Jeff Sessions. Rex Tillerson. “Mad Dog” Mattis. There are a lot of high-profile Senate confirmation hearings going on these next few weeks, and inevitably many Democrats will make up lies and propaganda in a vain attempt to block the confirmation of what I believe (for the most part) to be a world-class Cabinet. I’d like to focus here on one of the nominees that many outside the education field are overlooking – Education Secretary nominee Betsy DeVos.
As a teacher and a (reluctant) union member, I have been getting inundated with emails and “newsletters” from our national unions urging us to call our Senators and urge them to block a Trump cabinet pick because… well actually I’m not sure why. The teachers’ unions are obviously up in arms because of the possibility that under DeVos’s leadership, our nation may embrace real school choice, vouchers, and the uncoupling of big Federal government from local education decisions. Critics have accused her of “undermining Michigan public schools.”
In my ideal world, the Department of Education would not exist. It’s unconstitutional on it’s very nature. The Constitution (yeah that old thing) does not give any authority to the Federal government in regards to education, be it K-12 or college/university. The Tenth Amendment reserves that authority for the individual states. The DOE was a reactionary department created on the false pretense of being related to interstate commerce. It’s just another layer of bureaucracy falling under the fallacy that if something’s not working, the obvious answer is to create a new federal department and pump a few billion dollars into it per year. Despite record spending on education, and national departments, Head Start, No Child Left Behind, and Common Core, the United States is trailing many first-world nations (and some third-world) in Math & Science. There’s a false narrative that more money and more regulation equates to smarter kids. What really improves education is competition. Like it or not, education IS a business, there’s no getting around that. All the DOE does is collect & redistribute money and then give it back to the states as a quid pro quo for adopting national educational standards developed NOT by teachers, but by unelected bureaucrats and a billionaire who dropped out of college and yet is such an expert on education suddenly. So we give $1 in tax money to the Federal government and they give us back 80 cents on the condition that we give up our sovereignty over our own education decisions. President Obama dares to threaten not to give us our own money back unless we let boys spontaneously change genders upon convenience and use the bathroom of their choice.
So the Senate Democrats oppose Jeff Sessions by making up allegations that he is a racist and KKK member. They will never reveal their true intentions. Similarly, when it comes to the Department of Educaiton they will not come out and say that they don’t want competition. They will take negligible or even positive stories and spin them around without any evidence. Here are some excerpts from a recent article by John Rosales in “NEA Today” and my reaction:
“The chances children have for success should not depend on living in the right neighborhood or whether they can afford private school. Instead, her involvement in education has been advocating for school privatization and vouchers that run contrary to supporting public education,” says NEA President Lily Eskelsen García. “We should be investing in smart strategies that we know help to improve the success of all our students, including creating more opportunities and equity for students, classes small enough for one-on-one attention, modern textbooks and a well-rounded curriculum for every student.”
Actually privatization and vouchers DO support education – maybe not the district schools, but if they’re not doing the job, if they spend more time on Obama’s biography than the Constitution, spend more time on “social justice” than U.S. History, if they waste taxpayer dollars through endless levels of bureaucracy and refuse to support teacher evaluation, then they SHOULD lose support. Of course we want smaller classes and better technology, and more qualified teachers. No one argues that, but the problem with this article is that it assumes that “smarter strategies” and voucher problems are mutually exclusive – that somehow school choice will retard improvement in our schools, when in fact THE VERY OPPOSITE is true. What’s particularly insidious about this passage is where they say that living in the right neighborhood should not determine a child’s chance for success. Well if you really believe that, then why not give parents (particularly the low-income and minority populations they claim to champion) the ability to choose a different, more successful school for their child? They are literally saying, “Kids in poor neighborhoods have lower quality schools so the solution is to force them to attend those schools.” How does that make sense?
“despite a decades-long record of undermining public schools by promoting taxpayer-funded vouchers for private and religious schools, lobbyist and Republican donor Betsy DeVos could become the next secretary of education.”
Note how they sneak the word “lobbyist” and “Republican” in there. NEA members are largely Democrat and will buy into the notion that Republican must equal “evil.” I’m not a fan of lobbyists, but the NEA is one of the biggest lobbying groups in the country, yet a single lobbyist trying to improve education for kids has to be taken down.
According to a Washington Post analysis of Federal Election Commission records, the DeVos family, heirs to the Amway fortune, has given at least $20.2 million to Republican candidates at all levels over the years. DeVos and her husband contributed more than $2.75 million to candidates, parties and PACS during the 2016 election cycle alone.“While some claim her to be an education advocate, what she’s really done is use her wealth as a pay-to-play political donor, getting pro-corporate education policies passed in exchange for massive campaign contributions from the DeVos family,” says Michigan Education Association President Steven Cook… In total, DeVos has a long history of using her wealth to fund efforts to gut public education. From 1997-2008, she and her husband contributed more than $7 million to support voucher campaigns across the country.
So basically, DeVos contributes to Republican candidates, therefore she’s a bad person. So when the NEA and AFT coerce teachers into paying dues, then use those massive dues to lobby Congress and buy Democrat legislators, that’s fine because as we know “it’s all for the children,” but when a much smaller Republican lobbying organization does the same thing they’re anti-education? With all the funding problems our school districts face, why are you ATTACKING the DeVos’s efforts to bring in MORE money through vouchers?
The NEA’s partner in crime, the American Federation of Teachers, emailed this gem out to their members a few weeks ago:
“Just over a year ago, we reached bipartisan consensus to pass the Every Student Succeeds Act. The bill charted a path to ending two decades of education wars and returning the focus where it belongs: making every public school a safe, nurturing place where we cultivate joy, creativity and critical thinking. With the nomination of DeVos, the most anti-public education pick ever nominated to lead the Department of Education, the president-elect has chosen a nominee who seems likely to dismiss the facts and evidence that led to that consensus and who wants instead to reignite the education wars.”
“the most anti-public education pick ever?” Really? Again, they want you to believe that there are two types of people – those who want vouchers and school choice, and those who support their Every Student Succeeds Act, and if you aren’t on board with them, you’re anti-education. School competition is not a “war” any more than Coke vs. Pepsi. Translation: “We want better schools for our children. DeVos wants competition, therefore she wants worse schools.”
If our politicians and teachers unions really are as concerned about inner city, low income minority students as they say they are, then they SHOULD support the creation of more charter schools, more competition, and the ability for parents to take their children out of failing schools and enroll them in charter, private, or even homeschooling via the use of vouchers.
The reason that Democrats oppose school choice and vouchers is that they receive massive donations from the teachers unions, and these unions know that if parents are free to choose their children’s schools, their monopoly goes out the window. They no longer can force disadvantaged children to attend their neighborhood schools, which by the way, have not had any major innovations to education in over 100 years. The goal of the education cartels is actually pretty simple. Control. They want to be the sole decision maker in where your child goes to school, how they’re educated, leaving parents totally out of the equation. There’s a reason that academia has gone completely off the reservation into the far left. They want their captive audience to raise a new generation of “social justice warriors” and anything that threatens this monopoly, anything that might actually give parents a choice or actually improve schools and education, must be discredited, stifled, and shut down. If parents were able to choose their children’s schools, public schools would be exposed as the failures they are, enrollment would plummet, and of course schools would close and teachers would be laid off. Then they don’t collect as many dues to fund their self-feeding socialist empire. Their interest isn’t with the kids, or even with the teachers. The unions’ interests are solely wealth and power for their leadership – and they accuse Republicans of being greedy.