Former President Donald Trump tested his new education policy proposal at the first two events of his 2024 presidential campaign on Saturday, earning similar enthusiasm and intensity from the audience as his 2016 campaign promise to build a wall.
Trump’s addresses in New Hampshire and South Carolina contained other themes, such as protecting the border and restructuring the military, but according to Meridith McGraw of Politico, the strongest applause in New Hampshire was for Trump’s emphasis on giving parents more control over education.
The loudest applause lines during Trump’s speech in NH so far were for fighting culture war issues, esp. his plan to “eliminate federal funding for any school that pushes Critical Race Theory or left-wing gender ideology” and “direct election of school principals by the parents”
— Meridith McGraw (@meridithmcgraw) January 28, 2023
The audience’s reaction to Trump’s education ideas, which appear to have been influenced by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin, may prompt the former president to focus on the culture war flashpoint in the future. The emphasis of Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign on “building the wall” along the southern border was cemented by the enthusiastic audience response at his rallies.
The education policy plan, which was initially unveiled in a video published on Thursday, would withhold government money for schools that teach “inappropriate racial, sexual, or political themes” Trump’s proposal also proposes “abolishing tenure” for K-12 teachers, reducing the number of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion administrators, “adopting a parental bill of rights” with total curriculum openness, and enabling parents to elect principals.
“As the saying goes, personnel is policy, and at the end of the day, if we have pink-haired communists teaching our kids, we have a major problem. When I’m president we will put parents back in charge,” Trump said in the policy video.
In December of 2021, DeSantis aims to enact Florida’s statewide prohibition on critical race theory (CRT). The “Stop WOKE Act” gives employees, parents, and kids the authority to sue individuals and school systems that violate the state law.
Youngkin, who won the governorship of Virginia in part owing to his emphasis on parental rights in schools, has canceled numerous CRT programs and prohibited instructors from socially transitioning students without parental approval.
Youngkin and DeSantis may both confront Trump on his education policy if they enter the 2024 presidential election.