Donald Trump proposed school vouchers as a solution for all that ails the many failing school systems across the nation. However, there’s a twist to his proposal: He announced that vouchers for homes schooling families would also be included. While the Republican nominee has correctly stated that school choice includes home schooling, the voucher for home schooling component of his program isn’t going to work. Most parents who home-school can afford to and won’t qualify for vouchers. Those who would qualify work outside their homes to support their families, which isn’t conducive to home schooling.
Per Politico, Trump has stated that he will propose a $20 billion federal block grant for state school choice programs. The vouchers would give families the opportunity to send their children to magnet, charter, and religious schools, and another alternative would be money to home-schoool, per a Mint Press News report.
“School choice is at the center of this civil rights agenda, and my goal is to provide every single inner-city child in America that is trapped in a failing government school the freedom to attend the school of their choice. School choice also means that parents can home-school their children. Hundred percent.”
Recent statistics show that there are close to 2 million children who are now being home-schooled in the United States. The numbers are probably higher as some states don’t mandate home-schoolers to register. For data compiled in the year 2014, the National Center of Education Statistics data shows that only 5 percent of home schooling families earn less than $20,000 yearly, which is considered below the poverty line for a family of four. Also, 83 percent of home-schooled children are white, live in two-parent households, are white, and have parents who are better educated (completion of at least some college).
Donald Trump and School Choice: An Increasing Focus? – “On education, it is time to have school choice, merit p… https://t.co/ugUp4gIEor
— Jim Kohlmoos (@jimkohlmoos) August 18, 2016
According to The Atlantic, African Americans now make up 10 percent of home-schoolers, but again, two-parent households are the majority. With most homeschooling families, the father works outside of the home and the mother stays at home. There are single parents who home-school, but they are few. Although there are creative arrangements such as two parents in a family who work different shifts so one can home-school or a single parent working from home, most homeschooling families have one parent who is at home during the day and is responsible for educating the children, taking them on field trips, and transporting them to home-school co-ops and other activities.
— Miles Trager (@TragerUFT) September 17, 2016
School vouchers are not a new concept, and primarily, they work for parents who can pay at least a portion of their children’s tuition. For example, if a family sends their child to a private school and the tuition is $4,000 yearly, the voucher might pay $3,000. The parents would then pay the remainder. Because of this, school vouchers, historically, do not work for inner city, poor families.
The same concept can be applied to home schooling. Single working parents must support their families. Many would love to home-school but don’t know how to make it work. Trump has not stated the approximate amount of a home-school voucher, but it’s unlikely that it would be enough for a single parent to leave her job and teach her children at home. These parents rely on before and after school care, which assures that their children are cared for as they earn a living. Additionally, many of them are the working poor and are also under-educated. This would likely preclude them from home schooling.
School vouchers and home schooling funds won’t be used to help the poorest children across the country. Their parents would love an educational alternative, and although Trump has proposed a plan, the home-school component is ill-conceived and demonstrates the candidate’s lack of knowledge and general out-of-touch with real America mindset.
[Featured Image by Kzenon/Shutterstock]