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Saturday, 18 March 2017 15:50

Funding School Choice for Disadvantaged

Written by  Cate Buckley

Trump, DeVos, and Funding of School Choice for Disadvantaged Young People

By Cate Buckley

As I watched and read about President Trump and Secretary DeVos’ recent visit to an Orlando Catholic school, I found that I had a lot of questions about how this “funding of school choice for disadvantaged young people, including minority children” would work.

The article went on to say President Trump “did not offer any details.” Well, let me ask some questions that need to be answered before we as a country move forward on this idea of using this method to help the "disadvantaged”.

1. How do parents who are already pushed to extreme financial limits come up with the portion that they will be required to pay? This may include: uniforms, books, school supplies, academic and athletic fees that a private school education may require.

2. How do these students get to these schools? In our area many of our students are 5 to 10 miles away from our few well-established and respected parochial schools. For parents without a car that would mean at least two bus changes on our limited public transportation system and a lot of time. In cases where families have a car if it breaks down or is needed to get someone to work how do you get your child to school?

3. What about the religious doctrine that is part of the curriculum at many of these schools. Does that exclude children of other beliefs from attending or feeling accepted?

4. Who will educate those children with special needs? These needs can be cognitive, emotional or physical. Also, the child whose first language is not English, where do they go? What “choices” do they have? Will these schools-of-choice be required to take them?

5. How will these schools meet the needs of these disadvantage families? Will the schools provide them with a free breakfast and lunch? Will the whole family be cared for without any judgement? When needs outside of academic ones arise, how will these schools handle them? At the Title One school where I teach, our families know that at our school their child will not only learn to the best of the child's ability, but that we also understand the limitations and stressors that poverty places upon a family. When a child shows up at school without a proper jacket or shoes or other item, they are not ignored, but respectfully and quietly helped. Just this week when a teacher noticed that someone needed socks, she bought them and discreetly gave them to the child.

I do not question a parent who wants to give their child a better education, but to say you are helping the disadvantaged must mean more then looking at the poverty levels in which my students live.

I hope that our elected officials ask and answer these difficult questions before turning our educational system over to people and/or corporations who do not fully understand the complex nature and diverse needs that come with educating the disadvantaged child.

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Cate Buckley is a Title One school teacher in Brevard County

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LINKS

Why the Trump/DeVos visit to a Catholic school is so unusual -- and what it really means
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2017/03/03/why-the-trumpdevos-visit-to-a-catholic-school-is-so-unusual-and-what-it-really-means/

Trump praises students, educators at Catholic school in Orlando
http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/politics/political-pulse/os-trump-school-visit-orlando-20170302-story.html

For Trump and DeVos, a Florida private school is a model for choice
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/03/us/politics/trump-devos-school-choice-florida.html

Donald Trump, Betsy DeVos, and the changing politics of charter schools
https://www.brookings.edu/blog/brown-center-chalkboard/2017/02/07/donald-trump-betsy-devos-and-the-changing-politics-of-charter-schools/
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Compiled by Team SCPA

Last modified on Saturday, 18 March 2017 16:02
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