The Charter School Movement Is Imploding. What Comes Next May Be Worse

“For too long,” Trump declared in his State of the Union address on February 4, “countless American children have been trapped in failing government schools.”

Trump, to shore up his point, introduced two guests in the audience: Stephanie Davis, a black single mom from Philadelphia, and her fourth-grade daughter, Jayinah, who the President said was on a waitlist in Pennsylvania’s voucher program. Trump then revealed that one of these voucher had magically “become available” for Jayinah.

It turns out that none of this was quite true. 

First, federal officials—Trump, included—do not have the power to issue a school voucher for a child in Pennsylvania or any other state. Jayinah was only able to skip a waiting list more than 40,000 applicants for a voucher because of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who promised to personally fund her tuition for an indefinite number of years. 

Second, Trump called Jayinah’s school a “government school”—the term privatization advocates use when they refer to public schools. But, as The Philadelphia Inquirer