Opinion | This Trump plan lost the Heritage Foundation. That’s how bad it is.

When Donald Trump floats an idea that even the Heritage Foundation thinks is awful, you know it’s an irredeemable stinker. But that’s the case with his declared intention, if reelected, to “create a new credentialing body” within the federal government that would be “the gold standard, anywhere in the world, to certify teachers who embrace patriotic values to support our way of life, and understand that their job is not to indoctrinate children, but very simply to educate them.”

It takes a lot to get the Heritage crowd to be critical of the former president these days. The think tank, once the premier conservative policy shop, is widely regarded as having turned away from the classic conservatism of Ronald Reagan, embracing Trump’s populist nationalism instead.

Two scholars at Heritage departed the organization this year after signing on to a manifesto rejecting the market-skeptical tendencies on the new, Trump-era right. And it’s safe to say that Heritage hopes to have a major role in shaping another Trump presidency; the group is managing “Project 2025,” a program that aims to help staff a Republican president’s administration taking office after the next election.

But maybe, as with other observers, the hairs on some people’s necks at Heritage stood up as they wondered just how a second Trump administration would define “patriotic values” and how his disciples would distinguish between teachers “indoctrinating” children and “educating” them. (Remember, in Trump’s eyes, the Jan. 6, 2021, rioters at the U.S. Capitol were “Great American Patriots.”)

“I hate it,” Heritage President Kevin Roberts told the Wall Street Journal about his opposition to Trump’s proposal for the federal certification of teachers. “It’s a terrible idea.”

Agreed. Right now, states set their own standards for certification of teachers; it is unclear what would happen if a teacher had state certification but not Trump’s new federal certification, or vice versa. Nothing in the Constitution gives the federal government the authority to determine who is eligible to teach in public schools. But, given what we know of Trump, he isn’t going to let some little detail such as that stand in his way.

Of course, once the Trump administration had established a federal teacher certification program that weeded out those teachers who lacked “patriotic values,” that certification requirement could be altered by some Democratic successor. Instead of barring support for “woke” concepts, or transgender topics in health and sex education, or politically correct beliefs, or anything else the MAGA crowd finds odious, a future Democratic administration could require adherence to those views.

This is why most principled conservatives have wanted to minimize the federal role in education instead of expanding it. Any form of policy leverage that you embrace can just as easily be used or misused by the opposition party down the road. Best to keep as many education policy decisions as possible as close to the local level as possible, so parents have the most say in how their children are educated, not within the massive Washington education bureaucracy.

Just last year, Lindsey M. Burke, the director of the Heritage Foundation’s Center for Education Policy, argued “states should end teacher-certification requirements and allow professionals with content-matter expertise to put their skills to work in the classroom.”

Trump’s proposal is what you get when you’ve watched enough cable news segments about some crazy left-wing teacher who has gone viral and think a new federal program is the answer to every problem.

It isn’t that the progressive nutjobs and hard-line ideologues spotlighted by accounts such as Libs of TikTok don’t exist; it’s just that your child’s teacher is much more likely to be grappling with more mundane problems, such as trying to make up for learning loss during a year or more of subpar “distance learning,” determining whether smartphones belong in school at all or buying class materials with their own money.

At a time when most principled conservatives and education reformers want to get rid of as many teacher-certification requirements as possible, Trump wants to establish a whole new layer of federal bureaucracy with unprecedented, far-reaching powers to overrule hiring and firing decisions at the local level.

With Republicans like these, who needs Democrats?

This article was originally published by a www.washingtonpost.com . Read the Original article here. .