On August 23, the Trump campaign issued a press release outlining second-term policy priorities. According to the statement, “Building on the incredible achievements of President Donald J. Trump’s first term in office, the President’s re-election campaign today released a set of core priorities for a second term under the banner of ‘Fighting for You!’ President Trump’s boundless optimism and certainty in America’s greatness is reflected in his second-term goals and stands in stark contrast to the gloomy vision of America projected by Joe Biden and Democrats.”
Nowhere is this more evident than in President Trump’s second-term education agenda. In short, the president is laser-focused on two major education priorities: “Provide School Choice to Every Child in America” and “Teach American Exceptionalism.” As a former high school teacher, I could not agree more with both of these objectives.
First, universal school choice is extremely popular with a broad swath of voters. Multiple polls show that an overwhelming majority of Americans support school choice. For instance, according to Beck Research, a Democratic polling firm, “67% of voters support school choice, an increase of 4 percentage points compared to the 2018 National School Choice Poll.”
What’s more, “Support for school choice is broad across numerous demographic categories. Latinos: 73%, Whites: 68%, African Americans: 67%, Millennials: 75%, Parents and grandparents: 72%, Rural/Exurban Voters: 68%, Suburban Voters: 64%, Republicans: 80%, Independents: 69%, Democrats: 56%.”
In fact, school choice, defined as giving “parents the right to use the tax dollars designated for their child’s education to send their child to the public or private school which best serves their needs” is one of the few issues that transcends race, gender, age, and political persuasion, among other demographics.
Simply put, the vast majority of Americans are on-board with school choice, which has been a front-and-center issue for Trump since he took office.
In June, Trump said, “We’re fighting for school choice, which really is the civil rights of all time in this country … Frankly, school choice is the civil rights statement of the year, of the decade, and probably beyond, because all children have to have access to quality education.” The American people could not agree more.
On the other hand, Joe Biden is absolutely anti-school choice.
Biden would “ban for-profit charter schools,” “discontinue funding of the Scholarships for Opportunity and Results (SOAR) Act,” and “oppose any and all voucher and neo-voucher programs such as Education Savings Accounts and Tax-credit Scholarship programs.”
And this is just a snippet of Biden’s anti-school choice agenda. To be clear, Biden opposes any and all school choice in principle.
Second, Trump emphasizes the need to teach American exceptionalism. As a former high school history teacher, he is right. During my five years teaching American history, I was shocked at how negatively the United States is portrayed in general. From textbooks to biased curriculum standards, the United States is rarely portrayed as exceptional in today’s classrooms.
Unfortunately, this has created a generation of Americans who are clueless about the notion of American exceptionalism at best. Even worse, there is a large number of current students and recent graduates who have been indoctrinated with a wholly false narrative that the United States is an inherently evil and unexceptional nation.
According to a 2019 Eurasia Group Foundation poll, “75.2% of older Americans (60+) consider America exceptional, compared to 45.1% of 18- to 29-year-olds.” No wonder so many young Americans support socialism!
These statistics should startle anyone who wants America to remain the beacon of freedom and the land of opportunity.
Thomas Jefferson once said, “An educated citizenry is a vital requisite for our survival as a free people.” This is truer now than ever.
Chris Talgo (firstname.lastname@example.org) is an editor at The Heartland Institute.