Why Betsy DeVos’s “System” is Worse than the One We Have

Betsy DeVos likes to slam “the system” (i.e., public education) and claim self-righteously that she focuses on what’s best for individuals, not the “system.” What she means is privatization of public funding and school choice that includes religious and private schools, cybercharters, homeschooling, for-profit schooling, and anything else that can be dreamed up by someone who wants a share of public funding. Hang out s shingle, and–poof–you are a school.

This is sometimes called a lifeboat strategy. If the big ocean liner is in trouble, send out the lifeboats. Some will be sturdy, some will be leaky, there won’t be enough for everyone. Betsy zdeVos was put in charge of the ocean liner by ztrump and she doesn’t want to fix it. In fact, she grew up on a yacht, and she hates ocean liners. She will do her best to sink it rather than advocate for necessary repairs. She claims she is doing it for the passengers in steerage, but she has lived her entire life in the Super DeLuxe top deck and has no idea how to raise up those in the bottom deck–below the waterline–other than to urge them to take their price of admission and flee.

Roy Turrentine, teacher and reader of this blog, has a different view of DeVos’s crusade against “the system”:

“I would submit that DeVos has a point. If a system, which seems the operant word in the fray, does not help the individual, you eventually get a rebellion against it, even if the system is the monarchy of France in the eighteenth century. DeVos’ point, however, may be easily turned on its head. If her system were truly a way of helping individuals, we could support it. But it is not. Rather it is a system of damning some to live in poverty so a few can live in luxury.

“When DeVos calls public education a system, and seeks to supplant it with another system, she is being dishonest when she does not call it a system. All attempts at societal organization are systems. It just so happens that her system seeks to rip the support for public education from it by enticing the most dedicated participants in the system from it and passing them off to a group of schools where these people, who have the time and money to advocate for the kids, will advocate only for the kids who are in that particular school. This is a good plan if you are trying to wreck public education.

“We could argue that the DeVos plan (we wreck public education so that concerned parents begin to choose alternatives and then we make money off the alternatives) has precedents in the way the public system works. Local control of school boards can mean that parents are really interested that students in Jones County are well served. All well and good, but Smith County, which is right beside Jones, cannot afford to fund education. The people in Smith have to just get by. Their teachers teach for a few years, then get a job in Jones, where the pay is considerably higher and the number of problematic students is lower. No one in the Jones County political system will be willing to go to the state capital and argue for higher funding of education. No one in the Smith County district will dare suggest more funding because most cannot pay it. So parents who care about education move to the rich places so their kids can get a good education.

“What we need to rectify this inequitable system is not a DeVos blowup of the present one. If you blow the bridge, no one crosses it. What we do need is a public funding of public schools that actually helps the public, not small parts of it. Then, and only then, will “the system” help the individual student. If DeVos and the rest of the voucher proponents truly wanted to help the individual, they would get on board with taxing those who can pay for the good of the system. But they would lose their political base. Everybody wants a great system, but nobody wants to pay for it.”

from novemoore http://ift.tt/2w6HsTV

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