Senate Democrats and the NEA Teachers’ Union are doing their best to prevent school choice advocate Betsy DeVos from becoming Education Secretary. The Chicago Tribune reports that her confirmation hearings have “alternated between interrogation and crass disparagement. DeVos tried to answer loaded policy questions, mostly from Democrats, only to be interrupted by senators whose aim was to discredit her qualifications. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) waved off DeVos after the Tuesday evening hearing, refusing to shake her hand.”
It’s a shame DeVos is being treated so rudely by senators who themselves never have to deal with the U.S. public school system and its myriad shortcomings. It’s also a shame elected representatives aren’t even interested in hearing new ideas about public education that have significant popular support. Even Obama’s own Department of Education admitted this week that the President’s main educational initiatives, which cost the nation billions of dollars the last eight years, yielded no significant improvements.
If billions of federal spending over eight years to centrally plan the improvement of our public schools makes no difference, why aren’t the senators at least listening politely to Ms. DeVos after they ask her questions?
WaPo confirms Trump was right about government schools
In his inaugural speech, Donald Trump characterized the burdens facing American families who have been left behind, and made government schools one of the problems. He described:
…an education system flush with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of all knowledge.
While inevitably some knowledge is imparted when you have children in custody for six or so hours a day, the statement that government schools are “flush with cash” is no mere hyperbole. Aaron Blake of the Washington Post wrote in the wake of the speech:
One of the Obama administration’s signature efforts in education, which pumped billions of federal dollars into overhauling the nation’s worst schools, failed to produce meaningful results, according to a federal analysis.
Test scores, graduation rates and college enrollment were no different in schools that received money through the School Improvement Grants program — the largest federal investment ever targeted to failing schools — than in schools that did not.
The Education Department published the findings on the website of its research division on Wednesday, hours before President Obama’s political appointees walked out the door.
“We’re talking about millions of kids who are assigned to these failing schools, and we just spent several billion dollars promising them things were going to get better,” said Andy Smarick, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute who has long been skeptical that the Obama administration’s strategy would work. “Think of what all that money could have been spent on instead.”
With the confirmation of Betsy DeVos being held up by Senate Democrats, the hour has come for complete honesty on the failure of the one-size-fits-all government schools. Parents in the inner cities are desperate to get their kids into charter schools or voucher programs. Standing in the government schoolhouse door, preventing the kids from leaving, are the teachers unions, whose sole concern is the prosperity and job security of the members that pay the dues funneled into Democratic Party coffers, causing the opposition to DeVos to be bitter to the end.
The longer the debate continues, the better it is for the cause of freeing children from servitude to the teachers unions.
Hat tip: Clarice Feldman