Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Grading Betsy DeVos’ confirmation day exam | Eclectablog

Grading Betsy DeVos’ confirmation day exam | Eclectablog:

Grading Betsy DeVos’ confirmation day exam 

Betsy DeVos believes these 5 things about government. As a career teacher, I thought I’d take this opportunity to grade Ms. DeVos’ responses as though they were answers on an exam. I understand she’s a big fan of “accountability,” so I’m sure she will appreciate the feedback, especially as she crams for her confirmation hearings, scheduled for later today…
1. “Government tends to believe in top down solutions and government fears of bottom up solutions.”
WRONG. Ms. DeVos, a self-described “government outsider,” is a big fan of vouchers, and vouchers are a decidedly top down solution—whenever put to a public vote (i.e., a bottom up solution), they lose, widely and decisively. We also need to deduct points because the vast majority of vouchers don’t come close to covering the cost of private school attendance. As I wrote recently,
The amount of the voucher she received through Florida’s Tax Credit Opportunity Scholarship was around $4000.
The tuition of the private Christian school she attended was around $6000 per year, plus uniforms, books, and fees.
So, the voucher Ms. Meriweather and her family received may have helped, but it certainly did not cover the full cost of attending the school. This is one of the under-reported problems with vouchers–while the rhetoric around vouchers promises to “level the playing field”, and “allow poor children to attend the private school of their choice,” the vast majority of children and families don’t receive enough in the form of vouchers to attend “the school of their choice.”
In fact, there’s an insidious but unmistakable scent of racism and classism associated with voucher programs. As an example: Jeb Bush, former Governor of Florida and a huge supporter and close friend of Betsy DeVos, sent his own children to the elite Gulliver Prepatory School in FL, where tuition for grades 6-12 rings up at an eye-popping $36,840 per year. Ms. Meriweather’s $4000 voucher wouldn’t have covered textbooks and uniforms at Gulliver–hardly a “game changer.”
The subtle, yet obvious message here is that while Jeb and Betsy want the public tax money that “allows” poor children almost afford to attend some low-level private and Christian schools, they have no intention of letting “those” children go to the same elite private and Christian schools that “their” children attend.
Extra points were deducted for this answer, because the best solutions are some combination of both top-down and bottom-up initiatives–kind of a middle-out. Betsy’s answer reveals a limited grasp of both how government works and how to solve problems. Next question…
2. “Government tends to stifle innovation and it abhors improvisation. Any good military strategist Grading Betsy DeVos’ confirmation day exam | Eclectablog:

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