Should we should be grateful to U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos for deigning to visit a public school this week?
“It’s obvious that the secretary and our federal government have very little respect for our traditional public school system,” said Rocky Hanna, superintendent of Leon County Schools. “And it’s insulting that she’s going to visit the capital of the state of Florida, to visit a charter school, a private school and a voucher school.”
DeVos is a new breed of Education Secretary. Even her worst predecessors had the decency to pretend to support public education.
Yet, on Tuesday at a school assembly in Wyoming, DeVos laid her grim view of public schools on children and their teachers who, one assumes, had come to the event excited about the new school year.
“For far too many kids, this year’s first day back to school looks and feels a lot like last year’s first day back to school. And the year before that. And the generation before that. And the generation before that!
That means your parent’s parent’s parents!
Most students are starting a new school year that is all too familiar. Desks lined up in rows. Their teacher standing in front of the room, framed by a blackboard. They dive into a curriculum written for the “average” student. They follow the same schedule, the same routine — just waiting to be saved by the bell.
It’s a mundane malaise that dampens dreams, dims horizons and denies futures.”
Welcome back to school, kids! Wheeee!
DeVos’ strategy for success (defined as privatizing public education to the greatest degree possible) relies on denigrating, thereby weakening, public schools.
If the public believes a situation is dire, radical action, in DeVos’ case unlimited charter expansion and voucher schemes, can seem like a reasonable response.
Hmmm. Who else does that?
Illinois voters elected Bruce Rauner governor because he was a “successful businessman.”
Former Gov. Jim Edgar, like many others, came to understand (post election) that Rauner’s business skills aren’t appropriate for running a government:
“He does not come from government,” Edgar said of the governor, who was a venture capitalist. “He doesn’t even really come from mainstream business. He comes from (being an) entrepreneur where you buy a business, you tear it apart and you sell it. … I don’t think you’re going to tear apart the state and sell it. He might want to, but you can’t do that.”
Well, he can try. And did.
The state was in poor shape when Rauner took office and the governor decided blocking passage of a state budget for two years would give him the leverage needed to accomplish his primary goal: imposing an anti-middle class agenda that would eliminate the ability of public employee unions to bargain salaries and working conditions.
Only when a handful of Republican legislators decided to do the right thing, instead of Rauner’s thing, was a budget passed and a truly devastating outcome averted. Temporarily.
She serves at the will of the President. We’re stuck with her.
On the other hand, Gov. Rauner stands for election in 14 months. His denigrate and conquer strategy has failed so far. But if he gets another four years, he’s clearly willing to sink the ship of state to get what he wants.
McBarronBlog bonus: Betsy DeVos and the plan to break public schools