Education Policies for 2017 in US under President-Elect Donald Trump’s Administration: 4 Ways to Improve on it!

These laws will ensure that federal government has minimal interference in students’ higher education choices

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Donald Trump. Wikimedia

November 15, 2016: The President-elect of USA, Donald Trump, has an opportunity to work on some education policies for 2017.

Trump had prioritized Education policies in his election campaign. Now, the Trump administration would seize the best opportunity to advance the education choices for children in Washington, D.C. Trump will most certainly reverse Obama’s policies which had increased the federal intervention in education.

For example, the federal Student Loan program turns billions of dollars profit every year. According to Trump, these loans shouldn’t make government any profit, and yet it does. He believes that the loans should be like investing in America’s future.

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We believe that Trump’s administration will definitely accomplish its goals by working on the following issues:

  1. Supporting the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program.

 The D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program is the United States’ first federal funded school voucher program.  It is the financial source for many low-income children in Washington D.C. The Fund provides for tuition and other fees at the participating private schools. The Program was, approved in 2003, expired in 2009. Then, in 2011, under the SOAR Act, the Program was reauthorized.

While there is no solid evidence to prove that OSP has affected student’s achievement, the program has definitely increased the graduation rates of the capital. In a randomized controlled trial, conducted by the Department of Education in 2010, students who used their vouchers had a graduation rate of 91%. Students who were offered vouchers had an 82% graduation rate. This shows that rate for students who weren’t given vouchers was only 70 percent.

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As the statistics suggest, the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program has increased the educational opportunities for students in the nation’s capital.

The first decade of the Program has been a great success. The next administrator, Donald Trump, should support the education choice in the nation’s capital. The policies need to be expanded to more district families.

2. Rescinding ESSA regulations

President Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) on 10th December, 2015. This Act reauthorized the old Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) that commits equal opportunities to all the students.

The ESSA serves as a heavy-handed law that will control day-to-day affairs of local schools including expenditures, staffs and accounts. The law affects more than 49 million schoolchildren of America studying in local schools. The main issue with the ESSA is that it hands out almost all the authority to the state, so the state has to step in for improving schools and provide meaningful plans for the institutions.

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 Trump should rescind these regulations and support the long term conservative legislative policy that allows states to opt out from ESSA

3. Rolling back higher education regulations

The Department of Education, under Obama, supported policies like broadcasting policies that unfairly single out for-profit universities. These policies picked losers and winners of the higher education sector.

The Trump administration needs to bring back two major regulations including Defense against Repayment and Gainful Employment.

Defense against Repayment allows students to get out of paying back the student loans if they prove that they faced “acts or omissions of an institute of higher education”.

Gainful Employment is a regulation that vocational programs and for-profit colleges will ensure that their graduates don’t have loan repayments exceeding 20% of their income.

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4. Common core

The Common Core is an educational initiative in USA that explains in detail what K-12 students need to know in English Language arts at Mathematics in each grade.  If Trump refrains the state from using its authority under ESSA, it would be very easy for states to ditch the Common Core.

President-Elect Donald Trump released his first 100 days plan in office. Apart from detailed proposal on trade war, term limits and mass deportations, the plan had an outlined proposal on the education policy. These included:

a. Addition of a federal investment of $20 billion for the school choice. This will be achieved by re-prioritizing the existing federal currency.
b. Give the state the authority and funds to follow students to public or private schools. The grant distribution will favour school with private school choice, magnet schools. This will encourage more school to participate.
c. Achieving the goal of providing school choice to 11 million school-aged children.
d. Ensure that the universities are making an effort to reduce the college’s cost. The cost will be exchanged for the tax dollars.
e. Ensure that vocational and technical education is accessible.

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Revoking such regulations would open gates to innovation in higher education and the marketplace will be a determinant of quality. These laws will also ensure that federal government has minimal interference in students’ higher education choices. Promoting education choice will help the low-income families in the capital and also promoting advance education choices.

 by Diksha Arya of NewsGram. Twitter: @diksha_arya53

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