Home Schoolers Don’t Want to Be a “Choice”

Earlier this week, EdSec Betsy DeVos continued to tease the details of the big school choice plan that is likely to come from the Trump Administration. The next day, the President’s budget reflects that same commitment to dramatically expanding access (and dollars for) public charter schools and vouchers for private education.

In all of the discussion, though, an interesting voice has spoken out asking NOT to be included in the expanded school choice plan. That voice? The homeschool community. As Eduflack explains in the most recent edition of #TrumpED on BAM! Radio Network, the reasons for this make a great deal of sense. With federal dollars comes federal oversight and regulations.  And while the homeschool community may largely trust President Trump and his administration on the topic, there are no guarantees that a future President or EdSec will hold the same level of respect for homeschoolers.

Give it a listen. I promise it is an interesting examination of an equally interesting topic.

Making Colleges Accountable Again

When President Donald Trump took office, many in the higher education community took that to mean that it would again become the “Wild West” when it came to institutions of higher education. We’d return to a world when anyone could do anything, and would likely remain accredited despite their actions.

But a funny thing has happened on the way to all of that perceived doom and gloom. EdSec Betsy DeVos and her U.S. Department of Education continued with plans to eliminate the accreditor responsible for for-profit institutions such as Corinthian Colleges, noting the importance of accountability and oversight when it comes to those colleges entrusted with current and future generations of learners.

This is an important signal, both for the Trump Administration and higher education. Over at BAM! Radio Network, I explore the DeVos decision and what it may signal for the future of higher education accountability. Give it a listen. 

I Don’t Have to Like You, But …

It’s very easy for the two sides in public education to just hurl attacks, virtriol, and brickbats day after day after day. School improvement discussion have devolved into hand-to-hand combat, with each side trying to best the other … consequences be damned.

Despite all of this fighting, last month EdSec Betsy DeVos and AFT President Randi Weingarten found the time to come together and actually spend time with each other in the same school at the same time. No, we shouldn’t expect a major sea change or detente to come out of the Ohio visit, but maybe, just maybe, it can provide some guidance on how we can look to collaborate more and shout a little less.
I’ve been fortunate to work on both sides of the debate. What has always surprised me was how the two sides actually have far more in common than in disagreement. Sure, we will focus on the areas of departure, but we can use those places of commonality to try to and work together. On the latest episode of TrumpED on BAM! Radio Network, I applaud both DeVos and Weingarten for at least giving it a try. Give it a collegial listen!
 

Acknowledging that Career and Technical Ed Still Matters

Career and technical education (CTE) remains one of those important topics in public education that we just don’t talk enough about. When it became politically incorrect to call it “vocational education,” we renamed it to CTE. But even in today’s environment – one where we claim to prioritize science, technology, engineering, and all of those skills once termed “21st century,” we still don’t give CTE its due.

Last month, the Trump Administration made much hay of its push to make and buy American when it comes to manufacturing. As we focus on how we protect American jobs while growing the American economy, we can’t expect to have a meaningful discussion on the topic unless we are talking the skills and knowledge necessary to ensure those manufacturing jobs both today and tomorrow. That means serious conversations — and policies — around career and technical education.

Over on BAM! Radio Network, Eduflack explores this important topic, hoping that CTE can finally get its due in both education and the economy. Give it a listen here. You won’t be disappointed. 

What’s Up on #TrumpED?

I’ve been remiss in posting many of our recent segments for #TrumpED on BAM! Radio Network. So for all of those who have been making our segments on education policy in the Trump Administration “must-listen” radio, let me point out a few recent segments.

What does the Trump “skinny” budget mean for education policy? We take a look here.

Here, we explore whether it is really that simple to say that our national policy is simply to return education decision making to the states and localities.

And here, we take a look at whether the proposed cuts to Title II and teacher professional development truly make sense for improving the quality and impact of classroom instruction.

Give them all a listen. And drop dear ol’ Eduflack a note on future topics you’d like to hear on TrumpED.

 

What the Field Says About Our Federal Education Priorities

A few weeks back, I had the privilege of hosting a roundtable discussion for BAM! Radio Network with the leaders of five key national education organizations. The topic? What should our education priorities be under President Donald Trump and his Education Department.

The discussion included AASA’s Dan Domenech, NASSP’s JoAnn Bartoletti, NAESP’s Gail Connelly, ASBO’s John Musso, and NAEYP’s Rhian Evans.

 

Give it a listen here. It is well worth the time. A lot of interesting perspectives from the organizations that represent many of the leading voices in our school buildings today.

Of School Vouchers and Civil Rights 

For more than a decade now, we have heard advocates position the fight for education reform as the great civil rights battle of our generation. And there is little question that discussions of equity and equal pathways to college and career success for all students – regardless of their race, family income, or zip code – is a worthy fight.

It is on this fight that so much of the current school choice frame is constructed. The expansion and adequate funding of public charter schools is all about civil rights. And the renewed attention to vouchers is no different. 

As part of his first address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress, President Donald Trump again tied school choice to civil rights. But at a time when actual civil rights – from Title IX to LGBT to IDEA – are front and center of current school and education debates, is it fair to position private school vouchers in the same manner?

This is the topic we explore on the latest edition of #TrumpED on the BAM! Radio Network.

Interestingly, immediate response to the segment began referencing the United Nations and Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. No one should question that access to free, high-quality public education education is indeed a right all around the world should advocate for. And ensuring that parents have a say in the educational path that is best for their children should be rightly included in such discussions. In crafting Article 26, did the UN really intend for such language to be used to provide cover for those choosing not to send their kids to a community public school or a local public charter school, and instead send them to a possibly expensive private school with the financial support of taxpayers? Particularly if those vouchered tax dollars largely exceed what that same family was paying in taxes to support the local schools?

You be the judge. Give the program a listen. I realize Eduflack won’t necessarily make friends with the reform community by posing such questions, but it is an important discussion to have.