Betsy DeVos

The Democrats' Fight Against School Choice Is Immoral

Few institutions have hurt minorities more than public schools.

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There's something perverse about an ideology that views the disposing of an unborn child in the third trimester of pregnancy as an indisputable right but the desire of parents to choose a school for their kids as zealotry. Watching President-elect Donald Trump's pick for education secretary, Betsy DeVos, answer an array of frivolous questions this week was just another reminder of how irrational liberalism has become.

Democrats often tell us that racism is one of the most pressing problems in America. And yet, few things have hurt African-Americans more over the past 40 years than inner-city public school systems. If President Obama is correct and educational attainment is the key to breaking out of a lower economic stratum, then no institution is driving inequality quite as effectively as public schools.

Actually, teachers unions are the only organizations in America that openly support segregated schools. In districts across the country—even ones in cities with some form of limited movement for kids—poor parents, typically those who are black or Hispanic, are forced to enroll their kids in underperforming schools when there are good ones nearby, sometimes just blocks away.The National Education Association spent $23 million during the last election cycle alone to elect politicians to keep low-income Americans right where they are. Public service unions use tax dollars to fund politicians who then turn around and vote for more funding. The worse the schools perform, the more money they demand. In the real world, we call this racketeering.

Yet according to Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, it is people like DeVos who are "a grave threat" to the public schools "that made America great."

Well, studies consistently show that minority groups in America's largest cities are lagging in proficiency in reading and math. Most of them attend schools that are at the bottom 5 percent of schools in their state. There is only so much an education secretary can accomplish, but the accusation of being a "grave threat" to this system is a magnificent endorsement.

With what are Democrats on the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions most concerned? Preserving the status quo. Sen. Elizabeth Warren forced DeVos, who's a billionaire, to admit that she'd never filled out financial aid forms. The Daily Caller News Foundation found that 6 of the 10 Democrats on the committee have attended private or parochial schools, or have children and grandchildren who attend. So what?

Sen. Patty Murray, who has absolutely no understanding or regard for the constitutional limitation on the Department of Education, pushed DeVos to say whether she would personally defund public schools. Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut, a tireless adversary of the first five amendments of the Constitution (at least), asked DeVos whether she thinks firearms have any place in or around schools.

"I think that's best left to locales and states to decide," she replied, before offering a specific concern about a local rural district in Wyoming. Cue mocking left-wing punditry.
In case you were unaware, Democrats on the committee stressed that DeVos is a Republican who has given money to Republican organizations and was appointed by a Republican president-elect. They further pointed out that DeVos is a Christian whose family has given money to Christian organizations that don't meet their moral approval. Mostly, though, the liberals on the committee attacked DeVos because she has a history of contributing her own money to help private and Christian schools expand their reach. She has also supported school-vouchers proponents and public charter schools that open doors to poor kids. Those dollars have likely done more to help minority students than all the committee members' efforts combined.

As many Americans surely know, rich and middle-class Americans already have school choice. In most places, the whiter the neighborhood, the better the school system; and the better the school system, the higher the prices of homes, making it impossible for those who aren't wealthy to escape substandard schools. (Rural schools also often suffer.) This is the status quo Warren, Murphy and Murray hope to preserve.

Yes, school reform is complicated, and challenges vary from place to place. Many reforms have shown improvement. But teachers unions and their allies opposed magnets, charters, home schooling, religious schooling and virtual schools long before data about the effectiveness of these choices was collected. And they do now, long after quality research has indicated the improvement of these options on the union-preferred system.

But by the parameters we often judge these sort of things, public schools are racist institutions, even if that's unintentional. They have an even more destructive effect on communities than all the dumb words and racist comments (real and imagined) that regularly make headlines. It's not surprising that poll after poll shows minority families support educational choice. Unfortunately, partisanship allows Democrats to take voters for granted and ignore the issue. For millions, this is a tragedy.

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  1. Democrats could care less about poor black kids in inner cities. All they want is to get their vote and hand them welfare.

    Dems are power hungry hypocritical racist assholes. Evil to their core.

    1. If they wanted the poor to do well, they would make it easier to start a small business… not more difficult.

      Let kids sell lemonade. Let teens work for whatever they can get, so they can gain some experience. Let people earn some self respect, rather than being told the must be taken care of by the government.

      1. If they let the kids sell lemonade how will they know for sure that they will make the minimum wage of $15/hour?

      2. They might earn some of that evil profit. And that will never do.

    2. All they want is to get their vote

      They see minorities as vote-cattle.

      1. The new slavery..

      2. LBJ was a diabolically clever son of a bitch.

        -jcr

    3. You could almost say they constructed a new plantation and just changed the rules a little bit to give the illusion of freedom.

      1. Doh! you beat me to it Nate.

    4. Democrats could care less about poor black kids in inner cities.

      So how many poor blacks kids do Republicans care for? They’re the ones who keep wanting to cut back social security. They’re the ones who don’t want employers to pay workers a living wage by fighting increases in the minimum wage.

      Which doubtless explains your own statement: “All they want is to get their vote and hand them welfare.”

      Apparently, Republicans like yourself consider welfare to be only be something losers want. Or need. They’d rather see widows, orphans, and the unemployed starve.

      Dems are power hungry hypocritical racist assholes.

      Talk about the pot calling the kettle black!

      That sounds more like the Republicans. They tend to be the “hypocritical racist assholes”. The Democrats are the ones who want you to be politically correct.

      1. It’s much better to promote a system that keeps blacks down and discourages them from pulling themselves up.

      2. “They’re the ones who keep wanting to cut back social security. They’re the ones who don’t want employers to pay workers a living wage by fighting increases in the minimum wage.”

        Both questions resume that either system helps the poor and brown. In fact there is a great deal of evidence that ‘Minimum Wage’ laws ensure that undereducated unemployed brown folks STAY undereducated unemployed brown folks by making the minimum wage more than their labor is worth. Social Security is a time bomb; it is unfunded, and we need to either cut it back drastically, raise taxes drastically (not a good idea in this doldrums economy), or stand by and let it go into free fall. My personal guess is that the third option – the one the Democrats opts for – will hurt most.

        1. contd.

          “Talk about the pot calling the kettle black!

          That sounds more like the Republicans. They tend to be the “hypocritical racist assholes”. The Democrats are the ones who want you to be politically correct.”

          Your historical ignorance is stunning; The Democrats are the party of the Confederacy. The Party of The KKK. The party of the early 20th century eugenicists. The party that put the most opposition to the Civil Rights Act of 1978. They are the party that RUNS the inner cities that trap the urban poor. They are the party that support the Teachers’ Unions that keep the public school system a slough of despond.

          BOTH parties are corrupt and power hungry. The Democrats are the ones who routinely back policies that trap poor brown people in poverty, while talking about how much they love poor brown people.

          Kind of like how the Plantation Owners (also Democrats) talked about how much they loved the ‘Darkies’ who they kept in slavery.

          Like a glutton loves his lunch.

        2. Black folk who contribute to social security tend to receive less in retirement because blacks have lower life spans.

          Retirement should be per individual and funds in that account should be part of that person’s estate. In social security if you die young – tough – you lose and your heirs lose too.

      3. Republicans suck too. What’s your point?

        Also, who has ever cut entitlements? To my knowledge, it’s never been cut. And slowing the rate of growth doesn’t count.

  2. there are two kind of school reformers. the first is interested in giving children the best education possible. the second is interested in giving children the best public education possible. only the former is actually interested in helping children.

    1. Since we’re on the subject of education, on that second one, you spelled “most expensive” incorrectly.

    2. So just who pays for having all these extra schools around to give parents a choice?

      The government, the taxpayer, or the parent?

      Who pays for transporting kids to their school of choice if their district doesn’t have a school they find suitable?

      The government, the taxpayer, or the parent?

      Charter schools are basically taxpayer funded private schools. They are taxpayer funded so that parents don’t have to pay school fees. Without that injection of public funding most people would not be able afford to send their kids rot such places.

      If the government handed the money for the school fees to the parents directly that would be looked upon as a form of WELFARE. Instead they pay the money to the school, which is apparently a form of welfare conservatives find acceptable!

      1. People like me pay property taxes, that’s where schools get their money from. It doesn’t grow on an education money tree somewhere. Then the government skims some off the top and spends some on education, just like every other dollar the government spends. They take it from us. I will accede that they occasionally just print it out of thin air, but that’s not the primary source. So it’s not welfare, we’re paying for it. At least we property owners are. I’m not sure the people in public housing are kicking in much, so you sort of have a point there, but doubt that’s what you’re trying to say. I’m OK with taking it all off the market and making it an individual responsibility if you are. But honestly, I’m even OK with local tax revenue covering education where I live. At least it’s accountable to the local people. The whole Federal Dept. of Education idea is just another waste of time, money, and effort. We’d be just fine without it.

        1. Printing it out of thin air just devalues all the other currency, thus redistributing wealth through dilution. As government does not create value.

      2. This statement makes no sense. Most conservatives would be DELIGHTED to see the school fees handed directly to parents. It is the Liberals (who are,strongly supported by the Teachers’ Unions) who think just giving the money to selected schools is preferable.

      3. I recently listened to a researcher from the UK who went to Africa, India, and other parts of Asia to study school systems in the, literally, poorest parts of the world.

        Know what she found? In almost every case there were cheap, for-profit private schools that out performed public schools on a myriad of metrics (desks, teacher attendance, pencils, etc). These schools also outperformed the public schools in terms out student achievement. They were also hugely popular with these people… the poorest on earth. They were willing to pay via taxes for a broken system and then pay (a comparably cheaper rate) for the private school too. Many of the public schools refused to offer language curriculums desired by the parents while the private would.

        Conclusion? Evil bastards who seek to make a buck are still more saintly and do more good for the children than the most benevolent public government thug. And people who care about their children the most (parents) back that up with their own sacrifices. Why not let parents choose? Oh yeah… liberals hate freedom and can not tolerate “wrong” choice (despite claiming their are pro-choice).

        And just an fyi… a lot of people here probably aren’t Republicans. They just realize that while the GOP may be dumb… the left is usually just greedy and evil power hungry monsters.

        1. By the way… I’m a public school teacher in the inner city.

          (For those who are curious… I believe out only hope is to kill the beast from the inside. I teach at a public school in hopes that one day we no longer have them. I teach my kids the Devils math whenever I can fit it into the World History curriculum … economics! It’s awesome to see them realize what a croc government is!)

  3. “and the better the school system, the higher the prices of homes,…”

    I believe you have this exactly backwards, David. The way public schools are funded throughout the country is through property taxes. Therefore, the more costly the home, the more money provided to schools. Which is exactly why inner-city schools continue to fail, very low property tax equals no money for the schools. I am not claiming this is a correct or incorrect way to fund our public schools, just that that is the way it is.

    1. I’m sure it works both ways. Everyone wants to live in the district with the better school, driving up house prices.

      If there’s not enough money the state pays. Certainly the bluer states like to perform futile experiments where they throw stupid amounts of money at inner city schools and get nothing but more wealthy govt employees as a result.

      1. Heck, in the People’s Republic of Connecticut they even had a program where they went around to the better school districts to ask parents of minority students to send their kids to the inner city schools. I had a direct experience with this while coaching baseball during one of our games. A ditsy white mom, in a mixed race relationship, was all giddy about the idea and sending her son to Hartford schools to show how virtuous she was. The kid’s dad told her it would happen over his dead body. He had not busted his ass to leave there only to send his kid back to that failure machine.

        It was telling to a lot of people there…

        1. This American Life had an entire segment on Hartford public schools.

      2. Everyone wants to live in the district with the better school,

        First of all, that statement assumes the people in question have school-age kids. Those who don’t wouldn’t care one way or the other.

        Secondly, that statement was clearly written by someone from the 1%. For those of lesser means other factors would just as, if not more important. Factors like house/apartment prices and how close they are to their place of work.

        Thirdly, it shouldn’t matter WHAT district you live in. ALL public schools should offer the SAME standard of education. Having some schools offer a better standard than others is like having some districts which offer better water, power, or sewage services than others. Or where the quality of your roads and bridges (and whether or not they are likely to collapse) varies from district to district.

        1. Secondly, that statement was clearly written by someone from the 1%.

          The 1%ers send their kids to private schools. They don’t move to the public school districts with good schools because their kids are going to public school. They move there because those often are the nicer neighborhoods in other ways.

        2. I’m a teacher. Pray tell… how do you expect to equalize the services offered by teachers? Am I supposed to teach worse so as to allow students who don’t have me to receive the same education? Or are you going to fire bad teachers (which requires getting rid of unions and central power)?

          Is the whole of your experience on this topic the fact you went to school? Or maybe you have a friend who is a minority?

          Also… from PERSONAL experience with teaching in the inner city… the number one factor regarding the success of a student is that students attitude. I have had students with perfectly normal middle class families not give a crap about their education and there was nothing I could do to make them learn or care. I’ve had kids who are on parole, teen parents, gang members, students who were homeless, students who went hungry, and even a student who threatened to burn my house down… and they managed to learn for one reason alone… THEY CHOSE TO.

          You could tax the 1% until you are blue in the face, give all that money to the lowest of the low with all your good intentions oozing out of your ass and it wouldn’t change a single damn thing until that kid, on their own, decides to change.

          But you would understand that because to you people are simple things that can be controlled and directed into perfection. They aren’t actually human with all the warts and bumps that come with individualism.

    2. I have to disagree with you Billy.

      I lived in NJ most of my life paying some of the highest property taxes in the US. Taxes from “expensive” neighborhoods did make it’s way to the inner cities. I’m not sure if it part of the income taxes or property taxes, but our inner cities (newark, camden, trenton, paterson, passaic… the list goes on) got more money per student than many suburbs.

      Glad I moved out.

      1. You forgot to mention the hellscape that is Hoboken, where apartments can cost millions but they somehow need my tax dollars to pay for their public schools. The Abbott ruling is such a fucking travesty.

    3. Which is exactly why inner-city schools continue to fail, very low property tax equals no money for the schools.

      No, it’s not. Property taxes are collected and then allocated system-wide, not neighborhood to neighborhood.

      1. Wareagle–What system-wide are you talking about? Federal? State? County? City? From my experiences (the places I have lived), the property taxes are allocated at the county level. Suburbs are typically not in the same county as the major metro area (inner-city). My suburb taxes stay in my suburb county and does not help the inner-city schools. Atlanta (where I live) is in Fulton County. Fulton County is peculiar because it is a long and skinny county. In the north of the county is rich, affluent neighborhoods. They have been attempting for a number of years to split the county in half so that the money from the rich neighborhoods stays there and not siphoned off to the southern, inner-city part of the county.

        1. I’m pretty sure in Texas the taxes are collected by county, sent to Austin and then reallocated to the school districts.

          1. Not exactly. Districts are funded by property taxes (remitted to the district), along with state funds that are calculated by a slightly complex formula which includes “recapture” of funds if a district has “too much” property wealth. Pro tip: don’t read that document, it’ll make any libertarian’s ears bleed.

        2. It varies by your location. There is no county government in CT, so each town & city relies on property taxes. The state then redistributes money raised by other taxes to the cities.

    4. No, you have it backwards. The public schools in the inner-city are often among the most extravagantly funded in the nation on a per-pupil basis, but they have a disproportionate number of hard cases where the marginal value of each dollar is low.

      I think to my wife’s first district after college when posed this seeming chicken-or-egg question. It was a wealthy suburban district with a generally well-regarded school system. Some shenanigans by the state changed the makeup of its student population and the reputation of the schools began to tank. Property values plummeted after the crash as they did everywhere, but they’ve bounced back to a level that’s nowhere near as high as those in superficially similar districts because the school quality kills a lot of the demand (you don’t want to spend $700k on a house and be forced to send your kids to private school).

      A typical conversation around here among people my age looking at houses is like this: “I would love to move to Maplewood, but I can’t afford the west side and I won’t move to the east side because my kids would go to school with kids from Irvington.” Same district, same tax base, similar funding, schools’ reputation drives the price discrepancy and not vice versa.

      1. The elementary school both my kids attended had a stellar reputation at the time but is currently suffering.

        And it has nothing to do with a decline in funding. Per student funding has only gone up. What happened is a bunch of inexpensive apartment complexes got built within the district, and what was once a school filled with the children of relatively affluent suburban married couples now has a sizable population of kids from single parent households and a smattering of public assistance types.

        Most are decent kids, reasonably capable, but they simply don’t get the same out of school experience as the more affluent kids who may have a full time stay at home parent or easy access to private tutors. So in reality they still pull performance down.

        Then add in the occasional assistance type kid who has real issues, possibly stemming from real abuse and/or neglect. He’s disruptive as Hell, but the school cannot get rid of him. So who leaves? Yep, any one whose parents can afford private school. The averages don’t decline then, they plummet.

        On a plus note the aftercare program is going like gangbusters.

        1. So is the solution to keep segregation alive? Let’s keep our little white snowflakes in their bubble and let all of the minorities and poor kids go to their own schools where they can have building falling apart and textbooks that are 20 years old? I’m not a liberal, but doing the same shit we’ve been doing doesn’t work. We are hardly more integrated or cohesive than we were 50 years ago, and our economy has been stagnant for far too long.

          1. I’m not sure why I should give a fuck about someone else’s plight. Lets be perfectly honest. If we were on a sinking ship, and there was only room for my family, let’s just say it sucks to be you.

    5. The public schools in inner city slums may not have as much money as suburgan schools – though many States have school tax systems that proport to address any such inequality – but what is wrong with them is not primarily a lack of money. Private schools that cater to minority and poor students either as their main focus or as a side charity, have demonstrated again and again that they can provide superior education for less money than public schools.

      What is wrong with the public schools isn’t simple. A breakdown of discipline is part of it. The abysmal products of the nations Colleges of Education, combined with the Unions that oppose merit promotion and firing the ostentatiously incompetent is another (in kost states Private schools are not required to hire people with teaching degrees, or unions memberships, and where they are the private schools suffer). I personally suspect that one of the problems is that an bureaucracy will tend to calcify over time.

      The system is failing. It is time to get the children it is failing OUT.

  4. Your article has the slight odor of religious bias. I agree the education system needs reform, as evidenced by consistently low U.S. scores compared to other advanced nations. THAT’s not caused by a lack of choice in education, but by a system that’s underfunded & not focused on academics. We need a national, federally funded system removed from local rule that provides education WITHOUT censorship, rewriting history, or teaching religious zealotry. Other country’s do this very well.

    Most private schools in the U.S. are religion-based. If you wish to brainwash your child by placing them into a god-bubble, you should be able to do so, but you should NOT be able to divert tax dollars to religious activity, which is exactly what DeVos and her ilk wish to do. That model contradicts the very essence of the Constitution.

    Unions are unnecessary & only inflate costs. Tenure for Elementary/HS teachers? Tenure is a status designed to protect the ability of college faculty to conduct unconstrained research. It has NOTHING to do with pre-college education.

    Yes, we can improve public education; we can stabilize it, ensure consistency, DE-religious-ize it, and fund it at a level that ensures students can succeed in a global technology-based economy. DeVos will only dumb-down the system by injecting religiosity and profiteering into it.

    1. Other country’s do this very well

      You could have stopped right there

      1. a system that’s underfunded

        Stopped reading right there.

    2. We spend more money per student today than ever before, so it’s not a lack of funding. We also have had national standards that are widely criticized on all sides.

      Competition breeds improvements in quality and cost. I see no reason to think that wouldn’t be true in education.

      A single national standard stifles competition by reducing opportunities for innovation.

      Right now public schools crowd out non-religious education. Offer parents a choice in where to send their students and you’ll see non-religious schools sprouting up to meet the demand for a secular education. Schools with different ideologies will emerge to meet the demands of a diverse population of parents and students.

      As for whether tax-payer dollars should go to religious organizations: I understand the argument but if you are going to make it, apply it consistently. Outlaw spending money received through social security, disability, unemployment, etc. on any religious organizations. Otherwise, let people choose how to spend the money you give them – they probably know how to do it better than you do.

      1. I also don’t see a clear 1A violation by allowing vouchers to go to religious schools. The government isn’t establishing a religion if they allow people to spend government grants on religious or non-religious schools, and some people choose religious schools.

        I could see an argument that prohibiting a voucher from going to a religious schools violates the second clause, as it disadvantages people who receive vouchers from freely exercising their preferences for a religious education relative to those who choose a secular education. In other words, the government is explicitly creating a disincentive for practicing religion.

        The whole concept of the government giving people money really muddies the waters. But I default to letting people make their own choices, even if it is with money that I didn’t choose to give them.

        1. That brings to mind an interesting question…

          I start the Church of Tarran (we have our own amusement park, with blackjack and hookers).

          We build a nice temple. I mean really classy. Huge.

          And because it’s such an awesome church, thousands of people want to attend. And the current road isn’t sufficient. We want to widen it.

          If the town pays to widen the road, is it violating the separation of church and state?

          1. If you want the government to promote general welfare, you have to accept that it will include religious institutions.

          2. Obviously the govt needs to use it’s road-building monopoly to restrict travel to only politically correct destinations.

            1. Tangential anecdotal observation. Progressive hubs tend to have shitty roads, infrastructure in general. Visit one, drive or ride off of interstate to the streets and observe the condition and quality.

              The Church of Tarran would be better off paying to improve the road out it’s own coffers, and making the fact known if there is political gain to be made.

              1. Except of course, roads are a gov-only function (because gov says so!), so the Church of Tarran must either convince (read, “bribe”) gov to do it for him, or not get it.

          3. ROADZ???!!!

            So…not a libertarian church then?

            🙂

          4. How does one join the Church of Tarran? Are donations made at the Blackjack tables and hooker facilities tax deductible? Just curious about this new and intriguing religion…

            1. When the hookers prostelitize you, just leave the money in the dresser.

        2. The only issue is public payment for a private service. So long as the provider meets whatever standards are established then anything else should be a non-issue.

          Medicare will pay for any qualified surgeon to replace your knee. Whether or not he throws in prayers is not something the government should concern itself over.

        3. You can argue voucher funding of religious schools either way. If you do it, its an impermissible establishment of religion. If you don’t, its impermissible discrimination on religious grounds.

          1. Except that it’s not “establishing”. Establishing would be if there was a state religion for which only its schools could get funding, or even just funding restricted to only one type of religious school.

      2. I can see some national standard for education as a minimum, similar to the Minimum Wage (which should not exist at the Federal level anyway, but that’s another issue).

    3. There is zero difference between an education that indoctrinates children into thinking God is the moral center of the universe and an education that indoctrinates children into thinking the State is the moral center of the universe.

      1. One of those doesn’t lead to the children thinking it’s swell when Dear Leader says he’s going to exterminate his political rivals.

        (Mostly because churches don’t control the state anymore, but that’s besides the point.)

      2. and the ones that are god-focused tend to produce graduates who can read, can write in complete sentences, and are not in need of remedial work should they go to college. If I’m not mistaken, their parents are taxpayers, too. The notion of money following the child has always struck me as the most market-centered means of delivering education as it lets the consumer vote with his/her feet and wallet.

        1. Catholic schools (for instance) tend to be very good schools on average, with student performance higher than even your average upper middle class private school.

          1. Yes, but to be fair it should be noted that many of them do teach that the State is the moral center of the Universe.

          2. How many Justices on the SCOTUS are Catholic?

      3. Weird, I’m an atheist that went to Catholic school and I don’t recognize the caricature of religious schools at all.

        1. If we had a sane education system, I can’t believe there wouldn’t be secular schools blooming all over the place.

          Though I have found that a lot of “atheists” are just of the state-as-god persuasion.

    4. THAT’s not caused by a lack of choice in education, but by a system that’s underfunded & not focused on academics

      THIS IS WHAT UNDERFUNDING LOOKS LIKE!!!!

      Source Article

    5. underfunded

      Wrong.

      The United States spent more than $11,000 per elementary student in 2010 and more than $12,000 per high school student. When researchers factored in the cost for programs after high school education such as college or vocational training, the United States spent $15,171 on each young person in the system ? more than any other nation covered in the report.

      That sum inched past some developed countries and far surpassed others. Switzerland’s total spending per student was $14,922 while Mexico averaged $2,993 in 2010. The average OECD nation spent $9,313 per young person.

      As a share of its economy, the United States spent more than the average country in the survey. In 2010, the United States spent 7.3 percent of its gross domestic product on education, compared with the 6.3 percent average of other OECD countries. Denmark topped the list on that measure with 8 percent of its gross domestic product going toward education.

    6. You seem to have your own bias regarding religion. As long as they don’t discriminate between religions it would probably be legal. It would certainly be consistent with welfare elsewhere. Such as at a religious grocer or hospital. Or a religious college for that matter.

      1. Think he’ll have a stroke if I tell him that parts of Canada have publicly funded religious schools?

        1. Don’t forget the Netherlands. They have publicly funded religous schools, decriminalized weed and legal prostitution. We obvi need more public funding of religious schools.

        2. How about that the Head of State is also the Head of the Anglican Church?

    7. Remind me what article of the Constitution delegates any power to the federal government to be involved in education at all.

      1. ^Fucking This^

      2. The Old Dead White Guy Constitution, or the Living Constitution with the clauses added in invisible ink?

        1. Dang, you got me there…

            1. Ah. The emanumbras.

              1. They’re my favorite emo band.

    8. We need a national, federally funded system removed from local rule that provides education WITHOUT censorship, rewriting history, or teaching religious zealotry. Other country’s do this very well.

      Utterly delusional and incorrect garbage.

      Sincerely,

      Product of non-American Public School.

      1. It sounds like what they want is the VA, only for schools instead of healthcare.

        And we all know that the VA is the gold standard for health care in the US.

    9. God-bubble?

      I went to Catholic school for 12 years. I wasn’t Catholic and in the end I was an atheist. I never felt pressured to accept either Catholic or Christian dogma and the Jewish girl in my class felt the same way. The theology classes amounted to a yearly philosophy class instead of some indoctrination caricature you propose.

      As an atheist, if I had kids I would send them to Catholic school over public school without hesitation. They would be perfectly safe from being brainwashed into Catholics.

      1. Anyone who tries to brainwash you into becoming Catholic is doing it wrong.

    10. Within 5 sentences you first claim we need a nationally funded education system, and then complain that tax dollars going to religious schools in unconstitutional. Do you have a list of which parts of the constitution you agree with and disagree with? Or do you just wing it?

    11. The present system has been FAILING for as long as I have been following politics (since the mid’ ’70’s). It has also been strenuously resisting necessary change for that long. I am an agnostic. My view is that if religious schools can do a better job of teaching poor children to read, write, and do basic math than the public schools (and there is plenty of evidence that this is so) then it is past time to let them try.

      No school can fail to tach some attitude about religion. Religion is a part of human existance. Atheism is a religious belief; a set of opinions about God or gods that is not provable (or disprovable) by logic amd therefore is founded on faith. I see no reason to prefer it to Protestant Christianity and many (failed atheistical states like the USSR) not to.

      1. The only reason “no school can fail to tach [sic] some attitude about religion” is because some folks have decided that teaching currently accepted scientific theories is an attack on their religion.

        There is nothing inherently religious or atheistic about history, math, chemistry, physics, biology, computer science, mechanical engineering, and so-on.

        1. You’re a fucking moron. CAGW is a religion and is being taught in schools everywhere.

          1. CAGW parishioners should be burned at the stake!

  5. The most ardent anti-school-choice liberal I know has 2 children in High School now. Neither of them has ever once set foot in a public school.

    1. I think some of the anti-school-choice movement is like people who demand light rail but would never use it themselves: they just don’t want those people on their road / in their child’s school.

    2. Not even as the opposing team? Dang, they’ve gone to some spendy schools.

  6. From last night’s Welch v. Chait debate on whether Obama was a great President – Chait gave *charter schools* as a reason Obama was great, showing Obama’s awesomeness as an educational reformer.

    1. Moderate Dems seem to have less objection to charter schools than to vouchers and tax credits – because charters don’t charge tuition and, being technically public schools, are subject to the Establishment Clause (as defined by the courts).

      The concept of a moderate Democrat seems to have dissipated – the media would never call any Democrat a moderate because that would imply other Democrats are radicals, and in any case, the term “moderate” doesn’t seem to fit those currently running the Democratic party.

      Hence the vehement denunciation of charter schools – while Chait gives them as part of Obama’s wonderful achievements.

      1. Can we just call them ‘non-Marxist democrats’? Soon to become as rare as two headed unicorns.

    2. Their coalition is incredibly fractured over the issue. Particularly BLM and the NAACP formally opposing charters to the anger of working class black families who have found them to be a boon in their communities.

      It’s a divide between ivory tower academics who believe other people should have to sacrifice for the good of the collective and actual people with children.

      1. At the very least, if the black parents can’t bring themselves to vote Republican, they should sponsor serious primary challenges to their elected “leaders.”

        Without the fear of losing their phony-balony jobs, these “leaders” are going to do the bidding of the educational establishment, and ignore the pleas of parents like it was an annoying background buzzing.

  7. “There’s something perverse about an ideology that views the disposing of an unborn child in the third trimester of pregnancy as an indisputable right…”

    Those are the first words of this article. And that’s just about where I stopped. If your article starts with a ludicrous strawman like this, there’s no point in reading anything more.

    1. I’m not sure what the problem is.

      “Choice” to a hard-core prog means you can choose to kill your child, but you can’t choose where that child goes to school if you let him or her live.

      1. To a hard core prog, abortion is virtually the only aspect of existence that “choice” applies to.

        The state is free to choose just about other aspect of existence for you.

    2. It’s not a strawman.

      Hillary Clinton claimed it in one of the debates. The people defending her position all took the line that it happens so rarely it’s an abstract concept – that whether or not it’s legal doesn’t matter. None that I saw said it was wrong to do third trimester abortions.

      I personally wouldn’t have started that way, because most people who consider themselves prochoice do not want to confront what happens to the fetus and rather than opening their minds to the benefits of expanding choice to areas other than abortion, citing this inconsistency would trigger their desire to reject uncomfortable thoughts.

      One critical element of the art of rhetoric is crafting arguments that lead the reader or listener down the path of argument gently, not yank on the leash so hard that it snaps and they run screaming in the other direction.

      1. What happened to the rhetorical technique of referring to vouchers as “backpack funding” to make it more palatable to the Left?

      2. I personally appreciate that he went straight for the jugular.

        Unfortunately, if I shared this on facederp, all my liberal friends (who coincidentally have gone fucking bananas since the election) would dismiss it out of hand like Cunt did because it forces them to admit they are only pro-choice when it comes to certain things.

        1. “Cunt”? I hope your mommy didn’t see you write that.

          I’ll just assume that Harsanyi makes valid arguments regarding school choice. Good. I’m absolutely pro-choice on schools. I’m pro-choice on a lot of shit. You’re absolutely right; liberals are only pro-choice on a few specific things (frankly, they aren’t pro-choice. they favor specific choices being dictated by the government; just like conservatives). I’m not a liberal, i’m a libertarian. That also means I’m not a republican/conservative.

          Abortion is a valid debate among libertarians. I’m of the opinion that an egg that was just fertilized isn’t a human being. A fetus at nine months is certainly a human being. Somewhere in the middle is a transition. There’s no clear dividing point. So, i favor elective abortions early in pregnancy, legal late-term abortions in only the most extreme circumstances, and some middle ground in between. What that middle ground is and what timeline applies is the tough part to agree.

          1. My mommy’s heard me say worse 😉

            But I will apologize for the typo (as an aside, I probably type “Cunt” out way too much if autofill on my phone automatically goes to that).

            A double apology for assuming you were a liberal (which, lets be honest, is a way worse insult).

            1. All good. There’s a few memes out there that revolve around wearing a uniform with a “Curt” nametag. The words look very similar in cursive. I’ve had jobs where I wore a nametag like that.

              If I had a choice among tombstones that read, “Here lies a liberal”, “Here lies a conservative”, and “Here lies a cunt”… I’d take the latter. The first two are the essentially saying the same thing with a few additional adjectives.

              And you’re right… I haven’t looked at fb in about a week. I enjoy the taste of liberal tears, but it’s coming close to biblical flooding.

            2. Hmmm. The N and R are not right next to each other. I’d call this either deliberate or a Freudian slip. No typo here.

              1. Auto fill could do it though. It ‘learns’ based on what you type over time. So if one uses the word ‘cunt’ all the time it certainly could interprete ‘curt’ as a typo.

          2. @curt – Morals and ethical debate aside, making abortion illegal is a horrible economic choice. We cannot afford to support millions of unwanted children, most of them of low socioeconomic class, whose parents did not want them. We already have a dysfunctional social services department, and Medicaid/WIC/SCHIPS is a huge tax burden.

            1. I agree, but also the moral and ethical debate can’t completely be set aside. The economic choice for allowing abortion of a baby in the third (or 4th or 28th) trimester shouldn’t trump the moral/ethical issues. Obviously, I’m taking the argument to the point of absurdity. But, for every liberal arguing for late-term abortions, there’s a conservative arguing against early-term abortions.

              I don’t think there’s a solution that will make everyone happy. I don’t think there’s a solution that will be palatable to everyone. I think the best we can get is a general agreement that it will be legal early, almost entirely illegal late, and conditional in the middle. And I think that’s not to far from what actually happens. Wikipedia (quoting CDC) puts it at 91.4% before 13 weeks and 1.4% after 20 weeks.

              1. Generally speaking, I would support laws that severely restrict late-term abortions and oppose the laws that place ridiculous burdens on clinics in an effort to force them to be unable operate at all.

                As a side note, re: “making abortion illegal is a horrible economic choice”, history has proved that making some things illegal is a horrible choice in more ways than just economic: coat hangers, prohibition, war on drugs, etc…

              2. Because of “pro-life” activists and lobbyists, it can be nearly impossible to get a medically necessary late term abortion. So when you have a woman in the middle of a toxic miscarriage? There may literally not be a doctor at the hospital rusty knows how to treat her because some schools have stopped including abortion procedures on their programs. Because of “pro-life” folks.

                So fuck em. In their zeal to make everyone play by their rules of morality, they are literally harming people. They object to comprehensive sex education that reduces teen pregnancy (and this abortion). They object to subsidizing effective long lasting birth control. They literally mandate that doctors lie to their patients.

                If they ever had a moral message, they burned out long ago.

      3. She explained her choice not to support a ban on late-term abortions based on leaving open exceptions related to the life/health of the mother and baby. Describing that as “an ideology that views the disposing of an unborn child in the third trimester of pregnancy as an indisputable right”, is ridiculous and it is a strawman. Implying that elective abortion on a whim in the 9th month is a fundamental platform of democrats is just a lie.

        To be clear, I’m not democrat. Fuck Hillary. And I would absolutely oppose elective late-term abortion. There are plenty of valid comparisons to use to demonstrate how democrats are only selectively pro-choice. Starting this way is just inflammatory, red-meat BS.

  8. Cover the buildings in tiny veiled eyeballs, vats of hemoglobin, pulsating veins, and feminist regret and you’ll instantly receive the benefit of choice. Bus the little fuckers into that holocaust of visual chaos.

    And I state this as one who intellectually tolerates the regrettable utility of abortion up to a severe point.

  9. Opposing school choice is immoral, because it is based upon ‘respectable’ bigotry. They don’t want their kids going to school with poor kids. That’s why they love public schools and use private schools, instead.

  10. The Democrats’ Fight Against School Choice Is Immoral

    You know Democrats only believe in “choice” when it comes to killing babies right up to the point that they pass through the birth canal. And that has to be on-demand and subsidized by the taxpayers. Otherwise, you hate women. Anything else falls under the umbrella of “That which is not prohibited is mandatory”.

  11. how irrational liberalism has become.

    It is not “liberalism”. It is IL-liberalism and “progressivism” (better term: RE-gressivism). I want my word back. While we’re at it, I also want “gay” (happy) and “queer” (strange) back.

    1. “”progressivism” (better term: RE-gressivism)”

      Bravo.

      There’s nothing “progressive” about backsliding into a system of absolute rule by a single person (which is how humans lived for most of history).

  12. Comrades, comrades, this is a deliberate and very temporary situation. Until the middle classes decide to fund all schools properly, the children of the middle classes must suffer the same poor education and leaky, rat-infested school buildings as poor children. Always the hoarders, wreckers and kulaks, comrades.

    1. Splitters too! Don’t forget the splitters!

  13. $360K seems adequate to fund a classroom and a teacher.

    If it’s one of those 50 student classrooms I hear about all the time it’s $600k at $12k per.

    1. Of course the reality is there are a lot of beaks to wet in the public system so a lot of that doesn’t make it to the classroom.

      1. Most of the cost seems to be for administration and other special interest (oft mandated) crap. What really makes it to the classroom is a small fraction of that considerably large per individual cost. And I think this is something that gets lost when we compare how much is spent per pupil in the US vs. elsewhere. yeah, we often spend more, but the bulk of that money is not going to anything that adds educational value.

        1. That points to a systematic failure. Competition would fix it.

          1. So would getting rid of half of government jobs and tenure/civil service/guaranteed jobs for life.

            1. So would banning public sector unions.

              If government employees want better pay and benefits, they should make the case to the taxpayers – the ones who actually have to pay that cost. Run some ads. Go canvassing. Tell the taxpayers why they should have more money extracted from them so that you can have three months of paid “stress leave” to be used whenever you want (true story).

      2. I know a teacher that told me her district’s superintendent got a new $100k Lexus every year (leased I assume) as part of his perks package. On top of the $150k salary and generous benefits package. At the same time they were facing staffing cuts at the teacher level. This was in southern CA.

  14. In most places, the whiter the neighborhood, the better the school system;

    I’d argue that the yellower and medium browner the neighborhood, the better the school system. If your neighbors are mostly named Wu, Park, and Patel, the school is likely to be cranking out some great students.

    1. The downside is, of course, the dangers of driving in that neighborhood.

      1. So lacist!

  15. Public education is socialism. Kill it dead and fully privatize it. The End.

    1. This. The benefits would be exceptional.

      – Schools would be quicker to expel disruptive kids so that the rest of the class can learn. It doesn’t mean that these kids can’t ever get an education; it just means that they’ll have to go to a school that specializes in kids with disciplinary problems (and specialty schools of all kinds would abound in a free market).

      – Schools would experiment with teaching methods, and the best practices would emerge. This is in stark contrast to the current American education system, which is increasingly enforcing top-down diktats over how the subject matter shall be taught (case in point: Common Core).

      – It would decouple your area of residence from the school that your kids will attend, which is a big part of the reason that poor minority kids are stuck in shitty schools. Private schools wouldn’t care about taking a kid who lives 10 or 20 miles away. If his education is bought and paid for, why would they care?

  16. The issue is one of parental rights. Who gets to decide where (and what) my children will be taught, me or daddy federal guvmint? Education is further a state issue and the feds have no Constitutional authority to interfere. You can count big guvmint democrats and big guvmint republicans who need to expand their do nothing bureaucratic jobs at our expense to keep mucking up things.

  17. Although I agree completely with the arguments as set out in the article, I think a precursor to all of this is reforming Colleges of Education on university campuses.

    1. I think a precursor to all of this is reforming Colleges of Education on university campuses.

      I don’t think there’s any path to reform that doesn’t amount to gutting said Colleges of Education. Primary school teachers don’t need a degree at all, and secondary school teachers don’t need or benefit from anything higher than a Bachelor’s degree in the subject they’re teaching (even then, I’d say most middle school teachers could do well with a solid high school education or an associate’s degree).

      What it should take to become a teacher:
      – HS diploma
      – If necessary/appropriate, associate/bachelor’s degree in the subject that will be taught not “education”
      – Some basic training (mostly CYA stuff)
      – A period of (paid!) assistant teaching
      – Recommendations from teachers
      – A perfunctory certificate attesting to the above

      1. I’d take it higher. Why do I need a doctorate in English to teach 100-level ENG courses to college freshmen? I have a bachelors in English; why shouldn’t I be able to teach the basics of things like college research writing? It’s the very same stuff I had to learn.

  18. Few institutions have hurt minorities more than public schools.

    I’m not saying they’ve been great or anything, but come on, man.

    1. Rather than an eyeroll name other institutions that have created greater harm.

      I can think of a couple, but tht’s also not a ‘few.’

      1. The democrat party? And it’s wholly owned subsidiary, the Ku Klux Klan?

  19. I believe our entire education system needs revamping. I am strongly against any tenure system, especially for non-university level teaching, and tenure, civil service jobs and other government jobs that all but guarantee a job for life short of killing someone does nothing but breed complacency. I also realize that it’s difficult to measure learning and knowledge without test scores, but test scores do not correlate with learned knowledge, comprehension and the ability to use that knowledge, it merely reflects a person’s ability to regurgitate memorized information.

    I would be more supportive of a program to fund more magnet schools to increase competition, and some charter schools, but I am very wary of private schools. There are many areas in the country where private schools are just a way to fight desegregation, and when private schools receive state funds, there is less money per school to go around, and consequently, many more schools actually have lackluster performance. I would rather have a fewer, great, innovative schools really changing the way we teach and how children learn rather than even more private schools that keep the public schools poor and minority, the private schools economically advantageous and white, and less funds to go around.

    1. If every child receives a $2000 voucher per year, but the private schools all cost $15,000 per year, and do not provide busing or after school care, then how does this benefit any child except those who’s parents can afford private schools, after school care (or who don’t work) and who can drive their kids to and from school? The choice is only going to support those who can afford to change schools or who want to buck the public schools (particularly if they feel their public schools are already performing well).

      I think competition is a wonderful thing, and an overhaul of our education system is past due, but I’m just not confident that DeVos, her lack of experience, and her desire to redirect tax dollars to charter and private schools will do anything to help our education system or to integrate our society. I think she gave a lot of money to Trump and was rewarded with a position she has no experience for, and her charter schools in Michigan have underperformed the public ones as well as charter schools in Massachusetts. I gladly welcome someone who wants to begin to reinvent the way we educate our children, but I’m just not confident that vouchers are enough, or that they will be used in any way but to continue to segregate schools and to benefit the wealthy and maybe some of the poorest students. I think many middle class kids will still be stuck in the same old system.

      1. Not every private school costs that much. That $2000 would make it easier to afford those schools that are just out of reach. It’s not perfect, but I’m not aware of anything that is.

        https://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/
        private-schools-cost-less-you-may-think

        I split the comment in two lines. “I got the message “Your comment contains a word that is too long (50 characters).” Is reason preventing links from being posted now?

        1. Use HTML links and you’ll get it in like so

        2. Or, delete the “s” in “https”. No idea why, but that generally works.

  20. RE: The Democrats’ Fight Against School Choice Is Immoral
    Few institutions have hurt minorities more than public schools.

    Could it be the democrats are against school choice is because they have taken all that money from the teachers unions?
    Nah.
    The democrats are always for the little guy, and want to make sure all the little people’s children are well educated so they won’t get a poor education from all those uppity private schools.

  21. Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut, a tireless adversary of the first five amendments of the Constitution (at least)

    Nice.

  22. No, what’s hurting minorities is unequal funding for schools.

    1. I don’t believe you are aware of how much State and local governments are spending on public students. For example, Chicago Public Schools spend ~$14k/student/year, but has a graduation rate of ~73.5%. The Archdiocese of Chicago spends about 1/2 that per student and has a graduation rate of ~98%. The actual problem is that CPS’s kids, and kids of other inner cities, are much less likely to have parent(s) who give two sh*ts, which no amount of government subsidy will counteract.

  23. MA voted against the expansion of charter schools. When I told my very liberal democrat friend that this would be good for all the white people in the suburbs, she was utterly confused. I explained how this would ensure that their children would not have to compete with inner city minority children for admission to college or for jobs any time soon.

    W. Edwards Deming, one of the pioneers of total quality management, took pains to impress upon people in organizations that the system people work in may account for 90 to 95 percent of performance. Most inner city school systems are broken systems. No matter how many good people we throw into the system or how much money we throw at these systems, the performance needle will barely move.

    Vouchers are often described as less than a panacea whenever I bring them up as an alternative. This is pretty much how these arguments go. Alternatives are held up to a test of perfection even as the current system is nearly perfect in its failure.

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  25. The entire education system should be scraped and the taxes collected for it completely ended! All children should have access to the same quality education that the children of the elites receive, and it would not be at all expensive in our present digital age! Barron Trump presently attends the < a href="https://www.cgps.org/">Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School in New York City’s Upper West Side and may in the future be attending Sidewell Friends School like Chelsea Clinton did during the Clinton regime.
    All choices should be available for the parents, but I myself would like to see well-paid top quality teachers streaming classes online. These classes could even be streamed to existing school or church buildings to mixed age children. After the video is finished; the older and smarter kids could teach the less intelligent and younger kids. The act of teaching other people increases your knowledge and understanding as well. I suspect that this method would increase the number of children who want to learn.

  26. This is the ugly side of politics. Poor inner city culture is overwhelmingly politically Democratic. The path out of poverty, for those who desire it, among other things, involves a rejection of that culture. Politicians hate any change that might cost them votes. For the Ds, the status quo is best case.

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