Hillary Clinton

The Next Democratic President Will Be Terrible on Education Policy

Flint debate reveals a party mired in retrograde '70s-era trade-union liberalism

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Never forget! ||| avclub.com
avclub.com

Democrats are congratulating each other for having a "deeply substantive" presidential debate last night in Flint, Michigan. "Clinton And Sanders Show Republicans What A Real Debate Looks Like," ran Jonathan Cohn's headline at The Huffington Post. "The end result," wrote MSNBC's Steve Benen, "was two candidates who obviously take their responsibilities and their platforms seriously."

It's certainly true that there weren't any dick jokes last night. But it's also true that much of the actual substance being discussed was some of the most warmed-over, non-factual, trade-unionist liberalism since the 1970s. There was the knee-jerk opposition to international trade agreements, the open threats to corporations who dare move manufacturing plants, the anti-scientific hostility to an energy source that is contributing directly to the reduction of carbon levels, and one of the most dispiriting exchanges on public education this side of a Bill De Blasio press conference.

After frontrunner Hillary Clinton trial-ballooned the deeply unfortunate (if revealing) notion of federal "education SWAT teams," CNN moderator Anderson Cooper asked a very direct and clarifying question: "Secretary Clinton, you've been endorsed by two of the biggest teachers' unions. There's an awful lot of great teachers in this country. It's an incredibly difficult job, one of the most difficult jobs there is. But union rules often make it impossible fire bad teachers, and that means disadvantaged kids are sometimes taught by the least qualified. Do you think unions protect bad teachers?"

Bolding mine. Clinton, who has built a long career advocating every government intrusion under the sun in the name of protecting the children, ignored this relevant question entirely, then pivoted to the wholly made-up bogeyman of teacher-hating austerians:

Pay no attention to the trend lines behind the curtain! ||| Cato
Cato

You know, I am proud to have been endorsed by the AFT and the NEA, and I've had very good relationship with both unions, with their leadership. And we've really candid conversations because we are going to have to take a look at—what do we need in the 21st century to really involve families, to help kids who have more problems than just academic problems?

A lot of what has happened—and honestly it really pains me—a lot of people have [been] blaming and scapegoating teachers because they don't want to put the money into the school system that deserve the support that comes from the government doing its job.

This is embarrassing, child-damaging nonsense. Per-student K-12 spending has nearly tripled since 1970, while test scores have remained essentially flat. Whatever the problem is with public education, lack of money ain't it.  

Anderson Cooper, to his credit, attempted to get an actual answer to his question:

COOPER: So just to follow up, you don't believe unions protect bad teachers?

CLINTON: You know what—I have told my friends at the top of both unions, we've got to take a look at this, because it is one of the most common criticisms. We need to eliminate the criticism.

You know, teachers do so much good, they are often working under [the] most difficult circumstances. So anything that could be changed, I want them to look at it. I will be a good partner to make sure that whatever I can do as president, I will do to support the teachers of our country.

Bolding mine, because I want you to re-read that snippet, and reflect on the kind of mindset that could produce it. There are few politicians in American life who have expended more oxygen on selling public policy through the emotion-tugging argument of helping vulnerable children than Hillary Clinton. And yet she cannot bring herself to say "We've got to take a look at this because we need to protect the children"; instead, it's because "We need to eliminate the criticism."

This is akin to positing that the real problem with the Veterans Administration scandal is those dastardly Koch brothers, and yes, that also happened at a recent Democratic presidential debate. There really is no excuse for waking up in 2016 as a 68-year-old with a four-decade career in public life and suggesting that teacher-tenure rules are some kind of newly posited obstacle to quality public education. Those noted union-busters at The New Yorker magazine were sounding the alarm about "rubber rooms" seven years ago. Clinton of late has been embracing President Barack Obama tightly enough to strangle a healthy goat, and yet Obama's own Education Secretary, Arne Duncan, is an up-front critic of how teacher tenure negatively affects children.

It's not just Clinton, of course. Both she and Bernie Sanders support expensive universal pre-K, even though objective studies have demonstrated again and again that universal pre-K doesn't move the needle on student performance. And Sanders is such a committed centralizer, such a single-issue anti-Wall Street crusader, that he cannot see any other culprit for Detroit's lousy schools than Washington's greedy Republicans. From last night:

We have a Republican leadership in congress now fighting for hundreds of billions of dollars in tax breaks for the top two-tenths of one percent, but somehow we can't come up with the money to fix Detroit's crumbling public school system. Somehow we cannot make sure that Detroit has qualified and good teachers. Somehow we can't make sure that there are summer programs for your children, and after-school programs for your children. Somehow we cannot do what other countries around the world, is provide quality childcare and pre-K.

We have got to change our national priorities, no more tax breaks for billionaires, and large corporations. We are going to invest in our children, and have the best public school system.

It takes a SWAT team. ||| WXYZ-TV
WXYZ-TV

Detroit spends more than $14,000 per year per K-12 student. And starting last month, it is paying more for debt service than current teachers. That kind of profound managerial dysfunction needs to be pinned first of all on the dysfunctional managers, who are neither Washington Republicans nor Wall Street bankers.

So Bernie wants to throw federal dollars at the problem by taxing the greedheads. Hillary wants to, uh, throw federal dollars, restore local control, and send in a SWAT team? I wish I was making that up:

Number one, I would reinstate a program we did have during the 1990s where the federal government provided funding to repair and modernize public schools, because a lot of communities can't afford to do that on their own.

Secondly, I would use every legal means at my disposal to try to force the governor and the state to return the schools to the people of Detroit—to end the emergency management.

Number three, I want to set up inside the Department of Education, for want of a better term, kind of an education SWAT team, if you will.

I won't, thanks.

Meet the California teacher whose lawsuit Arne Duncan praises, and Hillary Clinton condemns:

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  1. Would, wouldn’t, would, wouldn’t, wouldn’t.

    1. I must admit that I’ve had no luck deducing any sort of valid logic that would encompass a desire map which includes both Gabe Kaplan and John Travolta.

      1. I was perplexed at first as well, especially since there aren’t that many pictures attached to the story.

        Then I watched the video. I concur with CJ.

        1. I thought he was referring to the lines on the graph.

    2. Why don’t you take a seat over there….

    3. Got a thing for mustaches, huh?

    4. All the girls are damned cute except for the one second from the right. Forget the dude, bruh.

  2. The Next Democratic President Will Be Terrible

    Look at freakin’ Nostradamus over heres.

    1. The Next Democratic President Will Be Terrible

      because I’m an optimist.

  3. We need to eliminate the criticism.

    Seriously?

    I want to set up inside the Department of Education, for want of a better term, kind of an education SWAT team, if you will

    Seriously??

      1. PUT DOWN THE PSP!!! NOW!!!

        OH GOD FURTIVE MOVEMENT!

        :BLAM BLAM BLAM!:

    1. Dept. of Education breaks down Stockton man’s door.

      Of course it was a Black guy.

    2. I learned my math with dull old flashcards, but for the short attention span kids these days you gotta use something a little more attention-grabbing like flashbangs.

    3. Scary shit, eh? I’ve never voted for a Democrat in my life, but they never used to scare me. Now they stand on the stage and say shit that you would expect to hear from Mussolini, Lenin, or Ho Chi Min, and people cheer.

      1. Or Raven Thomson as Bernie Sanders did in the New York Times.

  4. A lot of what has happened?and honestly it really pains me?a lot of people have [been] blaming and scapegoating teachers because they don’t want to put the money into the school system that deserve the support that comes from the government doing its job.

    Mmm, I’m sure it does, hon. This is probably why a majority of Americans consider you dishonest, sugar.

  5. It’s certainly true that there weren’t any dick jokes last night.

    Let’s face it. There’s nothing funny about Hillary’s penis.

  6. you don’t believe unions protect bad teachers?

    DUE PROCESS!!!

  7. OT from The Guardian – Pass the collection plate…

    http://www.theguardian.com/wor…..f-children

    Two Roman Catholic bishops who led a central Pennsylvania diocese helped cover up the sexual abuse of hundreds of children by more than 50 priests or religious leaders over a 40-year period, according to a grand jury report issued on Tuesday.

    ***

    The report contends Adamec or his staff threatened some alleged abuse victims with excommunication, and generally worked harder to hide or settle allegations of abuse than to sanction the priests accused of committing them.

    The report said the bishop created a “pay-out chart” to help guide how much victims would receive from the church. Victims fondled over their clothes were to be paid $10,000 to $25,000; fondled under their clothes or subjected to masturbation, $15,000 to $40,000; subjected to forced oral sex, $25,000 to $75,000; subjected to forced sodomy or intercourse, $50,000 to $175,000.

    1. An army of Dawkinses, Hitchenses, Dennetts and Harrises couldn’t promote atheism more effectively than these priestly Judases and episcopal corruptionists.

  8. CLINTON: We need to eliminate the criticism.

    I think you’ll find this describes all of Clinton’s policy solutions.

    1. Someone send her a monocle and a white cat.

      1. She’d just eat it. The monocle AND the cat.

        1. Hmm, yeah. Better make it a pair of dobermans and a throne made from skulls.

          1. She’d just fuck ’em. The dobermans AND the skulls.

      2. She’d make the most boring, yet effective, Bond villain ever. Instead of strapping you to a table and pointing a laser at you, she’d just lock you in a cell with a gun, one bullet, and a PA speaker. After listening to her delusional, self-righteous droning on for fifteen minutes (half-an-hour if you’re really tough), you’d shoot yourself just to make it stop.

  9. “Whatever the problem is with public education, lack of money ain’t it.”

    Which, I think, is why Hillary has a backup excuse: “And we’ve really candid conversations because we are going to have to take a look at?what do we need in the 21st century to really involve families, to help kids who have more problems than just academic problems?”

    Get it – it’s not the teachers’ fault, it’s the dysfunctional home lives of the students.

    Which is to a certain extent a legitimate argument – though exaggerated, given the success good schools sometimes have with students from broken homes. But anyone who actually believes that argument is precluded from saying, “let’s give lots more money to these teachers who, as I just explained, can’t actually help these kids!”

    1. This is one of the best Catch 22s in the Dem Quiver. If the student is doing bad, it is the parent’s fault. If the school is doing bad it is Austerity’s fault.

      They don’t even recognize the cognitive dissonance associated with these stances. If parents really are the driving force to a kid’s success then no amount of money paid to teachers and administrators will fix it. So much for that raise, apple eaters.

      1. Also, when the sure-fire remedy of funding equalization didn’t work, they pushed the goalpost clear to the other side of the field and “discovered” that some children are more expensive to educate than others. By the most amazing coincidence, the children of the aristocracy of pull were the most expensive to educate of all.

  10. Just for shits and giggles, here’s a snippet from the GOP platform of 1980

    To that end, the Republican Party supports deregulation by the federal government of public education, and encourages the elimination of the federal Department of Education.

    1. Yeah, try getting one Republican congresscritter not surnamed Paul to even flirt with that.

  11. You know what other leftist political leader wanted to eliminate criticism of failed policies?

    1. All of them?

    2. Hitler, it was Hitler right?

      1. I was thinking of that Nicarauguan official who was mentioned here last week as saying La Prensa was publishing likes about how the government was cracking down on freedom of expression and how the regime couldn’t allow that.

  12. I eagerly await the Ministry of Truth’s proposal for a great educational leap forward.

  13. Flint debate reveals a party mired in retrograde ’70s-era trade-union liberalism

    That shit is totally hip and in the now. Watching democratic politics is like a trip down memory lane.

    1. There are Russians who pine for Stalin.

      1. There evidently are Americans who do so, too.

  14. Those SWAT teams should be reserved for abortionists.

  15. Bolding mine. Clinton, who has built a long career advocating every government intrusion under the sun in the name of protecting the children, ignored this relevant question entirely, then pivoted to the wholly made-up bogeyman of teacher-hating austerians:

    So her answer was “no”.

  16. Number three, I want to set up inside the Department of Education, for want of a better term, kind of an education SWAT team, if you will.

    “I want to use overwhelming and disproportionate force to accomplish things without hesitation or the least resistance. I want to kick down the doors of our educational system looking for problems identified by unreliable and probably strung-out informants. I want to hold terrified and vulnerable teachers, administrators, and children at gunpoint while we ransack the schools without regard for law, due process, or common decency. I want to lob metaphorical flashbangs into the cribs of our sleeping students and really leave a mark on their development.”

  17. We have a Republican leadership in congress now fighting for hundreds of billions of dollars in tax breaks for the top two-tenths of one percent, but somehow we can’t come up with the money to fix Detroit’s crumbling public school system. Somehow we cannot make sure that Detroit has qualified and good teachers. Somehow we can’t make sure that there are summer programs for your children, and after-school programs for your children. Somehow we cannot do what other countries around the world, is provide quality childcare and pre-K.

    We have got to change our national priorities, no more tax breaks for billionaires, and large corporations. We are going to invest in our children, and have the best public school system.

    Wow, so much substance. It really makes you think, you know?

    1. Like, totally and stuff.

  18. and I’ve had very good relationship with both unions, with their leadership.

    BTW, imagine a candidate saying that hx had a ‘very good relationship’ with Enron or Exxon or The Retail Sector.

    This is the kind of corruption which is perfectly acceptable when dealing with unions.

  19. Flint debate reveals a party mired in retrograde ’70s-era trade-union liberalism

    This shouldn’t be a surprise, since neither candidate has evolved philosophically since then.

    1. They’re like the worst Pokemon imaginable.

      1. Donkiwhore v. Eliphlipphlop

      2. “Berniechu, i choose you! Use your Scathing Denunciation of Industrial Capitalism attack!”

        1. IT’S NOT VERY EFFECTIVE

          1. Instead of a sweat-hog reference you dorks made Pokemon jokes? Goodness.

            1. Some of us are under 60. ?\_(?)_/?

              1. Berniechu, use your LEVELER attack!

                Oh, wait, now I can’t buy any Pokeballs.

              2. I mean, Hugh’s not, but some of us are.

  20. CLINTON: You know what?I have told my friends at the top of both unions, we’ve got to take a look at this, because it is one of the most common criticisms. We need to eliminate the criticism.

    Reminds me of how the police complain the media is to blame for the general distrust people have for the police. It isn’t because of the actions of the police. No. It’s the media’s fault for reporting on and criticizing their actions.

  21. How come this piece isn’t illustrated with a “Hot for Teacher” foto? Are you gay for Gabe, Matt?

    1. Are you gay for Gabe, Matt?

      Classy.

      1. It really means something, coming from a guy whose name anagrams to An Anal Maven.

        1. ^This. Brilliant.

  22. I sent my kids to a private school of “mixed” model which means school 3 days a week and home school the other two. Though the school drives the syllabus which is nice. The tuition is 4K so if I could get my money back from what I’m putting into the public school I would be able to pay for it and still pocket plenty.

    It’s amazing how well something can run when it’s not mired with committees and bureaucrats constantly having “new” ideas and initiatives. I don’t know if teachers in public schools could be good if they wanted to.

    I imagine if public schools were eliminated the market would’ve filled with schools providing better education for less than half the cost. But then they might not teach the “right” things because parents can’t be trusted.

    1. I don’t know if teachers in public schools could be good if they wanted to.

      Some could be. Others are happy with the status quo for good reason.

    2. Cool handle, n00b.

  23. I will be a good partner to make sure that whatever I can do as president, I will do to support the teachers of our country.

    And yet she cannot bring herself to say “We’ve got to take a look at this because we need to protect the children”

    What have the children got to do with public education? Public education exists for the benefit of the employees of public education, primarily the administrators. Every time you add some new function to the teachers’ role you have to add some administrative office to shuffle the paperwork generated to make sure the teachers are performing that function, but you don’t add a single teacher. That’s what Hillary means by “support” – she means hiring more support staff in the administrative office, giving them more paper to shuffle. Screw the teachers who think their job should be teaching kids reading and writing and arithmetic, how does that benefit the system? We need diversity officers and social service coordinators and community outreach specialists and special programs developers, all of whom both demand and justify more resources for the schools.

  24. Hillary is always saying that we “need to take a look” at things, that we need to “come up with solutions”, that we need to “work hard” and that she, herself, “will do what it takes” to make things better. This my friends, is the bold leadership this country needs. For the future. Which lies ahead of us.

    1. Oh, she’s sincere about the defining the needs of others. But when she says “we” in this context it means people other than her audience. She means that Top Men need to do that.

  25. Democratic Party 2016: This is your daddy’s liberalism.

  26. Of course there wasn’t any dick jokes, Hillary doesn’t like dick.

  27. I love the deceptive use of statistics here. If school funding went up by 2% annually since 1970, it would in fact be 300% of what it was in 1970. The average inflation rate over that time is 3.5%. If school funding went up by the inflation rate it would be 670% higher now. Thus, school funding has in effect gone down relative to the rest of the economy, by almost a factor of 2. So to claim that if there’s a problem, it’s certainly not money is complete BS. We are funding schools at 1/2 the rate we were in 1970, when adjusting for inflation. Pretty damn good that test scores are even maintaining their previous levels.

    1. Can you explain how the worst school districts are often very well funded with respect to others? How would more money correct this?

      Also the US is up there in per capita education spending and yet here you are complaining?

      Throwing more money at schools is a tired solution.

    2. Hey public school vicitym! Per the graph, those numbers *are* adjusted for inflation. So yeah, 300% in apples-to-apples dollars.

  28. Who or what are all these tax breaks for the 0.2% percenters?

  29. After watching the debate, it amazes me liberals continue to believe they are smarter and superior to everyone else.

  30. We have a Republican leadership in congress now fighting for hundreds of billions of dollars in tax breaks for the top two-tenths of one percent, but somehow we can’t come up with the money to fix Detroit’s crumbling public school system. Somehow we cannot make sure that Detroit has qualified and good teachers. Somehow we can’t make sure that there are summer programs for your children, and after-school programs for your children. Somehow we cannot do what other countries around the world, is provide quality childcare and pre-K.

    We have got to change our national priorities, no more tax breaks for billionaires, and large corporations. We are going to invest in our children, and have the best public school system.

    Is it just my skewed perception or does this dipshit geezer trot this little nugget out to bolster every single dusty brainfart he puts forth as a policy proposal?

    1. No, your perception seems pretty accurate. It’s the same old, same old all the way through.

      It’s been the left’s (and the progressive right’s) operating procedure at least since the 1980s, but it probably dates back much earlier in the last century: 1) Identify a problem 2) Propose more government spending to address this problem 3) If the increased spending doesn’t work or actually makes the problem worse, you must increase the government spending 4) If the increased spending serves to create some new problem, start back at the first step.

      The entire time, the trick is to maintain plausible deniability that you’re really concerned about solving any problems. In actuality, it’s really about rewarding cronies with more money and increasing your power by steadily upping the amount of other people’s money you have available to spend to reward those you support your power.

      Of course, if addressing problems was really a concern to these politicians, we would actually sometimes see them experimenting with other (non-monetary) solutions, or testing new proposals to see what actually works before committing money to them. But they never do any of that, of course.

      1. True, but I was referring to his lame ass “every other civilized country” argument. He applies it to absolutely everything. It’s the progressive left’s version of keeping up with the Joneses.

        1. But yet they wont apply this logic to things like voting ID

  31. Re: Rebecca Friedrich

    I’m not a lawyer so I’m wondering if it would be legal for a union, who bears the brunt of the cost of collectively bargain, to advocate for two-tier compensation policies? Why should a union bear the cost of advocating for deadbeats that don’t want to pay for the cost of what it takes to collectively bargain? Can anyone tell me what the definition of rent seeking is and use it in a complete sentence?

    P.S. Does anyone know where Ms. Hot and Hopefully Naughty Teacher gets her money from?

    1. Yo, dumbass, it’s not so much the bargaining part of the dues as it is the majority of the dues that advocate for slimy politicians like a dried up old cunt who likes pantsuits who then advocates sending more money to her cronies in the union. Rent seeking should be easy to understand, even for a commie kid.

    2. “Why should a union bear the cost of advocating for deadbeats that don’t want to pay for the cost of what it takes to collectively bargain?”

      They shouldn’t. That’s why unions should write up contracts where the benefits only apply to union members. That way, the union members can collectively bargain without having to pay for everyone else, and everyone else can bargain in their own way. There are no dreaded “free riders” and everyone’s happy. Right?

      But I’m sure you wouldn’t like that, since it doesn’t allow the union to extract money from the entire workforce so that they can funnel it to Democrap candidates.

    3. Where does she get the money from?

    4. Why should people who want to be a public school teacher be forced to join a union?

  32. RE: The Next Democratic President Will Be Terrible on Education Policy

    Especially if they were condemned to go to public schools. Oh wait…Hitlery went to private schools and Comrade Bernie went to the finest post graduate school for socialist shitheads…the Kremlin, where he honeymooned there. What could possibly go wrong?

  33. You’re getting ?120 worth of bonuses for just a fraction of that price. Everything to get you started in learning a proven system for accelerating sg your exam success. So if that’s what you want to do, this is the opportunity you’ve been waiting for….

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