Donald Trump Jr. doesn’t think much of American public schools — even though he never attended one.
In a speech Tuesday night at the Republican convention, the son of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said the following:
The other party gave us public schools that far too often fail our students, especially those who have no options. Growing up, my siblings and I we were truly fortunate to have choices and options that others don’t have. We want all Americans to have those same opportunities.
Our schools used to be an elevator to the middle class. Now they’re stalled on the ground floor. They’re like Soviet-era department stores that are run for the benefit of the clerks and not the customers, for the teachers and the administrators and not the students. You know why other countries do better on K through 12? They let parents choose where to send their own children to school.
That’s called competition. It’s called the free market. And it’s what the other party fears.
They fear it because they’re more concerned about protecting the jobs of tenured teachers than serving the students in desperate need of a good education.
They want to run everything top-down from Washington. They tell us they’re the experts and they know what’s best.
Actually, most other countries don’t let all parents decide which school to send their children to. And a new study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research found, according to author Eunice Han, that “highly unionized districts actually fire more bad teachers.”
(It’s also worth mentioning that a January 2016 report by the nonprofit Center for American Progress found that a decline in unions “accounts for 35 percent of the falling share of middle-class workers and that the combination of the shrinking share of union workers and the reduction in the union equality effect explains almost half of the decline in middle-class workers.” He didn’t mention that.)
In any case, Trump Jr. never went to a public school. He attended private schools and then went to college at the private University of Pennsylvania.
What does Donald Trump, the candidate, think? Education wasn’t high on the list of discussion topics during the primary season, but he has long been a supporter of school choice and a critic of traditional public schools. In his 2000 book, “The America We Deserve,” he wrote:
“We’re doing worse than treading water; we’re going under.” According to school-testing experts’ rule of thumb, the average child’s achievement score declines about 1 percent for each year they’re in school. That gives the expression ‘dumbing down’ a whole new meaning. Schools may be hazardous to your child’s intellectual health.”
(Clarification: Making clear U Penn is private.)