By pledging to immediately invest $20 billion in school choice, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump provided the first detailed proposal of his education agenda.
“There’s no failed policy more in need of urgent change than our government run education monopoly,” Trump said at a speech in Cleveland, Ohio. “I want every single inner-city child in America who is today trapped in a failing school to have the freedom, the civil right, to attend the school of their choice.”
Trump’s plan would reprioritize existing federal dollars to establish a grant to allow children living in poverty to attend whatever school they wanted. Trump argued that the voucher system would not only help impoverished children enroll at quality schools, but a free market would also improve the entire system.
While eligibility for vouchers varies state-by-state, Trump promised to campaign nationwide and call upon individual states and cities to elect officials in support of school choice.
“Not only would this empower families, but it would create a massive education market that is competitive and produces better outcomes,” he said.
Trump also said he will support merit-pay for teachers.
It’s perhaps unsurprising that Trump chose to unveil his education proposal with school choice at the helm. Trump’s running mate, Mike Pence, supported many school choice initiatives during his time as Indiana governor.
Pence won big in his push to expand the state’s voucher program, successfully lifting the cap, which was previously $4,800, on the amount of money families can receive when sending their children to private schools. In fact, Indiana’s voucher program is now one of the largest in the nation, according to the New York Times.