The Saga of Sam Brownback’s Kansas: Struggling to Make Things As Good As They Used to Be


Sam Brownback, Kansas’ governor may leave, if his appointment is ever approved by the U.S. Senate for a position in the Trump administration, but even if the appointment is never approved, term limits in Kansas mean he won’t be governor after this year. The budget he proposed earlier this month will be his final budget proposal. A lot of legislators, even those in his own party, are ready to see the last of Brownback’s budgets and his theories of public finance. You will remember that his rollback of the state’s income taxes in 2012 and 2013—what he described as a real live experiment in supply-side economics—utterly failed.

After Brownback slashed taxes, the state’s economy failed to grow, the state ran out of money, and the state’s supreme court found Kansas school funding unconstitutionally inadequate.

Last year in a miracle of bipartisan consensus, members of the legislature addressed the state’s financial…

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Betsy DeVos Watch: Billionaires and Populist Rhetoric

Grand Rapids Institute for Information Democracy

As of this writing, the Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, has posted 26 speeches on the Department of Education website. Of those 26 speeches, some of them have been given during college or university commencements, while others have been with other state or national education conferences.

However, there are a disproportionally high number of speeches that Betsy DeVos has delivered that specifically addresses organizations and associations that are far right politically and embrace education privatization.

Here is a list of the speeches she has delivered to these far right and other groups representing the current Neoliberal establishment:

2/23/2017 Conservative Political Action Conference

3/29/2017 Brookings Institute

5/22/2017 American Federation of Children

6/13/2017 National Alliance for Public Charter Schools

7/20/2017 American Legislative Exchange Council

10/13/2017 Washington Policy Center

10/27/2017 Future Farmers of America

11/30/2017 Foundation for Excellence in Eduction

1/16/2018 American Enterprise Institute

(Editor’s Note: This list of speeches by…

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National School Choice Week: A Time to Examine How the Lessons of ECOT’s Demise Apply Beyond Ohio


During this National School Choice Week, a celebration of school privatization that is being financially and ideologically promoted by people like Jeb Bush and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, it is a good time to consider the lessons we have been learning about the impact of parental choice and what is virtually always at the center of school choice: privatization of education at public expense.

One obvious and little noticed problem for those who seek to bring the problems of school choice to the public’s attention is that the laws which established charter schools and govern their operation are state-specific.  When an unscrupulous charter school, or even a big chain of charters goes down in another state, it is easy to think, “This isn’t relevant to me,” and maybe skip reading the story.  Even if the Network for Public Education (NPE) releases a high quality, incisive a report on…

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