Arthur Camins: Trump’s Education Budget is “Cruel and Unusual Punishment”

Arthur Camins, writing at the Huffington Post,analyzes the Trump-DeVos education budget and declares it to be “cruel and unusual punishment,” targeted to harm the nation’s neediest children.

He writes:

“President Trump’s budget proposal violates the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment. The crime it punishes is not being wealthy, healthy and deserving of tax cuts. Budgets are values statements. Trump’s first full education budget proposal is no exception. Its $9.2 Billion or 13.6% cut in the spending level approved by the already spendthrift conservative Congress also violates the values of most Americans. Bigly. It cuts programs that help most children in order to fund programs to help a few children– and facilitate tax cuts for the wealthy.

“As a citizen, lifelong educator and grandfather, I am appalled. We have schools not just to benefit individual children. Effective, humane, well-funded, equitable schools make for a better society. With its emphasis on privately governed charter schools and vouchers to attend private schools, Trump’s budget says that somehow parents’ individual decisions about education are automatically better than democratic community decisions. Choices by either individuals or groups are neither inherently good nor bad. That is a function of the values that guide them. The foundational value of Trump’s education budget is, “Just look out for yourself.” Most of us, I think, reject that dystopian idea.”

Trump and a DeVos say they want to help every get a better education, but they know schoice will not do that.

“Donald Trump, Betsy DeVos, and their supporters do not want to spread charter schools to provide more effective education to more children than in neighborhood public schools. We already know that they will not.

“They don’t want charter schools to compete for students with public schools because such competition leads to innovative improvements. They don’t want to replace democratic- with private-governance of schools because it is more efficient, or more responsive to students needs, or results in better decision-making, or is less vulnerable to corruption. We already know that the opposite is the case.

“They do not want to replace taxpayer funded public education that enrolls the vast majority of local children with tax credits for vouchers to attend the private school of their parents’ choosing because it will lead to a more equitable education for all students. We already know that it will not.

“They do not want to shift targeted federal education funds into block grants to states because it will result in better outcomes for all children. We already know that it will not.

“In fact, education policies that rely on market forces and individual choice have always had only three goals: Profit for individual investors, the protection, and enhancement of the privileges of the few, and legalized segregation. Make no mistake. Republicans have no intention of increasing education funds at the local or state levels. That would violate their core values: Keep as much of their wealth as possible. Pay as little in taxes as they can get away with to help other folks. Pander to people who want a religious or segregated education on the public’s dime.”

from sarah


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