USA/July 28, 2020/By Madison Gesiotto*/Source: https://thehill.com/
The struggle to retake our nation’s education system from the radical left begins with innovative policy solutions such as school choice, but it ends with federal judges who will uphold those policies against the inevitable onslaught of liberal lawsuits. The liberal infiltration of the public education system — from kindergarten through higher education — has been going on for decades. Ronald Reagan fought against it over half a century ago, and accurately warned us of the consequences we would face if we allowed the trend to continue.
President Trump just may be our last hope to reverse the conquest of our education system by unscrupulous ideologues. If he fails to win reelection in November, the battle for our nation’s very identity could surely be lost. Trump bought our country some valuable time with his prolific record of judicial appointments, including two Supreme Court justices. The hundreds of federal judges he has appointed to the bench over the past few years will provide a crucial bulwark against the left’s advances. It won’t hold forever, but many of those judges will remain on the bench for decades to come.
One of the most important arenas of the education system plays out in the form of teachers unions, which often had mandatory union dues. In 2018, in one of the first major rulings shaped by President Trump’s first Supreme Court appointee, Neil Gorsuch, the Court decided that it was unconstitutional to force teachers to pay union dues. Because a significant portion of these mandatory dues are spent supporting Democrat political candidates, the Court ruled — correctly — that they represent a form of compulsory political speech.
The education system should be about educating our nation’s children, with maximum coordination between parents and individual teachers and minimal intervention from union bosses and government bureaucrats. The originalist, constitutionalist judges that Trump has appointed — and the ones he will appoint over the next four years — will enable us to progress in that direction without being stymied by liberal judges who use their authority to legislate from the bench.
Two of the most successful public education reforms that have been tried in recent decades are charter schools and school choice vouchers. By giving parents the choice to take their children — and their tax money — to private or charter schools instead of the failing neighborhood schools in their area, we’re able to both improve educational outcomes and significantly reduce income-based disparities.
In June, the Supreme Court overturned state laws that restricted parents from using these vouchers for religious schools, dramatically expanding the range of options available and thus making the program much more widely accessible. But as Justice Samuel Alito mentioned in his concurring opinion, there are a total of 38 states whose constitutions prohibit public funds from benefiting religious schools. Although the Supreme Court ruling should invalidate those provisions in every single state, the fight will likely continue in the federal court system for some time, so it’s a good thing we’ve been able to get so many conservative justices and judges appointed to the many vacancies that President Obama left behind.
Those judges will also prove helpful to reformers such as Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who has proposed massive expansions of federal school choice initiatives, including charter schools, tax credits, and vouchers to empower families to choose the best possible education for their children.
Trump set that agenda himself in his State of the Union address, and if the American people elect a Republican Congress in November, school choice will soon become a reality for low-income families across the country who are currently trapped in underperforming, and in many cases dangerous local schools.
America’s current public education system is based on a century-old “progressive” philosophy that does not equip children with the intellectual tools they need to become well-rounded and independent thinkers. Our public schools do not teach children how to think, because their curriculum emphasizes regurgitation and memorization with little effort to help students understand why things are the way they are.
Forcing children to remain trapped in failing government-run schools is arguably the worst kind of bad policy — the consequences will be felt for decades, setting whole generations back in their quest to achieve the American dream. Only by continuing to fight for bold education reform can we hope to regain the global lead America once held in education, and thereby secure our unprecedented technological advantage, prosperity, and opportunity for future generations.
Trump has paved the way by appointing judges who will protect policy innovators from bureaucratic intrusion, but he and his team still have a lot more to do if they’re going to clean up the mess that’s been made of our education system in recent decades.
*Madison Gesiotto is an attorney who serves with the advisory board of the Donald Trump campaign. You can follow her on Twitter @MadisonGesiotto.
Docente - Investigadora Educativa.
Doctora en Cs. de la Educación, Magíster en Desarrollo Curricular y Licenciada en Relaciones Industriales.