A confirmed Betsy DeVos is bringing change By Richard Eber
By Richard Eber, California Political News and Views
Senate Democrats were proud of their progressive actions in casting all 48 ballots against the confirmation of Betsy DeVos to become President Trump’s choice to be Secretary of Education. It took a tie breaker vote by Vice-President Mike Pence to put her over the top and gain approval.
Why the outcry against her? Basically Ms. DeVos is an advocate of school choice especially in low income communities where education has failed. She wants to issue vouchers to these students which would allow them to attend other public and private schools in their area.
With this being the case why would liberals try to justify a school system in inner cities that have been the poster children for the doctrine of “separate but equal” long before the historic court ruling Brown vs. The Board of Education in 1954. Even Lyndon Johnson’s war on Poverty didn’t put much of a dent in the cycle of poverty, crime, and hopeless that engulfed the African American community for several generations.
So by opposing changes in the educational system, is the Democratic Party unwittingly promoting a form of institutional racism in limiting educational opportunities for the poor?
Chuck Schumer and his colleagues in the Senate don’t think so. They are saying that appointing Betsy DeVos will wreck public education. From listening to the condemnation of her, one would think that the K1-12 school system in the USA was in tip top shape. This is hardly the case. According to recent statistics, the USA public school system ranks 30th in the world despite the fact that their per capita expense per pupil is among the highest.
It is not that we have tried to get better. Federal aid has been pouring in to improve education. No Child Left Behind during Junior Bush’s presidency was a major dud. President Obama’s Common CORE Standards enacted in 2009 have not enjoyed much success either. With emphasis placed on diversity, inclusiveness, sensitivity, political correctness, bullying prevention, and restroom choice, the school system has been on a downward spiral for a long time.
That’s why when we hear the American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten weigh in on the new Education Secretary it is puzzling to hear her say. “The president-elect, in his selection of Betsy DeVos, has chosen the most ideological, anti-public education nominee put forward since President Carter created a Cabinet-level Department of Education. “In nominating DeVos, Trump makes it loud and clear that his education policy will focus on privatizing, defunding and destroying public education in America.”
In Ms. Weingarten’s mind being pro Charter School, school choice, and allowing parents to determine how their kids are to be educated is high treason. In effect this assessment is true among the hierarchy of virtually all teachers unions across the country. They don’t want the status quo to change as vouchers, charter schools, and alternative education programs often take place to the detriment of their member’s economic well being.
Many American’s want to try to do something different, which is why they elected Donald Trump. They intend to shake things up in the work place, on immigration policy, and with the educational system as well. Betsy DeVos is an example of this desire to change. American families are frustrated with an education system that pretends to be there for the kids but ends up delivering considerably less.
California’s K1-12 system ranks 40th among the 50 states. Even with Governor Brown trying partially to decentralize public education by sending funding and decision making back to the school districts, there is no evidence of major impending improvements being made. Accountability of teachers, parents, and students is missing on virtually all levels. Among problems that need to be fixed right away
- There are far too many holidays and missed time for teacher meetings and staff development when school is in session.
- Four and one half days per week in the classroom less school closures is just not enough time for kids to properly learn what they need to know to be successful in life.
- Valuable class time is lost with substitutes being brought in when administrators and teachers receive training during the school year.
- After Middle School is completed there is almost a complete lack of vocational programs for this kids who would prefer to learn a trade rather than attend college when they complete high school.
- In the tradition of “No Child Left Ahead” the previous Star Testing Program was eliminated because it allegedly was not fair for poorer performing schools. In Progressive double speak this means the education establishment wanted to eliminate accountability at all costs, which they were able to do.
We could go on but the message is clear. Change is needed and Betsy DeVos is just what the doctor ordered. Who cares if she is not a teacher by trade? As the Education Secretary, DeVos is coming in to initiate a different way of approaching her job. If things were going so well, Hillary Clinton would be President and there would be a Teacher’s Union advocate in charge of the department.
It is understandable why the Teacher’s Unions and their supports are so angry with Betsy De Vos being the head of the agency that oversees them. Along with public employee unions, they invest millions of dollars especially in blue States such as New York, Massachusetts, and California to elect Democratic candidates to office in all levels of government. They are used to getting their way on educational matters.
Because of this it is no wonder that pushing forward tax payer’s money for public sector employees pay and benefits goes on unabated in California with no end in sight. It does not matter that CalPERS and CalSTRS are strapped with an estimated 1.5 billion dollars of unpaid pension liabilities. They have the votes to dominate every State Office and two thirds of legislature. Unpaid liabilities are conveniently hidden from serious scrutiny by the Progressive machine.
Challenging such a grim reality is one step removed in the Golden State from being a hate crime.
Perhaps if California becomes a Sanctuary State, they can ignore national policy including the edicts from the new Secretary of Education. The only thing coming in the way of this is the threat of losing Federal funds that cannot be easily replaced
Unfortunately, as long as California remains in the Union, they can’t just print their own money like the Federal Government does. Perhaps this truth will sink in soon as California will have to co-operate at least in part with the Feds in order to receive their fair share of tax revenues during the Trump Administration.
As they used to say on the six o’clock news “Film at 11’.
Richard Eber studied journalism at the University of Oregon. He writes about politics, culture, education restaurants, and fwas ormer city and sports editor of UCSB Daily. Richard is president of Amerasa Rapid Transit, a specialized freight forwarder.