MI Sen. Gary Peters troubled by Betsy DeVos Ed Secretary pick

December 12, 2016

Dear Mr. Salisbury,

Thank you for contacting me about President-elect Donald Trump’s appointment of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education. I appreciate you taking the time to express your views. Your input is, and will always be, welcomed and appreciated.

As a product of Michigan public schools, the son of a high school teacher, and a father of three children who have attended Michigan public schools, I know firsthand the importance of a strong education system. I believe early childhood, quality K-12, and affordable higher education must be accessible and affordable for all students. Investments in every level of education must provide students with the skills they need to compete and succeed in the 21st century global environment.

Michigan has been devoted to great public education for generations—a commitment that stretches back to even before the founding of our state. Some of our earliest pioneers settled under the guidance of the Northwest Ordinance, which states “schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.” We have strived to live up to this creed ever since, not only for our young children but also our young adults. The University of Michigan became one of the first public universities in the nation, and Michigan State University became one of the first land-grant universities. Our numerous public preschool programs, K-12 schools, community colleges, colleges, and universities have kept America on the cutting edge of innovation throughout history. We must take every step we can to preserve access to these critical educational institutions.

I am committed to protecting learning opportunities for all students. I voted for the Every Student Succeeds Act, which reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and was signed into law in December 2015. During the consideration of this bill, I joined a bipartisan group of colleagues to successfully defeat an amendment that sought to shift funding for low-income students away from public schools to private schools. The Every Student Succeeds Act will ensure that our public school educators have access to the resources they need to serve all children, including students with disabilities, English language learners, and youth from low-income communities. It is important to me that the next Secretary of Education supports our public school system and upholds these values.

One of the most important responsibilities of the U.S. Senate is to review and confirm the President’s Cabinet nominations. A nominee for Secretary of Education should have strong qualifications, sound character, relevant experience, and a deep commitment to improving public education in the United States.

In 2000, Ms. DeVos championed a failed Michigan ballot proposal that would have amended our state’s constitution to create a voucher system for students to attend nonpublic schools. She most recently served as Chairman of the American Federation for Children, an organization with the primary mission of advocating for directing public funds to private and charter school systems.

I am deeply troubled by privately-owned or privately-run schools using taxpayer dollars intended for public schools, especially because federal provisions that hold schools accountable and help prevent discrimination against certain groups of students do not apply to these types of private programs. Because of Ms. DeVos’ history in Michigan working for policies that would hurt public schools, I cannot support her nomination. I believe she has the wrong approach to improving our nation’s schools and helping all American children succeed.

Thank you again for contacting me. I always enjoy hearing from you and hope that you take the time to contact me again soon. For more information, please feel free to visit my website, http://www.peters.senate.gov.

Sincerely,

Gary C. Peters
United States Senator

Harry Reid: James Comey is the New J. Edgar Hoover

Harry Reid: James Comey is the New J. Edgar Hoover
by dianeravitch

Harry Reid retired from the Senate after many years of service. In this interview, he gives his candid appraisal of FBI Director James Comey and Russiagate.

My view: the election of a totally unqualified demagogue is a disaster for our country. Every new appointment demonstrates Trump’s far-right radicalism. Every person he has chosen is either a military general, a billionaire, or someone determined to destroy the mission of the agency he/she will lead. Or both.

dianeravitch | December 10, 2016 at 11:27 pm | Categories: Trump | URL: http://wp.me/p2odLa-fUL

Diane Ravitch's blog

Harry Reid retired from the Senate after many years of service. In this interview, he gives his candid appraisal of FBI Director James Comey and Russiagate.

My view: the election of a totally unqualified demagogue is a disaster for our country. Every new appointment demonstrates Trump’s far-right radicalism. Every person he has chosen is either a military general, a billionaire, or someone determined to destroy the mission of the agency he/she will lead. Or both.

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Alan Singer: Education Policy from Obama to Trump

Alan Singer: Education Policy from Obama to Trump
by dianeravitch
Alan Singer greatly admires President Obama, as do I, except for his disastrous education policies, which laid the groundwork for privatization and deprofessionalization of teaching. Public school educators were scolded again and again by Arne Duncan for their alleged failings and their alleged low standards.

Singer here reviews the Obama record and tries to find something positive to say about the “reform” agenda of the past 15 years. Try as he might, he can’t find much to praise.

dianeravitch | December 11, 2016 at 1:00 pm | Categories: Charter Schools, Common Core, Corporate Reformers, Duncan, Arne, Education Industry, Obama, Privatization, Race to the Top, Testing | URL: http://wp.me/p2odLa-fU7

Diane Ravitch's blog

Alan Singer greatly admires President Obama, as do I, except for his disastrous education policies, which laid the groundwork for privatization and deprofessionalization of teaching. Public school educators were scolded again and again by Arne Duncan for their alleged failings and their alleged low standards.

Singer here reviews the Obama record and tries to find something positive to say about the “reform” agenda of the past 15 years. Try as he might, he can’t find much to praise.

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Trump’s Plan to Turn Public School Money Into Private School Vouchers | BustED Pencils

http://bustedpencils.com/2016/12/trumps-plan-turn-public-school-money-private-school-vouchers/

Gotta wonder how much organizations like the Gates-funded NPR helped prime American society for this. By promoting the false narrative of “bad teachers”, “school choice”, the need for “higher standards” and “accountability”, NPR has only fueled the privatization movement.

Read this dribble from NPR here. Even now they only tepidly discuss the issues behind vouchers. What a joke.

Michael Peña | December 10, 2016 at 12:25 pm | URL:http://bustedpencils.com/?p=3399

How Was The West Won? Not With A Gun.

Want to see where the West was really won?  You don’t have to go out West.  All you need to do is take I-70 out from DC, drive through the tiny West Virginia finger that runs north from Wheeling, and then follow State Route 7 alongside the Ohio River until you roll into the town of East Liverpool, which is actually on the Ohio side of the river itself.

survey            Now when you get into East Liverpool grab State Route 39 and follow it along the river until you reach a little stone monument (about a mile out of town) that marks something called the ‘Point of Beginning,’ which is where the West was actually won.  This is the spot (the exact spot is 1,000 feet south of the monument which is now underwater) from which almost the entire remainder of the country was surveyed beginning in 1785.  And why…

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It’s time to restructure the US Department of Education

It’s time to restructure the US Department of Education
by seattleducation2010
Two of our constitutional amendments played an important role in public education. In 1791, the 10th Amendment stated, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” Public education was not mentioned as one of […]

Read more of this post…

Seattle Education

ed_gl_org_chart The structure of the USDOE as of 2013 and now with 5,000 employees.

Two of our constitutional amendments played an important role in public education. In 1791, the 10th Amendment stated, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”  Public education was not mentioned as one of those federal powers, and so historically has been delegated to the local and state governments.

The League of Women Voters: Role Of Federal Government In Public Education: Historical Perspectives

Donald Trump Holds Weekend Meetings In Bedminster, NJ Betsy DeVos with Donald Trump.

For the last decade, educators and parents have been in a reactive mode in terms of federal policies on education starting with No Child Left Behind, then Race to the Top, charter schools, vouchers and now the selection of Betsy DeVos as the new Secretary of Education.

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Texas Testing Confusion

Schools across Texas have been re-testing student that did not pass their STAAR exams on previous attempts. My confusion comes from looking at grade level in which many of our students take the test for the first time.

At the high school level students are administered five tests required to graduate. The tests consist of English-Language Arts 1, English-Language Arts 2, Algebra 1, Biology, and U. S History. In most high school the students are required to take the Algebra I, ELA I and Biology Tests as Freshman. Sixty percent of the tests required to graduate from high school are administered at the Freshman level. WHY? If sixty percent of the tests are administered to students as Freshman, then does it really make them “exit level” tests?

I have asked why the initial administration of the biology test cannot be pushed back to their sophomore year resulting in two tests as a freshman, two tests as a sophomore and one as a junior. The answer I have received more than once is “so that they have the maximum number of opportunities to retake it”. HUH? Isn’t that a very negative approach to student learning. Before class even begins the leadership is planning for their failure and the need to retake the tests.

I am proposing …

David R. Taylor

Schools across Texas have been re-testing student that did not pass their STAAR exams on previous attempts. My confusion comes from looking at grade level in which many of our students take the test for the first time.

At the high school level students are administered five tests required to graduate. The tests consist of English-Language Arts 1, English-Language Arts 2, Algebra 1, Biology, and U. S History. In most high school the students are required to take the Algebra I, ELA I and Biology Tests as Freshman. Sixty percent of the tests required to graduate from high school are administered at the Freshman level. WHY? If sixty percent of the tests are administered to students as Freshman, then does it really make them “exit level” tests?

I have asked why the initial administration of the biology test cannot be pushed back to their sophomore year resulting in two tests…

View original post 484 more words

Michigan Commentators Fill in the Gaps about Michigan’s Betsy DeVos

janresseger

When someone like Betsy DeVos, who has been active for years in Michigan state politics emerges on the national stage, it is worth paying careful attention to what Michigan insiders have to say. DeVos is President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Education; her record in Michigan will prepare us for what she will bring to the U.S. Department of Education. Michigan’s investigative EclectaBlog just published Mitchell Robinson’s history of two decades’ of advocacy for school privatization by Betsy DeVos and her husband Dick, the Grand Rapids, Amway heir.

While school vouchers had been defeated at Michigan’s polls in 1972 and 1978,  in 2000 Dick and Betsy DeVos backed an amendment to change the following constitutional language: “No public monies or property shall be appropriated or paid or any public credit utilized… to add or maintain any private, denominational or other nonpublic, pre-elementary, elementary, or secondary school.”  Robinson explains that…

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