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The NYTime Weighs in on the DeVos Disaster

February 3, 2017

The editorial in today’s NYTimes, “Wanted One Republican With Integrity to Defeat Betsy DeVos”, expresses alarm that our government is on the verge of appointing a deeply unqualified individual to head the Department of Education. I had a mixed reaction to this editorial.

On the one hand, I was pleased that the editors recognize that Betsy DeVos not only lacks the skills needed to lead the Department of Education but also lacks the commitment to public education required to lead our nation’s schools. The editors write:

She has spent years funneling her inherited fortune into a campaign to replace the nation’s traditional public schools with federally funded charter schools, regardless of the latter’s performance, and supporting vouchers, which help families send children to private or parochial schools and drain funds from public schools that need more, not less, support.

But on the other hand, as readers of this blog realize, the NYTimes has championed the cause of deregulated for-profit charter schools, supported Mayor Bloomberg’s inexperienced appointee to Chancellor, and promoted that Chancellor’s efforts to close “failing” schools and, in doing so, “…replace the city’s traditional neighborhood schools with state and locally funded charter schools, regardless of the latter’s performance” and regardless of the selectivity of those charter schools. In short, the NYTimes editors previously support everything Ms. DeVos stands for except her behind the scenes underwriting of campaigns to implement choice plans that are different from NYC’s only in the respect that they enable children to use government funds to attend sectarian schools. In short, Ms. DeVos’ voucher plan is a natural outgrowth of the deregulated charters advocated by the NYTimes in their previous editorials.

And then there is the overarching issue that has given us Donald Trump: the Republican party’s premise that “government is the problem”. Is it any surprise that the party has “evolved” to a point where they are represented by a President with complete disdain for ANYTHING the government does? And with such an arrogant and thoughtless leader is it any surprise that he is nominating department heads who want to disable the government and deregulate? Welcome to the plutocracy… And maybe those voters who support the notion that “government is the problem” should realize that in our representative Democracy, we get to choose who will govern us…

Maybe in 2018 we can elect some representatives and Senators who want the government to work for us…. In the meantime we will be governed by a White House whose policies are being written by a group of anti-regulation and ant-government billionaires who are unwittingly (I hope) destroying the democratic governance structure that enabled them to earn their fortunes.

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