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Posts Tagged ‘DeVos’

Andre Perry, Writer for The Root, Links DeVos’ Deregulation with Weinstein Accusations

November 2, 2017 Leave a comment

From time to time, the Google feed on Public Schools offers an insightful article from an unfamiliar source, and yesterday’s feed offered a particularly compelling one by Andre Perry from The Root titled “Betsy DeVos, Our Education System Produces Harvey Weinsteins and We Need to Change That.” In the article, Mr. Perry links Ms. DeVos recent decision to roll back the standard for filling complaints on sexual harassment to the recent headlines regarding the predatory behavior of Harvey Weinstein, a Hollywood producer who used the “casting couch” to determine which female ingenues he would feature in films. Mr. Perry asserts that Ms. DeVos’ decision to set a higher bar for sexual harassment complaints will, in effect, restore the “Harvey Weinstein” culture on campus. Here’s Mr. Perry’s assessment of the changes Ms. DeVos made:

In late September, DeVos rescinded an Obama directive, also known as the “Dear Colleague Letter” (pdf), on how campuses should handle sexual assaults under Title IX, the federal policy on sexual discrimination. The letter reminded campus officials that they were responsible for preventing sexual harassment and violence, and provided examples of remedies and enforcement strategies. DeVos repealed the Obama policy largely based on a defense of people wrongfully accused of sexual assault.

“There are men and women, boys and girls, who are survivors,” DeVos said in her speech on Title IX in September. “And there are men and women, boys and girls who are wrongfully accused.”

Incredibly, DeVos used an “All victims matter” rationale to rescind the Obama directive. The speciousness of this argument is made apparent by the fact that not once did she utter the word “sexism” in her prepared remarks.

While I generally reject arguments that our education system is responsible for social ills, I am open to the idea that some practices in place in schools and colleges are. Mr. Perry makes a compelling case that the changes made by the Obama administration with regard to filing harassment complaints placed the victims in a better position to step forward with their accusations:

We should treat Weinstein as an individual monster—and as a product of our educational system. The former we cannot change, but how our schools and colleges treat victims and the accused, that we can.

President Barack Obama sought to prioritize the rights of the victims by telling colleges to allow accusers to appeal not guilty findings, to discourage cross-examination of accusers and to accelerate verdicts. Obama urged colleges to consistently use the “preponderance of evidence,” or what is more likely than not, standard in sexual assault cases. The preponderance of evidence is considered the lowest degree of evidence necessary to establish proof, which empowers women to name rapists. The higher the standard for proving an assault, the less likely it is that women will come forward.

Mr. Perry recounts the series of actions– and missteps– that led to Ms. DeVos’ decision and concludes that it is wrongheaded and reinforces the kind of macho culture that made the Harvey Weinstein’s of this world feel omnipotent and females feel powerless:

In the tussle between the powerful and the powerless, DeVos has sided with “the Man.” DeVos’ interim guidance misses the point that powerful men, even within the noblest of institutions, abuse their power to the detriment of women.

We tend to look at colleges as being progressive or conservative. But we also need to look at them as male-dominated and protecting the interests of men. Even though women make up more than 56 percent of collegians, men constitute 70 percent of college presidents.

Campuses should give victims the benefit of the doubt in cases involving sexual assault. In addition, colleges are the first and last line of defense against a criminal-justice system in which “only a quarter of all reported rapes lead to an arrest, only a fifth lead to prosecution, and only half of those prosecutions result in felony convictions,” according to Know Your IX, a survivor- and youth-led organization focused on ending sexual and dating violence. On and off-campus, due process seems to favor men.

It is sadly evident that the current POTUS is unlikely to support any change that would give due process to victims, and also evident that there are females who are willing to retain and defend the status quo. As Mr. Perry writes in his concluding paragraph, in light of the accusations leveled against Mr. Weinstein and the series of other accusations that are cascading out, the so-called “Obama standard” is necessary:

In the wake of Weinstein, what is more likely than not is the tradition of powerful academic institutions protecting male interests. The reason powerful men get away with rape and harassment is that systems protect them. And until we challenge the systems in our educational institutions, men like Weinstein will continue to find sanctuary in them.

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Betsy DeVos Takes the Side of Private College Scammers: Is Anyone Surprised?

October 30, 2017 Leave a comment

Late last week, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced that the USDOE was changing its stance on the forgiveness of loans to students who were scammed by private for-profit colleges. Instead of the virtual blanket forgiveness provided by the Obama administration, Ms. DeVos was limiting the number of bilked students whose loans wold be forgiven. As reported in the New York Post by the AP:

The Education Department is considering only partially forgiving federal loans for students defrauded by for-profit colleges, according to department officials, abandoning the Obama administration’s policy of erasing that debt.

Under President Barack Obama, tens of thousands of students deceived by now-defunct for-profit schools had over $550 million in such loans canceled.

But President Donald Trump’s education secretary, Betsy DeVos, is working on a plan that could grant such students just partial relief, according to department officials. The department may look at the average earnings of students in similar programs and schools to determine how much debt to wipe away.

The consequences of this decision will be favorable for the profiteers and the banks that issued the loans, but deleterious to the borrowers who were misled by the fraudulent schools. It is particularly problematic since some students have already received complete forgiveness for their loans while 65,000 others, whose reviews were underway, might get only partial forgiveness… or MAYBE the full forgiveness will be rescinded! The AP report indicates USDOE indicated to a contractor trying to resolve the loan repayments that “policy changes may necessitate certain claims already processed be revisited to assess other attributes”. It went on to say that “The department would not further clarify the meaning of that notice.

This whole episode was  lampooned by Gail Collins in NYTimes, who noted throughout her column the fact that Trump University was one of the many for-profit colleges forced to pay millions of dollars in fines for misleading advertising, excessive tuition costs, and usurious loans. She concluded her column noting that Mr. DeVos’ suspension of loan forgiveness would provide the public with a constant reminder of Mr. Trump’s mismanagement of his “University”:

For instance, the Department of Education has stopped approving new fraud claims against for-profits, leaving a backlog of more than 87,000. Every time the number goes up, we could say, “This is even more than the number of students who complained about their loans for Trump University.”

If DeVos says what the country needs now is less regulation, we can recall that Trump University had instructors allegedly handpicked by Donald Trump himself, although it turned out that he’d never even met them.

Consider it a teaching moment.

It is a teaching moment for anyone in “class” that is paying attention. The question is: are the voters paying attention… or are they distracted by tweets about the NFL players who continue to protest the treatment of African Americans by the police?

Retired Journalism Professor’s Op Ed Piece Connects the Dots Linking Segregationists, Free Marketers, and Vouchers

October 17, 2017 Leave a comment

Retired Western Illinois University journalism professor Bill Knight wrote an op ed piece for the Canton (IL) Daily Ledger titled “Right Wing’s Targeting Public Schools Tied to Segregation”, an essay that links the so-called “free market” anti-monopoly theory of public education to its racist roots.

As in previous posts on this broad topic, Mr. Knight draws on Nancy MacLean’s recently published book, “Democracy in Chains: the Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America.” After over a half century since the ruling on Brown v. Board of Education, Ms. MacLean asserts that the segregationists are using “choice” and vouchers to re-segregate schools based on race…. and the neo-liberals who support those concepts are complicit in this trend. Drawing on MacLean’s book, Knight writes:

The radical Right supports private school vouchers (an obsession of DeVos, a long-time advocate) not because of a commitment to improve education, but because it weakens government, from Washington to local school boards. Long an American ideal, public education started coming under fire after the Supreme Court’s 1954 decision in “Brown v. Board of Education” ruled that separate schools based on race were unconstitutional since they denied equal access to education. Southern white elites resisted desegregation and used economic arguments to criticize public schools to neutralize integration, MacLean said.

“These ultra free-market/property supremacist ideas got their first test, and it is in the situation of the most conservative whites’ reaction to ‘Brown’,” she said. Economist “Milton Friedman, had written his first manifesto for school vouchers in 1955 as the news was coming out of the South. That was after several years of reports on these arch-segregationists, saying they were going to destroy public education and send kids off to private schools.”

And while Friedman’s manifesto on vouchers might have been rooted in economic theory, some of his acolyte’s used his free market theory to advance their segregationist views:

Other conservative economists, such as James McGill Buchanan and Warren Nutter, argued that public schools were a “monopoly,” MacLean found. Ten days after courts prohibited Virginia from shutting down schools in some communities while maintaining them in others, Buchanan and Nutter recommended Virginia privatize all its schools and sell them to private providers that could profit from the once-public resources, the author said. The two went so far as to propose eliminating the requirement that there be public education in the constitution – which the Right’s long crusade called “government schools.” Removing the requirement would enable privatization on a massive scale.

The phrase “government schools” and the notion of a sclerotic “monopoly” on public education all stemmed from Friedman’s thinking… and both concepts were used to sanitize the racism that rooted these notions.

And Mr. Knight also flags Ms. MacLean’s linking this “free market” thinking to the anti-union sentiments that underpin Freidman’s ideas. She contends that the Right doesn’t oppose unions based on education principles but rather because they exemplify the kind of unity that undercuts libertarianism and supports government programs:

“It’s not because they are only concerned about the quality of education and think that teachers are blocking that,” MacLean said. “This is a cause that hated public education before there were teachers unions. Today, with so many industrial jobs destroyed or outsourced or automated, our main labor unions are teachers unions, and teachers unions are really important forces for defending liberal policy in general, things like Social Security and Medicare, as well as public education. In targeting teachers’ unions, they’re really trying to take out their most important opponents.

“They hate the idea of collectives (they would call them), whether it’s labor-union, civil-rights [or] women’s groups,” she continued, “and any kind of government provision for people’s needs. In their dream society, every one of us is solely responsible for ourselves and our needs, whether it’s for education or retirement security or health care. We should just do ourselves.”

I concur completely with Ms. MacLean’s thinking on these issues. The go-it-alone ethos is uniquely American  and the “Take Back America” slogan captures the resentment many voters feel toward those who are “takers” and those, like union members, who have higher wages, better benefits, and greater job security than the “independent contractors” who work in the so-called “gig economy”. And when the union workers in question draw their revenues from taxation the resentment is even deeper and stronger. And when this economic resentment is combined with racism, it yields the toxic environment we are witnessing today.

How do we turn this around? Only by appealing to the higher angels in people. Service learning projects, the creation of clubs at public schools that promote humanitarian causes as opposed to athletics and careers, and direct instruction and direct experience in how democracy works would all be helpful. As long as schools are viewed as career-preparation we are reinforcing the go-it-alone ethos that led us to where we are today…. where those who have made their fortune are loath to share it with others and so the .1% cling to their “earnings” while the vast majority of the workforce works from paycheck to paycheck.

Kindergarten Assessments May Impact Instruction… but Inequality Matters Even More

October 15, 2017 Leave a comment

In an unsurprising finding that will, sadly, have a limited impact on policy, a study by Economic Policy Institute researchers Emma Garcia and Elaine Weiss found that “…children who start behind stay behind—they are rarely able to make up the lost ground.”  The study, which tracked the performance of  two academic cohorts, the kindergarten classes of 1998 and 2010, on both cognitive and noncognitive skills found that:

…large performance gaps exist between children in the lowest and highest socioeconomic-status (SES) quintiles and that these gaps have persisted from the 1998 cohort to the 2010 cohort. The positive news is that the gaps have not grown, even as economic inequalities between these two groups of students have grown. The negative news is that the gaps have not narrowed, despite the fact that low-SES parents have substantially increased their engagement in their children’s early education.

Mss. Garcia and Weiss note that this persistent gap in cognitive and non-cognitive performance denies those in the lower SES quintiles the same kinds of opportunities as those in the top quintile. The authors conclude:

The undeniable relationship between economic inequalities and education inequalities represents a societal failure that betrays the ideal of the “American dream.”

But the finding and the conclusion are nothing new. This conclusion led to the War on Poverty in the 60s, a War that was ultimately lust because of underfunding. It was initially underfunded because we needed to divert money to the misbegotten war in Viet Nam, was subsequently underfunded because of various austerity measures, and eventually fell prey to the Reagan mantra that “Government is the Problem”. Mss. Garcia and Weiss offer a cogent but naive solution to the problem:

Greater investments in pre-K programs can narrow the gaps between students at the start of school. And to ensure that these early gains are maintained, districts can provide continued comprehensive academic, health, nutrition, and emotional support for children through their academic years, including meaningful engagement of parents and communities. Such strategies have been successfully implemented in districts around the country, as described in this report, and can serve to mitigate the impact of economic inequalities on children’s educational achievement and improve their future life and work prospects.

Since “greater investments” inevitably means “more revenue” which ultimately requires “higher taxes” the chances of these recommendations being followed by the GOP led Congress and DeVos led USDOE are minuscule at best and most likely impossible. One would hope that their grounding in research would be persuasive, but again, given the GOP led Congress and DeVos led USDOE any research-based findings are unlikely to gain traction. Indeed, in the eight years of Democratic Party leadership we witnessed little to no movement toward either “greater investments in pre-K programs” or an emphasis on “comprehensive academic, health, nutrition, and emotional support for children through their academic years”. Instead. like their like-minded GOP legislators, the Duncan-led USDOE advocated market based solutions to inequality, believing that offering choices and charters was preferable to providing the funding needed to invest in Pre-K or provide “…comprehensive academic, health, nutrition, and emotional support for children through their academic years.”

Until we acknowledge that more funding is needed for the kinds of programs and services advocated by Mss. Garcia and Weiss the inequities they observed will persist indefinitely… and the betrayal of the ideal of the “American dream” will persist as well.

Jeff Bryant Warns: Do NOT Be Fooled— Betsy DeVos Is Intent on Imposing Her Will on Public Education

October 13, 2017 Leave a comment

In a bluntly titled post for Common Dreams, Betsy DeVos Attack on Public Education is Just Beginning, education blogger Jeff Bryant warns public education to be skeptical of reports to the country. Referencing articles by conservative blogger Rick Hess and US News and World Report education writer Lauren Camera Bryant is concerned that the broader media have adopted their stance that Ms. DeVos is incapable of influencing education policy:

In addition to these “she ain’t so bad” portrayals of DeVos, there has been a rash of reports on the apparent inability of her agenda to gain support in Congress. The House rejected the proposals of DeVos and Trump for more federal spending to boost school choice, and the Senate also rejected the Trump administration’s funding for more school choice ventures.

Reports like these have lulled education policy poohbahs into believing DeVos and her agenda have been effectively neutered by Congressional opposition.

In fact, a recent survey of education policy elites – current and former government officials and bureaucrats and Beltway apparatchiks – finds these “Insiders are skeptical that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos will effectively advance any policies during her tenure at the Department of Education.”

But Mr. Bryant isn’t nearly as sanguine. He sees her relentless emphasis on “choice” and her lack of focus on “equity” as evidence that she will be doing everything possible to emphasize the market forces and neglect the inherent inequalities that exist in our society and economy. He examines her recently published list of priorities for USDOE and writes:

Any speculation that DeVos is somehow backing off her intent to impose school choice on communities or softening her approach to privatizing schools is further cast into doubt by her Department’s recently published “priorities” document that makes clear what her tenure will continue to focus on at the expense of all other possible goals.

The document lists 11 priorities for use in federal discretionary grant programs under her rule. Priority No. 1 deals with school choice. The document specifically proposes giving priority to projects that seek to increase the proportion of students with access to “educational choice.”

In the document, the word “choice” and its variations – “choose” and “option” – occurs 22 times

On the other hand, “equity,” something many would want at the top of the list, is not a priority at all. Its mention occurs twice, once in a footnote and the other parenthetically. The issue of school funding is also mostly ignored, mentioned only three times. When the subject does occur, it is de-prioritized. “Increased Federal funding cannot be a stand-in for increased learning,” the document declares. “We will focus less on discrete funding streams and more on innovative problem solving.”

There is no mention of the need to work toward racial integration of schools or rectify the harms of segregation.

Clearly, those trying to recast the narrative of DeVos from the potent force originally described in the media into the weakened warrior currently in fashion are seeing the trees and not the forest.

Words matter if the bully pulpit is your most important tool, and how you set priorities matters even if you have a limited stream of revenue. If you don’t think either of these is the case, look at what Arne Duncan wrought with Race to the Top.

I’m in complete agreement with Jeff Bryant and most progressive bloggers when it comes to Betsy DeVos’  intentions: her actions to date give no indication whatsoever that she intends to back down from school choice and no indication whatsoever that she will champion funding equity, equal opportunity, or racial justice. We re moving backward even further than we’ve done since NCLB and there is no bottom in sight.

DeVos/Trump USDOE’s Penchant for Negotiated Settlements on Civil Rights Requires Oversight and Follow-up… Which are in Short Supply

October 7, 2017 Leave a comment

Thursday’s Politico Morning Education News Feed by Benjamin Wermund with help from Caitlin Emma and Michael Stratford described the Trump/DeVos USDOE’s penchant for negotiated settlements in civil rights cases. The Politico writers report:

The Trump administration has ended more than 700 civil rights investigations through a negotiation process concluded with so-called “302 agreements.” Under these agreements, the school agrees to make changes and the Education Department ends the investigation but says it will keep an eye on the school to make sure it falls in line.

Politico indicates these “302 agreements” are not a new feature, but the increase in their use is notable… and every indication is that their use will accelerate in the months ahead.

The (Trump) administration had resolved 706 civil rights complaints this way as of Aug. 29, according to records obtained by POLITICO. Under the Obama administration, the Office for Civil Rights resolved 462 cases this way through all of last year, according to the records. In 2015, it resolved just 387 complaints this way. The Trump administration had begun negotiations on, but had yet to resolve, 168 more cases as of Aug. 29. The bulk of them – 130 negotiations – started after Candice Jackson, the department’s acting civil rights chief, issued a June 8 memo telling civil rights investigators to take a smaller scope in their investigations. The memo also gave regional civil rights offices more autonomy by scrapping a requirement for the D.C. office to sign off on cases.

The Trump?DeVos USDOE  administration is spinning the increase in “302 agreements” as a means of achieving expedited settlements, settlements that do not result in resolutions being dragged out for years.

“The Office for Civil Rights is working to make sure that justice is no longer unduly delayed for students who have filed civil rights complaints,” Liz Hill, an Education Department spokeswoman, said. “OCR is pursuing a longstanding tradition of reaching voluntary resolution agreements with institutions willing to address civil rights concerns that ensure appropriate policy changes and remedies in individual cases.”

Politico quoted civil rights activists who were distressed over the pace of “302 agreements” because they felt such agreements diminished the depth of the investigations and assumed a higher degree of innocence on the part of institutions…. and there is ipso facto evidence of such handling.  As Politico noted in earlier reports:

DeVos’ Education Department had closed more than 1,500 civil rights complaints at the nation’s schools – including dismissing more than 900 outright – in the two months since her acting civil rights chief took steps to reduce a massive backlog.

As one who is concerned with the pending budget cuts to USDOE in the name of “efficiency” I wonder how the USDOE can possibly “keep an eye on the school to make sure it falls in line” given the marked increase in “302 settlements”. My hunch is that not only will they be unable to monitor these settlements, they will be unable to investigate future ones… and I don’t think the Trump/DeVos administration sees this as a “bug”… they view it as a desirable feature.

Two Predictable and Avoidable Crises: The Death of Democracy and the Death of Our Planet

October 4, 2017 Leave a comment

After reading Diane Ravitch’s post today describing Jennifer Bershire’s article about Betsy DeVos’ Machiavellian plans to undercut democracy I exhumed this 2003 article from the NYTimes magazine by Paul Krugman titled “The Tax Cut Con”. In the seven section article Dr. Krugman describes the history of the GOP’s tax cut strategies to that point and accurately foresaw where it was headed.

In the first section he recounted the 25 year crusade against taxes using the decision to fund the Iraq War off the books to emphasize his point:

I don’t use the word ”crusade” lightly. The advocates of tax cuts are relentless, even fanatical. An indication of the movement’s fervor — and of its political power — came during the Iraq war. War is expensive and is almost always accompanied by tax increases. But not in 2003. ‘‘Nothing is more important in the face of a war,” declared Tom DeLay, the House majority leader, ”than cutting taxes.” And sure enough, taxes were cut, not just in a time of war but also in the face of record budget deficits.

In the second section, he described the tax burden of the US in 2003 and noted that it was light compared to other Western countries… and also noted who benefitted the most from the tax code:

So here’s the picture: Americans pay low taxes by international standards. Most people’s taxes haven’t gone up in the past generation; the wealthy have had their taxes cut to levels not seen since before the New Deal. Even before the latest round of tax cuts, when compared with citizens of other advanced nations or compared with Americans a generation ago, we had nothing to complain about — and those with high incomes now have a lot to celebrate.

In the third section he described how the GOP persuaded the public their tax burden was too high, and outlines what he calls the “lucky ducky” argument:

Here’s how the argument runs: to starve the beast, you must not only deny funds to the government; you must make voters hate the government. There’s a danger that working-class families might see government as their friend: because their incomes are low, they don’t pay much in taxes, while they benefit from public spending. So in starving the beast, you must take care not to cut taxes on these ”lucky duckies.” (Yes, that’s what The Wall Street Journal called them in a famous editorial.) In fact, if possible, you must raise taxes on working-class Americans in order, as The Journal said, to get their ”blood boiling with tax rage.”

In the fourth section Mr. Krugman shows that the supply-side “trickle down” argument that underpinned the strategy failed to play out. Indeed, as Mr.Mr. Krugman explained, the opposite occurred! When President Clinton raised taxes on the rich the budget came into balance and the government functioned relatively well.

By the end of the 1990’s, in other words, supply-side economics had become something of a laughingstock, and the whole case for tax cuts as a route to economic growth was looking pretty shaky. But the tax-cut crusade was nonetheless, it turned out, poised for its biggest political victories yet. How did that happen?

The fifth section described how three years of flawed taxation ideas destroyed the balanced budgets President Clinton achieved, noting that in each of the three years a different basis was used to sell the tax cuts… each of which was flawed:

So what were the Bush tax cuts really about? The best answer seems to be that they were about securing a key part of the Republican base. Wealthy campaign contributors have a lot to gain from lower taxes, and since they aren’t very likely to depend on Medicare, Social Security or Medicaid, they won’t suffer if the beast gets starved. Equally important was the support of the party’s intelligentsia, nurtured by policy centers like Heritage and professionally committed to the tax-cut crusade. The original Bush tax-cut proposal was devised in late 1999 not to win votes in the national election but to fend off a primary challenge from the supply-sider Steve Forbes, the presumptive favorite of that part of the base.

And how was the public sold on the idea of tax cuts even though many would not benefit from them? Mr. Krugman’s short and blunt answer: “the tax cuts has depended heavily on chicanery“. His longer answer describes the chicanery and accounting sleights of hand in detail.

In the sixth section Mr. Krugman described how the Bush tax cuts would lead to a “planned crisis”. The gap between revenues and expenditures that resulted from the tax cuts when the “trickle down” failed to materialize would need to be closed by either rating taxes— which would be an admission of failure— or by cutting benefits. But, as Mr. Krugman notes, there WAS a third way! Borrowing.

For the time being, there is a third alternative: borrow the difference between what we insist on spending and what we’re willing to collect in taxes. That works as long as lenders believe that someday, somehow, we’re going to get our fiscal act together. But this can’t go on indefinitely. Eventually — I think within a decade, though not everyone agrees — the bond market will tell us that we have to make a choice.

In short, everything is going according to plan.

For the looming fiscal crisis doesn’t represent a defeat for the leaders of the tax-cut crusade or a miscalculation on their part. Some supporters of President Bush may have really believed that his tax cuts were consistent with his promises to protect Social Security and expand Medicare; some people may still believe that the wondrous supply-side effects of tax cuts will make the budget deficit disappear. But for starve-the-beast tax-cutters, the coming crunch is exactly what they had in mind.

In the concluding section, Mr. Krugman’s heading poses this question: “What Kind of Country?”

If Grover Norquist is right — and he has been right about a lot — the coming crisis will allow conservatives to move the nation a long way back toward the kind of limited government we had before Franklin Roosevelt. Lack of revenue, he says, will make it possible for conservative politicians — in the name of fiscal necessity — to dismantle immensely popular government programs that would otherwise have been untouchable.

In Norquist’s vision, America a couple of decades from now will be a place in which elderly people make up a disproportionate share of the poor, as they did before Social Security. It will also be a country in which even middle-class elderly Americans are, in many cases, unable to afford expensive medical procedures or prescription drugs and in which poor Americans generally go without even basic health care. And it may well be a place in which only those who can afford expensive private schools can give their children a decent education.

Just short of “a couple of decades” from 2003, Mr. Krugman’s prediction is coming true. While I am confident he would say that it gives him no joy to have been accurate, I also believe there is time for us to fix this problem.

In the comment I wrote on Diane Ravitch’s post I analogized Paul Krugman to James Hansen, who predicted the global warming crisis decades ago. I wrote:

Liberal economists like Mr. Krugman are like climate scientists like James Hansen: they tell the public what they don’t want to hear and give us lots of facts to support their message. It’s too bad for democracy that we are unwilling to pay the taxes that are required to keep our safety net intact… and too bad for the planet that we are unwilling to wean ourselves away from fossil fuel. MAYBE we have time to wake up and save both!

Here’s hoping we are going through an awakening now!