Friday, January 27, 2017

CURMUDGUCATION: Edushyster In DeVosland

CURMUDGUCATION: Edushyster In DeVosland:

Edushyster In DeVosland

Jennifer Berkshire often takes the unusual blogging step of doing actual journalism, like the kind where you call people and go places and actually talk to the carbon-based life forms who are involved in What's Going On. That's just part of what makes Edushyster required reading for anybody in the ed debates.

She recently traveled to DeVosland, the Michigan home base and spawning ground for Betsy DeVos, presumptive Secretary of Education, and her clan. Nine days, forty-some interviews, and a couple of exceptional posts were the product, but I wanted to hear more (and to add my vote for her to write a full-on book), so I took a page from her book and talked to her via phone. There are so many more stories to tell.

Berkshire has a keen sense of a particularly worded phrase, and she was struck by Jeb Bush's pledge pledge that DeVos would be a "champion of parents, not institutions" which strikes her a reminiscent of Margaret Thatcher's "There is no such thing as society." What Thatcher meant was that there are only individuals, families and other groups of humans, but larger social structures aren't real-- particularly the ones that are charged with providing support and service for society's members. When DeVos says that she doesn't stand with institutions, that includes institutions that look out for vulnerable citizens who may not have the power to look out for themselves. You know. Like schools.

Traveling to Michigan is really a must when studying DeVos, because within the state, they've never been particularly sneaky or subtle about what they want; it's almost as if it never occurred to them that someday Betsy might need to talk about civil rights with a straight face. Berkshire says, "For example, the family paw prints are all over various legislative maneuvers intended to disenfranchise African Americans, the beefed up emergency manager law that created the Flint water disaster 
CURMUDGUCATION: Edushyster In DeVosland: