I think it’s safe to say that most Americans see education as an investment in the future. Although it has been argued that public education has not always delivered results commensurate with spending, particularly in relation to other countries, reducing that investment without targeting overall systemic improvements seems like a short-term gain for a long-term loss.
Economists tell us that productivity growth over time is what helps people rise from poverty, and is also what creates general economic health within a country. Regardless of one’s political affiliation, the education plan released by the current administration doesn’t appear to be a strong investment in our future.
This is not to say the whole plan is bad. Simplifying the student loan repayment system, for example, seems logical and overdue. That the plan also wants to cut public service loan forgiveness will certainly reduce incentives for public-minded people to serve in that sector, and I’m not sure what good is served by that choice.
I’ll be interested to see what Congress does with the proposal.
The plan’s impact on independent schools seems unclear. It’s possible that with further erosion of public education, more people will stretch to make an independent education work financially. The “private school choice program” in the Trump plan has yet to provide details sufficient to predict its impact.
What is certain is that the qualities and strengths of independent schools will only become more important over the years. Truly student-centered teaching, real problem solving, and opportunities to expand creativity across multiple dimensions of one’s education are what many independent schools do best, and more and more of us are striving to make it affordable.