School Choice

Hey Progressives: You Can Fight DeVos, but You Can't Stop School Choice

Ignoring this populist movement does not help the left with families.


Betsy DeVos
Ron Sachs/dpa/picture-alliance/Newscom

It's telling that a lot of criticism of Betsy DeVos as Donald Trump's choice to head the Department of Education are about things like the fact that she didn't send her children to public schools and that she's not terribly familiar with the vast federal legal bureaucracy overseeing public education.

These are critiques that come also entirely from those who are embedded within the entrenched public education system and who have a stake in maintaining and expanding the status quo. Some senators seem aghast at the idea that DeVos was unfamiliar with all sorts of federal laws about how local schools are required to behave in order to receive federal funding.

But this just puts DeVos on the same footing as everybody outside the education system who have to interact with it and feel little control. While there are indeed parents who are familiar with these federal regulations because they have kids with special needs, this approach on DeVos feels very much like an attempt to keep the Department of Education under the control of insiders.

In reality, many, many parents want to make the same choices for their children as DeVos did, and it has nothing to do with them being rich or overly Christian. School unions and the politicians they bankroll may be able to stop DeVos' nomination, but they can't stop the growth of school choice and what it means, because parents love it.

And we've got the numbers to show it. The Reason Foundation's report on school choice and privatization for 2016 shows yet another major increase in the number of families sending their kids into charter school programs. Charter school enrollment increased by 250,000 students during the 2015-16 school year and 400 new charter schools opened. It's a 9 percent increase over the previous year. There are close to 3 million students getting educations from charter schools.

What DeVos wants is the same was what many parents want, completely independent of political affiliations. Deep in the heart of the bluest of blue cities like New York and Los Angeles, charter schools thrive with the extremely loud, committed support of parents in the face of opposition of public school officials who are allegedly supposed to serve these same consumers.

It's remarkable how much opposition to the growth of charter schools absolutely ignores the parents' support and embrace of them (other than trying to mislead the public that access is confined to wealthy surburbanites with the right connections). I've had people connected to the public education tweet at me or respond to me that charter schools aren't truly "public" because they lack the accountability of open school board meetings. We've all seen the words "for-profit" to be used as a bludgeon to suggest corrupt intent. All those billions of dollars changing hands suddenly become clean when they're passed along to the right people, as in those currently in control of the education system.

But school choice actually has the ultimate form of oversight—parents can yank their kids out if they're not happy. By all means, let's talk about test scores and whether they're better or worse or the same. By all means, go over charter school finances with a fine-tooth comb. Heck, you can even try to deliberately mislead people about whether economists support market choices in education. But when parents show up at school board meetings begging for their charter schools to remain open, you're a fool to pretend that fighting this movement is about protecting anybody but the interests of entrenched educators and administrators.

School choice is a populist movement that is heavily supported by the families the educational system is supposed to be serving. Those Democrats who are going after DeVos need to keep in mind one of the big reasons why Hillary Clinton lost: Voters stayed home. And many who voted didn't even select a candidate for president. To choose unions over parents in urban environments ignores what voters want. Many state- and district-level politicians can get away with this because unions are so locally influential. But on a federal level, attempting to stop the growth of school choice is a doomed effort that will turn many parents off—even Democratic ones. I can't imagine how telling parents they should not have control over where their kids get educations pays off in the polls.

Next week will be National School Choice Week, and expect a lot of coverage here at Reason. It's an area where libertarians and conservatives often find themselves working alongside urban Democrats as supporters. Senators like Elizabeth Warren and Tim Kaine ignore this at their peril. They're absolutely not representing the views of poor minorities by opposing choice.

NEXT: 5 Obama Administration Accomplishments Libertarians Might Appreciate

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  1. …and that she’s not terribly familiar with the vast federal legal bureaucracy overseeing public education.

    Ideally, this will mean she has no attachments to said bureaucracy that would prevent her from taking an axe to it.

    1. My thoughts exactly

    2. Well, there is very little that she can do unilaterally to shrink the agency. The way this generally plays out is a congresscritter convenes a hearing on the DoEd and asks the SoEd to testify, then a bill is introduced, etc.

      But there is a lot she can do to stop some of the more egregious mischief in which that department engages. She can shuffle people around and rubber-room some of the more troublesome meddlers.

      1. Fire them all. Sell the buildings. Burn the regulations. Note, for the record, that even creating this agency was unconstitutional.

        1. ^^^THIS^^^

      2. Could she fire/layoff/put on unpaid leave the lot of them and then just play golf for the next 4-years??? That seems like it would be possible- or offer them an alternate federal job say in the Marine Corp? I think I would be able to manage through this red tape effectively- at minimum take all the dept of ED computers and destroy them that would slow them down

    3. Citizen X nails it.

      I hope she takes an axe to title IX. If Odumbles can reinterpret it then so can Trump. Give that woman an axe.

    4. Chainsaw. And axe would be too slow to keep ahead of its parasitic growth.

      1. She could claim the teachers unions and public school funding promote disparate impact, and force a restructuring under civil rights laws. That would be fun to watch, and good for the children.

  2. The fact that she gave to FIRE is reason enough for me to like her for the job.

    1. I’m not a Christian and have no particular interest in seeing a Christian theocracy come into being, but I would be massively pleased if she starts trolling lefties with innocuous biblical commentary peppered into her remarks.

      1. “Let the first Senator who has no sin, cast the first stone”

        1. Don’t even acknowledge it, like Captain Gene from The Other Guys. Let the media froth over conspiratorial speculation.

        2. Nice.

          You could also work in some proverbs:

          Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

          1. That definitely sounds innocuous and not authoritarian at all.

            1. Like this. Exactly like this. Let the lefty media types break themselves on the barely hidden shoals.

              1. LOL that was pretty easy, wasn’t it?

  3. You Can’t Stop School Choice

    Oh, they can, and they will.

    1. Not if they keep losing statehouses.

  4. There are two things going on here. First it is just naked greed and self interest. Public schools are a jobs program for Democratic voters. Second, the issue is psychological for Democrats. Progressives more than anything fear people making their own choices and controlling their lives without the enlightened guidance of the technocratic elite. So, it doesn’t matter to them that parents and students want charter schools or even that they benefit students. All that matters is people are making their own decisions and some of them might make the wrong one.

    1. Public schools are a jobs program for Democratic voters.

      Who is DHS a jobs program for?

      1. People who couldn’t meet the qualifications for mall cops?

      2. Also Democratic voters. Have you met a unionized TSA worker? Or a bureaucrat living in DC?

        1. I’m sure DHS has its fair share of security state Republicans. Probably one of the more conservative departments.

          1. I’m sure DHS has its fair share of security state Republicans

            Anecdotally: Contractors, yes. Government bureaucrats, not so much. They may be more bullish on security than your average Democrat, but they are otherwise very much left of center.

            1. Disclaimer: I live in Maryland and thus am surrounded by government employees and contractors. I do not work for DHS.

              1. John does.

              2. I’m sorry for you.

      3. Its so cute that you think you know who I am.

      4. The Democrats were a major part in the pols who insisted DHS be its own department.

      5. Democrats. The majority of all agencies are democrats.

    2. Progressives also realize how powerful the public schools are as a tool to push their agenda on impressionable young minds. They’re not just going to give that up.

      1. If we allow charter schools, the next thing you know, they will be teaching children useful things, like non-Keynesian economics. We can’t have that.

        1. They don’t teach them economics period.

          1. Before I even got to college, I had it drilled into my head that WW2 was the one thing that brought us out of the depression. That’s a Keynesian position, divorced from reality as usual, but if you don’t educate them about any of the other factors in the economy/policy then that’s all they have to remember.

            1. I had it drilled into my head that WW2 was the one thing that brought us out of the depression

              Which is itself a strange idea to focus on in the context of peacetime economics, even if it were true. I don’t think anyone except the most deranged individuals would argue that we should constantly be involved in massive, bloody wars against totalitarian regimes.

              If your economic philosophy can’t adapt to peacetime, then it’s mostly shit.

            2. WWII did completely bring the USA out of the Great Depression. It’s not Keynesian, it apparent from what was happening before WWII and after.

              Major factors included Better education through military training that millions of men got that they were not getting on farms or cities. Another is women gaining skills taking over factory jobs while men were away at war. The USA was a very small farm and local neighborhood kind of country. Some people travelled during the depression for jobs but many Americans had never travelled outside their county or state. During the War millions of Americans travelled experiencing things that touched many with a desire for more than the hand to mouth life many had before the War.

              People who do not know that the Great Depression really shook Americans because it was years of hard times. People were starting to have a better live in the early 20th century and then the Depression set most families back financially decades. Whiped out savings entirely.

              Anyway, it was WWII but the boom in America started as the war was ending. As much of the world was slightly better off after WWII and inspite of all the devastation, people worked hard to rebuild. To gain that better life by what they saw Americans had. American’s wealth was illustrated to many people when soldiers and sailors had a few bucks in their pocket and they were the best supplied military in the world.(contd)

            3. (Contd)Going from devastation to rebuilding everything tends to create many opportunities for people and business.

              It was the largest armed conflict in human history and it impacted so many things. All the inventions created leading up to, during and immediately after WWII made many consumer goods much better.

              Anyways, not that War is the answer to Depressions but WWII happened and it changed economies unlike any War that I can think of. in this case it changed America and the World and economies were forever changed for the better.

              Another way to look at it is- if WWII didn’t bring the USA out of the Great Depression then what did? Clearly the New Deal did not bring the USA out because the Depression was still there even in 1941.

      2. You’re right on the first half, but I think progressives are about to meet mainstream America’s ire. I think we’re at the beginning of a roar of outrage that’s been long in coming. I’m hoping it flows like a tidal wave against the destruction of leftist ideology. I’m encouraged in seeing books coming out excoriating the progressive mentality in the universities. Bruce Bawer comes to mind, a gay author/professor, so he has certainly seen his share of leftist propaganda and would have the experiences to write about it from the inside, and there are others as well. I’m encouraged by some of what I’m seeing on social media and on sites like this. I think Trump gave voice to thoughts that have been quietly seething and are now erupting. That’s a good thing because progressivism has been undermining us at every level, our freedom, our speech, our thinking, our self-esteem, our sense of pride in our country. The young, with no memory or experience of how things were are indeed especially vulnerable as we saw with all of them flocking to Bernie with no understanding of what he really represents, ideas that prior generations rejected as reprehensible. It’s up to us to kick the bums like Elizabeth Warren out of office, to get the bad professors out of the universities, to get the unions out of the schools, to take a look at what they’re teaching the kids and restore education to a high level of quality and expectation of performance from the students.

        1. So not woke and racist I can’t even.

          /this is how they will fight back

      3. Progressives also realize how powerful the public schools are as a tool to push their agenda on impressionable young minds. They’re not just going to give that up.


    3. The fact that the two biggest success stories for school choice, New Orleans and Washington DC, are majority poor black is scaring the shit out of them.

      1. all of the charter success stories are poor and black. the following is probably a controversial blanket generalized statement… i’ve seen RCTs posted here at Reason that have shown charters don’t really benefit middle class white kids that come from a good home.

        1. The reason is that for most school districts, funding comes from local taxes. Middle class parents, self-segregate to better school districts and pay the associated higher taxes to do so.

          The current public school system is designed for communities to drive the quality. That is difficult to do when the community is very poor and/or just doesn’t care.
          My kids are in public schools and we like if fairly well. School district is rating a 7-8 out of 10 in PA. 10 miles away in the more urban area, the public school is rated a 2. Charter schools wouldn’t do squat for me, but are the only option for those in that other district who can’t afford to move. They deserve that option.

          1. But a lot of poor, urban school districts have quite high per-pupil funding.

            I think that the caring/not caring is a much bigger factor than the funding.

          2. Unfortunately that rating of 10 is still subpar for teaching kids fundamentals; establishing a good knowledge base of math, english, science and government; and getting some specialty education, if possible.

            It is really subpar if you want your kid to be education competitive with countries like Japan and their high school grads.

            Colleges are teaching stuff that kids should know from high school. 2year degrees are gimmes and many bachelor degrees are too.

            I had a better knowledge base than my parents and I have used that to do very well in life. Kids in general are not smarter than their parents and the knowledge base they do have is not helping them in life. Scary!

    4. They’re not even pro-choice in terms of abortion: women’s health providers who advise against abortion are b?te noire to progressives, somehow deceiving women by encouraging pregnant girls in difficult situations to consider their options. They might make the wrong choice!

      1. The degree to which some “pro-choice” individuals have taken up abortion not just as a morally neutral choice but in fact the morally positive choice has been kind of disgusting. It is one thing to say that someone “made a mistake” getting pregnant, even if I disagree with that being used as a justification for a late-stage abortion. It is another thing entirely to say that getting an abortion is desirable on its own.

        1. Their obsession is creepy and a large part of why I’ve grown rather skeptical of the practice.

            1. Abortion generally, but the political defense of it specifically. Like climate change I’m receptive to the idea but hugely skeptical of the political obsession.

              1. Not sure why other people’s political obsessions should affect your views on abortion.

                But, yeah, the political obsession with it does get a bit insane. For some people it seems like literally nothing else matters.

                1. That’s the thing. If someone approaches me with the zeal one normally sees among Jew-hating Nazis, attempting to enlist me in his crusade, I don’t care if he’s campaigning on behalf of petting puppies, I’m going to be suspicious.

                  1. Hitler was a dog lover after all.

                  2. Come pet ze dog ja?

        2. You have to wonder why the de facto choice they want is for these women to do away with that “problem”. It is almost like they are promoting some kind of population control through this practice…

          1. Nah, they just want a steady supply of infant sacrifices to retain Moloch’s favor. You didn’t actually believe they incinerate the remains for medical reasons, did you?

        3. I don’t think it’s about whether it’s ‘desirable’ or not. It’s about a woman’s owning her own body. I’m not a fan of abortion and think abortion should not be available after 90 days because there’s just too much development after that. I find the idea of full-term abortion abominable. Even with abortion being available, we still read about dumpster babies, so there’s definitely a disconnect somewhere. Exerting strong social pressure not to get pregnant in the first place and being responsible in sexual situations is much more desirable, but sometimes, unwanted pregnancies happen even with the best of precautions. I think abortion is murder, and horrible as it is, I think women need to have the right to choose whether or not they will give birth. I would hope that they’d choose birth, or giving the infant up for adoption over abortion, but some women just can’t go through with it, and who are we to judge someone’s difficulty with that? It’s not our body. It’s not our life. It’s not our business. This is about as private a matter as something can be, and the government has no place getting between a woman and her doctor.

          1. I’m not talking about practice of abortion in general or even people who are “pro-choice” (for abortion) in general, only those who glorify abortion. They exist, even if they don’t represent the movement as a whole.

          2. This is pretty much where I stand, although I’m a squish and am not comfortable assigning numbers. The fact that it’s totally sine qua non to many progressives says volumes about their priorities.

          3. Strike out abortion is murder from this and it’s just about exactly where I stand on it.

            1. The nice thing about freedom is that it allows for a variety of opinions and their expression. Of course sometimes, it’s not so nice, but then, Americans are pretty resilient.

    5. you see this same thing when they say people are FORCED to shop at Wallmart.

      Not CHOOSE to shop at Wallmart, Forced! Because if they acknowledge people shop there of their own free will, that means people disagree with the progs. And no reasonable person could possibly make a decision on their own in their best interest that would be against a prog

      1. I like to unpack the claim that Walmart drives mom-and-pop stores out of business. Besides your perfectly salient point about people making choices, the viability of Walmart vs. smaller, more expensive stores with more dedicated employees depends not only on consumer choice but also consumer necessity. It’s not just that there are people who could afford to pay more, but choose not to. It’s also that there are people who couldn’t afford to pay more and were priced out of the market before. Walmart generally has razor-thin margins* and so makes its money on volume. Just sniping customers from mom-and-pops would not be enough to keep a Walmart supercenter open.

        * = This is not to say that Walmart sells everything on such margins. Sometimes, their markup can be substantial. It still pays to shop around, especially in the Internet age. Although, they do also sell items at a loss from time to time to drive sales of other items (a retail practice called “loss leader”).

        1. I grew up in a small town and have absolutely no love for Mom and Pop stores.

          Why would people like shitty selection and higher prices? My guess is that the only people who truly pine for small Mom and Pop stores are those who never had to depend on them for everything and/or currently have access to big box stores.

          And the good Mom and Pop stores still survive. I go to a local ACE Hardware because the owner is nice to me and tells me what sort of tools will fit my weird hands with 10 thumbs as I try to finish a home project. Something the guys at Home Depot won’t do.

        2. Walmart does drive mom and pop stores out of business thanks to progressive policy of min wage increases and mandating benefits

      2. Everyday low prices = coercion

    6. John, you nailed it!

  5. Oh, she didn’t send her kids to public schools…..just like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton didn’t!

  6. I keep forgetting, which party is pro choice?

    1. Neither. (Libertarians don’t count)

      1. *hangs head*

        We never count…

        1. That’s what fingers are for, dummy. And toes for the real big numbers.

    2. Republicans. When democrats say they’re “pro choice”, they’re saying they’re pro-death and turning their back on the American ideal that we have an unalienable right to life.

  7. Had a discussion with a family member about this a while back, they live in DC and pays a king’s ransom to send their kids to a very snooty private school. They started going off on how school choice was taking away resources from the DC public schools and this was all an idea by the Koch Bros to weaken gov’t run schools. When I asked them why they won’t send their kids to the local public school there was silence and some mumbling about wanting them to have the best education possible.

    1. Bravo, Nick.

      1. He actually blamed charter schools for the sad state of DC public schools. I had to remind him that DC student performance had improved since charter schools became an option.

    2. Some of my relatives chose to homeschool, but they have the time, the interest and self-discipline to do the job. A few friends are such ditzes, that they couldn’t be trusted to put a pencil in a pencil sharpener, never mind homeschool their kids. In their case, it’s a good thing there are schools to which to send them.

  8. Remember – when Republicans oppose a policy supported by a majority of minority voters, the only possible explanation is racism. When Democrats do it, it’s because they’re enlightened and trying to protect those poor helpless minorities from exploitation by the evil Republicans and their corporate overlords.

    1. The plebes can’t make their own choices man, are you crazy? They could pick the wrong thing… Can’t have that.

  9. Bernie Sanders made a jackass out of himself in the hearing. Big surprise.…..truly-free

    1. Judging from his actions so far, it seems he is working hard to make everyone forget he sold out to Hillary.

      1. Hey now! He’s gotta be pretty bitter and looking for a do-over. I mean, 75 years of not combing his hair and refusing to put a (D) next to his name just to cave to a loser like Hillary would do that to anyone.

        1. he didn’t cave, cave… The Clintons send over some big pipe hitting brothas to go medieval on him if he didn’t play along, is my bet…

          1. “Alright, Bernie. You can bow out, hold on to your campaign donations, and hell, we’ll even buy this nice vacation house for you and the missus. Or you can keep standing in Her way, and get a visit from some guys who’ll beat you so bad you forget about the Soviet Union. Your choice.”

            1. Couldn’t happen.

              “Presidents and senators don’t have men killed.’

        2. I’m hoping the judicial branch goes after Hillary and that the women who were assaulted by Billyboy make a class action suit against him.

    2. Yeah, he really walked into that. Good.

      1. I would have liked a little “if you had ever had an actual job, you would know that” on the end, but as a Senate hearing comeback, it was gold.

  10. It’s really funny – my brown prog friend did their little snarky sneer as we were driving by our old elementary school – “distinguished school, another say of saying it’s a white school”

    completely fucking oblivious that he is not white and he went to the same damn school district. I didn’t see him volunteering to go to the bad schools in east san jose and I’m sure as hell he wouldn’t send any of his kids there if he ever has kids.

    I remember seeing on the comments earlier – When a conservative violates his principals, usually it’s harming his family or friends, like drunk driving, cheating on their spouse, etc.

    When a progressive violates their principals, usually it’s benefiting their family or friends, like going to a private school, or moving into a nicer area

  11. “Government schools” and “accountability” don’t belong in the same sentence. If the people running government schools were even remotely accountable for the miserable fucking results they’ve produced they’d all be in prison.

    1. Public unions would qualify as a conspiracy against the American public.

    2. ^^^^THIS^^^^

  12. Pat Roberts offers Ron Wyden a Valium during Mnuchin’s confirmation hearing – much pearl-clutching ensues.…..-colleague

    1. I hope this sets the tone for 2017.. Will make for great TV. C-SPAN, here come your ratings!…

      1. “Does anyone have a tampon for Ron? Elizabeth? Or is your squaw all dried up?”

  13. “In reality, many, many parents want to make the same choices for their children as DeVos did, and it has nothing to do with them being rich or overly Christian.”

    I don’t even know what “overly Christian” means – gives too much to the poor? Hangs out at church too often?

    All snark aside, this is why Reason people are called cosmotarians.

    Not all school choice supporters are “overly Christian” parents, but a lot of them are, and they account for much of the energy of the school choice movement.

    Yet it’s almost as if Reason wants to keep natural allies at arm’s length.

    So yes, it’s nice to see “libertarians and conservatives…working alongside urban Democrats,” but you know what would be nice? Seeing libertarians working enthusiastically and unapologetically beside “overly Christian” parents.

    1. I don’t even know what “overly Christian” means…

      LOL. Of course you don’t, Eddie, of course you don’t.

      1. Tonio, I don’t think I’m claiming to be “overly Christian.”

        The Supreme Judge of the Universe will get to make that call, and I’m admittedly a bit nervous about that prospect.

        But since you’re not the supreme judge of the universe, why don’t you just do-si-do on out of here.

        1. It’s a matter of relativity – anyone who discusses religion in a non-snarky way will, by H&R standards, be the equivalent of an all-Jerry-Falwell TV station.

        2. Oh, Eddie, you just don’t get it, do you?

      2. When P.E. is just an hour of snake-handling…

        1. It’s like you guys would walk across the street to avoid the “wrong” kind of allies.

          1. Says the guy willing to alienate any gay person, relative of a gay person, friend of a gay person or anyone who thinks using Plan B is not a jailing offense.

            1. Oh, and anyone not willing for pay for Christian parents to send their kid to a “school” that teaches them that T. Rex had such big teeth because he ate only coconuts. You know, that kind of “overly Christian.”

              1. What has the Eddie in your head been babbling about *this* time?

                My preferred school choice reform would be tax breaks for people who pay for nonpublic education – so unless you think that the government owns the money people spend on education, then I don’t see how this translates into what you just said.

                1. My preferred school choice reform would be for people with kids to pay for it themselves and leave me out of it, whereas you want to keep stealing from us.

                  1. I may not attain to your ideals of libertarian purity, but I’d go further than most – letting people choose between paying school taxes or providing a similar amount to a school of their choice – maybe their kids’ own school.

                    Of course this would get me expelled from the Anarchist Society – if their principles allowed them to have members in the first place.

                    But it’s actually a *less* theocratic position than the mainstream, because while I’d let people decide which schools get their money, the mainstream position is to force people to subsidize government-operated temples of statism.

                  2. Eat shit my kids are your problem you selfish bastard

                  3. THIS. And yeah I resemble the ‘overly Christian’ remark.

                    1. Agreeing with sugar’s school payment plan, or trying to.

              2. anyone not willing for pay for Christian parents to send their kid to a “school” that teaches them that T. Rex had such big teeth because he ate only coconuts

                I thought charters got government funding, so if anyone is paying for Christian wackjob schools, its government, not people who are opposed to Christian wackjob schools. Remember, once you pay your taxes, that money isn’t yours any more.

                1. I thought charters got government funding, so if anyone is paying for Christian wackjob schools, its government,

                  A portion of the school choice movement–true school choice, like vouchers–want to be able to spend vouchers in religious schools. Which is not something I have a huge problem with, but most voucher programs still come with an expectation of the school accepting the voucher to have some sort of educational standard oversight, something most established schools already meet, like Catholic schools and the schools of large denominations.

                  But there is a fraction of the religious school desiring parents who object to that, that want vouchers to be redeemable at anything calling itself a school. And they are a very loud and very ignorant and very visible part of school choice movement and they drive away many people who might otherwise support incremental changes in the way public education is run.

                  These people are who Scott is referencing, the lunatic fringe. They are the bloody fetus faction of the pro-life movement; the hippie stoner dipshit faction of the legal marijuana movement; the “heroin for everyone and let’s shoot a cop” faction of libertarian. They hurt the branding of the whole movement by being fanatics.

                  sld: people should pay for their kid’s education themselves

                  1. “These people are who Scott is referencing, the lunatic fringe.”

                    So “overly Christian” means “lunatic fringe”?

                    Anyway, regardless of terminology, you’re accepting that there are non-lunatic-fringe people who under *some* circumstances will allow their choice policies to include religious schools.

                  2. this right here

                  3. Believe it or not, Sug, there is not a single thing in your 2:24 post I disagree with.


                2. What a white bigot! You think only Christians can start whackjob charter schools?

                  Here in Minnesoda we have whackjob Muslim charter schools.

                  Our Muslim charter schools are totally authentic too. As evidenced by this nugget. After being accused of really being a religious school pretending to be a neutral charter school to get money an TV crew drove over to do a standup in front of the school. Hilarity ensued:

                  When a television camera crew arrived at TiZA to verify the story, a school employee wrestled the cameraman to the ground.

              3. During college I thought Plan B was a catchy name for rufy, apparently I was putting the cart before the horse and yes it was a jailing offense.

            2. I’m more than happy to alienate anyone who wants the government to recognize same-sex unions as marriages, or who comes up with “libertarian” arguments not to care about such developments.

              But on those times when you guys come out for freedom of association, remember that by your touchy standards, you’re saying things which “alienate any gay person.” You’re basically Lester Maddox.

              Don’t take my word for it, debate a gay-rights person (gay or straight) and explain why a “homophobic” businessman should be able to refuse service to gay people.

              1. At least you admit you want to alienate millions of people. Of course, that doesn’t stop your monomania from bitching about Reason alienating a few hundred thousand–at best–that want to send their kid to a religious school so backward it barely reaches the educational standard of Vacation Bible School.

                If it’s about numbers, your bullshit drives away hilarious more allies than anything Scott comes up with.

                1. Sug, if you aren’t alienating millions, you ain’t libertarianing right.

                  You might say its our cross to bear.

                2. Now that you’ve actually mentioned statistics and facts, I would appreciate a link…not to disparage you or anything, but just to double check the statistics and facts for myself.

                  1. Sorry, there aren’t a lot of hard numbers on religious dipshit parents. But go ahead and think there are millions and millions of them out there.

                    1. Millions of Christians who don’t like the quality of “education” on offer at government schools? Yes. Do many of them hold icky Sky Daddy bleefs? Certainly!

                      Do they think it’s the government’s job to play God, or to be a substitute Mom and Dad for your kids? No, which makes them more enlightened than the supporters of the status quo.

                3. Sug, honey, you ought to know that by “gay rights” standards, you are simply a bigot.

                  Google “Lester Maddox Mike Pence” for examples of what I mean – Pence’s crime was that (briefly, before backing down) he was kinda-sorta for legalizing some private “discrimination.” And that’s EXACTLY THE SAME THING as actually operating an all-white restaurant and driving black customers away with an ax handle.

                  1. Yup. I’m the bigot here all right. Those gay bastards are coming to throw a black bag over my head and put me in Gaytanamo any minute now.

                    1. I said you’re a bigot *by “gay rights” standards.*

                      By this time, you should know that these are not *my* standards.

                    2. Yeah, but think of the fabulous track lighting and the pix of Madonna!

                4. it barely reaches the educational standard of Vacation Bible School.

                  Isn’t that where you got your first handjob?

                  Me, I attended Jewbilee.

                  1. Isn’t that where you got your first handjob?

                    No, it was a YMCA trip. We discussed this just a few hours ago, old man.

            3. And I don’t know a great deal about Plan B – I’m loudly told that it’s not an abortifacient, and if that’s so, there shouldn’t be a problem, should there?

            4. Don’t leave out wanting to jail folks who get divorced and remarried (though he admits it’s not practical). His brand of “overly Christian” has many taboos.

              1. He also thinks adultery should be at least a tort.

                1. I’m proud of being an adult. I just wish I were a younger adult.

                2. “He also thinks adultery should be at least a tort.”

                  If it qualifies as alienation of affection or criminal conversation, yes.

                  You found a nut.

              2. I’ve explained that – I’m against it on practical grounds, so that means I *don’t* want to jail folks who get divorced and remarried.

                1. I think you mean that I oppose it for the wrong reasons.

                  1. Against criminal punishment for adultery

                    1. I’m against it on practical grounds


                    2. If only there were a practical way to imprison these people who offend Eddie’s beliefs, he’d be all for it.

                    3. That’s what makes those awful adulterers even more adulterish. It’s as if good Knights of Malta are being taunted! And worse yet, by adulterous (((Christ-killers))).

                    4. OK, do you agree with Fordham University banning the BDS group?

                      I support the Fordham administration on this one.

                    5. That’s a vague question. Is it a stupid thing to do? Yes. Is it within their rights to do so? Yes.

                    6. So…which parts of Judaism do you find particularly distasteful? The Ten Commandments, the acknowledgment of God, the prohibition on bestiality?

                    7. Je n’ai pas besoin de cette hypothese.

                    8. Your supposed Laplace quote is too apocryphal for Wikipedia. Sad.

                    9. If you had gone to a proper Yeshiva, you’d recognize it without googling.

                    10. I knew the quote, I wanted to see if Wikipedia could verify it.

                    11. That’s your rebuttal, Eddie? He answered your question and your completely unrelated response is that the quote might be apocryphal?

                      Your whole fucking religion is apocryphal, genius.

                    12. He didn’t answer the bestiality question.

                    13. “Riiiiiight.”

                      Oh, I see, you’re calling me a liar.

                      You raise some interesting points, have you considered fucking yourself?

        2. not even a euphemism.

    2. I don’t even know what “overly Christian” mean

      Some private and charter schools are run by religious organizations. Some people would choose to send their children to these schools instead of non-religious schools. A substantial portion of the public views those people as religious wingnuts, i.e. overly Christian. Get a grip, Eddie.

      1. Obama sent his kids to Sidwell Friends, a religious (Quaker) school. Is Obama a religious wingnut?

        1. Wtf are you asking me for? How would I know?

          1. You were giving a definition supposedly endorsed by a large group of the public.That definition seems to include Obama.

            So either Obama is a religious wingnut or “[a] substantial portion of the public” is wrong.

            1. So they didn’t teach basic stats or vocabulary at whatever Knights of Malta school you were packed off to?

            2. You once again have gotten yourself worked into such a lather that you are totally missing my point. And you have missed it so wildly that you apparently believe that I am attacking religious schools. You really need to settle the fuck down, Beavis.

    3. I think you may be interpreting “overly Christian” a bit too literally.

    4. The problem, Eddie, is that in the past churchy types had too much power over other people’s lives. Those days are long gone of course and the control freaks have simply migrated to the institutions where that power went but a lot of people still have a bad taste in their mouth. It is irrational, but there it is.

      1. I think “churchy types” still have power, just not the unfashionable Religious Right types.

        I’m sure you’re familiar with the Social Gospel movement and its role in getting all sorts of labor laws passed. Some of these laws may have been OK, but others shackled business in a way that hurts the people they try to help, and some of these laws are on the books today.

      2. Today the church guys lost that power to the people that screamed the hardest about the church guy limiting their choices. I never thought I would see the day that liberal bastions like college campuses would make sex something that required participants to show up with lawyers and a state rep to bless the action, but we are here.

        The pendulum keeps swinging. Personally I would like everyone to keep out of everyone else’s business until they cause physical or financial harm that had not been asked for.

      3. Oh baby, I can relate to that!

    5. A cosmotarian? What’s that?

      1. Someone who insufficiently hates gays, immigrants, Muslim, France or just doesn’t believe in Making America Great Again.

  14. School choice is incrementalism, but the good kind, not that awful gay marriage kind.

    1. Well, its incrementalism away from government control, so its got that going for it.

      1. So was medical marijuana, but wow did a lot of people howl about that as well.

        1. I didn’t foresee the Baptist-and-bootlegger alliance between the drug warriors and the medpot industry.

          What’s funny is, there was a medbooze exception to Prohibition that worked (absent the late-20th century encrustation of regulations and bureaucrats) pretty much like medpot works.

          1. I figured medpot would entrench itself, but the normalization of pot use through medlegal was a psychological barrier for a lot of people accepting legalization.

            Or, at least, no state without medpot has gone straight to legalization.

            1. Its a strategic question: whether to hold out for full legalization, or do it incrementally and fight off the folks who have carved out a comfy little spot for themselves on the incremental deal.

  15. DeVos, what a great pick. I watched schooling go downhill when teachers became unionized. The unions, whether its the writers’ union, the UAW, teachers’ union, whatever alphabet soup for that particular group, just use their members to promote the union heads’ staying in power and getting hefty salaries. They’ll dole out a few perks to draw them to join in the beginning, such as offering free legal counsel for writing contracts for writers, and then they start telling you how to vote with a non-stop mailing assault on their latest issues. All you get from then on is the privilege of paying dues for absolutely nothing. Unions are nothing but professional thuggery, a system that needs to end, especially with regard to schools. If we want to remain a strong nation, we need citizens who are competent in the basics at the very least – the three Rs, who can think, who know our history and culture, who are schooled in how our government works and in our founding documents, who understand the value of freedom and have national pride, something “progressivism” has turned to shame. Schools used to provide all that. School choice is a good thing, but only if the choices available are worth making. Devos will, I hope, clean up the system and restore real education to education. I hope to never again read an article about kids graduating from high school without being able to read.

    1. The National Labor Relations Act tilted the balance of power too far in the unions’ favor. A labor union can serve a useful function, whether for the workers or the employers, but only in a fair and competitive labor market. When a union gets to shut down business and make unrealistic demands with the backing of government, it grows fat and lazy and parasitical.

      1. I think in the early days of unions they may have served a function but that has changed to being merely self-serving. An example: a local university had been itching to have a union for university employees and finally got it, only to have a political changing of the guard and a massive layoff at the school. The union never even bothered to inform anyone of the impending layoff or did anything to help the situation, yet they still collected their dues.

        1. Top men gotta get paid…

    2. My mom, a lifelong public school teacher and pretty much unqualified in her endorsement of the Democratic agenda, nonetheless despises teachers unions. See, they’re taking her money.

      1. I come from a family of school teachers. My aunts are hyper liberal, my mom is quite conservative….all are/were public school teachers, all of them very good/rated/liked/hard-working….and all of them hated the union.

        My sense is that the union protects the slackers and incompetents and does nothing for the high contributors. I’d love to meet a great teacher who is a big union proponent….as yet I haven’t found one.

        1. isn’t that the whole point of a union?

  16. Great article, Shackford.

    1. 2nded.

  17. “she didn’t send her children to public schools”

    Are they really going there? Somehow it wasn’t a problem that Arne Duncan sent his kids to private school….

    1. Adam, they are betting on the short memories and stupidity of the general public. Its a bet that usually pays off.

      1. Its a bet that usually pays off.

        Thank in no small part to shitty public schools.

    2. Where did Obumbles send his children? How many dem pols send their kids to public school?

      1. Didn’t Carter do that with Amy? Which would explain a lot…

  18. If DeVos doesn’t get confirmed, Trump could always nominate Bell and Biv.

    1. Suthenboy, Not sure why your posts brings this up for me, but I’m wondering if we should ask our reps to create a bill that only allows former US presidents to have 10 years of Secret Service protection after they leave office. Think it would have an effect on their policy decisions?

      1. Wait, what are you replying to?

      2. Which post?

        I don’t really have a problem with SS protection for ex-presidents. There are too many fruitloops out there wanting to shoot celebrities simply for the notoriety it would gain them.

        Given how myopic and shortsighted these assholes are, no I don’t think it would change their policies.

        1. Good people make as many enemies as bad ones, if not more. And they’re more likely to make enemies of bad people.

  19. It’s hard not to believe the “progressives” are primarily interested in preserving the status quo.

  20. The only “choice” progs care about is whether or not women can get an abortion. All other choices must be made for you by your “betters” because you’re too stupid to know what’s best for you or your children (the ones whose mothers didn’t choose to abort that is).

    1. Hell, they don’t have much use for the women who choose to have babies rather than aborting them.

    2. Parents chose to make the wrong choice, so they now cannot be trusted with choice.

  21. It’s telling that a lot of criticism of Betsy DeVos as Donald Trump’s choice to head the Department of Education are about things like the fact that she didn’t send her children to public schools and that she’s not terribly familiar with the vast federal legal bureaucracy overseeing public education.

    Not really – these are the same sorts of people who say men can’t have opinions on abortion and white people can’t have opinions on race, but non-gun owners can have opinions on guns and poor people can have opinions on wealth redistribution. It’s just arguments of convenience, there’s no principle involved. If DeVos had sent her kids to public schools and if she were extremely knowledgeable about the tenets of the faith, those facts would have served just as well as a reason to criticize her. “She only knows about her own experiences and that taints her judgment, she’s too much of an insider and can’t see the larger picture.” Took me about two seconds to come up with that and my paycheck ain’t even riding on the attempt.

  22. My only contact with the Devos family: Back in the early 80s my mom had a cold so my dad brought me along to the opera. During intermission, we head off to the bathroom which was busy. There’s Rich Devos, taking a whizz in the urinal. A bunch of guys are trying to talk to the poor man as he’s urinating.

    My dad leans over and says to me: “Sounds like ol’ Rich has got a prostate problem”.

  23. Defending DeVos’ lack of knowledge of IDEA is not a hill we should die on. It’s reasonable to expect her to have an understanding of IDEA, FAPE and IEPs, LRE/inclusion without also expecting her to be a technocrat bogged down in the weeds.

    She needs to step up her game. How tough can it be? She has the overall charter industry’s performance in her back pocket for fucks sake.

  24. You might be able to get some progressives on board with vouchers and school choice, but you’d probably have to talk about how hard it is for Muslim kids in public schools or something.

    If there were schools for their favorite in-groups–like a magnet school for LGBT kids or something.

    And there should be a magnet school for what society, in all their hurtful prejudice, labels “bullies”. Sometimes, when I was in the 7th grade, I just felt like I really needed to give someone an atomic wedgie. It wasn’t really a choice. I was born this way. When I think of all the grief society gave me for just being who I am, . . .

    But did I get to use the girls’ restroom? Did anybody start flying their rainbow flag at half mast for me?


    1. Progressives don’t want LGBT kids or Muslim kids shipped off to different schools. They want them integrated in the same school everyone else goes to so they be used a pawns to further an agenda. If that’s not the best option for some individual kids, too damn bad.

    2. Speaking of muslims, Brigitte Gabriel in her book ‘They Must Be Stopped’ claims they use school vouchers to send their kids to madrassas and that they have insinuated themselves into the groups responsible for choosing school books for US schools. She also claims that they are choosing books that tend to disregard and minimalize US history and devote far more pages than necessary to muslim history.

      1. Cool story, bro.

    3. IIRC there was an article earlier this year about a rainbow charter school in Austin (?).

  25. Betsy is really taking some heat… the prog side of the derpbook feed is full of “Right to arm bears” nonsense and grizzly memes…

    Here’s my anecdote.
    When I was in high school in a fair-sized city, we had gangs, violence, and uniformed guards walking around. You didn’t wear your good Nikes to school or you’d’ve been beaten and they’d be taken.

    I was a dope smoking burnout and skipped school more than I went. Failed 10th grade because of incompletes. Then I moved to a different state which was extremely rural. Juniors and seniors who hunted had guns in the gun racks of their pickups, and most everyone had buck knives on their belts. I ended up getting A’s and B’s and had enough credits to graduate when I was supposed to (combined 11th and 12th grade classes).

    Guess which school felt safer as a student (and WAS indeed objectively safer) and a superior learning environment?

    Now… do I think the gang bangers in the city school should have been toting guns to that school? Probly not.
    On the other hand, it was absolutely no problem at the rural school. I believe that this was what Betsy was getting at.

    Just like for students, trying to shoehorn schools into statist little conforming boxes is the problem.

    It’s lead to the failure of public education and now we are SUSPENDING seven year old kids for gun shaped pop-tarts, and force feeding kids ritalin like it’s fucking pez.

  26. Hey Progressives: You Can Fight DeVos, but You Can’t Stop School Choice

    Mmyeah, yeah they can.

  27. Actually, without destroying or completely rethinking the Dept of Education they can “stop” whatever they want. Dept of Eds at a State level control HS diplomas – without which have a good time trying to attend college, vocational schools, or get a job – has anyone looked at the GRE/HiSET requirements across states? Some states don’t even ALLOW 19-y/o to obtain a GRE.

    1. Sorry, typing without my glasses – GRE = GED…

    2. Which is wildly stupid, and a real regression from past practices. I was able to get into a fine university without a HS diploma or GED (I think that’s what you meant, not GRE) on the strength of my SAT scores and an interview with admissions folks. When they come back to me these days asking for donations, I point out that under their current system, I wouldn’t be admitted.

      1. Do you ever have nightmares that at some point you are forced to “re-take” high school Renegade? Because I do and I have my dept of ED diploma, and college degree and honorable discharge. God I hate that nightmare. They are coming for you man…

        *shudders…reached for pistol behind bottle of Blantons*

    3. Here’s hoping blue states with blue reps overturn the status quo and turn them into red or purple states with red or purple reps.

  28. So to above if ww2 brought us out of great depression doesnt that make the new deal look at best ineffective at worst to bad?

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  30. Why is it an issue for the dept of education devos to not send her kids to private when she is the one advocating school choice?

    I can see it being an issue for linousine libs who love public schools except for their own kids

  31. RE: Hey Progressives: You Can Fight DeVos, but You Can’t Stop School Choice
    Ignoring this populist movement does not help the left with families.

    Choice is not for the masses.
    Choice is rightly reserved for our ruling elitist filth enslaving us all.
    We’ve had this discussion before.

  32. How much public money does it take to transform the private insitution into an agent of the state?

    1. That depends. Are we talking about Title IX enforcement or charter schools? The rule varies based upon the convenience to the argument.

  33. before I saw the check saying $8075 , I did not believe …that…my mother in law woz like they say actualie receiving money in their spare time at there labtop. . there sisters roommate has been doing this less than 14 months and as of now repayed the mortgage on there villa and bourt a gorgeous Subaru Impreza .

  34. Ignoring this populist movement does not help the left with families

    The Left is desperate to keep control of the indoctrination of the peasants. That’s one of their last strongholds.

    It’s really amazing how much they have been crushed in the last few years.

    State Governments
    MSM discredited
    Next – Judiciary

    It’s only the federal bureaucracy and academe left.

    The God Emperor is Good!

  35. Sessions: The Usual Left-Wing Suspects make a show of opposing him, but don’t really. Because he’s basically on their side when it comes to MOAR GOVERNMENT POWER. They just differ about the details.

    DeVos: The Usual Left-Wing Suspects make a serious, committed effort to stop her. Because she threatens one of the basic sources of MOAR GOVERNMENT POWER – the K-12 Pro-Government Indoctrination System.

  36. Choice, Charter Schools and the Disappearing American Dream, Part 1
    Can we rest assured that Donald Trump will keep his promise to rid our schools of all of the Common Core baggage? Are solid academics on the horizon, again?
    Unfortunately this just doesn’t seem to be happening. President-Elect Trump has jumped off the TRUMP TRAIN and he has jumped on the phony CHOICE TRAIN. Keep in mind that Vice President-Elect Mike Pence is a pro-“CHOICE” Governor, and he muffled the true spirit of academic freedom by cleverly rebranding the Common Core standards in Indiana..

  37. Betsy DeVos – A Disaster For Homeschoolers..
    Change Agents are someone who are assigned or directed to intentionally change social attitudes, cultural values, thoughts, attitudes and morals of school children. TARGET: To change parental and church inspired morals, values and attitudes regarding life in general that is taught at home to destroy all PARENTAL INFLUENCE. Some teachers are change agents ? trained to be change agents.
    There have not been any campaign records presented that show the DeVos’ contributed to the Trump campaign of which I am not surprised as they were strong Rubio contributors.

  38. Mr. Trump Don’t Appoint Betsy DeVos For Secretary Of Education..
    When Trump issued the word “REFORM” in the same sentence with Betsy DeVos I knew he was intending to back off of his promise to shut down the Federal Department of Education.
    DeVos is EVERYTHING Donald Trump stated during the campaign process that is wrong with America ? she is an ultra-wealthy heiress who uses her money to game the system and push a special-interest agenda that is opposed by the majority of voters.

  39. Donald Trump Announces Pro-Common Core Betsy DeVos as Education Secretary..
    While many conservatives are out in the political world Opposing the Crisis of Common Core few realize that the pre-digested, pre-determined SOLUTIONS being proposed and implemented by the Power Elite are to eliminate grassroots America.. Hello Global Governance….Charters Kill True Choice!…..secretary/

  40. Charters Kill True Choice – While many conservatives are out in the political world Opposing the Crisis of Common Core few realize that the pre-digested, pre-determined SOLUTIONS being proposed and implemented by the Power Elite are to eliminate grassroots America. Bye-bye grasssroots. Bye-bye elected representatives. Hello controlled “governance.”…..byt128.htm

  41. Why would anyone want to fight Devos? Are they not men?

  42. Common Core/Charter Schools accomplishes the goal for a
    Global workforce – the govt dumbs down the sheep..

  43. ^^^^^^^^I have only been here on Reason for less than a year but BOY have the lefty bots sure come here to try and get someone to bite.

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  45. It is clear that all the complaints DeVos are mere nonsense. The real objection is school choice (strange that those who are pro choice in abortion are anti choice everywhere else). These people know they cannot attack DeVos on school choice, so they manufacture petty reasons for opposition while the real reason is well known.

  46. These are critiques that come also entirely from those who are embedded within the entrenched public education system and ????? ????
    ????? who have a stake in maintaining and expanding the status quo. Some senators seem aghast at the idea that DeVos was unfamiliar with all sorts of federal laws about how local schools are required to behave in order to receive federal funding.

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