Tag Archives: educational policy and politics

Betsy DeVos: Just Another Mother Teresa

[If there is a better exposition than this one by Mercedes Schneider of Betsy DeVos’s stupidity and hypocrisy out there, please advise, and I’ll post it here.]

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Prepared Remarks by U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to Ave Maria University’s 2018 Spring Commencement

As I prepared to be with you today, I reflected on my own graduation from a small Christian college in my favorite corner of the Midwest. Sitting there that day, I never imagined I’d be a commencement speaker someday and I surely did not plan to become a cabinet secretary.

But my perspective then was limited. If there’s anything I’ve learned since, it’s that our horizons should be ever-broadening. We must engage our imaginations, be open to possibilities and be prepared to respond to the unplanned opportunity.

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Education Department Unwinds Unit Investigating Fraud at For-Profits

WASHINGTON — Members of a special team at the Education Department that had been investigating widespread abuses by for-profit colleges have been marginalized, reassigned or instructed to focus on other matters, according to current and former employees.

The…

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Yes, Betsy: Spending Does Matter

[I work in an inner-city school, and my own experience doesn’t provide evidence for this latest–and patently idiotic–dictum from Secretary DeVos. I encourage her to read a book, any book, in the interest of learning something resembling linear thinking.]

Diane Ravitch's blog

Imagine billionaire Betsy DeVos telling the nation that spending doesn’t make a difference in terms of education outcomes. But she did and she is wrong, as Chalkbeat explained.

For starters, correlation is not the same as causation.

But let’s talk common sense, inasmuch as Betsy already said she is not a “numbers person.”

When parents have the means to do so, they move to high-spending suburban districts. It’s not just for the grass and the trees, Betsy. In high-spending districts, their children have beautiful, well-maintained buildings. They have small classes. They have experienced teachers who are paid well. They have up-to-date science laboratories. They have the best technology. They have classes in history, civics, and government. They have programs in the arts. Their schools have a band, a chorus, dance, film, an orchestra, a string quartet, and more. They have a robotics team, a chess club, a debate team. They…

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Twenty-One Reasons People Hate, Hate, HATE Betsy DeVos

[This is a quick digression from the business of Women’s History Month on Mark’s Text Terminal to heap richly deserved scorn on Betsy DeVos, the callow heiress who still mistakenly believes she has the qualifications to serve as the United States Secretary of Education.]

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Lesley Stahl: Why have you become, people say, the most hated Cabinet secretary?

Betsy DeVos: I’m not sure exactly how that happened…

I’m more misunderstood than anything.

The above exchange from last night’s 60 Minutes interview highlights an important point about our Education Secretary.

She is deeply unpopular, but not because she’s misunderstood. If anything, she’s understood too well.

We know what she stands for and we don’t like it.

If she was really so misunderstood, why didn’t her answers in the interview veer away from the same usual canned responses she’s given time-and-time-again to the same type of questions?

What’s wrong with schools? NOT ENOUGH CHOICE.

 

How do we prevent school shootings? LET SCHOOLS ARM TEACHERS.

You didn’t really even need DeVos to show up to the interview to be able to guess with a high degree of accuracy what her answers would be.

In fact, many of…

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No

I’m a teacher in a public high school. I will not carry a gun in my classroom.

Inside Our Schools

It’s Friday morning, and I want to go into the weekend touting a worthy website that is the brainchild of a New York City teacher named Brett Gardiner Murphy. She has recently published a book called Inside Our Schools and her work is worth a look.

Elsewhere on this blog I have extolled the virtues of The American Educator, a periodical published by the The American Federation of Teachers. This is the union that represents almost 1.6 million teachers, including those of us here in New York City, under the aegis of the United Federation of Teachers. Unlike the Teamsters Newsletter I received when I was a truck driver and warehouseman (worthy enough, but mostly featuring stories like “Elmer Fudd Celebrates One Million Miles of Safe Driving at Yellow Freight Lines”), The American Educator actually exists to present professional educational research that is genuinely useful to teachers.

Ms. Murphy published an article titled “The Profession Speaks: Educator Perspectives on School Reform” in the Winter 2017-2018 issue of The American Educator. She does a very nice job of explaining the absolute necessity of teachers’ involvement in the discourse surrounding school “reform.” I commend and thank her for her efforts, because she has insight into policy issues, an area of discussion that mostly annoys me because of the overall and overweening ignorance (cf. the basic idiocy of Betsy DeVos) of school reformers; I simply haven’t the patience to try to hold discussions with the aggressively ignorant. Ms. Murphy makes the basic point that when it comes to discussions of school reform, educators have no voice.

She aims to change that, as she spells out in her article, with the website Inside Our Schools. Rather than try to characterize the site, I’ll quote Brett Gardiner Murphy from her article in The American Educator:

“Say what you will about how the Internet has shortened students’ attention spans, it has democratized whose point of view can be heard, including our own. I started a website connected to the book, InsideOurSchools.com, where anyone involved in public schools–teachers, parents, and students–can upload their stories through videos, audio recordings, or written reflections. It’s just one of the many ways we can use our voices in the years ahead.”

Enough said. I urge you to take a look at Ms. Gardiner’s site, and consider buying her book to support her efforts. I bid her Godspeed and best wishes for the future. New York City’s schools are lucky to have her.

 

David Dayen: Betsy DeVos’ Gut Punch to Defrauded Students

(Here’s yet another reason why Betsy DeVos will be the worst thing that ever happened to education in this country.)

Diane Ravitch's blog

Investigative writer David Dayen, writing in “The New Republic” describes the variety of ways that Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is protecting predatory for-profit “colleges” while allowing them to stiff the students they cheated.

“Imagine a car dealer sold you a lemon. You sue to get your money back. But the judge discovers that you managed to get yourself around most of the time, despite the bum vehicle. You only missed 10 percent of your appointments, so the judge orders that you are entitled to 10 percent of the price of the car.

“That’s essentially what Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced last week for students defrauded by for-profit chain Corinthian Colleges. Victims of the corrupt diploma mill will not have their student loans discharged; instead, they will get a portion of relief based on their current income. The more professional ingenuity they showed despite being defrauded by Corinthian, the less…

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Steven Singer: DeVos Pretends to be a Champion of Children with Disabilities, and EdWeek Enables the Hoax

(In a sane world, this would be a scandal.)

Diane Ravitch's blog

Steven Singer is steamed. He read a “Commentary” by Betsy DeVos in Education Week in which she pretends to be a champion of children with disabilities. You don’t have to have a long memory to remember that she testified at her Senate hearing last year that she was unsure what IDEA is or whether the voucher schools she promotes would be bound by federal law.

Steven remembers. He can’t understand why Education Week allowed her to burnish her image, while ignoring the 72 federal regulations she eliminated that protected students with disabilities.

He begins:

“Meet Betsy DeVos, Champion of Students With Special Needs.

“At least that’s who she’s pretending to be this week.

“The wealthy Republican mega-donor who bought her position as Secretary of Education published an article in the current issue of Education Week called “Commentary: Tolerating Low Expectations for Students With Disabilities Must End.”

“It was almost…

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