“Let’s shutdown the head of the snake, the Department of Education,” said presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy during the Republican debate in August.
Ramaswamy, a biotech entrepreneur, called for the U.S. government to give the $80 billion from the Education Department’s budget to parents whose children are attending school. The proposal would allow parents to choose where to send their children to be educated, no matter the cost.
“This is the civil rights issue of our time,” he said.
“… end the teacher’s union at the local level, allow public schools to compete, and then revive our national identity where every high school senior should have to pass the same civic test [every immigrant has had to pass to be documented in the United States to become a citizen].”
Many Republican politicians like Mike Pence, Donald Trump and Ronald Reagan have echoed Ramaswamy’s sentiments on this issue over the years.
What does giving parents money for their children’s education look like?
Parents and former students would be given enough money to cover their student loans costs, which would make college a viable option for more people.
I expect some parents to put the allotted money into their own pockets. Ramaswamy’s proposal should therefore include a categorization of the subsidies parents receive to be used exclusively for education costs. The money should be evenly divided and distributed evenly to all parents of school-age children.
The reason why the DOE hasn’t been dismantled yet despite multiple Republicans like Donald Trump, Tim Scott, Ron Desantis and Mike Pence advocating for such action is due to the complexities involved in doing so. Currently, public K-12 schools are subsidized by federal, state and local government funds to the tune of $810 billion per year, 10.5% of which comes from the federal level.
Is education the civil rights issue of our time?
Parents of children in impoverished neighborhoods can send their children to high quality schools, boosting their educational achievements. They can get the educational tools and knowledge they need to be successful in America.
Minorities in impoverished neighborhoods often attend low-quality schools where they don’t get the educational tools and knowledge to succeed in America, in terms of how much money you can make.
Low-quality schools are composed of teachers who need to get paid more, so there might be an abundance of substitute teachers causing no stability when it comes to teaching. They also have outdated textbooks and minimal resources for students who need help academically or personally, in terms of guidance counselors, or school psychologists.
An article from American Inequality states teachers are often paid less where students qualify for Free and Reduced Price Lunch, FLRP, which means that “…the students can receive free or reduced prices at schools if their poverty meets a certain threshold…”
The higher percentage of students receiving FLRP correlates to median teacher salaries ranging from $20,000 to $70,000, with most in the $40,000 range. There’s a minimal amount of teacher salaries exceeding $70,000.
A report from the Economic Policy Institute found teachers in higher income school districts are paid more relative to those in less affluent jurisdictions. For example, teachers who ended up quitting before the 2012-2013 school year had low base salaries of around $50,000.
Are minorities stereotyped to be less educated than white people?
If minorities were to achieve the same academic levels as whites in America, would that idea make the people in those communities more financial and business savvy?
Numerically, minorities are the non-dominant group. For example, there are more white people than non-white people in America according to Statista.
Could a white student in a poor neighborhood be considered a minority, in terms of finance or education? Yes and no.
No, because of the wealth gap that creates an inherent advantage for white people compared to minorities, but yes, because of how much money the white student’s family has.
This idea is significant to the black community because of the countless stories of African Americans being drug dealers.
Drug dealing is synonymous with being a businessman. Drug dealing is the process of selling and supplying drugs. The individual or group is operating a business where the product is making a profit. Businessmen are responsible for generating cash flow, revenue and sales to fuel economic development and growth.
Both roles are synonymous with each other because they deal with the operation of an organization to produce money, which includes the selling of a product to the public.
If black people were to get better schooling, we could use our business savvy to own more businesses to increase black economics in America.
Is this what Ramamswamy meant by education being a “civil rights issue?”
Teacher’s unions function to provide resources to their members who cannot afford them and to ensure their well-being.
However, in states like Maryland, teachers are working a second job to make ends meet, causing an educational reform plan to be passed by the state’s legislature.
Members of the teacher’s union in Clark County, Nev., have been at a stalemate with the school district regarding a salary increase.
These events may lead to teachers quitting their jobs and a high turnover rate where substitute teachers are needed in schools that provide minimal resources. Examples would be Arizona and Mexico with average annual salaries being around $47,000 according to Marco Learning.
If the teacher’s union was dismantled at the local level by themselves, would it be the parents paying the teachers with the money from the Department of Education?
What about schools that are low in quality with high teacher turnover rates, small budgets and less guidance counselors. Would they lose students to better schools and end up being closed for business?
Competition among public schools
Subsidies from the federal government would pressure schools to compete with each other.
During the Obama era, an educational plan existed where the state with the best public schools that met the Education Department’s standards for improvement would receive billions of dollars from the government’s stimulus package.
If parents could send their children to specific public schools that compete with each other, then what would be the implications of that?
This idea would raise competition among public schools, but only in those where parents choose to send their children, meaning that those schools where parents don’t send their children will get the short end of the stick.
Also, parents would send their children to public schools in close vicinity, so those public schools will be in the pool of competition too.
The dismantling of the DOE would enlarge the pool of competition because of public schools relying on parents’ usage of the DOE’s money they contribute to them.
Civics test for high school seniors
The purpose of a civics test is for the applicant to answer essential questions about American public governance and its history.
Ramaswamy advocates for high school seniors to take the civics test like his immigrant mother did. The reason for this is tied to his advocacy to raise the age required to vote from 18 to 24 in order for young voters to learn how America’s civic system works. He wants more civic engagement among the youth for them to vote for politicians in positions where their ideas are beneficial for the U.S. or their own states.
If immigrants fail the test, they don’t get citizenship and must retake it in about 60 to 90 days. If a high school senior fails the test, then that person can’t vote, but what if that person just doesn’t take the test because they don’t want to?
30% of voters don’t vote due to dissatisfaction with candidate choices and being undecided who to vote for, so that is a valid question to ask.
However, 29% don’t vote because they are not registered to do so, according to NPR. A civic test should be used to register to vote in the U.S. to decrease that percentage.
Eliminating the Education Department will equalize public schools allowing students to acquire the knowledge and resources needed to succeed in America. This reform would help minorities mired in bad schools due to unfortunate socioeconomic circumstances.
Another area where this program could level the playing field is public perception. Minorities have to work twice as hard as their white counterparts to achieve their aspiration. This has been a repetitive message that we’ve seen and heard in the media throughout our lifetimes. Articles from Time Magazine, BYP Network and Policy Link illustrate this idea too.
A civics test for high school seniors needs more elaboration from Ramaswamy to determine its feasibility. An article from CBS News states that it would amend the constitution, making this program radical.
Amending the Constitution is difficult because it requires a two-thirds majority in the U.S. Senate and House or be requested by two-thirds of states before being ratified by three-quarters of states.
Edited by: James Sutton