Former President Donald Trump tested out his new education policy plan in the first two events of his 2024 presidential campaign on Saturday, receiving applause and fervor from the audience much like that of his 2016 campaign pledge of building the wall.
Trump’s speeches in New Hampshire and South Carolina included other policies, such as securing the border and reforming the military, but the loudest applause in New Hampshire rang for Trump’s focus on giving parents greater power over education, according to Politico’s Meridith McGraw. (RELATED: ‘I’m More Angry Now’: Trump Kicks Off 2024 Campaign In New Hampshire And South Carolina)
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 response to Trump’s education policies — which appear to be inspired by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin — may lead the former president to hone in on the culture war hot spot going forward. Trump’s 2016 campaign focus on “building the wall” at the southern border was solidified after large audience responses at his rallies.
The education policy plan, first announced in a video released Thursday, would cut federal funding for schools that impose “critical race theory, gender ideology, or other inappropriate racial, sexual, or political content onto our children.” Trump’s plan also calls for “abolishing tenure” for K-12 teachers, cutting the number of Diversity Equity and Inclusion administrators, “adopting a parental bill of rights” featuring complete curriculum transparency and allowing 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.
DeSantis announced plans to codify Florida’s state-wide ban of critical race theory (CRT) in December of 2021. The legislation, entitled the “Stop WOKE Act,” provides employees, parents, and students a private right to sue individuals and school districts that fail to comply with the state ban.
Youngkin, who won the Virginia governorship in part due to his focus on parental rights in schools, has rescinded several CRT programs in the state and banned teachers from socially transitioning children without parental consent.
Both Youngkin and DeSantis may challenge Trump on their education policies if the governors toss in a bid for the 2024 presidential race.