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DeVos Nomination Is the Most Contested Because It’s About the Future

 

The Betsy DeVos nomination proved to be the most contentious; the hill Democrats have chosen to die on. Why? Because it’s about the future:

  • The future of the teachers’ unions, who had much of their power stripped from them in Wisconsin with the passage of Act 10, and who barely survived losing power in California due to 4-4 Supreme Court tie in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association et. al.
  • The future of the Department of Education in whether it will be greatly scaled back or allowed to remain largely intact and in the future return to its practice of “Dear Colleague” letters to universities, school districts, etc. dictating the abandonment of due process for the accused and imposing radical social policy with the threat of federal lawsuits.
  • The future of whether states, municipalities, and most importantly parents will have the freedom to determine the opportunities available to children — charter schools, school choice, home schooling, in addition to public schools — or fewer choices due to further and further regulations dictated by federal bureaucrats in Washington beholden to the interests of teachers’ unions.
  • The future of what is taught to children — does the federal government know better than you what your children should learn in school? A federally determined curriculum reaches more students if more students are forced to remain in the public schools. Progressive ideology must be taught to the next generation. A DeVos-run Department of Education will hopefully abandon central planning style Common Core curricula and return that power to the states.

Betsy DeVos has the opportunity to do so much good and bring to an end so much Education departmental overreach and abuse of power. The Democrats were desperate to prevent this from happening. It’s all about the future.

Published in Education
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  1. Profile photo of DocJay Member

    Yep, and the gnashing of teeth is profound.

    • #1
    • February 6, 2017 at 10:00 pm
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  2. Profile photo of Vince Guerra Member

    Reeducation of the youth is the first policy of all Socialists upon seizing power, isn’t it?

    • #2
    • February 7, 2017 at 3:28 am
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  3. Profile photo of Scott Wilmot Member

    DJ EJ: The future of whether states, municipalities, and most importantly parents will have the freedom to determine the opportunities available to children – charter schools, school choice, home schooling, in addition to public schools – OR fewer choices due to further and further regulations dictated by federal bureaucrats in Washington beholden to the interests of teachers’ unions.

    Ah yes – freedom of choice – that is what the progressives are all about right?

    Well, not really – as you point out they are all about power, and the abuse thereof.

    Good post.

    • #3
    • February 7, 2017 at 3:48 am
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  4. Profile photo of I Walton Member

    The episode should inform our President that there is no dealing with the teachers union or the educational establishment in general. Whether Devos is approved or not, he needs to strip states of all Federal educational funding that do not offer choice to parents, who continue to fund overloaded educational bureaucracies, and do not have right to work laws. They will scream hysterically no matter what is done, so do something to begin killing these parasitical portions of the Democratic party’s corrupt machine. What is there to lose? They have declared war on the Administration, on the Republican party and on our kids.

    • #4
    • February 7, 2017 at 4:12 am
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  5. Profile photo of DJ EJ Member
    DJ EJ Post author

    Vince Guerra (View Comment):
    Reeducation of the youth is the first policy of all Socialists upon seizing power, isn’t it?

    Indeed. It may not be quite as centrally organized here (at least I hope not), but there’s no doubt that teachers awarded degrees from progressive leaning university education departments who then join teachers’ unions and pay their dues, will turn around and pass on those educational and political values to their students, knowingly or unknowingly.

    Perhaps I’m being too generous, as I just remembered all the teachers in Wisconsin who took their classes on “fieldtrips” to Madison to protest against Act 10.

    I also think of my little sister who’s a UW Milwaukee education graduate, 5 years teaching in Harlem, NYC public school system, grad degree in literacy from City College of NYC. I don’t dare bring up anything about the teachers’ unions with her. She loved Obama, hates Walker, and I’m sure is fuming about Betsy DeVos being confirmed.

    • #5
    • February 7, 2017 at 11:39 am
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  6. Profile photo of DJ EJ Member
    DJ EJ Post author

    I Walton (View Comment):
    What is there to lose? They have declared war on the Administration, on the Republican party and on our kids.

    The kids are the most important, or rather, indoctrinating them is. The most important thing is not to teach them reading, writing, and arithmetic, but how to be good progressives. The States can’t be relied upon to deliver this message consistently (especially with so many Republicans in control of governorships and legislatures), only a centralized and powerful Department of Education can.

    • #6
    • February 7, 2017 at 11:46 am
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  7. Profile photo of Misthiocracy Member

    Reason has a pretty good little article about how and why the Department of Education was created in 1979:

    Why Do We Have a Department of Education? Jimmy Carter’s Debt to a Teachers Union.

    The NEA gave its first presidential endorsement ever in 1976, when Walter Mondale promised them, at an NEA annual meeting, that the Carter administration would form an education department. At the 1976 Democratic National Convention, more delegates — 180 — belonged to the NEA than any other group of any kind. They’ve endorsed Carter for 1980, and were a major force in getting delegates to the Iowa caucuses…

    Is the department, then, a creature of the NEA?

    “That’s true,” says NEA executive director Terry Herndon. “There’d be no department without the NEA.”

    • #7
    • February 7, 2017 at 3:27 pm
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  8. Profile photo of Leigh Member

    Yes. But conservatives should remember this: Betsy DeVos could do absolutely everything right and it will make absolutely no difference in the classroom — unless the states also gets things done.

    It really, really matters who is in the state education offices over the next few years.

    • #8
    • February 7, 2017 at 4:18 pm
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  9. Profile photo of EJHill Member

    Reading Twitter since the confirmation vote and it’s absolutely hilarious. Most settle on the lines of how this vote will doom the Republicans’ chances of holding on to the Senate in 2018.

    Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls, if your biggest issue going into the midterms is Betsy DeVos… then you are screwed. Say hello to my little friend called “Super Majority.”

    Of course, nobody will care two years hence about the Department of Education. Nobody knows what the issue for 2018 will be right now but we can safely say it won’t be DeVos.

    • #9
    • February 7, 2017 at 4:23 pm
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  10. Profile photo of Hypatia Member

    The complaint was that DeVos had no experience with public schools.

    Presumably, though, she had the same experience as a child that many of us did: they used to work.

    Kids, rich and poor, whatever their social class, learned to read and write and do basic math, add acquired a framework to hang future revelations of fact and opinion.

    But they now only work in wealthy areas. And in those areas, homes are very expensive because the school taxes are so high. So those schools get better and better as the students in those districts get richer and richer.

    The publc school system has completely failed less fortunate children. They graduate not being able to read.

    So I say: the less experience with public schools, the better! Let her propose as many alternate systems as she can think of.

    • #10
    • February 7, 2017 at 4:25 pm
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  11. Profile photo of Valiuth Member

    Occam’s Razor, it is the most contested because you had two Republican Senators who said they would vote against her confirmation. This made her the weakest candidate up to this point. Water flows down hill and sharks go for the injured seals. The Democrats need/want a head to mount on their wall. She was a ripe target and because of her they could also delay Sessions confirmation vote too. I expect the Labor Secretary is next thanks to his illegal house keepers. Blood in the water, simple politics.

    • #11
    • February 7, 2017 at 4:27 pm
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  12. Profile photo of Ralphie Member

    Scott Wilmot (View Comment):
    Well, not really – as you point out they are all about power, and the abuse thereof.

    Yep, bet all the parochial schools, who, by the way are educators, don’t feel as upset.

    • #12
    • February 7, 2017 at 4:32 pm
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  13. Profile photo of EJHill Member

    HypatiaBut they now only work in wealthy areas. And in those areas, homes are very expensive because the school taxes are so high. So those schools get better and better as the students in those districts get richer and richer.

    But it’s not the money. Thanks to Progressives on the state level and on the Federal Bench some of the poorest school districts in the nation are rolling in dough. Washington DC schools are some of the worst in the nation with some of the highest per student spending anywhere.

    The biggest factor in student success is parental involvement. Students from intact families do better, regardless of race or household income.

    But we also have to be wary of how we measure success in the future. If you set the bar at graduation rates then more kids who can’t read or write or do maths will graduate.

    Teachers hate “teaching to standardized tests.” But the truth is, had they done their jobs in the first place the politicians would have never got involved.

    • #13
    • February 7, 2017 at 4:33 pm
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  14. Profile photo of Hypatia Member

    EJHill (View Comment):

    Hypatia: But they now only work in wealthy areas. And in those areas, homes are very expensive because the school taxes are so high. So those schools get better and better as the students in those districts get richer and richer.

    But it’s not the money. Thanks to Progressives on the state level and on the Federal Bench some of the poorest school districts in the nation are rolling in dough. Washington DC schools are some of the worst in the nation with some of the highest per student spending anywhere.

    The biggest factor in student success is parental involvement. Students from intact families do better, regardless of race or household income.

    But we also have to be wary of how we measure success in the future. If you set the bar at graduation rates then more kids who can’t read or write or do maths will graduate.

    Teachers hate “teaching to standardized tests.” But the truth is, had they done their jobs in the first place the politicians would have never got involved.

    About “parental involvement”–I did volunteer adult,literacy tutoring for a long time, and I came to really resent the idea that my adult students, who had difficulty reading themselves, and were often in a situation where they and their spouses held 2 or more jobs to provide food and shelter for their children, were also primarily responsible for their children’s education. They’re paying professionals to do that, through their taxes, and the public schools have the kids a whopping 30 hours a week! Really, that oughta be more than enough time to teach the kids how to read!

    So I think we’re on the same page: the teachers do not do their jobs. And then, they blame the parents.

    • #14
    • February 7, 2017 at 4:54 pm
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  15. Profile photo of kylez Member

    That 50-50 vote implies that we need to elect several more to the Republican majority for Congress to shut it down, if they ever have the guts to do so.

    • #15
    • February 7, 2017 at 4:55 pm
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  16. Profile photo of Ralphie Member

    EJHill (View Comment):
    The biggest factor in student success is parental involvement. Students from intact families do better, regardless of race or household income.

    I would add that parental education levels are huge too. Midland MI Dow High produces some exceptional kids. Dow has a highly educated work force and even those without degrees face a rigorous hiring process. Then you have Saginaw, not far away. It isn’t all about money, I think Detroit got more per student than surrounding areas, yet poorer outcomes.

    • #16
    • February 7, 2017 at 5:03 pm
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  17. Profile photo of EJHill Member

    Hypatia…I came to really resent the idea that my adult students, who had difficulty reading themselves, and were often in a situation where they and their spouses held 2 or more jobs to provide food and shelter for their children, were also primarily responsible for their children’s education.

    But they are. Because the foundation needed for a successful education begins long before kindergarten. If you’re going to wait for the “tax paid professional” to enter your child’s life at age 5 the kid is already screwed.

    And by involvement means many things. Making sure they complete homework assignments, making sure they behave well in class, and knowing who they’re hanging out with are all the parents responsibilities.

    • #17
    • February 7, 2017 at 5:06 pm
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  18. Profile photo of iWe Reagan
    iWe

    I am working the issues in my blue city, and having Betsy Devos there will absolutely help drive the cause toward more school choice, even here.

    • #18
    • February 7, 2017 at 5:14 pm
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  19. Profile photo of Hypatia Member

    EJHill (View Comment):

    Hypatia: …I came to really resent the idea that my adult students, who had difficulty reading themselves, and were often in a situation where they and their spouses held 2 or more jobs to provide food and shelter for their children, were also primarily responsible for their children’s education.

    But they are. Because the foundation needed for a successful education begins long before kindergarten. If you’re going to wait for the “tax paid professional” to enter your child’s life at age 5 the kid is already screwed.

    And by involvement means many things. Making sure they complete homework assignments, making sure they behave well in class, and knowing who they’re hanging out with are all the parents responsibilities.

    I agree with you about the moral and social aspects of child rearing, of course. But what I’m saying, on behalf of the sometimes dyslexic, usually undereducated, but loving, hardworking parents who were my adult literacy students, is that they’re not well-equipped to handle the academic part. And I think they SHOULD be able to count on the “tax-paid professionals” to do their particular jobs. Otherwise, there can be no upward mobility.

    (Although adult literacy is no longer a cause celebre, it is an even bigger problem than 30 years ago. We used to say: 1 in 5 can’t read. Now I think it’s more than that. I read an article in JAMA about the problems illiteracy causes in medication compliance. I thought the article might be referring to non-English speakers, but it was not. )

    But–“the weak lay hands on what the strong have done/ and all things at one common level lie”…last year I read that some educational theorists are now saying it’s an unfair advantage that rich, well-educated parents read to their kids every day, and maybe they shouldn’t–or at least, they should feel bad about doing it.

    (Again, my adult literacy students felt bad that they COULDN’T read to their kids, and dreaded the day when the kids would realize that daddy couldn’t read. )

    • #19
    • February 7, 2017 at 5:35 pm
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  20. Profile photo of Dan Hanson Thatcher

    In addition to the excellent points made in the post, there are even higher stakes:

    – The teacher’s unions are the most powerful source of funding and organization for Democrats. If they lose their ability to extract dues from every teacher in the country and use it to fund left-wing politicians, the Democrats will really be hurt.

    – The public schools are the first line of indoctrination into left-wing thinking that children are exposed to. Competition fromprivate schools threatens to break the ideological shackles today’s kids are placed in when they get to school.

    – If private schools do better than the public schools, it calls into question the core belief of the left: that public institutions are better than private ones.

    – under a voucher system, a lot of very bad but politically connected schools and teachers are under threat of being exposed for the self-serving failures they are.

    I could go on. The public education system and the teachers’ unions that control it are the heart of the Democratic party at the grassroots level. The Dvos appointment is a shot right across their bow. So now she had better deliver. But that will be hard, as her entire Department, the teachers around the country and their unions will all be sharpening their knives. Her task is formidable.

    • #20
    • February 7, 2017 at 8:14 pm
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  21. Profile photo of David Carroll Member

    I wish I could agree with the OP. But I cannot.

    The Department of education does not education children. The system of government education might be he most decentralized government function we have. Ms. DeVos lacks the authority to do much. She has not authority over teachers unions. That is the National Labor Relations Board. She can end whatever influence they may have over the programs that she administers, though.

    I like that she will end Dept. Ed. discrimination against Christian schools. She will have a bully pulpit to encourage school choice, but she has no legal authority over state educational systems.

    She can withdraw common core, but she has no authority over what the states might do with it.

    I wish I could be more optimistic. I wish the left’s hyperventilated fears had more substance.

    • #21
    • February 7, 2017 at 8:14 pm
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  22. Profile photo of The Cloaked Gaijin Member

    I see all of these articles that say that the one area where sensible, especially big city, liberals agree with conservatives is in the area of education.

    The result was that not one Democrat voted for Betsy DeVos.

    Someone should start running some Thomas Sowell-inspired television ads bringing back visions of Little Rock desegregation tomorrow against all of these swing-state Democrats running for re-election in 2018: Bill Nelson, Joe Donnelly, Angus King, Debbie Stabenow, Claire McCaskill, Jon Tester, Bob Menendez, Heidi Heitkamp, Sherrod Brown, Bob Casey, Tim Kaine, Joe Manchin, Tammy Baldwin, Amy Klobuchar, Martin Heinrich, and Tom Carper.

    Trump appears to be the wartime consigliere.

    Let the Democrats feel the consequences of — their greed and hate!

    • #22
    • February 7, 2017 at 8:59 pm
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  23. Profile photo of DJ EJ Member
    DJ EJ Post author

    Misthiocracy (View Comment):
    Reason has a pretty good little article about how and why the Department of Education was created in 1979:

    Why Do We Have a Department of Education? Jimmy Carter’s Debt to a Teachers Union.

    Thanks for the article! I enjoyed reading the end as well:

    “The Wall Street Journal reported the admission of one House Democrat: ”The idea of an Education Department is really a bad one. But it’s NEA’s top priority. There are school teachers in every congressional district and most of us simply don’t need the aggravation of taking them on.”

    Just today, Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) has introduced H.R. 899, a one-sentence long bill which would eliminate the Department of Education in its entirety by the end of 2018. Check back later for more Reason coverage of Massie’s bill.”

    • #23
    • February 7, 2017 at 10:21 pm
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  24. Profile photo of DJ EJ Member
    DJ EJ Post author

    Valiuth (View Comment):
    Occam’s Razor, it is the most contested because you had two Republican Senators who said they would vote against her confirmation. This made her the weakest candidate up to this point. Water flows down hill and sharks go for the injured seals. The Democrats need/want a head to mount on their wall. She was a ripe target and because of her they could also delay Sessions confirmation vote too. I expect the Labor Secretary is next thanks to his illegal house keepers. Blood in the water, simple politics.

    You are correct, but I wanted to focus on the ideological and power issues specific to the Department of Education part of the fight as opposed to the blood in the water, only need one more senator to vote no political aspects.

    • #24
    • February 7, 2017 at 10:33 pm
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  25. Profile photo of Annefy Member

    EJHill (View Comment):

    Hypatia: But they now only work in wealthy areas. And in those areas, homes are very expensive because the school taxes are so high. So those schools get better and better as the students in those districts get richer and richer.

    But it’s not the money. Thanks to Progressives on the state level and on the Federal Bench some of the poorest school districts in the nation are rolling in dough. Washington DC schools are some of the worst in the nation with some of the highest per student spending anywhere.

    The biggest factor in student success is parental involvement. Students from intact families do better, regardless of race or household income.

    But we also have to be wary of how we measure success in the future. If you set the bar at graduation rates then more kids who can’t read or write or do maths will graduate.

    Teachers hate “teaching to standardized tests.” But the truth is, had they done their jobs in the first place the politicians would have never got involved.

    Regardless of marital status I am optimistic that all parents will feel more empowered when they have school choice for their kids

    If you’re a struggling single mom and you have no choice but to send your kid to the craphole down the street, I can understand being less than motivated.

    Give that mom the powerbthat comes with choice? As I said: I’m optimistic.

    • #25
    • February 8, 2017 at 12:05 am
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  26. Profile photo of WI Con Member

    EJHill (View Comment):

    Hypatia: But they now only work in wealthy areas. And in those areas, homes are very expensive because the school taxes are so high. So those schools get better and better as the students in those districts get richer and richer.

    But it’s not the money. Thanks to Progressives on the state level and on the Federal Bench some of the poorest school districts in the nation are rolling in dough. Washington DC schools are some of the worst in the nation with some of the highest per student spending anywhere.

    The biggest factor in student success is parental involvement. Students from intact families do better, regardless of race or household income.

    But we also have to be wary of how we measure success in the future. If you set the bar at graduation rates then more kids who can’t read or write or do maths will graduate.

    Teachers hate “teaching to standardized tests.” But the truth is, had they done their jobs in the first place the politicians would have never got involved.

    My kids go to our really fine public schools. They are getting a much better education than my, private Catholic education. Now, we’re in an upscale district where the community takes great pride and interest in their performance. Can’t state definitively what the ‘secret sauce’ is but there is some combination. I think getting kids ready to learn into environments ready to teach is pretty important.

    • #26
    • February 8, 2017 at 4:18 am
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  27. Profile photo of Miffed White Male Member

    Valiuth (View Comment):
    The Democrats need/want a head to mount on their wall. She was a ripe target and because of her they could also delay Sessions confirmation vote too.

    Actually, delaying Sessions was a screw-up on their part. If they had confirmed Sessions first, DeVos would have gone down 50-49.

    • #27
    • February 8, 2017 at 5:03 am
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  28. Profile photo of Misthiocracy Member

    Leigh (View Comment):
    Yes. But conservatives should remember this: Betsy DeVos could do absolutely everything right and it will make absolutely no difference in the classroom — unless the states also gets things done.

    It really, really matters who is in the state education offices over the next few years.

    And some states will do better than others, and the ones that don’t do as well can learn from the ones that do, or they can choose otherwise and see their enrollments plummet, and parents can move to different jurisdictions that do things differently, as it should be.

    Folk aren’t looking for utopia here. Folk are looking for a paradigm where different jurisdictions have the freedom to try different strategies.

    • #28
    • February 8, 2017 at 7:52 am
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  29. Profile photo of Isaac Smith Member

    I Walton (View Comment):
    The episode should inform our President that there is no dealing with the teachers union or the educational establishment in general. Whether Devos is approved or not, he needs to strip states of all Federal educational funding that do not offer choice to parents, who continue to fund overloaded educational bureaucracies, and do not have right to work laws. They will scream hysterically no matter what is done, so do something to begin killing these parasitical portions of the Democratic party’s corrupt machine. What is there to lose? They have declared war on the Administration, on the Republican party and on our kids.

    I don’t know the details of the programs overseen by DOE, but I doubt they have that much discretion. Certainly the budget process gives the Republicans the opportunity to move limited spending related legislation that is not subject to filibuster.

    • #29
    • February 8, 2017 at 12:54 pm
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  30. Profile photo of Isaac Smith Member

    Miffed White Male (View Comment):

    Valiuth (View Comment):
    The Democrats need/want a head to mount on their wall. She was a ripe target and because of her they could also delay Sessions confirmation vote too.

    Actually, delaying Sessions was a screw-up on their part. If they had confirmed Sessions first, DeVos would have gone down 50-49.

    Was it a Schumer screw-up or strategic thinking by the Republicans? Granted, I suspect the first, given the lack of much evidence of the latter over the last 8 16 24 my lifetime, but having one of the critical cabinet positions delayed until the very last sure seems like someone is thinking on their feet. Maybe someone at the White House called McConnell and said “you’ve got a couple pretty squishy Republicans in your caucus, maybe you shouldn’t elevate one of your sure votes until the end of the process.

    • #30
    • February 8, 2017 at 1:00 pm
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