Tip Sheets

Education and the State of the Union: What’s in store for K-12

Media Contact

Rebecca Valli

On Tuesday, Trump will deliver his first official State of the Union address. Analysts are speculate whether issues of education will make the cut in tonight’s speech.

Noliwe Rooks

Professor in Africana Studies and Feminist, Gender, Sexuality Studies

Noliwe Rooks associate professor of Africana Studies at Cornell University and author of “Cutting School: Privatization, Segregation, and the End of Public Education,” says that should Trump’s approach to education be judged by the actions of some of his financial backers, we may face a dismantle of the American public education system.

Rooks says:

“As we all wait to find out the substance of President Trump’s remarks during the State of the Union address, many Americans will be listening hard to hear if he makes any mention of public education. Anticipation is particularly high in that regard because today brought with it the news that the Koch brothers, Trump backers and fellow billionaires have set their sights on ‘transforming,’ to the point of dismantling, America’s public education system.

“In joining similar calls for destabilization from others with the President’s financial resources (Betsy DeVos, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates) the Koch brothers propose to educate the children of the middle, and working class in ways far different from how their own children were educated.

“It is time to hold them and others accountable for this double standard where the members of their social class are offered rigorous in-person instruction in private schools, while they call for the children of the middle and working classes educated in public schools to make do, and be grateful for educational experiments, like personalized instruction which often involves computers, not teachers, and is not proven to work. We will have to wait to hear what Trump has in store for our nation’s children.”

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