Monday, January 16, 2017

Teachers have some tough questions for Betsy DeVos - What Mike Pence doesn’t admit about Indiana’s school vouchers

Teachers have some tough questions for Trump’s education nominee, Betsy DeVos - The Washington Post:
Teachers have some tough questions for Trump’s education nominee, Betsy DeVos



Teachers have some tough questions they want Congress to ask Betsy DeVos, the Michigan billionaire and former Michigan Republican Party chairwoman picked by President-elect Donald Trump to be his education secretary.
DeVos’s nomination has sparked significant opposition among public education advocates who oppose her longtime support for school reform that privatizes public schools and who say she has no qualifications for the job.  Russ Walsh, coordinator of College Reading at Rider University, made the latter point about her lack of interaction with the public school system with the first question on his list of 10:
Ms. DeVos, would you please state, concisely, any relevant experience you have had in public education, either as a student, a teacher, a school leader, a public school board member, a parent of a public school child, a PTA member, a volunteer in a traditional public school or as someone who once drove past a public school?
Why, others want to know, does someone who has called the public education a “dead end” want to be in charge of the department that is responsible for federal policy affecting public schools? Does she have plans to improve college access, early childhood education? How will she enforce the new federal education law, the Every Student Succeeds Act? Is she concerned about too much standardized testing? Are teachers fairly evaluated?  Is it her intent to advance the privatization of public schools?
Opposition to DeVos has been unusually strong for an education secretary, and her confirmation hearing this week could be contentious. The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee had originally planned to hold a confirmation hearing Jan. 11, but postponed it until Jan. 17 after Democrats complained that Office of Government Ethics — which is responsible for vetting presidential nominees — was still working through its review of her background and finances. On  Jan. 13, Trump’s transition team acknowledged that she had omitted a $125,000 political donation from disclosures she submitted to the committee, my colleague Emma Brown reported.
Many people and organizations in the education world have been advancing lists of questions Teachers have some tough questions for Trump’s education nominee, Betsy DeVos - The Washington Post:

What Mike Pence doesn’t like to admit about Indiana’s school voucher program - The Washington Post:
What Mike Pence doesn’t like to admit about Indiana’s school voucher program


President-elect Donald Trump says he wants to spend $20 billion for a program to help states expand voucher programs, which use public funds to pay for private school tuition. As it happens, the man he chose as his vice president, Mike Pence, has experience with vouchers as governor of Indiana — and the story is a cautionary tale for anybody interested in making education policy with caution and deliberation.
The program was started as a way to give children from poor and lower-middle-class families a chance to leave public schools they felt were failing their kids. As my colleague Emma Brown explained in this story, it didn’t quite work out that way. For example:
Five years after the program was established, more than half of the state’s voucher recipients have never attended Indiana public schools, meaning that taxpayers are now covering private and religious school tuition for children whose parents had previously footed that bill. Many vouchers also are going to wealthier families, those earning up to $90,000 for a household of four.
Here is a piece by someone who has had direct experience with the program — and with working with (or, rather, against) Pence on education issues. She is Glenda Ritz, who was elected in 2012 by Indiana voters to become the state’s superintendent of public instruction as the only Democrat holding statewide office in the conservative state.
Ritz upset the incumbent, a Republican named Tony Bennett who was a leader of the corporate school reform movement, and she had campaigned against many of Bennett’s key policies, including vouchers. She, in fact, won more votes than Pence did in that election.
Pence didn’t take to that kindly and tried to undermine the power of the position she had won. He created a new education agency in Indiana to help further his own education agenda, with its own dedicated funding from state agencies but later moved to dissolve it even as he sought What Mike Pence doesn’t like to admit about Indiana’s school voucher program - The Washington Post:

LATEST NEWS AND COMMENT FROM EDUCATION

LATEST NEWS AND COMMENT FROM EDUCATION
EduBloggers

Latest News and Comment from Education