Where does Trump stand on educating students with disabilities or disabled people in general?
If Trump’s mocking of a reporter with a disability in November of 2015 or the title of his book (Crippled America) is any indication, one can only infer the lack of respect he has for disabled individuals.
If that is not bad enough, he consistently and unrelentingly disrespects people from a whole host of backgrounds. Here is a meticulously compiled list of insults that he has made (and this is just from Twitter).
Maybe Trump is not that bad… Yes. He is.
Perhaps you are thinking along the same lines as Ben Carson…that Trump’s demagoguery is just “all political stuff” or he will suddenly stop all this hateful rhetoric when he becomes the Republican nominee. Don’t count on it. Trump has tapped into the bitterness of some of the most heinous and repulsive segments in our society and it is all playing out for us to see.
Carson decided recently to endorse the Donald after a series of conversations with each of the GOP contenders. Initially, Carson was hesitant to support Trump, given the noxious tone of his campaign, which included a few ad hominem attacks on the retired neurosurgeon.
But it appears Carson’s reservations melted away after learning that Trump doesn’t really believe all those terrible things he says – about Mexicans, about Muslims, about disabled people, about women. It’s all part of the show, you see. If Trump were indeed as dumb and venomous as he lets on, well that wouldn’t be presidential material. Luckily, though, it’s just par for the course, a little red meat for the racists and jingoists in the base. – SALON (March 14th, 2016)
This (in my opinion) is what makes Donald Trump so dangerous. Now is not the time (nor is there ever) to throw decency out the window.
What does this have to do with education or students with disabilities?
For those of us who care about education and the ramifications of Trump becoming president on special education and other disability rights legislation there is cause for concern. Though Trump has not explicitly stated that he would cut the Department of Education (DOE), it stands to reason that he would make is sufficiently harder for the Department to conduct any oversight. The DOE houses the Office of Special Education Programs (one of the chief organizations that has control on how states implement the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act). Trump has also been a vocal advocate of getting rid of Common Core and giving control back to the local school boards but does not clarify what he exactly means since many (if not all) decisions about curriculum are already based at the state and local level. The truth is that the impact of a Trump administration is largely unknown and simply conjecture. This does not mean that Americans should just roll the dice and see how things shake out. This is especially true for those of us who advocate for full and authentic inclusion and believe that deep down we are fighting for civil rights.
We do know where some of the other candidates stand on the issues regarding disability.
Notably, the Clinton and Sanders campaign were one of the first ones to fill out the PwDsVote 2016 Campaign Questionnaire which was designed for people with disabilities and their loved ones to know where candidates stand on the issues.
The questionnaire asked all of the presidential candidates on both sides of the aisle to comment on 16 disability questions. Former Sec. of State Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders responded by addressing all of the questions, and have significantly different views on the issues. Dr. Ben Carson and Gov. John Kasich filled out parts of the questionnaire, and also have significantly different views. Despite numerous requests in person and by phone and email, the campaigns of Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio and Republican front-runner Donald Trump have not yet filled out the questionnaire.” – The Respect Ability Report (February 29th, 2016)
You can read the results released by RespectAbility here.
Bottom Line: Donald Trump is bad for the disabled and for America
It is not typical for our website to be for or against a particular political candidate but this is a singularly unique time in our history. We would hate to be silent on this issue when it is this important. We will leave you with some thoughts from Senator Elizabeth Warren.
Thanks for your time and attention.
Photo Credit: Jamelle Bouie/Flickr