Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Long Game of Betsy DeVos – EduShyster

The Long Game of Betsy DeVos – EduShyster:

The Long Game of Betsy DeVos

To understand Betsy DeVos’ vision for education, you have to know where she comes from…
devos1I first laid eyes upon Trump’s pick for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, at Campbell Brown’s forumfor GOP presidential contenders. It was the summer of 2015, back when Trump was little more than a punchline, and Jeb Bush, despite drooping in the August heat that day, still seemed like the real contender. Because the event wasn’t an official debate, Bush, Walker, Vindal, Fiorina et al couldn’t appear on stage together—which meant that Brown asked the same questions of each, and got similar pablum-esque non-answers, in an endless *conversational* format. And then suddenly there was Betsy DeVos, a Brown chum, holding forth about an education *moonshot.* It wasn’t what she said that interested me so much as what she represented. Could the education reform coalition’s major selling point, its bipartisan-ness, really stretch to incorporate the extreme right-wing views of DeVos? Mightn’t it be better for her to remain in the favored domain of the DeVos family, the shadows, or at least in Michigan?
What went down in Detroit
The private consternation felt by so many reform advocates over the DeVos pick is not due to her penchant for dropping *government* in front of *public school,* but rather the outsized role she has played in shaping Detroit as an, um, education laboratory in which an out-of-control lab fire now burns. First, though, a bit of historical context. We are so used to thinking of Detroit as America’s urban hell hole that it can be hard to comprehend the optimism that took hold there two years ago as the city was coming out of bankruptcy. Finally it seemed as though the Motor City might be on the cusp of a real revival. And not the kind of comeback driven by hipsters opening cupcake shops or the rebranded subsistence farming known as *urban gardening,* but a real deal renaissance where middle-class residents return to Detroit.
It was out of this spirit of hopefulness that the Coalition for the Future of Detroit’s Schoolchildren emerged back in 2014. And it was a for realz coalitionImage result for coalition for detroit schoolchildrenAFT was there, but so was the reform-minded Excellent Schools Detroit and the city’s pro-charter mayor, along with members of the corporate and civic elite. People who’d been, if not at war, at deep odds, had finally gotten together around a single, shared point of agreement: if Detroit doesn’t have some way to oversee its schools—both what remains of the district schools and the fast-growing, completely unregulated charter sector—the city can forget about the future. Bankrolled by a local philanthropy, the Skillman Foundation, the coalition had the wind at its back and the political wherewithal necessary to get a bill through the state senate, even gaining the support of Governor Rick Snyder, aka @OneToughNerd. 
But the feel-good story screeched to a halt last summer thanks to a wall of GOP opposition. Except that *wall* and *opposition* make it sound as though there were a whole bunch of people involved in the kneecapping that went down. There was a The Long Game of Betsy DeVos – EduShyster: