CLEVELAND — Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump used a charter school here today to roll out a $20 billion plan that he said would provide school choice to every disadvantaged student in America.
Mr. Trump spoke in the cafeteria to invited guests and media at Cleveland Arts and Social Sciences Academy, on Cleveland’s east side. The school is sponsored by the Ohio Council of Community Schools, which reports to the board of the University of Toledo.
In the 39-minute speech, Mr. Trump mixed attacks on Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton with prepared text that he was getting off the TelePrompTer.
“Hillary Clinton’s staff deleted and digitally bleached her emails after receiving a congressional subpoena. That’s after receiving, not before,” Mr. Trump said, in a low voice. “She also — some of her staff — destroyed some of her 13 different phones this time with a hammer. I’ve never done that.”
Mr. Trump said he wanted to “set the record straight” from the forum on military affairs the night before on NBC. He read from an interview he gave to Esquire magazine to prove that he had obvious differences with the Iraq War.
He also said that Mrs. Clinton, then a U.S. Senator from New York, had access to better intelligence than he had, yet he had the better judgment.
The Clinton-affiliated group Correct The Record said Mr. Trump was lying about having opposed the Iraq War,"an already-debunked claim.”
Mr. Trump attacked the existing public school system as being more concerned with protecting the existing bureaucracy than the education of children.
“The Democratic Party has trapped millions of African-American and Hispanic youth in poor-performing public schools. It’s time to break up that monopoly,” Mr. Trump said. The program would benefit 11 million children.
“My goal as president is to ensure that every child in this nation, African-American, Hispanic-American, all Americans, will be placed on the ladder of success,” Mr. Trump said.
Before his speech, he held a roundtable discussion with school administrators, the management corporation that runs the school, parents, teachers, and students, according to participants.
The trip drew criticism from Democrats and progressives.
Stephen Dyer, education fellow with the Innovation Ohio think tank, said Mr. Trump “selected a chronically failing, for-profit one run by a Republican who is more adept at making money than educating kids.”
The school lags behind the much larger and more geographically and socioeconomically diverse Cleveland public schools on Overall Student Growth — a key indicator that measures students’ overall academic improvement, according to Innovation Ohio.
The charter received an F in growth, standards met and closing the achievement gaps, according to the most recent state report card. The school operated on $6,668 per pupil from the state in the 2014-2015 school year, compared with $10,636 spent by Cleveland Public Schools per pupil.
The school said that it ranked for three years “in the top 3 percent” for value-added performance until a dip in the most recent ranking.
The school in the city’s east side in a predominantly African-American neighborhood with a predominantly African-American enrollment.
It is chartered by the Ohio Council of Community Schools, which is designated as the chartering agency by the University of Toledo. Present for the speech was Patrick Kriner, of Sylvania, a member of the board of the OCCS, and Lenny Schafer, executive director of the OCCS.
The school has a governing board, but is run by the for-profit company Accel Schools of Virginia. The company’s chief executive officer, Ron Packard, was present.
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