National School Choice Week

Cher Attacks Betsy DeVos, Says 'Your Child Deserves More.' But Isn't School Choice 'More'?

When it comes to education, "more" must means "more choices."


As far as President Trump's Cabinet picks go, the left seems to have settled on Betsy DeVos as the person whose derailment is most attainable, or perhaps, most important. At the end of the day, the Democratic Party is still the Democratic Party, and still beholden to teachers unions—an interest group that reflexively opposes even modest education reforms.

Democrats are pulling out all the stops. MSNBC host Joy Reid put Michael Moore on her show to explain that DeVos "helped to ruin public education in Michigan," which is a lie. Sen. Cory Booker, a former ally of DeVos's who sat with her on the board of the Alliance for School Choice, has announced that he will vote against her confirmation (now that he wants to run for president, he can't risk alienating teachers unions, one presumes). And even liberal celebrities are anti-DeVos. Cher recently tweeted:

The contention that DeVos wants to defund public schools is as absurd as the contention that she poisoned the water in Flint, Michigan. (Embarrassingly, many liberals are indeed insisting that DeVos had something to do with Flint, which is ludicrous.) DeVos merely recognizes some of the flaws inherent to the public education system: it takes in a whole lot of cash, and produces a whole lot of kids who can't read or do math well.

Cher is right that "UR CHILD DESERVES MORE." But what is meant by the more in that sentence? Is it more of the same exact system—a system that doesn't seem to improve, no matter how much money is thrown at it? Keep in mind that inflation-adjusted spending on education has doubled, while reading and math scores have stayed the same and high school graduation rates may have dipped.

School funding
via Mark J Perry / AEI

Giving children more means giving them more choices. It means liberating them from the system as it exists currently—a system that requires kids to attend the public school in the zip code assigned to them at birth.

Not all public schools are bad; on the contrary, many public schools are great. But every kid is different, and what works for one family might not make sense for another. A certain zip code might have a school with a great college prep program that focuses on STEM education, but what about the kid who wants to study music? Why not let that kid take the per pupil funding allotted to him by the state and use it to pay for classes at an artsier institution?

When public schools are bad, the need for school choice reform is even more obvious. Give the money to the kids and let families decide what they should do with it. Competition for public dollars would incentivize public schools to improve their outputs—they wouldn't be able to afford to hang on to ineffective teachers. Indeed, this is precisely what frightens teachers unions so much about school choice: it threatens their monopoly.

Whether DeVos will be able to use the education secretary gig to push for reforms remains to be seen. But the fact that she supports the existence of alternatives to traditional public schooling should be viewed as positive, not a liability.

National School Choice Week, an annual event promoting the ability of parents and students to have greater options in K-12 education, starts today. Over 21,000 events involving almost 17,000 schools from all 50 states will take place over the coming days. Go here to get more information about events and data about how increasing school choice–charters, vouchers, educational savings accounts, and more–is one of the best ways to improve education for all Americans. As a proud media sponsor of National School Choice Week, Reason will be publishing daily articles, podcasts, videos, interviews, and other coverage exploring the ways in which education is being radically altered and made better by letting more people have more choices when it comes to learning. For a constantly updated list of stories, go to Reason's archive page on "school choice."

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  1. I don’t know what Reason is talking about. There’s clearly a correlation in the slope of the green line and spending.

    1. On the bright side, as math scores have been stagnant, fewer and fewer people are going to understand the breadth of the boondoggle.

      1. If math scores are stagnant, and the population is increasing, wouldn’t more people understand the breadth of this boondoggle?

        Or, if you want to control for population growth, wouldn’t it be an equivalent percentage of people?

  2. It’s not defunding public schools, it’s funding students and parents. If those parents and students then choose to defund the public schools because they have better alternatives then so be it.

  3. .Call both NO”Betsy Devos”.HER QUEST,2 DEFUND PUBLIC SCHOOLS.

    No, my child deserves proper spelling and punctuation.

  4. (Embarrassingly, many liberals are indeed insisting that DeVos had something to do with Flint, which is ludicrous.)

    So per my question in that previous thread, the answer is “infinitely”.

  5. Cher went on to say: I didn’t really mean to hurt you. I didn’t want to see you go. I know I made you cry, but baby, if I could turn back time, if I could find a way, I’d take back those words that’d hurt you, and you’d stay. If I could reach the stars, I’d give ’em all to you, then you’d love me, love me, like you used to do.

    If I could turn back time.

    1. You would grab Cher’s exposed back and derriere in the video?

      1. Good god, that video was out when I was in grade school and prior to our house having internet. Even in a “take what you can get” time and in a limited access environment, I still thought “…gross” every time it came on.

    2. have you gotten a look at how her kid turned out? why would anyone pay any attention to this clown?

  6. If you can’t turn to Cher for sound public policy decisions…

    1. Then who CAN get us to Mars? (or is she going to Uranus?)

    2. Well, she did marry Sonny Bono, but they divorced before he became a mayor or a congressman.

      1. THIS is a woman who married GREG FUCKING ALLMAN and then claimed – when she wanted a divorce due to the fact that he was acting like, y’know, GREG FUCKING ALLMAN – that she didn’t know that he did drugs!!! Greg Allman! Does drugs?!?!? WHO KNEW?!?!? WHO COULD HAVE KNOWN?!?!?!?!?

  7. The quicker people in the media figure out that nobody outside the media gives a fuck about Twitter, the better off everybody will be.

  8. The chart should show spending in inflation-adjusted dollars. Without that the chart establishes nothing. Spending may have declined over the past 50 years. We can’t tell anything from this chart. Someone less trusting of might suggest that the chart was designed to deceive.

    I love this blog and have come to expect better. We have winning arguments. We don’t need to deceive to make our points.

    1. Do you know what a “constant dollar” is?

    2. I think I was wrong about the chart. It is inflation adjusted. never mind.

      1. We all make mistakes, and it takes a big man to admit when he is wrong.

        *opens arms*

        Come get your hug, you big, strong man.

        1. Don’t, James! It’s a trap!

          1. A …ahem…. Bear Trap.

            1. right to keep & bare arms?

      2. See, what you should’ve done to seem extra smart is say ‘what, um, I meant was that they should have adjusted for inflation using the PPI which is vastly superior measure of inflation to the CPI.’

    3. Is that you Tulpa?
      ‘…that inflation-adjusted spending on education has doubled…’

      ‘I love this blog…’
      Then try reading it.

  9. The only person who cares what Cher has to say is that mutant boy from the X-Files.

    1. What about Peter Cetera?

  10. Sometimes, more really is less.

  11. I’m hoping to send my child to the Derek Zoolander Center for Kids who Can’t Read Good and Wanna do Other Stuff Good Too. Only vouchers can make that happen.

    1. You must not have seen “Zoolander 2”.

    1. Ahem, I believe it’s spelled ‘wright.’

  12. The thing I am going to miss from the last 8 years was not having to hear Celebrities complain about politics. It got really old during W’s term and I was not looking forward to that coming back.

    1. Maybe we’ll get a Team America sequel?

  13. Dunno about you, but Cher is my go-to authority regarding how education should be arranged!

  14. What does Cher know about education? I am for school choice and the democrats need to stop pandering to the damn teachers union. But I just dont have confidence in DeVos. Her record in Michigan is not a sterling example of what charter schools can do. I believe in accountability. even if one wants parents to make that decision if the school is up to par, I would like to see some oversight where the schools have to disclose information in such a way to make it easy for parents to compare schools.

  15. Maybe libertarians should take a page from the left and use language as a weapon. People like “public”, think “public spirited” or “public interest”. There’s a word for the system where government directly owns the organs of society that carry out a particular industrial function. That word is “socialism”. There is no public school system. There is a socialist school system. If that school system is used to promote nationalist sentiments, there is a national socialist school system.

  16. Cher Attacks Betsy DeVos


    1. She’s got Betsy DeVos’ eyes.

      1. ** Thunderous Applause from an old timer **

  17. Cher, the cultural appropriater?

    1. She’s making Elizabeth Warren, Sacheeen Littlefeather, and Espera de Corti proud!

  18. When it comes to education, “more” must means “more choices.”

    Moar literasee, to!

  19. many public schools are great.

    Oh, for fuck’s sake, Robby.


  20. No, no, what Cher means is:

    Your child deserves more:

    – taxes and gov’t debt (to pay for those lavish union-negotiated salaries and pensions)
    – indoctrination (in the leftist/progressive indoctrination camps that schools and universities have become over the past 40 years)
    – incompetence (especially in the inner city–students are graduating there without the math and reading/writing skills they should have)
    – dependence (low education = low wages or no job = fast track to welfare = more votes for Democrats
    – Democrats in office (more votes for Democrats from the Free Shit Army = one party rule of the USA, just like in corrupt Latin American countries).

  21. When it comes to education, “more” must means “more choices.”

    Yes, it must means that.

  22. Suave thinks Cher’s policy opinions worthy of serious consideration.

    Mises wept.

  23. Really? An article about Cher’s thoughts on education?

    1. It’s the fact that she has any thoughts at all, not that they have any value…kind of a monkey/typewriter thing

  24. “Your child deserves more”

    More abuse? More unjust punishment? More pro-oppressive-government indocrination?

    No. No child deserves more of that.

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