Most of the folks who voted for Donald Trump wanted some kind of change in Washington, D.C. There were doubtless folks who likely voted for Trump in the hope of some minor, albeit meaningful changes in the way things are done. There were probably a great many other folks who voted for Trump in the hope there would be sweeping change. Trump’s early Cabinet picks are indicative that we are going to see some big changes in the way business is done in the nation’s Capitol.
While all of Trump’s Cabinet picks will likely to be assailed by the national media, the leftists are really grumbling about Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions becoming Attorney General of the United States. Sessions is offensive to the mainstream media because it seems readily apparent he will drastically affect immigration policy simply by taking the novel approach of merely enforcing existing law. The choice of Betsy DeVos to serve as Secretary of Education has just about caused the heads of the National Education Association (the teachers’ union) to explode. The leftists are already chattering Ms. DeVos is anti-public education. Of course coming from Michigan, where the state government has had to bail out the Detroit public school system at a cost of several billion dollars to the taxpayers, Betsy DeVos has been a strong supporter of charter schools and vouchers. Detroit is also where several educators and administrators were sentenced to prison for accepting bribes and kickbacks from a businessman who was doing business with the public school system. Still, the NEA would have us believe there are no bad educators.
The teachers’ union is, naturally, horrified by Betsy DeVos’s appointment as Secretary of Education and will wage a bitter fight against her nomination when it is sent to the United States Senate. We’ve all heard the argument that support for charter schools takes away needed money for public schools. Keep in mind charter schools cannot charge tuition, nor can they discriminate against children with special needs, including those with disabilities; charter schools may not pose special requirements for admission nor can they teach religion. Charter schools must adhere to all the same guidelines imposed by the state and federal governments, just like any other public school. Charter schools, like every other public school in America, must administer tests and follow all standards set by the state. The primary difference between a charter school and the ordinary public school is how charter schools teach the curriculum. To use Colorado as an example, six of the top ten middle schools in the state are charter schools and seven of the top ten high schools are charter schools. Five of the ten schools with the highest ACT scores are charter schools. From the statistics available, almost 47% of the students attending charter schools in Colorado are minorities.
The unionists cry that they are protecting the children; the truth is they are protecting their own interests and political cartel. Children don’t pay union dues and the teachers’ union has fought bitterly to keep the doors open for failing schools. They argue that the problem can be solved through spending more money. We’ve tried that solution here locally and oddly, the schools where we have spent the most money per student continue to languish. Obviously that approach has failed and doesn’t work, otherwise there would be much more improvement than we’ve seen. The only other explanation for that failure is that the people spending the money don’t know how best to spend it for positive results. Neither explanation is reassuring.
Ultimately, the thesis of the unionists is the government knows what’s best for your child; they are perfectly content to allow government officials to make all the decisions to the exclusion of the parents. The union will always maintain teachers should not be and cannot be fairly evaluated by how much students learn. That might protect their jobs, but it sure doesn’t help either children or the quality of education. Much as they may to try and argue otherwise, charter schools are indeed public schools.
Betsy DeVos is an innovative choice to serve as Secretary of Education and is yet another signal that change is on the way.