Betsy DeVos’s Calendar Confirms Her Lack of Interest in the Public Schools


Most of us define K-12 public schools as the civic institutions where, by law and through the democratic process, society can best protect the rights and serve the educational needs of 50 million of our children. Public schools are owned, governed, and funded by the public. They are also required to be accessible for all. Most of us believe society ought to strive to operate excellent public schools as a public responsibility.

But, according to a new profile by Washington Post reporter Moriah Balingit, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is intent on redefining public education. Balingit quotes DeVos: “The definition of public education should be to educate the public. That’s why we should fight less about the word that comes before ‘school.'” Here are the words DeVos believes we ought to ignore: public school, charter school, voucher school, religious school, private school.

Most of us understand the federal…

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Astroturf School Board Electioneering


In many communities across the United States, school board elections are a local, grassroots affair. In my own community, for example, we will elect three new members to the board of education. I have signs in my front yard for three of the four candidates who are running for office and I have modestly donated to one of the campaigns. My choice of candidates is based on considerable conversation with one of the candidates and a careful study of the priorities of each of the others. I spent three hours last week at a local candidates’ night listening to candidates for local offices including all of those running for school board. My choices are based on my grasp of the issues in our local schools and personal information I’ve been able to gather.

But in a growing number of mostly bigger cities, school board elections are being dominated by Astroturf…

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