Trump Giving Money to the Education Department is a Good Thing

President-elect Donald Trump calls out to the media as he and Betsy DeVos pose for photographs at Trump National Golf Club Bedminster clubhouse in Bedminster, N.J., Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Earlier today, we reported on the announcement that Donald Trump would give his second quarter salary to the Department of Education to host a STEM camp for kids. As my colleague Teri Christoph pointed out, it is a move that many conservatives might question.

And, I don’t blame them. The Department of Education has always been a front for pushing failed education policy that benefits teachers’ unions and that’s about it. However, if done right, what Trump has done has provided the opportunity for the Department of Education to do something it should be doing more of.

The Education Department, so long as it continues to exist, should get out of the game of managing education at the state and local levels. However, it should focus on promoting and showcasing education initiatives from various states and local schools. The idea of this STEM camp is a great place to start.

There are many initiatives around the United States that are meant to promote science, technology, engineering, and math, and it is a focus on these STEM areas that provides America with its best chance of economic recovery through job creation. The innovation inherent in teaching and in learning these fields can create a solid workforce (and hopefully combat the rise of English majors serving venti white chocolate mochas).

The Education Department can put out a call to every state and local education body and ask for their best and brightest STEM teachers and projects. The best ones can be tasked with running a summer camp in Washington D.C. for children who might otherwise never have the opportunity to attend any educational summer camp.

See, what happens is that the department would become a major PR force for American education and education reform. It can focus on things that work, rather than pushing one-size-fits-all standards and tying them to failed money pits disguised at initiatives meant to stimulate better test performance.

If these kinds of initiatives are taken up by the Education Department, then we are going in the right direction. It’s a start, and a good one.