Betsy DeVos

Trump's Choice for School Choice

Betsy Devos is a promising choice for education secretary.


America's socialists—I mean, progressives, are enraged that President-elect Trump chose Betsy DeVos to be his secretary of education.

"Not a good appointment," yelled Al Sharpton.

A "proponent of a for-profit institution! She does not believe in the public school system!" complained CNN's Bakari Sellers.

Wait. Is your for-profit local supermarket less "public" than your kid's school? No! For-profit institutions serve the public and usually do it better than governments do.
Let's stop calling government schools "public." Call them what they are: "government-run" schools.

Anyway, the charter schools DeVos supports are public. They're just not controlled by the usual crowd of education bureaucrats. That's why the education establishment hates them. The establishment has had total control for a century and doesn't want to lose it.

They complain that DeVos:
—Doesn't have a degree in education!
—Has no teaching experience!
—Didn't attend government schools!
—Didn't send her kids to "public" school!

But that was also true about Arne Duncan, President Obama's education secretary. We didn't hear the same complaints about Duncan. Perhaps avoiding government-run education helps people become successful.

For 50 years, the education establishment said that government schools struggled because they didn't have enough money. So America tripled spending per student.
That brought zero improvement. Again, today, they say, "Just give us more time, more money!"

No. Time is up. Children have suffered enough.

My consumer reporting taught me that things only work well when they are subject to market competition. Services improve when people are free to shop around and when competitive pressure inspires suppliers to invent better ways of doing things.

DeVos understands that. That's why she wants to allow parents to choose the schools their kids attend. Schools that do a better job will attract more students. Better schools will grow, while some inferior ones will close.

Inferior schools, like any failing business, should close. It's a disservice to students to keep them open.

Educrats and teachers unions refuse to look at it that way. They don't want kids escaping their grasp. Unions don't want to lose dues-paying members.

They prefer that kids stay trapped while bureaucrats decide what improvements, if any, need to be made.

Progressives are also upset because DeVos gave $200 million of her own money to the "wrong" schools, Christian schools.

A smear in The New Yorker suggests that DeVos will have government-run schools teach creationism: "DeVos is a fundamentalist Christian with a long history of opposition to science … She could shape science education decisively for the worse, by systematically depriving young people, in an era where biotechnology will play a key economic and health role worldwide, of a proper understanding of the very basis of modern biology: evolution."

That would be bad—were it true, but DeVos' critics don't quote anything she says that shows "opposition to science." DeVos once told me that in a free society that shares her philosophy of education, "some religious schools might teach creationism, but not in science class."

Reason's J.D. Tuccille points out that DeVos "was instrumental in enacting Michigan's and Detroit's charter school program." Progressives say this was "tragic for Michigan's children … Detroit's charter schools have shown themselves to be only incrementally stronger … than traditional public schools."

Hello? Stronger is better, even if the difference is just "incremental." A Stanford study concluded that charter students achieved "two months of additional gains in reading and math."

That suggests DeVos has already done more to improve American education than most government education bureaucrats have.

DeVos won't have much power over your kids' schools. K-12 education is mostly locally and state run. In fact, the wasteful $90 billion education department should be abolished altogether. But DeVos' appointment sends the right message.

It tells educators they should face pressure to get up each morning looking for ways to improve education. That won't happen unless parents are free to experiment and escape experiments that fail.

I wouldn't want to be trapped in a bad restaurant while government debated how to improve it.

Everyone deserves the freedom to get out of there and try something better.


NEXT: Carrie Fisher's Death Closes Out a Grim 2016, Defending 'White Genocide' Professor: P.M. Links

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  1. She’s terrible! She has no experience with public schools and will undermine the unions that bust their butts daily to teach our children!

    1. Those are features for intelligent people, For you they must seem like bugs.

  2. Does this mean we’ll have a libertarian writer from here on out?

  3. If all we do is add school choice, then we are only going half way. We need to let the teachers teacher. That might mean getting big government out of schools and removing some of the federal requirements. Why don’t we look at charter schools and find out some of the good things they do and apply them to our current educational system.

    1. Let the teachers teach… AND let the principals fire the bad teachers. How many stories have we seen already about bad teachers dragging down schools because the unions have crappy tenure rules in place?

      1. Yes, let principals fire bad teachers. But tenure is weird. In some states, like here in Missouri, it is just a probationary period–for five years. Tenure and unions are red herrings–if we magically got rid of them today, we will have the same issues tomorrow. These two things do nothing to encourage teachers to work hard and to be passionate about their career–and it does nothing to discourage teachers either.

        1. Which begs the questions: how do private schools manage to attract passionate teachers, without municipal unions or tenure, and often more cost effectively? How do charters do it?

          1. “How do charters do it?”

            Have you checked the unemployment numbers?

          2. After Clarence Darrow won a case, his client asked, “How can I ever show my appreciation?”

            Darrow replied, “Ever since the Phoenicians invented money, there has been only one answer to that question.”

  4. The whole education racket needs overhaul.

    Taxpayers who pay education taxes should be able to decide where to spend their dollars. Parents would put their tax dollars toward the school where their child(ren) attend. Non-parents could choose which schools they wants their tax dollars to go.

    The best is free market schools that cater to the needs and the desires of students and parents to help kids become smart adults. Getting rid of school district taxes and let parents spend their money toward education as they see fit. Let non-parents donate money to help schools with funding.

    Good teachers need support to produce as many smart kids as possible. Bad teachers need to get the boot.

    The other less discussed part of education is allowing smart kids to flourish and kids who are not willing to attend, cause trouble or do not perform to be removed and get remedial education. Auto shop, digging ditches, trash collectors, whatever.

    Stop dragging the smart kids down to the less smart kids levels. Encourage every kid to learn and be challenged above their abilities.

    1. Even better: All education is privately funded.

      1. Abolish government education. At all levels.

    2. The racket begins with “compulsory education.” End that and the racket ends. And literacy likely increases.


        Not just “likely”. Literacy has actually gone down in some places as a result of compulsory “education”.

  5. I’m not sure why they need an education to work in my mines.

    1. I afford my orphan slaves an education. Orphans are expensive; if they can read the warning stickers on the mining equipment, I’ll have to buy fewer.

      1. Orphans with fingers. That’s what I was doing wrong! Reading is now mandatory at my place as of this moment.

  6. Wait a minute. So suddenly the primary goal of the educational system in America is not supposed to be a jobs program?

    1. This is their moment to start dealing with reality and making hard decisions…or not. I suspect the latter.

    2. When school children start paying union dues, that ‘s when I’ll start representing the interests of school children.

      – Albert Shanker, president of the United Federation of Teachers

  7. Stupid libertarians don’t understand that education, like health care, is a basic human right.

    It is immoral to profit from basic human rights. Those things should be provided only by the government. We can’t allow greed to influence basic human rights.

    So what if the private sector can provide higher quality goods and services? They make profits while they’re doing it!

    That cannot be allowed!

    1. I remember asking this guy who was one of the organizers for the Occupy Wall Street- Chicago this question: Who the fuck has the guns? Jamie Dimon or Timothy Geithner?

      He gave me a convoluted answer but eventually I forced him to admit that the government has the guns.

  8. I try my best to assume people are making good-faith arguments, but I’d as soon argue with Tulpa as argue with Al Sharpton, the NYT, or CNN. They’re trolls.

  9. Why was this hidden as “New at Reason” and not labeled Stossel on the side menu? It had me thinking it was a Dalmia article (which I wouldn’t read) or something until I found it under the Top Stories.

    1. They would do well to put his articles at the top. He has a large audience who already have a foot in the door of libertarianism. We need all the allies we can get.

  10. One of the most poignant observations I’ve made is that the people who are rabidly against school choice and vouchers are the ones who went to private schools or where able to go to great public schools.

    1. Ding! Ding!! Ding!!!

      That is my in-laws. Both public school teachers (now retired) for the city of Chicago public school system.

      They are big proponents of public education.

      Of course, they sent their 4 kids to one of the most elite private high schools in Chicago.

      1. I graduated from CPS. I’ve had some good teachers but for the most part a lot of them didn’t cut the mustard.

        1. I’m sure my in-laws were decent teachers. My mother-in-law took a position in the CPS administration involving improving Chicago Schools. Not sure how successful her department was.

        2. I’d bet most of them cut the cheese though.

  11. There’s a lot of people in my area who are super butt hurt about this choice for Education Secretary. DeVos is from my area, her husband’s family has been active in local business for ages. Common wisdom says that the DeVoses are seen to be aloof and out of touch with the regular people.

    1. So they’re just like public school teachers then.

  12. [posted earlier but bears repeating]

    DeVos came up during a holiday gathering, and the prog teacher actually said “we need more local control of schools.” When I suggested that maybe the US FedGov ought not to be involved in educating schoolchildren she immediately did a pivot and blurted out a hastily contrived variant of the “right people in charge” fallacy.

    We are well and truly fucked, not because of DeVos but because the people who might be our allies in things that matter like opposing AG Sessions’ assault on the BoR are going to spend their time and money on inanities like this.

    1. While Sessions being the Attorney General is a huge step back for liberty, issues like the War on Drugs and asset/civil forfeiture do not affect people like the prog teacher above. I mean they know it’s wrong but they aren’t going to go crazy about it and will most likely gloss over his misdeeds or create ones that don’t exist due to partisanship.

      We are truly fucked.

      1. I don’t know that Sessions is a step back so much as more of the same. Lynch is just as awful on the drug war and forfeiture as Sessions and Holder might have been worse than both of them.

        The sorry fact is DOJ and criminal justice policy in this country is uniformly horrible. It is one of the few areas where both parties really are equally horrible. I don’t like it that Sessions is getting the AG slot and I wouldn’t vote to confirm him if I were in the Senate. I really do not see how he is any worse than any of the other AGs in my lifetime.

        1. I’d say Sessions will probably be a bit better than Lynch/Holder just because he will have the media breathing down his back. He’s definitely within the 3×5 card of allowable opinion that ranges between Lynch/Holder/Reno and Ashcroft/Gonzales/Yoo. Of course Sessions is horrible. Can you imagine the outcry on both left and right if he was not horrible?

          I have some hope, just a little, that Sessions may actually exceed my very low expectations. He may do a Nixon in China on marijuana and he might even come to appreciate the value of some inalienable rights once he becomes personally responsible for violating them. Maybe. It could happen.

    2. Decades of propaganda about the saintliness of the public school teacher will do that.

      1. A lot of teachers suck. There is no doubt about that. But a lot of parents and kids suck too. I don’t care how bad your kids’ teachers are, you as a parent and ultimately the kid himself are responsible for their education. No teacher is going to take the place of a parent in providing a proper education and no parent or teacher no matter how good is going to make a kid learn who doesn’t want to do so. As I say below, the worst effect of public education has been to perpetuate the idea that children can be magically educated by the government by locking them in a classroom all day. Public education is in many ways a cargo cult.

        1. But a lot of parents and kids suck too.

          Oh, absolutely. And they tend to be concentrated in “failing” schools, which get closed down so they get spread around to other schools where I guess they’re supposed to “absorb” good habits by osmosis or something. IMHO calling a school a “failing” school is sweeping a larger problem under the rug.

          1. One of the worst aspects of public school is that it is mandatory. Some kids don’t belong in school and do nothing but ruin the place for the kids who do belong there. One of the biggest upsides to real and universal school choice is that you could have schools designed for kids who don’t belong in a traditional classroom allowing those that do belong there to have some hope of it being a decent experience.

            1. My fiance and I argued about making kids stay in school till they are 17. It sucked being in a classroom with students who not only didn’t want to learn but also disrupted the process because they didn’t want to be there and had behavioral issues.

              1. Homeschooling. Virtual school. Private, for-profit school. Parochial school. Why on Earth do we need government schools? Or government standards?

                1. We don’t. They have become a jobs program and a way for the well off to obtain credentials that the less well off cannot obtain.

                  One of the reasons why public schools are not going away anytime soon is because a truly free system like you describe would take away all of the advantages middle and upper middle class kids get by their parents being well off enough to self segregate. Have a free system and the smartest kids will rise to the top no matter who their parents are or where they live. That would be a great thing for the country but not so good at all for all the upper middle and upper class families carefully planning out their little snowflakes’ college applications.

                2. Government schools are necessary to indoctrinate children in their responsibilities to the state and to inculcate reverence towards its agents and its symbols.

                  Or, as Rudy Giuliani said: “Schools exist in America and have always existed to train responsible citizens of the United States of America.”

                  Their primary purpose has never been education. It’s all about indoctrination in the great progressive American concept of freedom: “freedom is not a concept in which people can do anything they want, be anything they can be. Freedom is about authority. Freedom is about the willingness of every single human being to cede to lawful authority a great deal of discretion about what you do.” (Again in the words of Giuliani.) It takes a lot of time in a government institution to understand and internalize this concept.

              2. Why do we make any kid stay in any school at any age?

            2. Some kids don’t belong in school and do nothing but ruin the place for the kids who do belong there.

              Yeah. And what’s worse is that the education system is set up to push these kids on the path to college, as if they will somehow turn into proper scholars once they’re spending their future self’s money instead of their neighbors’.

              The entire story of American education over the last 30ish years is the increasing pursuit of throwing good money after bad. People like to post charts showing increases in spending vs. test scores, but that misses the point. The money is not being spent on the students who would show up there; it’s spent on teaching life skills to the retarded and autistic or college prep courses for those who would be better served in a vocational program. It’s a classic case of misallocated capital, one that only the government could perpetrate.

              1. It is just insidious. I meet young people all of the time who seem to be doing pretty well in the restaurant field or some other job but have college degrees that are totally irrelevant to what they are doing.

                One of our good friends’ daughters is a pretty kick ass bar manager and “mixologist” at a local restaurant. She is really good at her job, loves her job and I think has a decent career ahead of her. That is great except that she spent four years getting some liberal arts degree from Penn State. Her parents and the taxpayers paid for her to waste four years of her life in college because getting a degree is what kids of her class do and having the degree was probably necessary to be the “manager”. How fucking stupid is that? Why couldn’t she have gone to work out of high school and started her career four years earlier? The entire higher education system is nothing but an elaborate theft from the American public.

                1. There are 4-year Hospitality Industry college programs out there. Probably overkill, seems like a junior college could offer that.

                  I still think school does everything back asswards. They shove uninterested kids into 3 levels of algebra, and then when they finally realize the kid doesn’t get it, they let him take shop classes. Then when the kid graduates he realizes he needs to go to community college to take algebra again because NOW he knows how useful it is.

                  If the kid would have just taken shop classes in 9th grade, he’d find out whether or not he liked them and where applied mathematics courses fit in his future and take those in 10th and 11th grade.

                  School is loaded with too much goddamned novel reading and not enough non-fiction reading. Critical thinking skills are much more important to apply to what is peddled as non-fiction than what is obviously fiction.

                2. To be sure, college would be plenty affordable but for government meddling, subsidies, and so on. There is nothing wrong with getting a good, general education. Let the market decide on the pricing.

              2. It’s a classic case of misallocated capital, one that only the government could perpetrate.

                Only government schools would be so stupid as to require people in grade 11 or 12 to take Trigonometry and NOT EVEN OFFER an Accounting/Bookkeeping course.

                Although if I spend more than 20 seconds thinking about it, I realize it isn’t stupid, it is just pure evil.

                1. Accounting/bookkeeping? Basic economics would be simply fantastic. They could use Thomas Sowell’s book Basic Economics.

              3. The other day I prepared my own chart that regressed Dept of Ed spending on K-12 with SAT scores. The correlation coefficient was positive and statistically significant. However, the slope was negligible, something like $1500/student to get a single marginal SAT point. Spending $1500 on a SAT Prep service offers results that are about two orders of magnitude better.

                I realize that this is a simplistic analysis with a simplistic proxy for performance. But I’m also talking about two orders of magnitude here, not mere statistical significance.

            3. School choice really means choosing whether or not to go to school. “Compulsory education” produces exactly the dysfunction the name implies.

              1. Yes it is Hair.

            4. +1 Mikeroweworks

          2. What Rhywun said!!

        2. Then why do we pay teachers? When I went through 1st -12th grades in the 60’s and 70’s in a public school, my parents and those of my friends had very little to do with their kid’s schooling. They were there if you had a question about something in your homework but they did not spend all evening working homework problems with you or all day hanging out at the school. Parents were considered the customers by the school and it was the teacher’s job to teach the children. These days, teachers, rather than students, are held up to be the “important” ones in schools, with parents scrambling to see who can throw the biggest teacher appreciation day celebration. Moreover, teachers also want to take more and more field trips during class hours and expect that parents will do the more difficult job of actually teaching their children to form letters and numbers with a pencil or learning the basic alphabet. In addition to a lack of teaching basic skills, the rewriting of history to conform to leftist’s views means much of what is actually being programmed into children’s heads is total garbage.

          1. Then why do we pay teachers?

            We pay teachers because they are necessary to educate children. My point isn’t that teachers don’t matter. They do. My point is that the teachers are only as good as the Kids’ and parents efforts allow them to be. A proper education requires all three things, interested parents, motivated kids and decent teachers. I am all for firing bad teachers but we should not kid ourselves into thinking that is the entirety of the problem.

            1. Please John, just stop. Especially in our society where knowledge is so available, teachers are vastly over-rated.

              Salman Khan has imparted more knowledge than every single public school teacher in history, combined.

          2. Part of the problem is the myth of universality. Education is not now, has never been, and never will be universal. That doesn’t mean every child needs to be treated like a special snowflake; on the contrary, that too is a recipe for disaster. What it does mean is that schools, teachers, students, and parents need to be held to standards and face consequences for failing to meet them. A school is neither a jobs program nor a daycare. If the teacher will not teach, then fire him. If the administrator adds less value than his salary, then fire him and eliminate the position. If the student will not behave, discipline him. If the student will not learn, expel him. If the parents take no responsibility for the student’s learning or behavior, then neither should the teachers or administrators.

        3. Public education is in many ways a cargo cult.

          +1 Feynmann

  13. But that was also true about Arne Duncan, President Obama’s education secretary. We didn’t hear the same complaints about Duncan.

    Brilliant find, Stossel; I didn’t know that. Somewhat surprised that Duncan got appointed given all that, but only somewhat.

    1. Agreed. Brilliant find!

      I mentioned my public school teaching in-laws up thread. My mother-in-law actually used to work for Arne (she was two levels down from him in the org chart).

      I can’t wait to bring up this little factoid to her attention when she starts clutching her pearls over DeVos.

  14. A smear in The New Yorker suggests that DeVos will have government-run schools teach creationism

    I like to point out that in Germany most kids are required to take Religion class and watch their heads explode.

    1. Those poor children. Who cleans up the mess?

      1. I generously allow my orphans to handle it.

  15. Does anyone know how the Department of Education has improved education since its inception in 1979?

    1. All of us here, except perhaps the trolls, all know this is a trick question.

    2. As you infer, it has taken a precipitous nose-dive since then. Luckily, I graduated in 1977 and did not have the “benefit” of centralized, Politburo-style interference in my local school system.

  16. “For 50 years, the education establishment said that government schools struggled because they didn’t have enough money. So America tripled spending per student.
    That brought zero improvement. Again, today, they say, “Just give us more time, more money!”

    That’s basically been their argument for over 40 years. But then again the Left’s mind-frame is that if you give the government more money and power, we will reach utopia.

    1. I think public education has had more insidious effects than its worst critics claim. In addition to wasting trillions of dollars and subjecting generations of students to horrific educational theories that did nothing but guarantee their illiteracy, it has also caused the public to devalue education and parents to stop taking ownership of their kids’ education. Public education in some ways works like welfare. Public education is the government’s way of assuming the responsibility for the education of every child in America. When you understand that, it should not surprise you that parents stopped taking an interest in and ownership of their children’s education. Why shouldn’t they have done that? The government told them it was now responsible. School choice is a good thing for a lot of reasons not the least of which is that giving parents control over their children’s education will give them a reason to take an interest in it.

      1. Absolutely true. The kids who do best in school are the one’s whose parents started them learning and gave them small responsibilities before kindergarten.

        And it generally only works where the proper attention can be directed. AKA loved ones. Those who think a total stranger can get the same results if the kid is just put in there tutelage at age 3 instead of age 5 are dead wrong. For no better reason than there is too much liability. As Lenore keeps showing it’s so bad now when a parent lets his kid screw up but a hired stranger is going to dumb everything down precisely because his risk is too great not to. So you wind up with infantilization ad infinitum. And stupid kids turning into stupider adults.

  17. Here’s the problem, if you allow parents to choose where to send their kids to school, they’ll choose the wrong places. If you then allow parents to choose what their kids are taught, they’ll choose the wrong subjects. The only way to ensure that kids are taught the right things in the right places is to take those choices away from the parents. We can’t have an entire nation of backwards, bible-thumping fanatics, can we?

    1. Exactly Sparky. The people on this thread and the new Secretary of Education have this strange idea that education is what you make of it and done to impart knowledge and useful skills. No, education is to ensure kids have the proper political views and to be a jobs program for adults who hold those views. When you understand that is how the “Education Establishment” views education, you see why school choice is such a horrible idea.

      1. DeVos nomination as the Education Secretary sent all of my teacher friends into a frenzy which is an indicator that his pick was a good one.

        Secondly, I remember when the teachers in Chicago went on strike and a former acquaintance of mine was rah rah-ing the strike because her mother is a teacher at CPS. She was against school choice and forcing teachers to be much more accountable to the students and the parents but yet went to Nazareth Academy in suburban La Grange, despite being a resident of Chicago.

        After her rant was over I asked her how can she condemn a student to a shitty school and take the choice away from the student’s parent to find a better school, while she gets to go one of the top Catholic schools in the Western Suburbs even though, she lives in Chicago and her Mom works at CPS?

        She defriended me.

        1. During the whole liberal meltdown over Walker’s reforms in Wisconsin, there was a public school teacher who wrote about the horrors of Walker’s reforms. One of the horrors was that several of her friends were no longer going to be able to afford to send their kids to private school thanks to Walker’s policy. She said that without a trace of irony. I can’t find it on the web but I am not kidding.

          1. When in I was in high school in Chicago, I would always hear my teachers say that they would never ever send their children to CPS unless it was at one of the magnet schools.

            1. And that is mostly because they don’t want their kids around a lot of the kids who go to CPS. And I don’t blame them. It would be nice, however, if they understood that a lot of parents who are forced to send their kids to CPS don’t want their kids around those kids either but are forced to by law and economic circumstance.

              In addition to just rank self interest and careerism, there is a real strain of unspoken and unadmitted racism that runs through objections to school choice. Nice white parents like the teachers you mention don’t want poor kids coming to their kids’ school or there to be more competition for their kids. They want the poor kids and the brown kids to stay in their own neighborhoods and not to compete with their snowflakes.

              1. It’s absolutely racism. If you scratch a Progressive hard enough, underneath the pleasantries and altruism there is a person who would rather not be around black people or have them live in their neighborhoods.

                1. Ed, as a fellow southsider you know it’s classism PLUS racism. Progs are happy to have black people around them – as long as they aren’t poor. Poor blacks need to stay in their place or moved farther out, poor and lower-middle class whites need to be exterminated, and poor people of other races can’t be allowed in.

                  As I said 8 years ago, it’s easy for Obama to claim to be a community organizer – but notice how he advocated in Roseland and West Pullman but he LIVED in Hyde Park. He was happy to advocate moving Section 8 residents into Matteson and Richton Park, but god forbid they get closer to Hyde Park. And it really isn’t any different than it was 60 years ago when the worst neighborhoods were bulldozed for the expressways and the residents were herded into the shiny new poor-people’s highrises and the lower-middle class whites were pushed into the south suburbs.

                  Forcing people to move is the Progressive’s favorite pastime.

              2. And that is mostly because they don’t want their kids around a lot of the kids who go to CPS.

                They also don’t want those kids in CPS to be able to attend the school *their* kids now attend. It’s segregation; just unofficial.

          2. Sweet Jeebus John!!

            If I hadn’t been aware of your commenting history, I would have assumed you were making a joke.

            1. Its true. I swear. I need to find it. It was one of those things that was so unbelievable that it sticks in your mind.

              1. I believe you. It’s one of those things that are so outrageous they must be true.

    2. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want my doctor believing in magical faeries and women that hand out swords from lakes all willie nillie.

  18. What is the purpose of our educational system? To feed hungry children? To make sure they have medical care? To indoctrinate? To memorize? To learn how to think? Learn about sports? Daycare? Memorize useless facts? To learn skills to get a job?

  19. The Mustache with another good read. Bravo.
    P.S. I r produckt of pubic skoolin’

    1. I r produckt of pubic skoolin

      Me too. Thankfully though, I grew up in a small town with a good school system. The kind of system that was allowed to sort kids by intelligence and learnability and put them in appropriate classes.

  20. “That’s why she wants to allow parents to choose the schools their kids attend.”

    But there’s nothing stopping parents choosing to send their kids to private schools. Devos herself was ‘allowed’ to send her kids to private school.

  21. I wouldn’t want to be trapped in a bad restaurant while government debated how to improve it.

    Everyone deserves the freedom to get out of there and try something better.

    It is much more difficult to provide a good education than it is to provide a good meal.

    Public schools are so bad that they can’t even do the latter.

  22. Like a lot of things, people want choices but they are too afraid to allow of freedom of choice so you end up with very regulated homeschooling (thanks in part to the fundie homeschoolers) or charter schools. Texas, believe it or not, has been in the forefront of freedom of educational choice. Once the Texas Supreme Court decided that homeschools were private school and that children who attended private schools are exempt for the compulsory education laws, educational choices flourished. It was so much more than homeschooling, private schooling or charter schools. People created educational options that really fit their needs. It’s amazing but you won’t hear about it. So many people are afraid of the government and their power to control their children that they quietly go about their business.

    Here’s an article about me in the Houston Press. Even in Houston Unschoolers Group we had all kinds of things going on- from conferences to two families getting together to share expertise to people (kids and adults) offering tutoring and classes in their homes to art gatherings. Things like that were not allowed in other states where homeschooling meant only parents educating their kids at home using traditional textbooks.…

    1. I should mention that some of things offered where free but most (especially among more traditional homeschoolers) were definitely for-profit.

  23. Why do Libertarians think the free market will solve everything? The government is the problem they say! Let’s get the government out of everything but the military and let the market determine everything. You think policing and the fire department are good candidates for shifting to the private domain? How are those private prisons working out?

    You really think public educators are sitting back collecting their paychecks not giving a hoot about the education they’re providing their kids? Teachers are the most passionate people I know about getting kids proper education. They didn’t get into that career for the money, but because of their passion for providing a good education.

    I’ll give you one point. The bureaucracy tying their hands does need to be worked on. But taking money out of public education and shifting it to charter schools will do nothing to improve the conditions of kids in lower class neighborhoods. At least with with publicly mandated money those lower income people have a shot at a decent education. If all of those schools close down because the public money dries up, where are the kids from poorer neighborhoods going to get their education? Do you think they’ll be able to afford those charter schools?

    This whole argument stinks of another way of funneling money upward. It’s simply a tax break for those already sending their kids to private schools. Sure. There’ll be great competition on the top. But the poor will get left behind even further.

    1. Markets work. Government bureaucracies work too, just not nearly as well. They fail to allocate resources to meet demand and end up as cronyist, ineffective, and inefficient. Because there is no real incentive to compete and, thereby to improve, in government-run monopolies. Plus it is immoral to have “Top Men” set policies to pick winners and losers. No one is that smart or virtuous.

      The only times government-run monopolies out-perform private competitors is when there are obvious and usable scales of economy. Like the military or interstate freeways (there is only one best path between two destinations). But even then markets work more effectively, and government requires expensive controls.

    2. The problem is the nature of government run anything. The people who work for any government entity, mostly, are good people who are passionate about their jobs, just like the people in the private sector are, for the most part. The problems come from the incentives created by a government system. Like it or not, people respond to incentives and will adapt their behavior given the conditions they face.

      Public school teachers want to do a good job but are handicapped by being stuck in a terrible system. The system, though, cannot be tweaked or “worked on”. My whole life I’ve been hearing about working on various government systems. Every few years we’re going to eliminate “waste, fraud, and abuse”, and yet there’s a seemingly endless supply of it. The waste, fraud, and abuse are inherent to the system and cannot be eliminated, no matter how much you work on them.

      Finally, the kids in lower class neighborhoods have very little shot at a decent education. And yes, with the money that is currently being wasted on the extremely poorly performing public schools in their neighborhoods, they could easily afford charter schools. They currently do in places where charter schools are allowed to exist and there are long lists of poor kids waiting to get into them. Your argument has little connection to reality.

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  25. Part 1
    Why is it that everyone thinks everything would be better if it was a for profit industry?

    Two that I think should not be are education and healthcare.

    I’ve often said I was a Libertarian because I’m fiscally responsible and social progressive. Do whatever you want, just don’t ask me to pay for it. However, one can not ignore the “costs” to society as we continue to pretend that this country operates as a free market system. All of use justify compromising free market beliefs at one time or another. A great example is “Too big to fail” Now there’s a welfare program to beat all welfare programs. And please hold your rational justifications. My point is that we most always compromise our idealism at some point in time for the greater good.

    Some facts-

    One of the data points used to project the number of future prison bed requires is based on the number of third graders who can’t read.

    In the Colorado prison system (where I’m from) the average inmate stay is 4.6 years at a cost of $32k per year or $147,200 for the average stay.

    After the Director for Special Ed instituted a remediation program to ensure that illiterate inmates could read and write, that groups recidivism rate was 2%. The Director speculated that the cost to remediate these same inmates when they were children would have been a hell of a lot less.


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  29. Well, I hope that the policy of Trump and his government will be fixed. Now, he just started his path and I am sure he will choose the right direction. You know, it’s like when you just start your academic life. You don’t know where to begin and how to do it right. I remember my first days at college one year ago. I couldn’t understand what classes to choose, how to create my schedule and organize my academic life, it was difficult to choose a reliable essay writing service. Fortunately, I found a quality reviewing service – Briton Writers. This service contains reviews on the online essay writing companies and every student can find out about good essay writers for free.

  30. Well, I’m not sure that Betsey de Vos is a good choice for the education secretary. However, let’s be realistic and admit that she will be appointed and there’s nothing that we, ordinary citizens, can do about that. I’m sure that’s she will focus her attention around private schools and charter education. I’m afraid that public schools will not get the attention and financial support they need so much. However, there is no sense in guessing, soon we will see how the things go. Jennifer from Briton Writers company.

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