DeVos' School Choice Speech Couldn't Come At A Worse Time


With President Donald Trump perpetually wounding himself, the Republican Party risks finding itself torn apart between loyal Trump supporters and pragmatic Trump critics. Currently, the GOP has remained grudgingly, if unhappily, relatively unified with their controversial 2016 presidential nominee. Some more liberal Republicans, however, have openly mentioned their exasperation with Trump’s endless parade of quasi-scandals, the latest of which include the Comey firing and reports that Trump gave away secrets to Russia. Next Wednesday, former FBI Director James Comey will testify before Congress… and what he says could potentially break Donald Trump’s presidency.

You would think that, with all of this tension, the Trump administration would avoid doing anything controversial. And, yet, Trump’s most controversial appointee is being trotted out on Monday to deliver a speech supporting the most controversial mainstream initiative the GOP has cooked up in recent memory. That’s right: Betsy DeVos is about to propose spending big federal bucks on school vouchers.

If anything will rile the public right now, it is school vouchers. Public school parents hate the possibility that the schools their children attend will lose resources, as money and students are diverted to private schools. Despite conservative parents being more open to the idea of religious schools receiving government aid, no parents are open to the idea of their public school kids losing resources.

The blue collar Trump supporters, of course, are far more likely to have their kids in public school than private school. Although they are probably open to the concept of giving state funds to private schools, they are likely to become much less receptive when they understand many of the string attached: Private schools can deny applicants, easily expel students, and raise their tuitions. Simply put, getting in is no guarantee of staying in.

And, with even the conservative state of Texas having put the kibosh on school vouchers back in April, it seems like a bad time to risk a nationwide proposal. If Texas won’t follow the Trump/DeVos line on school vouchers, you know it’s a political risk for conservatives!  Allegedly, it was Republicans in rural districts who showed no love for vouchers, knowing that their public schools would lose funding to private schools that are only found in urban areas.

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