CURMUDGUCATION: DeVos Speaks (Sort of)

CURMUDGUCATIONThe slightly-cranky voice navigating the world of educational “reform” while trying to still pursue the mission of providing quality education.

Source: CURMUDGUCATION: DeVos Speaks (Sort of)

 

DeVos Speaks (Sort of)

Poor Betsy DeVos. She has recently spent time on the Donald Trump “Thank You These rallies Are The Only Part I Liked About Running for President” Tour, complaining that the media is spreading “false news” about her. I suppose that she could address that by actually, you know, speaking to the press directly, but apparently she is spending time prepping for her confirmation hearing. Her appearances at Herr Trump’s rallies haven’t been covered in great detail, but thanks to the faux journalist power I call “Making It Up,” I’m prepared to present the full text of one of her most recent tour speeches.

Thank you! Thank you very much. It’s a pleasure to see all my friends and neighbors out to greet me here in my hometown of Grand Rapids. Just keep right on applauding. Remember, my family and I can ruin you at any moment. That’s it! Cheer, fellow citizens and peasants!!

There has been a lot of speculation about what kind of Education Secretary I will be. Let me clear that up. I will be a great one!

For one thing, we will be bringing the benefits of school choice. I think all Americans agree that it’s important that all businesses, no matter what their zip codes, have an opportunity to get their hands on a piece of the giant mountain of money that funds education in this country. Choice will let us do that. Cheer!!

But we want to do better than that. Everyone should have a chance to grab some of those public tax dollars, including all of the private schools which already exist. Vouchers should be an important part of an education money payout plan because every private school, whether its Baptist or Methodist or Bible Church or Church of God or even Catholic, should have a chance to get a fresh infusion of tax dollars.

Some people have complained that the kind of charter and choice system that I support would lead to a two-tier system of schools, with one well-funded school system for the students from the upper class. To them I can only say one thing– of course.

You have to understand– when the founding fathers said that all men were created equal, they didn’t mean that all men are actually equal. The Puritans understood that some people are favored by God and therefor blessed with greater prosperity than others. These Chosen are more favored, more suited to take dominion over the rest of creation, more deserving of honor. They’re just better.

Are some people better than others just because they’re rich? No, that would be ridiculous. They’re rich because they’re better. People criticize me because every cent I have either was passed to me either by my parents or my husband, but those people are missing the point. God made me rich because I deserve it.

These signs of God’s favor and an individual’s superiority used to be pretty clearcut, and they used to be the foundation of America. But the founders made one crucial mistake– they let all sorts of people vote, and over time, those people got uppity. There was a time when America was still great, back when everybody knew his or her place, back when black people and poor people handicapped people and non-Christians didn’t try to take things they weren’t entitled to. Back when the homosexuals had the decency to pretend they didn’t exist. But those days are gone– ruined by a bunch of uppity people who won’t just shut up and listen to those of us who know better. Now homosexuals and blacks and women and Muslims can all strut around like they’re perfectly normal and it’s we decent Christians who have to hold our tongue and avoid saying simple things like “Jesus hates you and you’re going to hell.” It’s a topsy turvy world.

And it all starts in school.

We let the children of the better class of people mix with the children of Those People. Teachers don’t seem to know their place, and insist on teaching things they just shouldn’t teach, the kinds of things that students were never taught back when America was great– certainly not in the fine private schools my children and I attended. That is why I absolutely support the Common Core– someone has to tell Those People what they should teach. However, I understand that some of you are not fans of Common Core, and so I totally promise that the federal regulations requiring Common Core will be stricken from the law, along with the regulations requiring students to wear clown shoes and the regulations requiring lunch ladies to be certified Yeti’s. I guarantee you that in just a few months, all of those laws will be gone, and you will be free to have your state government enforce Common Core under some other name.

We will also do our best to crush both teacher unions and all those other unions, too. Unions are unnatural, a terrible attempt to interfere with the natural order of things. People who want to control working conditions and wages should not choose to be the kind of people who work at those jobs. It is their place to simply do their jobs and let those of us who Know Better make the important decisions.

Government has also interfered with the God-given natural order of things by forcing money to flow to people who don’t deserve it. If God wanted Those People to have money, He would have made them rich, and it is not government’s place to interfere with that just process. By getting government to takes its paws off schools, a choice and charter system can allow money to again flow to those who actually deserve it. A choice and charter system also allows children of the better people to get their education without having to deal with the children of Those People. Really, isn’t it better when people associate with their own kind?

I hear people complain about mobility and opportunity. We still believe in that– any child who is born into poverty should be free to show that he actually belongs to a better class of people, and he can best do that by becoming rich, remembering that it only counts if he becomes rich on his own, without any kind of help, like Mr. Trump or like me.

I have read the accusation that I want to do away with public schools. This is simply false. We must have public schools, otherwise, where would the children of Those People go to school. But I do not want to have to give up any more of my hard-inherited and hard-married money to educate Those People than is absolutely necessary. Just enough to make them useful as workers should be sufficient. After all, why spend a lot of money educating people who are just going to burn in hell for eternity, anyway?

Much like a sin-filled homosexual must be forcibly brought back to rightful behavior, American education can be forced to be The Way I Think It’s Supposed To Be. We can serve the chosen folks by giving them the opportunity to rise as God wants them to, we can give their children the opportunity to get a proper education with the proper people, and we can give Those People an opportunity to become compliant, useful tools for the people who should be properly running the country. Education can be the foundation for making America great again as well as a chance to advance God’s kingdom and take us one step closer to the theocracy we should be, correcting the country’s greatest mistake– allowing just anybody to vote.

Now, cheer, fellow citizens and peasants! Cheer as if your future and the future of your children depended upon it.

CURMUDGUCATION: An A-Plus Method of Liberating Money

CURMUDGUCATIONThe slightly-cranky voice navigating the world of educational “reform” while trying to still pursue the mission of providing quality education.

Source: CURMUDGUCATION: An A-Plus Method of Liberating Money

 

An A-Plus Method of Liberating Money

The Very Conservative Heritage Foundation has posted on Facebook a video with their six suggestions for the first 100 days of Betsy DeVos’s attempt to drive the Department of Education into the privatization ditch (they might have phrased it a little differently).

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fheritagefoundation%2Fvideos%2F10154781093704481%2F&show_text=0&width=400

  1. Support states as they work to exit Common Core.
  2. Call on Congress to pass the A-Plus Act returning power to the states.
  3. Reauthorize the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship
  4. Cancel the Department of Education guidance on transgender bathrooms.
  5. Rescind the Obama Administration’s heavy-handed education regulations.
  6. Create Education Savings Accounts for children at Bureau of Indian Education schools.

Some of these are old familiar friends, like getting rid of Common Core (or at least that name for one-size-fits-all bone-headed unproven amateur-created standards), policing student peeing, or maintaining the DC school choice program. There’s even the slightly creative idea of using Native American students as lab rats for one more foot-in-the-door voucher program.

But #2 may seem unfamiliar, or like a ghost from the past. It may seem an especially odd thing for anyone to suggest DeVos get behind, because for most of its long, sad life, the A-Plus Act has been pitched as an alternative to No Child Left Behind (in fact, it stands for Academic Partnerships Lead Us to Success Act, not to be confused with other A-Plus acts, because naming legislation is hard). But there are reasons it remains appealing to folks like the Heritage crowd.

That lamprey is mighty uncomfortable

It has been a Heritage Foundation favorite, and they have an expansive history of the act and how it fits in the long storied history of federal government Power Grabbing. The big selling point of the A-Plus Act was the freedom to opt out of No Child Left Behind (at the time, nobody realized that the term “opt out” would be policy garlic to some undead policies). But while “opt out of NCLB” was on the marquee, inside the lobby, more wonky and powerful features were being pitched.

A-Plus was supposed to make decision-making more local, by letting state government decide how to use federal funds and which programs to continue and which to ax. Basically, the act was meant to turn all federal ed support funds into a big stringless bale of money that states could dispose of in whatever manner suited them. This was a gift of money so loose, opaque, and accountability-free that even some reformsters thought it was a bridge too far. Fans pushed back, but the act still languished.

Still, the act shambles on. It was pitched in 2007 at the very moment that Congress was beginning the long re-authorization slog. Then again in 2011. And last year some Congressmen were still trying to attach A-Plus to the ESSA, like a lamprey latched onto the butt of a giant elephant seal.

The purpose of the A-Plus Act has always been pretty clear. It is hard to hoover up all those federal public tax dollars for education when they come attached with all these rules and regulations like “you have to spend this money on helping poor kids read” or “you have to show that you spent that money on actual education stuff.” This goes well beyond even the accountability mavens of ed reform– when your big criticism of public ed is that it’s neither transparent nor accountable enough, a program that says “Just throw money at the states and trust that it will land somewhere useful” can’t seem like much of an improvement.

The Heritage Foundation smells opportunity. They were excited about welcoming DeVos to USED, and they released a similar action list for her (so she could become a “transformative leader”) a few weeks ago. That time they skipped A-Plus and instead proposed the old backpacks full of cash that follow the kids around.

The principle remains the same. Banks are really infringing on our freedom by putting their money in vaults and guarding it; to really let freedom ring, the money should just be set out on the sidewalk. Restaurants limit our freedom by not letting us walk into the kitchen and take whatever food we’re hungry for. And governments hogtie our freedom by insisting on all sorts of rules and regulations and proof that the money taxpayers handed over is being used for the purpose for which it was taken. Now is the time to bring back true freedom, because after all, America is only great when a man can reach out and grab whatever he wants without anyone telling him no. That kind of country is not just great– it is A-Plus!!

City of Grand Rapids Hosts meeting on being a Sanctuary City

by Jeff Smith (GRIID)
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Yesterday, an estimated 30 people took part in a meeting to discuss the issue of Grand Rapids becoming a Sanctuary City. There were representatives from city government, the Mayor, the City Manager, members of the Community Relations Commission and the Chief of Police.

The community was represented by several immigration lawyers, non-profit workers, community organizers and members of the faith community.

The first person to be given the floor to start discussion was the Chief of Police. He started by saying, “we don’t work to enforce national immigration policy.” Rahinsky said that once they arrest someone and process them into the county jail they no longer have jurisdiction over what happens to that person. The Chief of Police inferred that the Sheriff’s Department has say on how much they will cooperate with federal law enforcement and then he made the point that Grand Rapids operates as a Sanctuary City, even though they have never declared themselves as one.

What Grand Rapids has declared themselves as is a Welcoming City. In fact, Grand Rapids is one of ten cities in Michigan that has signed on to what are now called Welcoming Communities. The Welcoming City pledge has lots of positive language and takes a clear stand against hate.

However, there was not a great deal of clarity about what a Welcoming Community means in concrete terms and there is no evidence from the website that becoming a Welcoming Community provides any protections for those who are undocumented.

The impact on undocumented immigrants was the major concern from the members of the community who were in attendance. Several immigration lawyers and an ACLU lawyer made it clear that the current practice of the Grand Rapids Police Department does contribute to undocumented immigrants ending up in detention or face deportation, even for minor non-violent offenses such as traffic violations or a suspended driver’s license.

Read the full post here: https://griid.org/2016/12/14/city-of-grand-rapids-hosts-meeting-on-being-a-sanctuary-city/

Grand Rapids Institute for Information Democracy

screen-shot-2016-12-13-at-8-26-14-pm

Yesterday, an estimated 30 people took part in a meeting to discuss the issue of Grand Rapids becoming a Sanctuary City. There were representatives from city government, the Mayor, the City Manager, members of the Community Relations Commission and the Chief of Police.

The community was represented by several immigration lawyers, non-profit workers, community organizers and members of the faith community.

The first person to be given the floor to start discussion was the Chief of Police. He started by saying, “we don’t work to enforce national immigration policy.” Rahinsky said that once they arrest someone and process them into the county jail they no longer have jurisdiction over what happens to that person. The Chief of Police inferred that the Sheriff’s Department has say on how much they will cooperate with federal law enforcement and then he made the point that Grand Rapids operates as a Sanctuary City, even…

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