When Trump named Betsy DeVos – a market-loving school reformer from Michigan – as his pick for Secretary of Education a few weeks back, some panicked. The American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association lashed out right away. But they’re the establishment.
To people who work in the barrio, who sit in school lunchrooms that buzz with a mixture of English and Spanish; who hear the hopes of immigrant parents with work-hardened hands and soft warm hearts, the prospect of serious change is thrilling. DeVos and Trump just might have the guts to bring it.
We care about school choice, which means giving parents the information and freedom to decide what’s best for their kids. It strikes us that Trump is a non-ideological leader, especially when it comes to this issue. He’s a man of business. He looks for results without the filter of some ideological construct. There’s a pragmatism there that is deeply American and that resonates with hard-working immigrants and their descendants.
It’s telling that a man who embraces healthy competition would endorse school choice and chose a Secretary to push it. It’s empowering to parents when the President says to them, “I trust you with freedom. Here’s the information, here’s the money: make your decision.”
It shouldn’t be politically controversial in America to give the widest range of choices in education to all families, not just rich ones, and to give decision-making power to parents who know and love their kids rather than to heavy-bottomed bureaucrats.
We know that education is the golden door to the American dream. Parents know this too – and that is as true of those who came here from Mexico or Guatemala as for parents whose great-grandparents were born in the United States. To say Hispanics need government to raise their families for them is just plain condescending.
It’s also counterfactual. Hispanics are strivers who make it on their own. Look at the marketplace: Latinos have a shining record of entrepreneurship and industry in this country. According to the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Latinos are 1.5 times more likely than the general population to start a business.
Latino entrepreneurs worry about making payroll and keeping the lights on. So they are dumbfounded when they see their kids’ schools – and their beloved children’s future – controlled by an inefficient government monopoly.
Hardworking Latinos have a lot more in common with our new businessman-president than even they might think. When Trump pledged to reduce regulation in schools and in business, savvy Hispanics cheered. Soon more Latinos may be applauding.
We want to tell you about Aldira Adape. Aldira is the daughter of Mexican migrants who arrived in Wisconsin in the 1960s. These immigrant parents built a trucking company out of nothing. They achieved home ownership in a new land, and did it while raising five children.
Aldira is a mother now, and she has sent one of her children to a public school and another to a private school via the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program. Why these different choices? Simple: Aldira knows that even children from the same family flourish in different environments. She wants what's best for each kid. She will sweat blood to help each succeed. In other words, she’s a mom.
Her experience is like that of thousands of other families.
So we’re ready to work with DeVos. We’re ready to welcome Trump. We’ve had it with a Leftist narrative that pretends to protect parents while telling them they’re too dumb to decide and knotting them into the apron-strings of a nanny state. We are parents ourselves, and we care about kids. We care about results.
When it comes to education, we know choice works. The free market works because freedom works.
We think of all the Latinos who’ve worked for Donald Trump over the years. How many managers and executives? How many croupiers and car-parkers? And – yes! – how many of those totally indispensable, inimitableLatina maids?
It makes us smile to think of all those hope-filled brown faces – all those Latino workers, many the parents of children – turning to their former boss as we kick off 2017.We’re ready for you, Mr. Trump, they say. Congratulations.Felicidades. Now you work for us. Let’s see what you can do.
Rachel Campos-Duffy is a FOX News Contributor and a mother of eight. Her debut children’s book – inspired by real life events - is a story about a little girl’s adventure inside the US Capitol where she learns lessons about patriotism, courage and her immigrant father’s journey to citizenship. It will be released by Regnery Kids in Spring 2018.
Jason Crye is executive director at Hispanics for School Choice and Senior Visiting Fellow at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute.