For the left, you can have the choice to abort your unborn children, without restraints, but you must never be allowed to have school choice for your born children.
The Senate made history Tuesday when Mike Pence became the first Vice President to cast the deciding vote for a cabinet nominee.
The nominee is now Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. The vote came after an all-night Senate debate in a futile effort by Democrats to turn the third Republican vote they needed to scuttle the nomination on claims that the long-time education reformer isn’t qualified. Republicans Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins had already caved, so Mr. Pence had to cast the 51st vote to confirm Mrs. DeVos.
She can now get on with her work, but this episode shouldn’t pass without noting what it says about the modern Democratic Party. Why would the entire party apparatus devote weeks of phone calls, emails and advocacy to defeating an education secretary? This isn’t Treasury or Defense. It’s not even a federal department that controls all that much education money, most of which is spent by states and local school districts. Why is Betsy DeVos the one nominee Democrats go all out to defeat?
The answer is the cold-blooded reality of union power and money. The National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers are, along with environmentalists, the most powerful forces in today’s Democratic Party. They elect Democrats, who provide them more jobs and money, which they spend to elect more Democrats, and so on. To keep this political machine going, they need to maintain their monopoly control over public education.
Mrs. DeVos isn’t a product of that monopoly system. Instead she looked at this system’s results—its student failures and lives doomed to underachievement—and has tried to change it by offering all parents the choice of charter schools and vouchers. Above all, she has exposed that unions and Democrats don’t really believe in their high-minded rhetoric about equal opportunity. They believe in lifetime tenure and getting paid.
This sorry politics means that no Democrat could dare support Mrs. DeVos, even if it meant a humiliating about-face like the one performed by New Jersey Senator Cory Booker…
Running for president is a soulless business, Save Jerseyans.
Ask U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-Twitter) who once again reversed himself (and jettisoned his dignity) on Tuesday, coming out strongly against Education Secretary Betsy DeVos‘s confirmation by the full Senate despite a significant track record, in his past life, of working with her on education issues.
What makes Mrs. DeVos seem so threatening to the teachers’ unions and their political allies?
She has, for more than 20 years, been promoting programs, laws and policies that enable parents to choose which schools their children will attend — whether these are charter schools, voucher schools or parochial schools.
Some of these charter schools — especially those in the chain of the Success Academy schools and the chain of the KIPP (Knowledge Is Power Program) schools — operate in low-income, minority neighborhoods in the inner-cities, and turn out graduates who can match the educational performances of students in affluent suburbs. What is even more remarkable, these charter schools are often housed in the very same buildings, in the very same ghettoes, where students in the regular public schools fail to learn even the basics in English or math.
You and I may think this is great. But, to the teachers’ unions, such charter schools are a major threat to their members’ jobs — and ultimately to the unions’ power or existence.
If parents have a choice of where to send their children, many of those parents are not likely to send them to failing public schools, when there are alternative schools available that equip those youngsters with an education that can open the way to a far better future for them.
Already there are tens of thousands of children on waiting lists to get into charter schools, just in New York alone. Those waiting lists are a clear threat to teachers’ unions, whose leaders think schools exist to provide guaranteed jobs for their members.
Mrs. DeVos has shown for more than 20 years that she thinks schools exist to educate children. One of the biggest complaints about her is that, unlike Secretaries of Education before her, she does not come out of the government’s education establishment. Considering what a miserable job that establishment has done, especially in inner-city schools, her independence is a plus.
The Education Department rules dealt with “teacher preparation issues and accountability.”
The teacher-prep rule is “yet another example of Obama overreach,” Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-Va., chairwoman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, said on the House floor Tuesday. “The teacher preparation rule essentially creates a federal system for evaluating teacher performance. It would be virtually impossible to implement and could lead to fewer teachers serving low-income students.”
The accountability rule stems from the Every Student Succeeds Act, which “empowers states to develop ways to hold schools accountable to the students and parents they serve and ensure taxpayer dollars are being spent responsibly,” Foxx said.
“The department’s accountability rule, however, does the exact opposite,” she continued. “Not only does it impose prescriptive accountability requirements on state education leaders, but it also violates specific prohibitions the law places on the secretary of education’s authority.
“Together, these two resolutions of disapproval will move us toward limiting the federal role in education and protect the local control promised with recent education reforms,” she said.