The Future of American Education

american education school flag craftSignificant changes are ahead in Washington and the American educational system will certainly be impacted. It remains to be seen exactly what might change and what might stay the same, but many experts have opinions. Below are some articles and blog posts that may shed light about what education may look like in the near future.

School Choice

As President-elect, Donald Trump confirmed his support of school choice, and his campaign pledged to allocate $20 billion of federal funding to the cause by nominating Betsy DeVos as his nominee for Secretary of Education. DeVos is a conservative activist who supports the use of public funds for children to attend private schools and who is the head of the non-profit organization American Federation for Children.

Israel Ortego outlines some of the ways that DeVos could choose to impact education in America in his the article “Five Ways Betsy DeVos Could Become a Transformative Education Secretary” in Forbes magazine. One potential change Ortego lists is the possibility of having $15 billion from Title I funding “follow” low income students and families instead of schools. This approach would allow states to “make their Title I dollars ‘portable,’ meaning that students and families could use federal monies to pay for tuition, tutoring services and even books and online courses.”

Another change that seems probable is for DeVos to advocate for the creation of more charter schools. This would most likely include advocating for an “increase in funding for the federal charter schools program” and ensuring that “charters have access to same funding streams that district public schools can access.”

The Trump administration may have a difficult road to making changes as even some school choice proponents are not in favor of DeVos. A recent Washington Post article titled “School Choice Advocates Divided Over Trump and His Education Pick Betsy DeVos” sheds light on the division among school voucher advocates. It seems that despite similar goals, there are many conflicting opinions regarding implementation and oversight of federal and local support of charter schools. Hot button issues include the use of public funds for religious schools and the best ways to regulate the quality of schools.

Another expert in the field, Robin J. Lake, director of the Center on Reinventing Public Education at the University of Washington cautions the new administration to tread lightly when advocating school choice. She underscores the need to balance choice with quality. Her blog post “Will the New Administration Love School Choice to Death,” illustrates how President George W. Bush’s approach to school choice backfired and offers opinions on how to avoid the same fate.

Common Core

President-elect Donald Trump and Secretary of Education-nominee Betsy DeVos have both stated that they will abolish Common Core national standards. Despite these declarations, it may prove difficult to accomplish since the adoption of Common Core standards and their related student testing are driven by state government.

At a rally in Michigan on December 9, 2016, DeVos reiterated her intentions by saying “It’s time to make education great again in this country. This means putting kids first every single day…This means letting states set their own high standards and finally putting an end to the federalized Common Core.” The video can be found in EdWeek’s blog article “Trump, DeVos Call for Ending Common Core at Michigan Rally”.

Another article provides insight into ways that the Trump team might try to impact Common Core indirectly by focusing on changes to assessment testing. In “Loosen the Constraints of the Common Core” in U.S. News and World Report on Dec. 6, 2016, author Nat Malkus details his ideas.

Every Child Succeeds Act

When the Every Child Succeed Act was passed in December 2015, it was hailed as a bipartisan “miracle” that replaced No Child Left Behind and placed more governance and regulation in the hands of local and state governments. The ECSA is scheduled to take effect in the 2017-2018 school year but it remains to be seen if the Trump administration will move to delay or make changes before implementation. According to an article on titled “The Every Student Succeeds Act: A Year in Review 2016,” it is unknown what, if any changes, will be coming to education. The article states, “The nation will have to wait to understand how aggressively the Trump administration approaches the matter of school choice and the impact it may have on the Every Student Succeeds Act.

Wait and See

2017 will be a very interesting year for our country and it looks like we will have to wait to see what proposals the new administration will bring forward and what elements will be heralded or rejected. What changes in education do you predict in the upcoming years? How do you think we can best serve our children?

Author: Amy Daniels, Marketing Manager, A Grade Ahead


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