Monday, February 20, 2017

Betsy DeVos Had an Awfully Difficult First Week on the Job | Diane Ravitch's blog

Betsy DeVos Had an Awfully Difficult First Week on the Job | Diane Ravitch's blog:

Betsy DeVos Had an Awfully Difficult First Week on the Job

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Teachers who teach children with multiple disabilities and children who are homeless may think that they have a tough job, but consider what a very hard time Betsy DeVos had in her first week as Secretary of Education, very likely the first paying job she has ever held. She visited a public middle school in D.C., where protestors harassed her and tried to keep her out. When she eventually entered the school, she said nice things to the staff, but after she left she insulted them as being in a “receive” mode. She gave a few interviews and said she hoped to launch more charter schools, more vouchers, more cybercharters, and presumably shrink the number of public schools as she opens up opportunities for students to go anywhere other than public schools.
In one interview, she told syndicated conservative columnist Cal Thomas that she did not think the protests against her were spontaneous. The implication was that those evil teachers’ unions had plotted against her. The other implication was that parents and teachers would welcome her noble presence in their public school, even though she was unimpressed with what she saw. Someone, she said, was trying to make her life “a living hell.” No matter what the plotters do, she pledged she would not be deterred from her mission of “helping kids in this country,” by enabling them to leave public schools for privatized alternatives.
She suggested to Thomas that it might be a good idea to bring tens of thousands of children to the Capitol to demonstrate for charters and vouchers. She said it had worked in Florida. Of course, this is now a standard part of the privatization script, using children as political pawns to demand more public funding for private choices, thus disabling public schools by diminishing their resources.
She pledged to support alternatives to public schools, without citing a scintilla of evidence that these choices would help kids and without acknowledging that the proliferation of choices harms the great majority of children who don’t choose to leave public schools. Her mindset is purely ideological. She did not offer any suggestions about how to help the vast majority of children who attend public schools. She has one idea, and she is sticking to it: choice. The absence of evidence for that one idea from her home state never comes up. Michigan has tumbled in national rankings as choice has expanded.
When Cal Thomas asked what could be done for children who had an Betsy DeVos Had an Awfully Difficult First Week on the Job | Diane Ravitch's blog:
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