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Betsy DeVos statement on historically black colleges and universities

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Replies to: Betsy DeVos statement on historically black colleges and universities

  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 60,424 Senior Member
    cobrat wrote:
    a dinosaur for every student

    Chicken and turkey in the school lunches?
  • cobratcobrat Registered User Posts: 11,949 Senior Member
    edited March 2
    Chicken and turkey in the school lunches?

    More like pet T-Rexes for every student to parade around to impress parents, neighbors, and especially teachers/educators. :D
  • Ohiodad51Ohiodad51 Registered User Posts: 1,973 Senior Member
    @katliamom, firstly, I don't agree with the premise. We don't require that the Sec of Ed be a teacher or administrator any more than we require the Sec of Agriculture to be a farmer, or the Sec of Defense to be a soldier. I have never understood that argument. Secondly, a surgeon performing an operation is executing a discrete task requiring specialized training. Running an agency and executing policy has never been viewed as such. If it were, I would have expected to hear people complain that President Obama shouldn't have proposed the ACA because he is not a doctor and therefore ignorant of health policy. Our government is simply not structured around the idea that only people from certain backgrounds may do certain things.

    On a larger scale, you make some excellent points about problems with the education system. And my question has always been that if things are so bleak (and let's face it they have been for twenty years and more) why would I keep doing the same things? We have what, tripled education funding in the last fifty years? Apparently, just shoveling money at the problem is not the right answer. Why not try some new ideas? Why not give charters, and vouchers, and magnet schools, and home schooling an opportunity to operate for a bit in a slightly less hostile environment?

    And let's be very honest. Quite a lot of the vitriol directed at DeVos, as well as the support for her, is because she represents a challenge to the size, power and funding of the NEA and the AFT. The less power those unions have, the less money and resources they can provide the Democratic Party. In a lot of ways, this is just bare knuckle politics.

  • ZinheadZinhead Registered User Posts: 2,365 Senior Member
    @TheAtlantic -
    First you say the subject at hand is the EO and not her comments, then you try to reframe DeVos' comments to concern only private HBCUs (a distinction she does not make as Bethune was simply used as an example), and say that it was "obvious" this is what she meant. She never said that, and no honest person would be able to deduce that from her statements. Almost all of her statements speak to HBCUs in general, and she makes comments on how they've operated since "founding".

    It was obvious to me when I first read her statement that she was trying to frame the creation of HCBU's with the modern issue of school choice. DeVos earns lots of enmity because if she is successful, teachers unions will lose money, power and jobs and many of the people that attack her do so purely because they are invested in the current educational system and she threatens their livelihood. The bile this woman has endured is ridiculous.
    Also framing HBCUs as trying to uphold segregation is ridiculous and undermines the importance educated black activist played in advocating for these institutions that could give African Americans the ability to receive an education. HBCUs arose because African Americans were not going to be allowed to integrate into PWIs. The only alternative would be for them to not be educated at all...

    From the viewpoint of the southern state governments at the time, HCBU's served a useful purpose in keeping blacks out of the PWI institutions. Obviously, HCBU's were created by black activist trying to improve their community. At the same time, the white-run governments saw state-supported HCBU's as way to avoid the 14th Amendment court fights that would overturn segregation in the 1950's and 1960's. The facts that HCBU's were largely created by blacks to expand their own educational opportunities and that their existence helped racist whites to maintain segregation are not mutually exclusive.
  • PostmodernPostmodern Registered User Posts: 919 Member
    We don't require that the Sec of Ed be a teacher or administrator any more than we require the Sec of Agriculture to be a farmer, or the Sec of Defense to be a soldier. I have never understood that argument.

    Funny, that argument makes immense sense to me. To the point where I don't see an equivalent alternative.
  • katliamomkatliamom Registered User Posts: 10,680 Senior Member
    edited March 2
    "Why not give charters, and vouchers, and magnet schools, and home schooling an opportunity to operate for a bit in a slightly less hostile environment?"

    @Ohiodad51 -- Good points, all. Except that all of these have been given a chance -- there is no hostility to any (except vouchers) in my city, for example. Yet the results aren't at all what we've been promised. Students aren't performing any better, teachers keep leaving the profession at alarming numbers, and the poor have fewer options than ever, because their neighborhood schools are being decimated.

    Look, I've been part of the problem, too. Both my kids at some point in their K-12 educations, attended private, regular public and charter/magnet programs. I've lived and seen it all, and speak from personal experience that even when embraced by a Democratic city (I'm in a very blue area) De Vos' ideas fail to improve schools, but in fact raise problematic moral issues regarding access to quality public education FOR ALL. Not just the privileged middle/upper middle class.
  • Ohiodad51Ohiodad51 Registered User Posts: 1,973 Senior Member
    @postmodern, are you saying that you believe the only people qualified to be Sec Def are military? Or that only farmers can be SecAg? How about Sec HHS? Doctors only? You would have to admit that is a pretty extreme departure from how we have functioned as a government over the last few hundred years. Or is SecEd somehow different? And if the answer is SecEd is different, why? That is the part of the argument that makes no sense to me.

    @katliamom, here in Ohio charters operate in a generally hostile enviornment. So do home schoolers, albeit to a lesser extent. On a federal level, I believe it is accurate to say the Dept of Ed has been hostile to charters for the last eight years, and was perhaps agnostic before then. Certainly there are groups on the side of the NEA and AFT who have not been shy in using litigation to challenge and test the charter model. All that to the side though, the fact remains that the system is in large part broken. I can not understand the resistence to trying different ways to fix it. If the issue is that there is a lack of trust in a Republican adminstration, then just pretend it is a spin on Harry Truman's great quote "first we are going to try some things, and then if they don't work, we will try some different things". That to my mind is the path forward. Some charters succeed. Some magnets and regular public schools do as well. Figure out why. Figure out why others of all stripes have failed. Try and support policies that will lead to more of the former and less of the later. That is what the SecEd should be doing. But the argument that there must not be any charter schools, or merit pay, or non unionized jobs because "it takes away from the mission of public education" is not getting anyone anywhere.
  • PostmodernPostmodern Registered User Posts: 919 Member
    @Ohiodad51 , I am saying that experience in an area is generally considered an asset in a chief executive, and the idea it isn't is one I find preposterous.

    The history of politics and patronage in our government does not change this fundamental fact.

    Let's demand at least as much experience from our governmental leaders as we do from the guy who comes to fix our plumbing.
  • katliamomkatliamom Registered User Posts: 10,680 Senior Member
    @Ohiodad51

    "But the argument that there must not be any charter schools, or merit pay, or non unionized jobs because "it takes away from the mission of public education" is not getting anyone anywhere."

    Neither are charters, merit pay and non-unionized jobs. If De Vos was advocating something really different, I might listen. But she isn't. She's advocating something that doesn't work either.
  • Ohiodad51Ohiodad51 Registered User Posts: 1,973 Senior Member
    @postmodern, I am not talking about "experience" in an area. And like it or not, DeVos has "experience in an area". She has been involved with the voucher movement for what, twenty years? What she doesn't have is experience as a teacher, adminstrator or other employee of the public educational system. That is what the issue is. Again, if such lack of experience is disqualifying for SecEd, why is it not for other cabinet posts? What is special about SecEd?

    On a larger note, a fundamental premise of our system is that we are not a government of "experts", but rather a government of the citizenry. We have always operated thus, even though from time to time it bothers people who hold views different from the current administration. And while we admittedly trade a certain level of knowledge about the workings of the system by eschewing government by expert, we also protect against sclerosis. Certainly you would agree that a danger of only allowing teachers or administrators to serve as SecEd is that such a policy would significantly narrow the range of experiences and insight that could be brought to any given problem? Isn't that exacty what we see in the NEA and the AFT now? More funding. No merit pay. No reductions in job protections. Money allocated to charters or directed by vouchers is "stolen" from the public schools. How long have we heard exactly those arguments? And to what good end?
  • PostmodernPostmodern Registered User Posts: 919 Member
    I am not talking about "experience" in an area. And like it or not, DeVos has "experience in an area". She has been involved with the voucher movement for what, twenty years? What she doesn't have is experience as a teacher, adminstrator or other employee of the public educational system. That is what the issue is. Again, if such lack of experience is disqualifying for SecEd, why is it not for other cabinet posts? What is special about SecEd?

    I guess we have different definitions of "experience".

    And there is nothing different about SecEd, and I do not recall claiming there was.
  • crimsonmom2019crimsonmom2019 Registered User Posts: 111 Junior Member
    @Ohiodad51 IMO, what is special about SecEd is that the position involves children specifically and solely. I suspect it is also because the position assumes the gatekeeper power over the universally held premise that education is the key for all children. So having someone seen as unqualified or without the generally accepted standard of experience is causing more "heat" than usual. I would also note that this argument isn't only for SecEd but indeed other cabinet posts. I am having a very difficult time with Dr. Ben Carson being named SecHousing. I mean really?
  • Ohiodad51Ohiodad51 Registered User Posts: 1,973 Senior Member
    Look, I've been part of the problem, too. Both my kids at some point in their K-12 educations, attended private, regular public and charter/magnet programs. I've lived and seen it all, and speak from personal experience that even when embraced by a Democratic city (I'm in a very blue area) De Vos' ideas fail to improve schools, but in fact raise problematic moral issues regarding access to quality public education FOR ALL. Not just the privileged middle/upper middle class.

    So did mine. By far the best pre high school option was a charter. But it couldn't keep the doors opened, so it closed down. Where I disagree with you is that this makes you, or me, "part of the problem". I generally believe that the more choices available, the better off we are. The type of educational enviornment that suits my kid may not suit the kid down the street. The question is who gets to choose what options are available to which kids. That's really the point. And I disagree that charters or vouchers somehow only benefit the privileged middle and upper middle class. I fit in to that category and we had a plethora of options for our kids and no access to vouchers, open enrollment schools and very, very few charters given the law in Ohio. But we were able to pay to send the kids to other, better schools. Lower middle class and true middle class people don't always have that option. Certainly that option doesn't exist for the poorest among us. And yet that is the population that most consistently and strongly supports vouchers and charter schools. You have to think there is a reason for that, right?

    Maybe I am just too simple minded, but taking a real world example, some girls who happened to meet income and residency requirements were able to get vouchers to attend my daughter's private (religous) school and escape the excrable inner city schools they would otherwise attend. That to me is good, even if it means that the local public school system "lost" the state funding dollars it would have had if those girls were forced to attend a crappy school. I'm for whatever helps a kid improve themselves. If that's charters, OK. If it's vouchers, fine. If it is a public magnet, great. The more the merrier.
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