Archive

Posts Tagged ‘DeVos’

A Poll that Will Make Reformers, GOP Cringe Shows Americans LIKE Their Public Schools but Want More Social Services, Less Academics in Schools

August 30, 2017 Leave a comment

In a story that warmed my heart, Washington Post writer Valerie Strauss summarized the results of the annual Phi Delta Kappa poll in hr opening paragraphs as follows:

Most American adults are weary of the intense focus on academics in public schools today, according to a new national survey, and want students to get more vocational and career training as well as mental, physical and dental services on campus. Even so, a majority of public school parents give higher grades — A’s and B’s — to the traditional public schools in their neighborhoods than they have in years.

A majority of Americans polled also said they oppose programs that use public money for private and religious school education, policies that are supported by President Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. And a majority said they do not think that standardized test scores  — which have been used for more than a dozen years as the most important factor in evaluating schools — are a valid reflection of school quality.

The Phi Delta Kappa poll is seen as the gold standard among administrators and school board members, and these findings should unsettle “Reformers” in both political parties who want schools to run like a business and have their “bottom line” determined by standardized test scores. And President Trump’s notion that the public wants vouchers is also now open to question. Not only does the American public support public education in general, they have the strongest support ever for their local public school!

The new poll finds that the proportion of Americans who give their community’s public schools an A grade is at its highest in more than 40 years of PDK polling. In the newest survey, 62 percent of public school parents gave public schools in their own communities an A or B grade, compared with 45 percent of nonparents. Grades go higher when parents are grading their own school — 71 percent gave them A’s or B’s.

These findings are consistent with surveys where many people give low grades to “Congress” but high grades to their local legislator. But in the recent survey, even generic public schools are rated better than ever:

The report said that 24 percent of Americans give public schools na­tionally an A or B (with no difference between parents and all adults), and it noted:

There’s no contradiction in the gap. Awareness of a few poor schools can diminish the ratings of all schools together, driving down scores nationally while leaving local scores far better.

All of this relatively good news notwithstanding, there are some results of this survey that could be cherry-picked by “reformers” and voucher advocates.

Still there was this: If cost and location were not issues, just one-third of parents say they’d pick a traditional public school over a private school (31 percent), public charter school (17 percent), or a religious school (14 percent). Fifty-four percent said they would stick with a public school if they were offered public funds to send their child to a private or religious school — but only if they received full tuition. If they received only half of tuition for private or religious school, 72 percent of parents said they would stick with a traditional public school.

Even though cost and location are clearly issues in the minds of parents, I hereby predict that some voucher advocates will use the finding that only one third of the parents would choose “…a traditional public school over a private school” as proof that the public wants vouchers, overlooking the fact that such a switch would only be supported  if they received full tuition… and NO legislation I’ve read of comes close to providing full tuition for the kind of leafy private schools parent might be envisioning as an alternative let alone a public charter or parochial school.

The article provides a list of other findings that contradict the “conventional wisdom” of reformers, such as:

  • Strong support for wraparound services such as  after-school activities (92%); mental health services (87%); general health services (79%); and dental services (65%).
  • Job or career skills classes even if that means… less time in academic classes (82%)
  • Certificate or licensing programs that qualify students for employment in a given field (86%)
  • The need for “…schools to help students develop interpersonal skills, such as being cooperative, respectful of others and persistent at solving problems.” (82%)

And as for accountability measures, the public is developing a deep antipathy for standardized tests. The survey indicated that “…only 42 percent said performance on standardized tests is a highly important indicator of school quality; 13 percent said test scores are extremely important.” What was important? 39% felt that “…developing students’ interpersonal skills” was very important and 37% felt that “…offering technology and engineering instruction” was crucial.

One contentious area, integration, had mixed results. The survey found that 55% said “having a mix of students from different racial and ethnic backgrounds in public schools is extremely or very important”. The demographic breakdown: blacks, 72 percent; Hispanics, 57 percent; whites, 48 percent. Democrats cited this as important nearly twice as often as Republicans.

Looking at these findings is heartening. Despite 30+ years of hearing that public education is failing and having a President and Secretary of Education who repeatedly describe public schools as a “dead end”, the public— especially parents— have a different experience. Here’s hoping these facts will find their way into the consciousness of the electorate!

Advertisements

Gallup Poll Results Offer a Mixed Blessing for Public Education

August 27, 2017 Leave a comment

The headline for the findings of the recent Gallup poll on the public’s perception of public education appears to be bad news for public education. It reads:

Private Schools First, Public Schools Last in K-12 Ratings

Further down in the article, though, one finds this information, with my emphasis added in bold red italics:

Private School Image Slips Slightly, Public Up Slightly

This year’s overall rank order is the same as what Gallup found in its only prior measurement, in August 2012. However, since then, the percentage of U.S. adults who consider public school education as excellent or good increased by seven percentage points, while positive perceptions of private school education fell by the same amount.

Positive ratings of parochial education are also down slightly, by six points, while the ratings for charter schools and home schooling are statistically unchanged.

In other good news for those who believe universal public education is crucial for the well-being of our country and charter schools have a corrosive impact on that universal requirement, the Gallup poll found that the public’s perception of charter schools has also declined in the past five years:

The parties diverge on charter schools. While the percentage of Republicans considering these types of schools as excellent or good has held steady at 62%, Democrats’ reviews have fallen from 61% positive in 2012 to 48% today, perhaps as charter schooling is becoming more closely tied to Donald Trump’s administration. His secretary of education, Betsy DeVos, is a longtime proponent of charter schools as a way to give parents alternatives to public schools.

These trends notwithstanding, the Gallup poll pundits draw this bewildering conclusion:

Americans as a whole believe private and parochial schools do a better job of educating students than public schools do, something that might be remedied with the right federal or state public school education policies. Another remedy may be expanding charter schools so that parents of children in failing public schools who can’t afford private school have other options for their children.

I may be prejudiced in my thinking, but my interpretation of the poll findings would emphasize the trend toward support for public education and the trend toward a decline in support for charter schools as evidence that the best way to address “failing public schools” would be to provide more funding for them. But, as noted in the next paragraph in the Gallup poll’s “implications” section it appears that is NOT the direction Betsy DeVos wants to go:

DeVos recently told a charter schools conference, “No one has a monopoly on innovation. No one has a monopoly on creativity. No one has a monopoly on knowing how every child learns.” That reflects a very different philosophy of education than the philosophy that government money should be focused on lifting public schools to their maximum potential.

Even though the Democratic party has effectively endorsed the “failing public schools” meme, Democratic party voters have a different perspective. They are jumping off the charter school bandwagon in large numbers!

Bottom line: the headline notwithstanding, the Gallup poll findings are a mixed bag for public school advocates. That said, I would have been happier had I read this headline, which, by the way, is equally accurate:

Private School and Charter School K-12 Approval Ratings Decline, Public School Ratings Jump Since 2012

No Surprise: ALEC’s Report Card Aligns With Betsy DeVos’ Agenda… Big Surprise: Too Few People are Aware of ALEC’s Force

August 21, 2017 Leave a comment

Nearly two years ago I heard Bernie Sanders speak to a small gathering at Dartmouth College. At the conclusion of the talk, I remember commenting to my wife that I thought he spent too much time explaining the power of the Koch brothers to his audience, to the point where I sensed a degree of restlessness in the audience. But when i shared that idea with others I knew I was surprised to find that few of the otherwise well-read people I know were aware of the Koch brothers… and a politically savvy individual I knew expressed dismay that the general public was unaware of their impact.

I trust that after two years of Bernie Sanders’ speeches and appearances on national television all but the Trump loyalists (and perhaps hardcore Fox News fans) are aware of the billions the Koch brothers and their allies spend. But I am not certain that the public is as aware of one of the Koch brothers’ biggest beneficiaries and most insidious lobbying groups in our country, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). While I know I have written often about this group, I am also painfully aware that most people in this country are unaware of the group and, after hearing of them, might dismiss any alarm about them as conspiratorial.

Washington Post education writer, Valerie Strauss, did a good job of shedding light on ALEC earlier this month and makes a compelling case that they are having a powerful effect on public education policy. ALEC, like many lobbying groups, issues an annual “Report Card” ranking various national and state legislators. And like many lobbying groups, ALEC also offers legislators sample bills to submit. But unlike most lobbying groups, ALEC’s legislative agenda is broader in scope and supported with billions of dollars in potential campaign donations. As Ms. Strauss writes to those unfamiliar with ALEC:

If you don’t know about ALEC, you should. It is a member organization of corporate lobbyists and conservative state legislators who craft “model legislation” on issues important to them and then help shepherd it through legislatures. It describes itself as being dedicated to promoting “limited government, free markets and federalism,” though the New York Times called it essentially a “stealth business lobbyist.”

And with 35 Statehouses and a majority of State legislatures under the control of the GOP, and with most of the legislatures led by citizens as opposed to “professional politicians”, what could be a better use of political action funds than “helping” pro-business GOP legislators craft bills that free businesses from regulations?

As noted above, ALEC issues Report Cards on many issues, public education being one of them. A review of what ALEC includes on it’s education Report Card is chilling for anyone who wants to see education funding equitable and overseen by locally elected school boards. Ms Strauss writes:

The latest report card was issued seven months ago, and it is highly revealing. The introduction says that the states were graded in six categories — “academic standards, charter schools, homeschool regulation burden, private school choice, teacher quality, and digital learning,” but it concedes that the most weight went to charters and vouchers “because they represent the parent-centered, choice-driven future of education in the 21st century.”

Once a year the ALEC legislators gather for a conference and it was no surprise to me to read that one of their guest speakers was Betsy DeVos, whose education agenda aligns perfectly with the direction ALEC’s “investors” want our country to follow.

In the concluding paragraphs of her article, Ms. Strauss illustrates the preposterousness of ALEC’s Report Card’s emphasis on charters by showing the deficiencies of ALEC’s highest rated states and the qualities of it’s lowest rated states. In effect, ALEC doesn’t care if a state turns out high percentages of graduates who attend college, has high graduation rates, or good results based on test scores. All that matters is whether the State has a “free market” for public education.

By promoting “limited government, free markets and federalism” ALEC is neglecting graduation rates, college and workforce readiness, and the well being of students. It IS, however, providing opportunities for unfettered earnings and opportunities for “edu-preneurs” and lower taxes for all businesses. Hallelujah!

DeVos Comments on Charlottesville Well Received… but… Should She Resign on Principle?

August 18, 2017 Leave a comment

After issuing a somewhat namby-pamby response to the Charlottesville protests earlier in the week, Betsy DeVos issued a statement that was forceful, unambiguous, and, as reported inPolitico, generally well received by education leaders across the political spectrum. Politico’s reporting is outlined below with my comments in bold green italics

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos didn’t mention President Donald Trump Thursday in a memo to staff as she addressed the Charlottesville tragedy, but she didn’t need to. Her words distanced her from the president – at least on the issue of race. In the memo, she condemned the views of white nationalists, neo-Nazis “and other racist bigots” as “totally abhorrent to the American ideal.” Colleges and universities have been ground zero in the emotional fights playing out around the country over issues of race, history and free speech. As those institutions and K-12 schools ramp up for the fall semester, many have been watching her response closely.

DeVos struck the right tone, said Kristen Amundson, president of the National Association of State Boards of Education. She did what she needed to do, which was address her staff and find a way forward as students nationwide head back to school, Amundson said. “It’s a clear and absolutely unambiguous statement,” she said.

DeVos’ statement is “welcome” but “actions speak louder than words,” said Vanita Gupta, president of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and head of the civil rights division of the Justice Department during the Obama administration. “We call on DeVos to nominate a qualified individual to lead the Office for Civil Rights, robustly and systematically enforce our civil rights laws, and preserve guidance and regulations clarifying schools’ obligations and students’ right to be free from discrimination based on race, ethnicity, language status, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, and disability status.” I completely agree with this perspective. To paraphrase Stephen Covey: “You can’t write your way out of a problem you behaved your way into”. Ms. DeVos’ record to date on civil rights has been abysmal. 

“The moral clarity of her statement stands in stark contrast to the disheartening comments of the President, and I appreciate and applaud the obvious passion with which she has addressed the events of last weekend,” said Barmak Nassirian, director of federal relations and policy analysis with the American Association of State Colleges and Universities.

 

“It’s a very strong statement, and a great example of moral leadership,” said Mike Petrilli, president of the conservative Thomas B. Fordham Institute, who said this weekend that he would change his party registration to “unaffiliated” after the president’s response to Charlottesville. While I generally disagree with much of Mr. Petrilli’s thinking about public education, I applaud his principled decision to withdraw from the GOP given their continued support of the President. 

National Education Association President Lily Eskelsen García said DeVos’ words “are empty as long as they advance the agenda of a president who too often provides a platform for white supremacists, neo-Nazis and the alt-right.” The NEA is waiting for “a signal from this administration and its Secretary of Education that there will be no support for federal funding of private or privately-managed schools that espoused hate, white supremacy, or bigotry against races, ethnic communities, GLBT or religious communities,” she said. This echoes the sentiments of Ms. Gupta, referenced above. I am heartened to see the leader of the teachers’ union issuing this conditional approval of Ms. DeVos’ writings. 

In an unrelated effort, American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten urged a “new level” of action to combat bigotry and white supremacy in a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and 50 state attorneys generals. She asks Sessions to “probe deeper into the agenda of white supremacist organizations and their neo-Nazi allies present within the United State who may have plans for future violent confrontations.” Read the letters here and hereI await Ms. Weingarten’s specific reaction to Ms. DeVos’ statement… and hope that she will echo Ms. Gupta and Ms. Garcia in calling for actions that match words. 

DeVos should resign, said Kevin Huffman, an independent education reform advocate and former Tennessee education commissioner. “Secretary DeVos is missing the most significant role that she can play: resign her office immediately in protest of her boss’ reprehensible comments,” he said. “President Trump’s support of white nationalists and his active defense of white supremacy constitute an enormous threat to children of color. The Secretary is one of the few Americans positioned to take action against that threat: by resigning in disgust. As long as she serves this President, she lacks the moral authority to comment on issues of race, division, or healing.” WOW! This seems like an extreme action to take… but if Ms. DeVos DID take this action it would signal to evangelical voters that his racist bile is inconsistent with the teachings of the Bible and incompatible with public education. 

“Nice email but tough case to make while continuing to serve this president,” tweeted Matt Lehrich, a former White House and Education Department communications official during the Obama administration. A short but sweet statement… but one that is consistent with that of Mr. Huffman. 

In a post yesterday I commended the CEOs who took a stand against the President by stepping down from his Advisory Committees because he did not reflect the values of this country, but chastised them for not taking the additional step of paying their fair share of taxes. I concur with those who commend Ms. DeVos’ words while seeking to see actions that match her verbiage… and one action that would speak volumes would be for her to resign. The practical impact might be to set a series of cabinet resignations in motion… resignations that might lead to Mr. Trump leaving office voluntarily or through articles of impeachment crafted by a courageous GOP member. One thing is clear: if Ms. DeVos DID resign and Mr. Trump DID step down, President Pence would quickly re-appoint her to office.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

“Grade Levels” are an Administrative Convenience…Standardized Test “Grade Levels” are a Statistical Artifact… and BOTH Block Mastery Learning

July 21, 2017 Leave a comment

I am bewildered by the fact that most of the general public and most people associated with public education believe that “grade levels” linked to age cohorts are a natural, biological and developmentally appropriate means of grouping children and, because of that fact,”grade levels” linked to age cohorts are a fair, equitable and valid means of categorizing students for the purpose of measuring their performance.

But here’s are two facts: the grouping of students into “grade levels” based on their age cohorts was a practice instituted in the early 1900s for administrative convenience. Once it became THE “standard” means of grouping students, it also became the basis for scoring “standardized tests” that became the basis for creating homogeneous “ability” groups within those grade levels, norm-referenced tests that used scale scores to determine if students were performing “at grade level”.

In the late 1900s it appeared there might be an opportunity to replace norm-referenced standardized tests that sort and select students with criterion referenced tests that help determine if students have mastered the material presented in class or learned outside of the classroom .The technology was emerging that would make the use of such tests feasible, and, had the hoped for conversion to mastery learning taken place it was possible that student directed learning would have replaced test-driven learning.

Since NCLB, the administratively convenient standardized tests have moved to the forefront. Predictably, their results, which would necessarily yield a bell curve, demonstrated a large number of “failing students” and, just as predictably, those “failing students” were housed in schools serving children raised in poverty whose test results correlated strongly with the income of their parents.

Now that these “failing schools” require “take overs” by the State, and given that the State Departments of Education do not have the wherewithal to oversee all of the schools identified as “failing” based on standardized test scores, the “failing schools” are turned over to private contractors who promise to get better results on tests in exchange for a waiver of regulations and relief from the “administrative burdens” imposed by teacher unions.

When Congress repealed NCLB by passing ESSA, the misnamed “Every Student Succeeds Act”, and President Obama signed it into law, there was SOME hope in my part of New England that given the flexibility built into ESSA that they might be able to institute some mastery-learning and/or student-directed learning into their state plans. When the bill passed, I was hopeful of that outcome for Vermont and New Hampshire, the two states I worked in before I retired… but also dreading how other states might use their flexibility to impose things like “value-added” measures and school choice. I was also fearful that those states who rejected the Common Core might feel liberated and impose Creation Science requirements or limit the teaching of climate change

Now… several months later, it is clear my hopes will not be realized in either Vermont or– especially in New Hampshire… and my fears about the direction other states would take were well founded. Worse, as reported in yesterday’s Politico Morning Edition for education it appears that after declaring that the USDOE would give states flexibility in determining their accountability measures— which MIGHT have given them some flexibility— the USDOE is rejecting any metrics that move away from standardized tests based on grade levels. Here’s Politico reporter Benjamin Wermund’s analysis of on state’s experience at trying to move away from the “traditional” model of accountability by using scale scores instead of “grade levels”:

Connecticut, in its updated plan, stands by the use of scale scores to measure academic achievement, rather than grade-level proficiency. Scale scores convert a student’s grades to a common scale – for example, 300 to 900 – enabling educators to distinguish the relative performance of students at the high and low ends of the same proficiency level. The Education Department told Connecticut in June that the law requires a greater focus on whether students are performing at grade-level. And a team of federal reviewers, who separately provided notes on the plan, said the state’s approach to grading schools “lacks transparency.”

But Connecticut officials disagree. “Webster’s dictionary defines proficiency not only as a state of being proficient, but also as an advancement in knowledge or skill,” they write in their revised plan, which calls scale scores “the most accurate measure of a student’s proficiency.” Connecticut’s new plan says that “characterizing a student’s achievement solely as falling into an achievement level is an extreme oversimplification,” and “solely relying on a binary proficient/not proficient approach encourages unsound educational practices.” Colorado and Massachusetts also want to use scale scores. Massachusetts received similarly discouraging feedback from the Education Department, while Colorado is still waiting. Read Connecticut’s revised plan.

If ESSA does require “a greater focus on whether students are performing at grade-level” then there is yet another reason to lament it’s passage. Scale scores are not a perfect means of determining mastery, but they DO move the thinking of educators, parents, and decision-makers away from the statistical artifact of “grade level scores” and compel them to be more open-minded to different forms of accountability and instruction. If ESSA does NOT explicitly require “a greater focus on whether students are performing at grade-level”, then I hope that Lamar Alexander and other Senators will speak out against this interpretation by USDOE. If ESSA’s intent is to fulfill Betsy DeVos’ stated ideal of pushing for  “…reforms locally that will help to ensure all children, no matter their zip code, have access to an education environment that works for them”, allowing states to set their own accountability standards is a step in the right direction.

Education Tax Credits Save Taxpayers Money, Destroy Public Education

July 20, 2017 Leave a comment

Late last month a Progressive article by Dora Taylor outlined four things about education tax credits (aka Education Savings Accounts in NH) that Betsy DeVos and her allies at ALEC do not want the public to understand. Marketed as a means of providing low income students with “scholarships” that enable them to enroll in private schools, they actually divert state funds to middle class parents who are already enrolled in parochial schools. Ms. Taylor opens the article with a description of how these tax credits work:

Education tax credits are similar to school vouchers. A voucher is money paid by the state to cover private school tuition for a student. Voucher money comes straight out of public school funds.

Vouchers are unconstitutional in eighteen states and one of the reasons is that the money can go to a religious school, crossing the line between church and state.

In a “scholarship tax credit program,” the money bypasses the state and instead goes through a go-between, a “scholarship granting organization” to a private school to pay a student’s tuition in full or in part. Typically, these organizations keep 10 percent of the money as they pass through funds to private schools.

A scholarship granting organization distributes money to students, who are purportedly “low income”, to attend a private school the organization has selected to include in its portfolio. Granting organizations can select the schools they do business with, whether they are religious schools or schools that are unaccredited.

While these groups have set a standard for “low income” —a family of four with an income of $64,750 or less—family income is not a determining factor for many of the students who receive the scholarships.

This convoluted system effectively replaces locally elected school boards with a state appointed scholarship granting board that determines schools worthy of scholarships and the eligibility of students who can attend those schools…. but this aspect of the law creating “education scholarships” is not part of the marketing campaign…. and that is intentional. After providing an overview of the tax credits, Ms. Taylor identifies four elements of education tax credits that Betsy DeVos and ALEC do NOT want the public to realize:

  1. Education Tax Credits Deplete State Budgets: Instead of providing additional resources to enable “poor” students to choose private schools to attend, ALEC’s boilerplate legislation diverts current education funding to these scholarship funds…. and that’s on top of revenue they lose when billionaires make tax-deductible donations to these scholarship funds, some of which might go to for-profit charter schools the self-same billionaires invest in!
  2. Education Tax Credit Programs Benefit the Wealthy: ALEC’s boilerplate legislation calls for donors to scholarship funds to effectively receive a subsidy for making a contribution. As Ms. Taylor reports, donors receive “a dollar-per-dollar write off on Federal taxes and, in some states, it can be used as an additional write-off on state taxes. With a donation to a scholarship grant-making organization, a person, company or corporation can benefit financially, sometimes doubling the tax write-off.” So a billionaire can “donate” a large sum to a scholarship fund and receive both a federal and a state deduction that offsets the donation… and a corporation that likely gets some kind of local tax-credit to locate or remain in a state similarly receives a tax credit at the federal and state level! And in both cases, the donors can claim they are helping disadvantaged children expand their opportunities. Also, as noted above, states can set a “low income” standard that is relatively high and thus enable middle class parents who are currently sending their children to a private school to qualify for a scholarship… even if that school is a parochial school (see #4). 
  3. Education Tax Credit Programs Pose Significant Risks to Children: Since the schools receiving scholarships are overseen by a non-public entities, they are not subject to federal or state standards. Thus schools receiving scholarships can discriminate, barring special needs students and permitting religious instruction… which leads to the fourth factor.
  4. Education Tax Credit Programs Divert Public Money to Religious Indoctrination: While there is evidence that Betsy DeVos wants to use her position to allow public funds to flow to schools with religious affiliations, I do not believe ALEC’s shares that intent. However I do believe the billionaires who underwrite ALEC appreciate the political clout they can garner if they develop programs that appeal to the evangelical base of the GOP. Thus, an essential element of all legislation is to permit public funds to flow to all private schools, including those operated by churches, synagogues, and mosques.

The marketing of “Education Tax Credits” is artful. What voter wouldn’t want to have more tax credits available to them? What voter could oppose giving parents and children more choices in terms of schooling? What voter could oppose a law that will augment state funds with donations from generous billionaires enabling funding for schools to increase without imposing higher taxes? And what voter would be willing to pay higher taxes to help poor kids in another part of the state when those kids will be able to qualify for scholarships funded by someone else? Advocates of funding equity, of public education governed by locally elected school boards, and of opportunities for all children have a steep uphill fight in the years ahead.

 

 

For Once I Agree with Arne Duncan and John King: Defrauded Students Need Protection

July 19, 2017 Leave a comment

Readers of this blog know that I seldom agreed with the positions taken by Arne Duncan and John King. But I strongly support the position they took yesterday in a post they wrote for The Hill decrying the Trump administration’s decision to throw out the rules they promulgated protecting students who were fleeced by for-profit institutions like ITT, Corinthian College, and— while they didn’t mention it in their post— Trump University. As Mr. King and Duncan note, self-regulation of the marketplace did not work any more effectively in for-profit education than it would work in any sector.

But here’s the irony and the reason I was unalterably opposed to both Mr. King and Mr. Duncan. During their tenures as Secretary of Education they promoted “reforms” that relied heavily on deregulated free-market for profit charter schools… and many of the deregulated free-market for profit schools they promoted proved to be corrupt and of no value to the students they purported to serve. Yet despite these failures, both Mr. King and Mr. Duncan stood by their “reforms”, “reforms” that paved the way for the de-facto vouchers Ms. DeVos is now promoting.