Sunday, January 22, 2017

Valerie Strauss: Democrats Paved the Way for Betsy DeVos But She Leaves out the union complicity

If DeVos does become education secretary, Democrats will of course blame the Republicans.... But the record shows that Democrats can’t just blame Republicans for her ascension. It was actually Democrats who helped pave the road for DeVos to take the helm of the Education Department. Democrats have in recent years sounded — and acted — a lot like Republicans in advancing corporate education reform, which seeks to operate public schools as if they were businesses, not civic institutions..... Valerie Strauss, WAPO
Explaining Corey Booker -- I have had to tell too many people who said they would like to see Booker as the Dem party candidate in 2020 about his history -- as ed deformer supremo - with his pal Chris Christie -- his vote for big Pharm, his being connected to Betsy DESasaster. I saw a pic yesterday of my friend's daughter proudly standing with Booker and I wanted to gag.

No Dem ed deformers will be acceptable for any future campaigns and our union leaders better get this straight or they will go down to another disaster in 2020. But then again, by then there may not be much of a union left.

I have my own theories about DeVos. The Dems now need the teacher unions more than ever and need to put on a show. It is the Republicans I believe who are getting nervous, especially those who are aware of the Bloomberg appointment of Cathie Black, which turned into a national joke until Bloomberg pulled the plug after 3 months. Trump will never admit he made a mistake and will stick with Betsy even as she sinks and threatens the entire deform movement with ridicule. Lamar Alexander has postponed the vote and I believe they may be working behind the scenes to have a quick backup that will be on the surface better but in reality worse because they won't be a joke and will execute a lot of what DeVos would have done but with competence and slickness. Ideally from their point of view, it will be a person of color, preferably a female. Not Rhee but someone black.

As for our wonderful unions, the DeVos situation is a distraction from the real local battles we meed to be fighting. The last Unity leaflet bragged about their leadership nationally on this issue -- remember how they sat on their hands like little mice for over a decade or more while NCLB, RTTT, bogus teacher accountability plans, mayoral control -- all the trappings of ed deform. They are so demoralized that they want to brag about a win of any kind. Beat Betsy and then whatever comes after no matter how bad is pushed as their victory-- and there will be little fight left in them -- they are always fighting the wrong battles.

Valerie Strauss in WAPO wrote a piece exposing the Dem complicity -- Democrats reject her, but they helped pave the road to education nominee DeVos
By embracing many of the tenets of corporate reform — including the notion of “school choice” and the targeting of teachers and their unions as being blind to the needs of children — they helped make DeVos’s education views, once seen as extreme, seem less so.
Diane Ravitch linked to this piece today but also leaves out the union.
Valerie Strauss wrote an excellent article about the hypocrisy of Democrats who now loudly oppose Billionaire Betsy DeVos, but spent the last eight years bashing teachers, unions, and public schools while pouring billions of dollars into the proliferation of privately-managed charter schools. Once Democrats became cheerleaders for school choice, they abandoned the principle that public schools under democratic control are a fundamental public responsibility.

I urge you to read this article, which recounts the perfidy of Democrats who fell for privatization and betrayed public education. In many cases, support for charter schools opened the door to billionaires and hedge funder donations, to groups like Democrats for Education Reform and Education Reform Now and Families for Excellent Schools. Think Corey Booker, Andrew Cuomo, Dannell Malloy. Think of the silence of the Democrats as the U.S. Department of Education spent more than $3 billion on charter schools. How do they now express opposition to DeVos’s love for charters (and vouchers). She has exposed their hypocrisy.

Diane has been viewed by some as a defender of the Dem party. Though we saw some of that we also have seen her go after Dem ed deformers as she does in the rest of her post to supplement the Strauss piece:
In March 2011, President Obama and Secretary Duncan were in Miami with Jeb Bush to celebrate the “turnaround” of Miami Central High School. At the same time, thousands of working people were protesting the anti-labor policies of Scott Walker in Madison. Neither Obama nor Duncan ever showed up in Madison to show support for the teachers and union members who support Democrats.

The other point that needs to be added is that a month after Obama, Arne, and Jeb met to toast the turnaround of Miami Central, the state education Department in Florida listed it as a “failing” school that should be closed. I reported this in “Reign of Error.” The press never did report it. Why were Obama and Arne burnishing Jeb’s “credentials” as a “reformer?” Paving the way for Jeb’s good friend Betsy DeVos.
Public education was seen as a civil right. Republicans have looked at public schools less as vehicles of social equity and more as places that are supposed to prepare young people for college and careers, an endeavor that should be measured with the same types of metrics businesses use to gauge success. Some Republicans have looked at public schools with suspicion, in some cases seeing them as transmitters of liberal and even godless values.....

But now some Democrats who were entirely or largely on DeVos’s education reform page are having second thoughts. Booker said he had some “serious” concerns about the Trump education agenda. DFER, after initially putting out one statement that tried to separate their pleasure at the DeVos nomination from their dislike of Trump, issued a second one that said: “From what we know about the education agenda of President-elect Trump and Mrs. DeVos, we are deeply troubled.” Then, on Inauguration Day, it put out a statement saying it could not support her nomination. So now we have Democrats worrying about DeVos’s tenure at education 
Also See: To Trump’s education pick, the U.S. public school system is a ‘dead end’] and
[Tech billionaires like Democrats more than Republicans. Here’s why.]
But then again many of our UFT members, seeing the past 15 years of Bloomberg and de Blasio also think the NYC public school system and the union as a dead end and once the assault comes on heavy may just sit on the sidelines asking, "exactly what are we defending?"

1 comment:

  1. Norm, the UFT wants to keep a seat at the table. Remember that? I just hope the portions will be big enough! (LOL, inside UFT joke).


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