Not a lot of candidates have weighed in on K–12 education this cycle, with a few exceptions: Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush released a detailed policy plan on MLK Day, and now GOP front-runner Donald Trump has released a completely undetailed education-themed screed on social media:
Trump loves the word “disaster” in all contexts, and this isn’t the first time he’s used it to describe the Common Core: At a debate in September, when talking about the struggling Jeb, Trump said, “He’s weak on immigration, and, by the way in favor of Common Core, which is a disaster.”
In this video, Trump doesn’t say anything about what he would do to improve education, which, he says, he is a “tremendous believer” in. It’s the usual stay-off-of-my-lawn rhetoric, and right in tune with the chorus of Republicans who’ve taken to recreationally bashing the Common Core, whatever that is:
We cannot have the bureaucrats in Washington telling you how to manage your child’s education. So Common Core is a total disaster, we can’t let it continue. We are rated 28 in the world—the United States, think of it—28 in the world, and frankly we spend far more per pupil than any other country by far, it’s not even a close second. So here we are, we spend more money and we are rated 28, Third World countries are ahead of us. We’re going to end Common Core. We’re going to have education an absolute priority.
It is the perfect Trumpian manifesto: dramatic topical leaps, suggestions of a threatened motherland, a sketchy grip on facts (PolitiFact has disputed his familiar claim about U.S. education spending, finding that Austria, Luxembourg, Norway, and Switzerland all spend more per pupil), condemnation without explanation (nothing about what exactly Common Core is—learning standards developed by bipartisan governors that the Department of Education incentivized states to adopt—or who initially developed or supported it), and sweeping denunciations backed by zero policy details. But really, who cares about any of that? Basically, Trump’s just talking, and why shouldn’t he? He’s better at it than the rest of them.
The top comment on the Facebook video impressively weds two different aspects of Trump’s wide-ranging appeal: “I’m a teacher and I’m voting for Donald Trump. Two main reasons: Build a wall and tear down Common Core.”