My Response to Senator Lamar Alexander on Betsy DeVos's Confirmation to the U.S. Department of Education Secretary
BY DAVID LIMBAUGH
Mrs. DeVos is a horrific choice for this important position and must be rejected.
MY Senator, Lamar Alexander, (@SenAlexander) issued a statement today that I have a lot of issues with.
Washington Post: Sen. Alexander: Betsy DeVos is not an education extremist and should be education secretary
“Democrats desperately are searching for a valid reason to oppose Betsy DeVos for U.S. education secretary because they don’t want Americans to know the real reason for their opposition.“
I am not nor never have been a Democrat. I am 57 years old and have NEVER voted in a Democratic Primary. I have a lot of valid reasons for NOT having Betsy DeVos in charge of OUR U.S. Department of Education. Her reply on IDEA should be reason enough. She also has no idea how student loans work and how public education actually operates. My final reason? The blatant appearance that if someone gives enough money over a long length of time he or she can use that to reach a position of power. Just out of curiosity, over the years, how much of the DeVos family contributions went in to your and other Senators' Leadership PACs? OpenSecrets.Org is a great place to look if you can't remember.
"That real reason? She has spent more than three decades helping children from low-income families choose a better school. Specifically, Democrats resent her support for allowing tax dollars to follow children to schools their low-income parents’ choose — although wealthy families choose their children’s schools every day."
No, she has helped SCHOOLS choose low-income families they want to accept into a 'better' school. Again Senator Lamar, I am not a Democrat, but what I resent is the equality of this based on one big reason,
KIDS CAN'T PICK THEIR PARENTS! How is is remotely fair that some kids get this supposed step up while kids whose parents do not care enough to be involved in the process supposedly get 'left behind'? What guarantees EVERY low-income student gets the 'helping hand' instead of just the students the schools 'cherry-pick'? Wealthy families can afford private school tuition. I believe Mrs. DeVos is familiar with that concept.
"Tax dollars supporting school choice is hardly subversive or new. In 2016, $121 billion in federal Pell Grants and new student loans followed 11 million college students to accredited public, private or religious schools of their choice, whether Notre Dame, Yeshiva, the University of Tennessee or Nashville’s auto diesel college. These aid payments are, according to Webster’s — “vouchers”-exactly the same form of payments that Mrs. DeVos supports for schools."
No – that is not true! Per Merriam-Webster: Voucher
"Definition of voucher
1 : an act of vouching
2 a : a piece of supporting evidence : proof
b : a documentary record of a business transaction
c : a written affidavit or authorization : certificate
d : a form or check indicating a credit against future purchases or expenditures
3 : a coupon issued by government to a parent or guardian to be used to fund a child's education in either a public or private school"
A Grant is not a Voucher! – no coupon involved with a Pell Grant! Pell Grants are available based on financial need. Students are not rejected for Pell Grants because a certain school only wants to accept certain students. In college, a student has to be accepted and then Pell Grants and student loans come into play. If a student does not get accepted into Notre Dame, Yeshiva, or the University of Tennessee that student still has other options, from Nashville’s auto diesel college to a junior college or other academic avenues. In a voucher system, if a student does not get the right lottery number or does not have the proper grades the option did not rest with the student, but the school. More importantly, if a student's mom and or dad do not even care to apply for him or her, then that student has been denied an equal opportunity to education, something a wise man named Thomas Jefferson thought was pretty important. According to the GOP I USED to know and love, that was an important issue in America, equal opportunity for all.
"America’s experience with education vouchers began in 1944 with the GI Bill. As veterans returned from World War II, federal tax dollars followed them to the college of their choice.
Why, then, is an idea that helped produce the Greatest Generation and the world’s best colleges such a dangerous idea for our children?"
These two paragraphs are so disingenuous. The G.I. Bill was not education 'vouchers', they were 'scholarships' given as payment/reward for the G.I.'s service. The country had a lot of men coming back from a World War and the economy needed educated workers and a new generation of college graduates. These were ADULTS choosing their future career and school choices. They were not depending on their mothers and fathers to get them into a good school. I am not saying vouchers/charter schools are DANGEROUS, I am stating that they are NOT FAIR!
"Mrs. DeVos testified that she opposes Washington, D.C., requiring states to adopt vouchers, unlike her critics who delight in a National School Board imposing their mandates on states, for example, Common Core academic standards."
I don't think a lot of people delight in Common Core. No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, and Every Child Succeeds are doomed to fail because testing is inherently unfair without reasonable flexibility and common sense. ACT scores motivate students because points equate to money in forms of scholarships. Testing in most circumstances has zero motivation for the students and they are literally in survival mode trying to finish a series of tests.
"So, who is in the mainstream here? The GI Bill, Pell Grants, student loans, both Presidents Bush, President Trump, the 25 states that allow parents to choose among public and private schools, Congress with its passage of the Washington, D.C. voucher program, 45 U.S. senators who voted in 2015 to allow states to use existing federal dollars for vouchers, Betsy DeVos — or her senate critics?"
We, the American public, are the mainstream. We realize that a person who has no idea what IDEA stands for, has no understanding of terms like Proficiency and Value Added, and has never worked as a teacher or administrator in a public school system and has no background in education academia or degrees in education is totally unqualified for this important job. I can name a dozen people who are highly qualified for this position. With my college degree from MTSU and my background I am more qualified! Mainstream America wants a Cabinet based on Competency and Qualifications, not money and networking.
"The second reason Democrats oppose Mrs. DeVos is that she supports charter schools — public schools with fewer government and union rules so that teachers have more freedom to teach and parents have more freedom to choose the schools. In 1992, Minnesota’s Democratic-Farmer-Labor party created a dozen charter schools. Today there are 6,800 in 43 states and the District of Columbia. President Obama’s last Education Secretary was a charter school founder. Again, who is in the mainstream? Minnesota’s Democratic-Farmer-Labor party, Presidents Bush, Clinton and Obama; the last six U.S. education secretaries, the U.S. Congress, 43 states and the District of Columbia, Betsy DeVos — or her Senate critics?"
Voucher proposals expose rift in school choice movement
There is a great video by John Oliver on Charter Schools. I suggest you check it out:
I agree there are some great success stories with Charter Schools. There have also been unmitigated disasters. I go back to the question of equality and fairness. Does EVERY student have access to a local charter school? Are there qualifications to get in? Same rules for accreditation and veracity of education being provided or rules for evaluating effectiveness? Are you familiar with Devos's views on this? You may want to research it? Does every student have an involved mom and or dad concerned with his or her education?
"Her critics dislike that she is wealthy. Would they be happier if she had spent her money denying children from low-income families choices of schools?
Mrs. DeVos’ senate opponents are grasping for straws. We didn’t have time to question her, they say, even though she met with each one of them in their offices, and her hearing lasted nearly an hour and a half longer than either of President Obama’s education secretaries."
I have zero problems with Mrs. DeVos being wealthy. I have wealthy friends. I (and a lot of Americans) have a problem with some of that wealth for years being funneled into the very peoples' PACs and Campaigns who are deciding on her confirmation. Let's make a deal, every U.S. Senator voting on her confirmation returns every penny he or she has ever received from her and her family. That is one less hurdle for me for her confirmation. I am not grasping at straws. If she was not wealthy or had never contributed to a political campaign, her Lack of Knowledge of the key word in this position, EDUCATION, is reason enough to not confirm her. Her response to IDEA was CHILLING and downright SCARY! No Straw there!
Can we say Leadership PACs?
You canceled future hearings because you were afraid to let her get in front of an open mic after the disaster of her first confirmation hearing. A competent, well-versed, confident in their abilities candidate does not have disasters for public hearings. This statement is by no means a straw!
"Now she is answering 837 written follow up questions from Democratic committee members — 1,397 if you include all the questions within a question. By comparison, Republicans asked President Obama’s first education secretary 53 written follow-up questions and his second education secretary 56 written follow-up questions, including questions within a question. In other words, Democrats have asked Mrs. DeVos 25 times as many follow-up questions as Republicans asked of either of President Obama’s education secretaries."
Basically, she failed the oral test, so let's get her prepped and let her study for the written exam. Is this test open-textbook or open-notes? Is someone tutoring her or helping her with hints?
"Finally, Democrats are throwing around conflict of interest accusations. But Betsy DeVos has signed an agreement with the independent Office of Government Ethics to divest, within 90 days of her confirmation, possible conflicts of interest identified by the ethics office, as every cabinet secretary is required to do. That agreement is on the internet."
Here is my Conflict of Interest: https://www.opensecrets.org/search?q=DEVOS
"Tax returns? Federal law does not require disclosure of tax returns for cabinet members, or for U.S. Senators. Both cabinet members and senators are already required to publish extensive disclosures of their holdings, income and debts. Cabinet members must also sign an agreement with the Office of Government Ethics to eliminate potential conflicts of interest."
I could care less about her tax returns. Her lack of competency in the field of EDUCATION is reason enough to just say NO!
"One year ago, because I believe presidents should have their cabinet in place in order to govern, I worked to confirm promptly President Obama’s nomination of John King to be Education Secretary, even though I disagreed with him."
Hmm.. John King.. You mean Dr. King?
“Prior to his arrival at the Department, Dr. King served since 2011 as the commissioner of education for the state of New York. In that role, he served as chief executive officer of the State Education Department and as president of the University of the State of New York, overseeing the state's elementary and secondary schools (serving 3.1 million students), public, independent and proprietary colleges and universities, libraries, museums, and numerous other educational institutions. Dr. King was one of the nation's youngest state education leaders at the time of his appointment and the first African-American and Puerto Rican to serve as New York State education commissioner.
Dr. King earned a Bachelor of Arts in Government from Harvard University, a Master of Arts in the teaching of social studies from Columbia University's Teachers College, a J.D. from Yale Law School, and a Doctor of Education degree in educational administrative practice from Columbia University's Teachers College. Dr. King was a 1995 Truman Scholar and received the James Madison Memorial Fellowship for secondary-level teaching of American history, American government, and social studies. Prior to joining the Department, in February 2011, Dr. King was appointed by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to serve on the U.S. Department of Education's Equity and Excellence Commission. In addition, Dr. King served on the board of New Leaders for New Schools from 2005 to 2009, and is a 2008 Aspen Institute-New Schools Entrepreneurial Leaders for Public Education Fellow."
This is basically going from a Nobel Prize Winning Nuclear Physicist to Rick Perry – Wait! Trump is doing that too!
"Even though they disagree with her, Democrats should also promptly confirm Betsy DeVos. Few Americans have done as much to help low-income students have a choice of better schools. She is on the side of our children. Her critics may resent that, but this says more about them than it does about her."
Ask the people of Michigan if they agree with that paragraph. Interview parents there and see how they feel. She is not on the side of children. She is on the side of generating revenue through education.
A fellow MTSU alum and friend: DEVOS, SESSIONS MISS HOW FEDERAL LAW AIDS DISABLED KIDS
Lamar, she can not even do her own homework!
DeVos questionnaire appears to include passages from uncited sources
Some other people's thoughts on DeVos:
Out of options and Betsy DeVos and the twilight of public education and