Hey hey, ho ho, innovation’s got to go!

New education secretary walked through fire to bring real change

The first thing to know about Betsy DeVos, now that she’s survived a stunningly malicious confirmation to be U.S. Secretary of Education, is simply this: She’s not fighting to get rich kids school choice.

 

They already have it.


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She and others in the movement are trying to bring school choice to all kids – particularly disadvantaged and minority students.

For this, she was crucified on Capitol Hill by cynical Democrats on behalf of their powerful patrons in the entrenched public education lobby.

Educational choice is the civil rights crusade of the early 21st century, and yet so many on the left and in inner cities have been hoodwinked into bitterly opposing it – curiously siding with the education bureaucracy rather than with kids and their parents.

To their eternal shame, one group of addled protesters even physically blocked Sec. DeVos’ visit to a Washington, D.C., school shortly after her confirmation. One protester was arrested, which begs the question: why weren’t more?

This is how blindly and fervently they oppose school reform and school choice, and how religiously they cling to their public education bibles and stick to their anti-choice guns out of fear of people who don’t think like they do. How sad.

We’ve seen it here as well: Last year, the public education bureaucracy rose up to oppose, and ultimately kill, a constitutional amendment that would’ve given the state of Georgia more power to rescue kids from certifiably chronically failing schools. The status quo, however ineffectual, must be preserved! How sad.

The character assassination of Betsy DeVos was a new low in American politics. Thankfully, there’s nowhere to go but up.

Particularly if Sec. DeVos is successful at bringing innovation and freedom to education.

“Millions of poor, disadvantaged students are trapped children in failing schools,” President Trump said at a recent meeting with DeVos and other child advocates, public and private. “It really is a crisis in education. We’re going to change it around, especially for the African-American communities. I want every single disadvantaged child in America, no matter what their background or where they live, to have a choice about where they go to school.”

DeVos’ website notes that, because of the American Federation for Children she has chaired, “over one million children are now in the school of their parents’ choice, instead of being trapped by their zip code in a school that failed to meet their needs.”

Contemptuous opponents tried to sneer that DeVos, who is wealthy, “bought” her Cabinet post. Yeah, right. Donald Trump needed the money.

The truth is quite the opposite, and supremely more uplifting: DeVos and her husband Dick have put their own money into avant-garde educational initiatives, including a public – note the word public – charter school “that combines their mutual passion for education with Dick’s love of aviation.”

How truly unfortunate – and what a statement about contemporary America – that such altruistic people get such brickbats in return. As one liberal journalist recently acknowledged, too many of his fellow liberals appear to have succumbed to “paranoia, mean-spiritedness and an aversion to understanding.”

Thank God there are still private citizens out there such as Betsy DeVos who will courageously walk through the fires of indignity and invective to serve us – despite ourselves.

Tom Golden 8 months ago
Yes, start bussing all children in failing Richmond County schools to high-performing Columbia County schools immediately, if those are the schools they choose to be in.
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Tom Golden 8 months ago
Great! When can the RC kids start going to the well-funded CC schools they'd prefer ... Tomorrow? And guess what Sandy, I'm for school EQUALITY, with equal access ACROSS districts, so when you call me a racist that opposes black kids going to ANY school, you're a liar.

"School choice" are empty words used by racist segregationists. You want school choice? Great. Open your well-funded, suburban schools to under-served kids NOW. You've kept them out for decades, and you want to point fingers at others, and say their policies are racist? Who do you think you're fooling with that completely transparent BS? 
Val White 8 months ago

Parents who choose to send their children to other school districts mean they are serious about their children's education.  That's a good thing and the first step in instilling the importance of education into their kids.


However, those parents and their children must realize that they are going to be disciplined and expected to perform up to standards or they will be denied attendance at that school.

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Tom Golden 8 months ago
Great Sandy, let them in. Don't be a racist. Open your schools to inner-city black children, immediately. Give them the choice you've denied them for decades. 

But until then, maybe you should lay off the false piety of your last post, don't you think? Until then, you're just a hypocrite.
Bill Pinot 8 months ago
I see fingerpointing and blame all over this and the comments, but, none pointing out the root cause of failures in schools.  PARENTS!  If the parents are involved with their children and enforce values then no matter the school or location the child will be successful.  Not all are wired to be college graduates.  Some are better with their hands.  We still need people to build things from wood and metal.  We still need people to fix cars, appliances and homes. We still need people to grow our food.  Many are more suited to this than a college degree in liberal arts, or how to rate a movie!  Today's world has too much emphasis on a college degree for jobs, while forgetting that experience is what built those jobs!
Dee STAFFORD 8 months ago
Bill, you are so right. The parents are the key to learning coupled with the home environment.

  I believe if the parents, and particularly those in the inner city schools, had a say-so in where their children went to school more of them would take an interest because they would feel the ownership.

I can see the parents in the neighborhood discussing where the best place to send their child and the ones who have shown no interest in the past would now be drawn into the the discussions and start caring and getting involved.

Studies show over half of the kids in college are not ready for college and should not be there.  The thing now is college has become a cash cow since the government is providing the money for the kids to be tens of thousands of dollars in debt upon graduation with a useless degree. Colleges try to compete as vacation getaways with all the amenities.

We should look at some of the European models whereby children are allowed to be tracked into vocational training at let's say the eighth grade. If they later want to change to college prep they could and vice-versa.  

There are places now, and I think some in RC, that partnership with companies to do this and it gives the kid a job when he graduates.

Mike Rowe of Dirty Jobs fame is a big pusher of this.
Bill Pinot 8 months ago
Dee, I agree almost completely with you except for allowing them to cross to another county or area school.  If the parents want to pay the school taxes for that different system or county, then I'm all for it, but, don't burden the residents of a successful system with more immigrants who are taking a free ride.  If you do so you'll only reduce the successful ones to the level of unsuccessful!  If the parents would demand of the school board and not elect members who get into a free for all during meetings, they could affect change.  Who you vote into those positions says a lot about what you'll have as a product of the system!
Tom Golden 8 months ago
That's so strange, Bill. You say different districts have different resources, and that poor kids going to wealthy districts would just be getting a free ride? That's so weird. It almost sounds like you're saying schools in wealthy districts have more resources than schools in poor districts? But that can't be. We hear all of the time that poor urban districts are just the victims of racist Democrats. You make it seem like poverty might be part of the issue, and that's just preposterous!

But that's all behind us now, with school choice. Now kids in poor urban districts can choose wealthy suburban schools. Finally!
Dee STAFFORD 8 months ago
Bill, I agree.  They should be within the same school system/ district for the reason you give. I didn't intend to give any suggestion otherwise.
Roland SASSER 8 months ago

It defies all logic when the Democrats fight tooth in nail to prevent school choice. Talk about bought and paid for, the teacher unions own them! Once upon a time our student achievement was ranked # 1 in the world. The last time I checked, we were ranked 26! I'll bet that most of those who opposed DeVos, have their own kids in private schools. My grand kids are in a private school because their parents can afford it and the schools in and around Chattanooga are substandard. 


Washington DC has some of the worst schools in the nation and for that reason, Obama sent his little girls to private schools. Upon his arrival in 2008, he abolished a school voucher program for inner city blacks that allowed them to escape to a better school, can you spell HYPOCRITE boys and girls. 


The teacher unions own the Democrats! They are more concerned about power and themselves, than their mission which is to educate. Our kids are graduating with a substandard education. Why do you think so many HS graduates are forced to take remedial classes upon entering college. Why do you think so many high tech companies are hiring outside the US.  


Our education system is broken! We spend more money per child than any other advanced country on earth. Better wake up, our kids are tomorrows leaders. Our education system is in the ditch, time to get it back on firm ground. 

Dee STAFFORD 8 months ago
Another spot-on editorial.

What one has to understand about Democrats is they think the people are stupid and they are blessed by whatever deity they believe at the moment to control the lives of Americans.

They want the states to be provinces rather than the sovereign beings they are as established by the Constitution.

Marx and Lenin understood the power of controlling the education of the children leading to the control of the people.

The Democrats want to be puppet masters and one of the strings is education of children.

Val White 8 months ago

It is mind boggling to me that the democrat voters/parents have not realized their children are being denied an education and have not questioned their representatives as to why they are against school choice. 


As pointed out in the OPED, the rich parents already have school choice so that negates the argument that the liberals put forth that school choice is only for the rich - they don't need vouchers, the middle and lower classes do.


Once again proof that democrats do not think for themselves or they'd figure that out.

Tom Golden 8 months ago
Great! Open up access to public schools in wealthy districts now! I have to admit that it's a bit puzzling that you think parents in poor districts don't know they're being underserved, since they've been making that case for decades, but great! Y'all have decided to reverse course on this! When can they start at your schools?
Dee STAFFORD 8 months ago
I would hope we eventually get rid of the Department of Education and here are some reasons I believe it should go:

It's unconstitutional. The word "education'' never appears in the Constitution which means the federal government has no place in education business as it violates the 10th Amendment. Each state should be incomplete control of what its students are taught and the leaders should be held accountable to the people of that state.

It's expensive. The DoE has over 80 subagencies, employs more than 4,000 people, and has an annual budget of nearly $70 billion. When other federal spending like Head Start, which has been proven over and over to be a failed program, and the School Lunch Program, that balloons to more than $100 billion.

It doesn't work.  Since it's founding in 1979 and the billions and billions it has cost the worse the education results have gone down and our rankings in the world have fallen drastically.

It hinders school choice and student freedom. Just look at how many children are trapped in failing schools. Over 60% of the schools in Richmond Country are failing.  Look at the forced Common Core and standardize that have destroyed learning as an example of state freedom.

It's scary.  The DoE are now able to build dossiers and track children based on federally required mandates. That is just the beginning because bureaucrats have an insatiable thirst for information and data on the citizens.
Val White 8 months ago
I may not be remembering accurately, but it seems to me the government insinuated itself into education in the late 50's/early 60's.  At that time, we trusted our government (foolishly maybe, but we did). 
Tom Golden 8 months ago
Excellent, Dee. Let's start bussing them away from those failing RC schools and giving them the choice of attending well-funded CC schools right away. People opposed that down here for decades, I'm glad they've finally reversed course on that. School choice! Finally. They can start tomorrow, right? When will DeVos implement this freedom of choice? 

I have to admit that I'm puzzled that CC residents haven't fought for this bussing of inner city kids or to their suburban schools before. I mean, they oppose the racist Democrats that have kept them stuck in failing RC schools, right? I'd have thought they'd be a little more proactive on this. Sometimes it almost makes  what Sandy says on this issue look like hypocritical BS, but that can't be, can it?
Dee STAFFORD 8 months ago
Tom, I think they must stay in the same district because where the parents pay taxes.  I think if there is a voucher system where the parents can send their children to ANY school in the district they wish.  If there are failing public schools and they didn't improve it would up the demand for private schools to provide the unfulfilled need.
Roland SASSER 8 months ago
Another thought! Three quarters of all black children are born into broken or nonexistent families. This "It's takes a village to raise a child" is a bunch of Democratic/liberal crap. It takes a FAMILY! I believe one of the ways to break this cycle is a good education. It also takes parental involvement which is sadly lacking these days. The Democrats are scared! The last thing they want are educated minorities. They want to keep them dumbed down and beholden to them for a free ride.  
Tom Golden 8 months ago
Great! Bring them into your schools, now. You could have done this years ago. Glad you're finally deciding to do so. When will they start?
chas cushman 8 months ago
The dumocrats want to continue the poor education of black kids they know if the kids become educated they will most likely no longer become dumocrats.
chas cushman 8 months ago
It took the Great Society and dumocrats 50 yrs to build this mess and it will take a long time to fix it.
Vic mccoy 8 months ago

This website has problems.  About half the time the comment section is not available.

 What Gives?

Gary McNeal 8 months ago
Vic, I had problems since its inception and even called the Chronicle about the issues without much help. Finally i started submitting rants through the R&R section and now it has worked fine for now 3 days. After all the problems, still not holding my breath, but have fingers crossed.
Roland SASSER 8 months ago

Vic,

    I'm a relative newcomer to this forum, but I have found that if I close out their web site, reenter, making sure to sign in with password it becomes available. This works most of the time for me! I have found that the comments are closed at 4:30 - 5:00 AM, which makes no sense. I keep coming back until it's open for comment!

Tom Golden 8 months ago
So when is it starting, everyone? When are you giving inner city kids the choice of attending your well-funded suburban schools? Why not start now? We could have been doing this for years. 

Please. Show us. Prove to us that "school choice" is not just another empty, racist, lie. We eagerly await. It's strange that you could have been giving poor black kids that choice all along, but haven't. Y'all even fought bussing across district lines. 

But now you're for giving them that choice? Great. Prove it. Let them in. Stop flapping your gums with empty words and empty promises. SHOW US.
chas cushman 8 months ago
You are correct it could have been done a long time ago but the dumocrats keep on blocking it.
William O. Darby 8 months ago
"Yes, start bussing all children in failing Richmond County schools to high-performing Columbia County schools immediately, if those are the schools they choose to be in."
.
And for the second day in a row, Tommy gets one right!  Although I doubt that this time that was his intention.

First the money must be diverted from the failing public schools into the needed vouchers, and then dedicated to the children who want and need to escape.  Then the parents of said children are to be free to use those vouchers to send their little ones to either a public or private* school of their choice.

So yes, logistics does play a major role and there would be a details to be worked out.  But it does appear that we might FINALLY be facing up to the problem of union dominated public education. (That's just GOT to drive the lefty-loonies up the wall.)

The left will whine incessantly about the evils of such a "radical" idea but all one needs to do is look at the current morass that they have given us, and it becomes obvious that the horrific failures of the past decades must end.

Pouring money into failing schools has proven to be the ideological and educational equivalent of giving repeated blood transfusions to a corpse.  

*Diverting public funds into vouchers frees up money, some of which will generate an increase in private schools, thereby meeting a growing need for parents who want that choice for their children.
Tom Golden 8 months ago
"Although I doubt that this time that was his intention."
---------
Of course you doubt it. Set up a false target, knock it down. Its what you do.

People on the left have been calling for school integration across district borders for decades. Who do you think you're fooling with this sudden coming-to-Jesus moment? Open your schools, now. Show us.
William O. Darby 8 months ago
"Please. Show us. Prove to us that "school choice" is not just another empty, racist, lie. We eagerly await. It's strange that you could have been giving poor black kids that choice all along, but haven't. Y'all even fought bussing across district lines."
.
Are you sensing the loony-left panic folks?  This is delicious. You have to love it!  It's not unlike force-feeding a homicidal maniac who is on a hunger strike.

Democrats have blocked vouchers at every turn. Even in the District of Columbia where they have total control. Democrats/socialists have blocked this concept for decades. And if they manage to take back even one house of the legislature two years from now, this all ends.

Pedal to the metal Betsy,  God speed!  May the Force (whatever that is) be with you!  We FINALLY have a chance to break free of the third world mentality that permeates the American education system.
Tom Golden 8 months ago
"Are you sensing the loony-left panic folks?"
------------
Set up a false target, knock it down.

I'll repeat: people on the left have been calling for school integration across district borders for decades. 

Enough gum flapping. Enough empty mottos. Enough straw man rhetoric. Enough claims of racist policies. 

Enough obstruction of kids in poor districts from attending PUBLIC schools in wealthy districts. Open your schools, now. Show us.

William O. Darby 8 months ago
"Y'all even fought bussing across district lines."
.
Yeah, but we lost that one and its total failure proved us right. It just increased the numbers of kids in failed schools.

Winston Churchill could well have been talking about bussing school kids when he said, socialism's "inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery."

Tom Golden 8 months ago
But now you've reversed course, and kids from urban schools afflicted by poverty can choose to go to wealthy suburban public schools again. 

Excellent. Show us these aren't empty words. School choice now.
William O. Darby 8 months ago
"People on the left have been calling for school integration across district borders for decades. Who do you think you're fooling with this sudden coming-to-Jesus moment? Open your schools, now. Show us."
.
See that folks.... the loonies actually believe that "integration"  is somehow "school choice".  Problem is, the loonies can't think beyond integration.
We've had integration for decades now.  The next logical step would be schools that work, schools that teach, schools that turn out graduates that compete with the best around the world. The left DOES NOT WANT THAT!
 
"Open your schools now, Show us." 
.
Glad you asked. That's exactly what will happen under this plan.

Tom Golden 8 months ago
"See that folks.... the loonies actually believe that "integration"  is somehow "school choice".  Problem is, the loonies can't think beyond integration."
-----
Straw man. Again. You can't help yourself. Set up a fake premise, knock it down. It's a constant with you. Try a little self-honesty. It won't hurt.

"School choice" isn't integration across district lines. It is providing vouchers to be spent on private or charter schools ... And the latter is simply within-district privatization, not choice. Private schools, meanwhile, would still be out of reach costwise for most urban and rural poor. So essentially, "school choice" is just a for-profit scheme and so far many charter schools have cost taxpayers MORE money, without results.

So make it REAL choice. Open wealthy public schools to children from impoverished areas. You seem to think that's going to happen under school choice Darby, and I will applaud when it does.

The rest of your comrades are uncharacteristically silent on the prospect of actual choice.
William O. Darby 8 months ago
"But now you've reversed course, and kids from urban schools afflicted by poverty can choose to go to wealthy suburban public schools again.
.
You say that like it's a bad thing.
................................................................................................................................................

"Excellent. Show us these aren't empty words. School choice now."
 .
Let me guess, you were diagnosed with A.D.D. in school?

School choice is EXACTLY what you're getting, Aren't you paying attention?








Tom Golden 8 months ago
"School choice is EXACTLY what you're getting, Aren't you paying attention?"
--------
Oh, I am paying attention, Darby. You aren't though. 

Bill and Dee have already demonstrated my case above. They have no intention of allowing any public school choice that crosses district boundaries. 

So no. Choice is not what "school choice" means. When wealthy districts open their public schools to the urban poor that choose to attend them, THEN choice would be exactly what we're getting.

There's an easier way to achieve educational excellence, and that is the Finland model. They have
local control of schools, including the freedom to define curricula -- but financial resources are distributed equally across all public schools, regards of local tax base differences.

When Finland implemented true resource equality in public schools, they went from being one of the worst performers globally to consistently being a top five performer in reading, science, and math. And that was achieved without the logistical hoop-jumping of bussing or vouchers, and certainly without turning it into a profit scheme for the politically connected.
Tom Golden 8 months ago
"Let me guess, you were diagnosed with A.D.D. in school?"
--------
And by the way, that's yet ANOTHER fallacy. But this time you're going with the ad hominem attacks. You are completely oblivious to your own thought habits -- or you just think your standards for others don't apply to yourself.
Gary McNeal 8 months ago
"The rest of your comrades are uncharacteristically silent on the prospect of actual choice."

No Tommy, some us just refuse to have a conservation with a KNOW IT ALL.
I think Darby just enjoys watching a cat chase after his tail.

You know, what's the problem? Trump's trying to get the best bang for our 100 billion a year buck and try to find some savings.
If i were you id find something else down the road to let my head explode over, by then you'll be all by yourself and will be less messy.
You and ole Bernie keep going to these other countries. What, Finland about the size of richmond county? Great analogy, sure would be easy to set that model in this 330 million society don't you? 
Hey though, that was a nice bait job at 2 am and come back trolling for fish later!
William O. Darby 8 months ago
"I think Darby just enjoys watching a cat chase after his tail."
.
Darn, Gary... you got me!
William O. Darby 8 months ago
Gary - It wasn't that long ago that the lefty-loonies were commending Venezuela to us as a model of socialist superiority.  Now that country is a basket case and they want us to look to Finland. Why not Al Capps Lower Slobbvia.
William O. Darby 8 months ago
And Gary -ACES just informed me that I've hit my limit for posting today so if you don't mind, I'm gonna piggy-back on YOU to post my last reply of the day.  I don't reply directly to Tommy anymore because I've lost all respect for him.
......................................................................................................................
"And by the way, that's yet ANOTHER fallacy. But this time you're going with the ad hominem attacks."
.
What fallacy? I didn't accuse you of anything, or make any claim. All I did was form an assumption (That you MIGHT have been diagnosed with A.D.D. as a child) and then frame it as a question to you. All you needed to do was confirm, deny, refute or just ignore my question.

   (You ignore a post directed at you. That's laughable!  Like Chuck Schumer avoiding a microphone.)

Instead, you first make one more in a string of a silly accusations.....
"And by the way, that's yet ANOTHER straw man. You are completely oblivious to your own thought habits
.......bolstering my conviction that you don't really understand the concept.

Then you went back and edited your original post to remove the "straw man" reference.  So who is it that is oblivious to his own thought habits? (Whatever that means in English?)

I believe Gary might just be right, you DO seem to enjoy chasing your own posterior.
..................................................................................................................
See you guys tomorrow. Maybe.

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