Pro-Trump: Advocates of School Choice Supporters of choice in the school choice debate encourage offering parents choices for the schooling of their children. The choices may be either within or between school districts, or even open enrollment, which means that parents can choose any school in their state. They argue further that different children have different needs, and choice allows parents to suit the choice to the child, bringing - they say - the accountability that we usually enjoy as consumers into the realm of education. They also say that school choice only gives lower-income families some of the same options as wealthy families, who are more easily able to pay private school tuition or the charges for educating a child in an out-of-district school or simply buy a home in a good school district. The Trump campaign placed school choice at the center of his education policy reform. He promised a federal investment of $20 billion towards school choice, with the goal of providing school choice to every one of the 11 million school aged children living in poverty. If he can get the states to collectively contribute another $110 billion of their own education budgets toward school choice, his plan estimates that this will provide $12,000 in school choice funds to every K-12 student who today lives in poverty. His nominee for Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos, is a big supporter of school choice, but her confirmation hearing has attracted a great deal of controversy (see this NY Times story for more on DeVos). Anti-Trump: Critics of School Choice The opposition to school choice debate points out that schools are not the same thing as selling consumer products like candy bars or automobiles in the marketplace. They are far more complex, publicly funded institutions that are preparing young people for productive lives as adults. In addition, not every child would be able to leave a poor school, and vying for the opportunity to go elsewhere could pit families against each other. In the meantime, the failing school, rather than gaining assistance to be able to address its problematic issues is likely to lose funding as students hurry away to another school. Opponents point to situations in which students have no other viable choice - due to location, the condition of the schools, or other factors - and creating a situation in which choice, rather than school improvement, is expected to fix things would be a disservice to these students.When private schools enter the school choice debate, then opponents question whether tax dollars should be spent at institutions that teach belief systems as part of their curriculum, and the separation of church and state becomes an issue. What about federalism? Opponents of the Trump reform plan will neglect federal education aid, and force states and localities adopt yet another reform rather than giving them the flexibility to consider other initiatives. If the Trump administration follows up a campaign pledge to redirect $20 billion of existing federal spending to mandated school choice scholarships in every state, it would bring new layers of regulation on participating schools, parents and school districts. The promotion of school vouchers is also of doubtful constitutional validity. Be sure to review the first three general articles listed below first. Begin your essay with a very definite and clear statement about where you stand on this issue. Follow up your general view with factual arguments that support your position. As you do so, do not ignore what the other side is saying. Rather, make an effort to specifically address one or more of the arguments offered by your opponents. In the end, your essay is expected to be persuasive, clear and factual. RESOURCES General Articles Referencing Arguments From Both Sides "How to Make Sense of the School Choice Debate" CNN (March 24, 2017) "The Ongoing Debate on School Choice" Public Schools Review (Jan. 6, 2017) "School Vouchers 101: What They Are, How They World - And Do They Work?" National Public Radio (Dec. 7, 2016) "Here's Where Trump Stands on Education" Business Insider (Nov. 9, 2016) Anti-School Choice "Betsy DeVos and God's Plan for Schools" NY Times (Dec. "Why Trump's Plan for a Massive School Voucher Program Might Not Work" Education Week (Nov. 28, 2016) "How Trump Could Gut Public Education" Slate (Nov. 26, 2016) "Why Betsy DeVos Won't Be Able to Privatize Public Education" NY Times (Nov. 23, 2017) Pro-School Choice "School Choice is the Right Choice" Heritage Foundation (March 17, 2017) "The 'Scary Christian' School-Choice Panic Is Upon Us" National Review (Jan. 18, 2017) "Trump Education Pick DeVos Promotes School Choice at Confirmation Hearing" Fox News (Jan. 17, 2017) "The Libertarian Case for School Choice" Reason (Jan. 25, 2016) INSTRUCTIONS #1 READ ... read the background information and consult multiple sources listed above. #2 POSITION STATEMENT ... for those who are assigned to write a position statement for this week (Team B), compose a 'position statement' in essay format that expresses your reaction to the debate question and post it directly into this forum (please do not attach a separate document). Make your position as clear as possible. Incorporate factual information and arguments into your essay from the assigned materials. Cite the source and/or name of the author when referring to this information. Be as convincing as possible - there should be no doubt where you stand on this issue!