As the country continues with the pressing need to reignite the economy, I thank President Donald Trump for his innovative vision and practical approach to producing talent in our country with his value on educational choice.
I am a workforce development professional, educator, mother of over 25 years and a product of both private and public education. I see firsthand the benefits of educational choice for Americans of all ages and recognize this choice as not only a personal liberty, but an incredibly rich value proposition to all Americans.
Under President Trump’s watch, our country’s record-shattering economic growth brought unemployment to historical lows, with women, African Americans, Asian Americans and virtually all willing Americans finding job opportunities in various sectors. His vision and leadership continue to contribute to an economy which will once again be the model for other countries. Concurrently, his policies relating to educational choice in all sectors and stages — K-12 and post-secondary education — continue to be the essential driver for talent development and a vibrant economy.
In the area of education, where I devote much of my time as an educator and leader, I am keenly aware of the need for students and families to exercise their fundamental right to choose the education that best suits their preferences. As someone who sees this dynamic play out on a daily basis, I applaud the efforts of President Trump to ensure educational freedom for students and families.
Critics often paint a picture that is binary — if we support the rights of families to choose private education, we do so at the cost of public schools. Whether K-12 or higher education, the issues get painted with the same broad strokes. In truth, there is much more nuance to gaining a full understanding of the issues.
A stilted “us vs them” mentality that leads to a false binary view is narrow and unproductive. One of the real strengths of the American public-private ethic is the non-partisan approach that looks to find the nexus where public interests may be served — and strengthened — by private partnerships. From building roads to managing hospitals, private investment and partnerships are crucial to serving the common good.
I am keenly aware of the value private colleges and universities provide within the landscape of American higher education. In my home state of Florida, a non-insignificant number of degrees awarded come from private institutions — ranging from small, rural colleges to major research universities. They have one thing in common — they receive no direct federal or state subsidy.
These degrees — all delivered by private Florida colleges and universities — receive no direct federal or state subsidy!
In addition to delivering education that our state system could not accommodate without private partnerships, private institutions tend to be remarkably agile and responsive to the needs of the marketplace. Almost two-thirds of degrees awarded by independent colleges in Florida are in the areas of STEM, healthcare, education and business.
Being prepared for our economy’s jobs requires specific technical skills, robust academics, and soft skills such as punctuality, team communication and general work ethic. Supporting a person’s right to choose the education and environment they relate to most and prepares them for the workforce is critical to their long-term success. COVID-19 has demonstrated, once again, that our world is dynamic and global.
As a person who sees first-hand the positive effects of educational freedom, I applaud President Trump’s efforts to build and strengthen our economy while defending families’ right to choose an education best suited to their needs.
Belinda Keiser is a member of the Asian Pacific Americans for Trump Advisory Board. She is also an educator, workforce development professional, board member of Enterprise Florida, board member of Space Florida and a former member of the Constitution Revision Commission (CRC), 2017-18.