In the wake of last week’s election, education leaders are trying to discern exactly how a Trump administration will affect education in California. However, over the course of President-elect Trump’s campaign, educational policy was never addressed in much detail. This has led many experts and our private tutors to believe that statewide education reforms already in place will continue largely unaffected—at least in the short term.
Indeed, California’s political institutions are still under Democratic control, and there is strong support among elected officials and teachers unions for the reforms already underway, including the Common Core standards in English and Math.
One of the only clear cut stances Trump took on education policy is when he pledged to end Common Core, calling the standards “education through Washington, D.C.” He also said “education should be local and locally managed” while on the campaign trail in New Hampshire. In reality, the Common Core standards are not a federal program, and are adopted by each state individually. Despite Trump’s statements, our math tutors believe that it is highly unlikely that California would abandon them after investing billions of dollars in its implementation.
Additionally, the newly approved Every Student Succeeds Act specifically prohibits any “officer or employee of the federal government” from mandating that a state implement certain academic standards, tests or curriculum. In the simplest terms, this means that Trump and his Secretary of Education would not be able to require states to implement Common Core, nor bar them from adopting it if they so choose.
However, a Trump administration may have the unexpected consequence of relieving some of the current conflicts between California and President Obama’s Department of Education. President-elect Trump will likely be much less assertive in exercising federal authority than has been the case over the last several years. As a result, Sacramento may be able to enjoy a clearer role in developing statewide education policies.
On the other hand, this approach may frustrate civil rights groups and other organizations that believe the federal government should take on the responsibility of ensuring that states actively work to close the achievement gap. Many are also concerned that Trump and a Republican Congress will cut Title I funds in their attempts to reduce the federal debt, resulting in less federal dollars allocated to states and local districts. In California, these funds support a wide range of services including special education, preschool programs and vocational education.
Further, depending on how he enforces immigration policies, Trump could also have an immediate impact on the massive number of children in California schools who are undocumented or have parents who are not authorized to work in the U.S. Patricia Gàndara, a UCLA education professor and co-director of The Civil Rights Project said, “If the Trump administration follows through on its threats, we will have great upheaval in our schools as family members are deported.”
As private tutors in Los Angeles, Alameda County, Orange County, San Diego, and San Bernardino, we’ll be watching closely for developments pertaining to the education system in California. Check back with us often for the latest news.