He already has people for that!

      1. Make Urolagnia Great Again

    2. (Turd) sandwich theory?

  9. Again, any school that has kids and parents having to request access and show a desire to learn is going to clean the clocks of the sit them in chairs and babysit them public schools in these inner cities.

    Accountability at every level and going back all the way to home, is what works.

    MOAR money for unaccountable teachers over and over again, doesn't.

  10. President Trump.

    Let that ring tone set in.

    1. Oh, so that's why Obama dropped that phone.

    2. *Bzzzt*
      You're fired!
      You're fired!
      You're fired!

      If only there was a way to set every federal bureaucrat's ring tone to that.

  11. HBO's John Oliver glibly and inaccurately...

    Glib and inaccurate could be used to describe pretty much everything that comes out of the limey prick's mouth. Fuck John Oliver.

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