On February 28, President Trump addressed Congress, speaking briefly about school choice for disadvantaged youth, breaking the cycle of poverty. He talked about how families should be able to choose the schools that are right for them, whether they be public, private, charter, magnet, religious or home schools.
On Friday, President Trump visited a private school in Florida – St. Andrew Catholic School – Florida is one of 14 states and DC, which has a state-funded school voucher program to qualifying students.
If you look at St. Andrew’s admission requirements you must provide most recent report card and state assessment, which would be ok since it is a private school. But President Trump though is pushing for school choice and vouchers. There is a $250 registration fee (non-refundable) per child is assessed. There is an admission test for students 2nd through 8th grades. A parent needs three teacher recommendations. There is a list of priorities, one being you must attend church on a regular basis and ENVELOPE USE AS DEFINED BY THE PASTOR.
How are policies like this going to help break the cycle of poverty? Folks living in poverty cannot afford a $250 non-refundable registration fee, $25 application fee or financially supporting any church every week? How are they going to pay for the balance of the tuition that is owed after using their voucher?
It is very interesting when you look through the qualifying student requirements for school-funded voucher programs, because most states require that a student has an IEP, certain disability or specific income level tied into the federal poverty level. THIS IS THE IMPORTANT PART – In Delaware, most students who have an IEP or disability, and leave a private or charter schools, do so because the school does not provide the necessary special education services or the school tells a family that they cannot provide these services for the child – this school is not a good fit.
We have people creating policy that really have no idea as to what is really going on in our public schools, because if they did, they would understand that they are not helping disadvantage students.