Betsy DeVos

The Idiotic Democratic Crusade Against Betsy DeVos

National Choice Week would be a good time to get off their high horse


Democrats sought to expose Betsy DeVos as a deluded ideologue for being an unabashed supporter of school choice during her Senate confirmation hearing for

School Choice
firedoglakedotcom via / CC BY-SA

secretary of education last week. But in fact they only exposed themselves. They used her as a prop to grandstand about every ideological hobbyhorse of theirs – some such as gun control that didn't even have anything to do with education – rather than actually engage a worthy intellectual opponent on the merits of her case, I note in my column at The Week this morning.

But regardless of how much they foam at the mouth, they oppose school choice at their peril. The National School Choice week that Reason sponsors has grown by leaps and bounds over the last seven years with more folks disenchanted with the public school monopoly joining every year.

Indeed, as my colleague Ed Krayewski pointed out this morning, 65 percent of Americans now support charter schools, which, mind you, is a relatively moderate and practical reform to extricate kids caught in failing public school classrooms and make teachers' unions accountable to parents. But Dems couldn't stop sneering even at that during the hearing showing just how out of touch they are with real Americans.

They will have to descend from their moral high ground in the stratosphere and connect with the trials and tribulations of living, breathing humans if they are going to stop the many rights abuses that are almost certainly coming in the Trump administration.

Save people, not ideology. A good place to begin will be by stop lecturing their intellectual opponents and start listening. And there is no better time to begin than the National School Choice Week. What do ya say, libs?

Go here to read the whole piece.

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  1. Your picture is coming out corrupted.

    1. No, the pic’s good. Its what its a picture of that’s corrupted.

  2. “rather than actually engage a worthy intellectual opponent on the merits of her case”

    Maybe DeVos is a worthy opponent, but Congressional Democrats are *not.*

  3. “But in fact they only exposed themselves.”

    Is Weiner in the Senate?

    1. Maybe not, but there’s plenty of other dicks.

  4. This started out promising, but Dalmia spun so quickly to her TDS that I just couldn’t finish.

    1. Bottom line:

      “If the DeVos confirmation hearing exposed anything at all, it is that the Democratic Party is now the Dogmatic Party. And that will not position it to fight the genuine threats to vulnerable minorities that the Trump presidency will almost certainly bring.”

      It’s like an irritating tic.

      1. I thought the Trumpocalypse already started. When does it start for real?

        1. The Trump’ll come out
          Bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow
          There’ll be Trump

          1. Well, here in DC the sun hasn’t come out since Trump got sworn in. Coincidence?

        2. Minorities will be dying in the streets the moment they’re no longer forced to buy health insurance.

        3. It starts as soon as people to forget that all the horrible things minorities suffer (health disparities, cop shootings, incarceration rates,…) existed prior to Trump.

          In other words, it started Jan 20th.

    2. I love how progtards are suddenly supposed to be interested in stopping human rights abuses. You mean like drone murder, Shikha?

    3. Must. Have. Dog-Whistles.

    4. Agreed. I thought to myself, surely this will be one of the rare, reasonable Dalmia articles.

      Well, it’s almost entirely reasonable, at least.

  5. Um, how is it idiotic? A decent chunk of public school funding is kicked back to Democrats either directly or from the mandatory union dues. It’s corrupt, sure, but not idiotic.

  6. See here now, Democrats are the smartest people in the world. As soon as you get that Democratic party carrying card, you automagically get way more smarter. So we need Democrats running education so that everyone can be super smart.

    1. SCIENCE! Don’t you fucking love it?

      1. I started freaking loving it as soon as I got my Dem party card in the mailbox. But for some reason I only care about climate change and the fact that fetuses are not babies. Math doesn’t matter to me at all anymore and I think that everyone is a racist. Weird, huh?

    2. You jest, but I actually had a conversation once with someone who said that because really smart people get their news from The Daily Show, that he was really smart because after hearing that he started getting all his news from The Daily Show.

      And he was serious.

      Some people really are that stupid.

    3. All above average. They must have thought that radierr pergam was a dockomenterry.

  7. The Number ONE thing a Charter School does is include only students and parents who are committed to getting kids a good education. In concert with this the school can optimize for teaching kids that care about what happens.

    The commitment to trying to educate kids, and children of parents who don’t give a damn about education, annihilates the capability of committed kids to learn and is destroying the regular public schools.

    Basically we destroyed the capabilities of schools to kick out disruptive kids and ruined the public school system, Charter Schools is a way to fix that problem.

    1. That’s not totally true. According to evidence and studies, motivated kids with responsible parents are still able to get a decent education at shitty public schools.

      1. But it’s harder, and the chances of them getting stabbed in the cafeteria is higher.

        1. Very true.

    2. The number one thing a charter school does is engage in selection bias.

    3. That, in a nutshell, is why more money for public schools does not equal better educational outcomes.
      The most important factor in a child’s education is the parents.
      Good parents will find a good school for their children, or make the best of a bad school.
      Parents who don’t care will produce poor students no matter how much govt money is lavished on the school. No amount of money overcomes poor parenting.

  8. So school choice is the thing now? Hammer the current pack of politicians for their apparent hatred of school choice?

    1. School choice is extremely popular among poor people of color across the country. Hence the divide when their moral and intellectual superiors in the Democratic Party and orgs like the NAACP and BLM tell them that they’re propagating corporate fascism and segregation.

      1. Watching docs like Waiting for ‘Superman’, The Cartel, or The Lottery is heartbreaking. They show how much it means to these poor families to get access to a decent school. Parents and kids who don’t get in sit and weep at the lost opportunity, the lucky ones act as if they’ve won Megaball.

        I’m glad Randi Weingarten didn’t walk into the room after I saw those films, because I would have punched her repeatedly.

        For the children.

  9. I was playing my cryptogram game on my phone yesterday while watching sportsball and one of the quotes was something regarding school choice from Clarence Thomas. It was a good quote, something about “intellectuals” wanting poor people to stay stupid.

  10. I love how Chait, in his debate with Matt Welch, cited charter schools when giving his spiel about what a Great President Obama was.

  11. It should be obvious what makes them so angry about this. Public schools have been proggy indoctrination camps for a long time now. Wresting that control away from them is going to be difficult because it’s exactly how they create more proggies.

    They take young, impressionable children and encourage to keep their childish ideas about politics into adulthood.

    1. Yes and the media and Hollywood are now losing their influence, so academia is probably the last stand of the left. Take that away and socialism will be dead this time even before they run out of other people’s money.

      1. One can dream.

    2. See i dont really agree it is indoctrination as school choice would benefit those who dont really get schooling in first place. I doubt inner city and poor rural schools have much indoctrination going on

      Progressives oppose it because they want those people to remain poverty as to fight for them

      For academia you can make this case but i dont agree with public schools as being indoctrination

      1. but i dont agree with public schools as being indoctrination

        You’ve been sock-puppeteering for so long you have permanently damaged your brain.

        1. Maybe he started sock-puppeteering because his brain was damaged.
          Didn’t think of that didja.

        2. What i mean it makes more sense to indoctrinate people at college level since they are more likely to have jobs that manage others

          They want to keep the poor poor and dependent on the college educated class

          1. It doesn’t, really. Neuroplasticity goes down with age.

            1. I agree but why do the hardcore proggies seem to be from upper middle class families and attended private school?

  12. threats to vulnerable minorities that the Trump presidency will almost certainly bring

    Any day now.

    But will it happen before WWIII?

    1. Vulnerable = came to the country illegally or with hostile intentions towards its population.

      All the bullshit about Trump hating women, brown people in general, lgbt people, etc. are getting really tiresome. And it forces me to defend Trump, which is its own form of obnoxious. But it’s Dalmia, so we’re stuck with it for some reason.

      If Reason were the meritocracy that libertarians envision, Dalmia would be out on her ass for not living up to the standards of the ideology.

    2. I was thinking that Trump will probably just tie wiminz, chillins, and colored folk to the rockets before he pushes the button. You know his finger is on that button right now! 2 in 1 deal!

    3. It Is Known that Trump is a bigoted, homophobic, misogynist racist.

      See, this kind of brainless parroting of DemOp talking points is why I withheld my donation this year. If Reason ever stops it, I’ll start again. If they don’t, I won’t.

      1. I think they go over the top on these anti-Trump equivocations to try and keep the “alt right” away. Sort of like trying to keep your bar from becoming a gay bar.

  13. “What do ya say, Libs”

    Will I still be able to send my kids to my excellent public school down the street? FYI, I’m not a drama queen home schooler who believes in the 2nd Coming.

    1. I thought we agreed we weren’t going to do this anymore.

  14. But she’s an icky religious type and was VP of a foundation which said bad things about the gays. Both of which I find personally repulsive, but whatevs. And the other team is just as dangerous to me in other ways.

      1. I heard the word ‘she’, so I knows you be a lyin.

  15. “Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) demanded to know if she had advocated conversion therapy for gays. She hasn’t ? so what was the point of this question except to portray her as a religious zealot hell-bent on bringing her “overtly Christian agenda to Washington””

    I would say that Franken was a disgrace to the Democrat Party, but with the likes of Maxine Waters running around, he’s actually a little above average.

    “DeVos did not distinguish herself during her confirmation hearing with her knowledge of the finer points of education policy (she didn’t seem to know about the debate between proficiency and growth metrics to measure student performance, for one thing).”

    No ‘debate’ regarding public education is worth paying the slightest attention to. Every nostrum offered by the Left to preserve the Public School monopoly has been tried – and has failed – two or three times. The only actual debate worth having is whether the Ed School drones, useless bureaucrats, and fat and lazy Teachers’ Union officials should be executed out of hand, or whether they should be given a five minute head start.

    1. But she totally pwned Sanders when she reminded him during testimony that his plan for “free college” wasn’t really free. And the mainstream media either ignores that or spins that as a victory for him.

      1. Feelz and emotions are all that matter

      2. The freedom to take from someone else’s pocket without their permission is freedom isn’t it?

        1. Nope unless you are a progressive

        2. That’s what you always say, Tony.

        3. T?ny|1.23.17 @ 1:04PM|#
          “The freedom to take from someone else’s pocket without their permission is freedom isn’t it?”

          “Freedom” for the one holding the gun. Not so much for the victim.

    2. she didn’t seem to know about the debate between proficiency and growth metrics to measure student performance, for one thing

      That one stuck out for me since it’s an inherently techoncratic loaded question. The assumption being that there is a right answer and a wrong answer, and the result should be applied in typical one-size-fits-all fashion. Never mind that parents of gifted children may prefer high proficiency schools, and parents of special needs children may prefer high growth schools, the concept of varying consumer preference is completely foreign to these people and it’s part of the reason why they are too stupid to have any business in education.

    3. Franken is a disgrace in general.

      1. Guillotine bait.

  16. Progressives and socialists need to keep people in poverty otherwise who could they claim to fight for? They would lose their power if people become prosperous

    1. It’s a new year and a time for turning over a new leaf.

    2. There is a lot to this. I think an examination of the post WWII era will show that the Progressive Left thought they had the ‘Working Man’ was with them and they would be able to roll out a Socialist future, as was being done in England. And then the ‘Working Man’ dropped them with the alacrity of a green rcruit getting rid of a live grenade and rather than accepting Modern Architecture Worker Housing close to Mass Transit, decamped to Levittown and bought cars with tail fins. Totally left the Left at the altar.

  17. A lot of people have worked very hard to make the school system operate for the convenience and benefit of the degreed educrat class. You can’t just tear that down for the benefit of a bunch of ungrateful brats. Those kids will move on, but the teachers and administrators will remain. Don’t ruin their cushy fiefdoms.

  18. Most of the people I know who are against school choice either went to private schools, magnet schools, or schools in affluent suburbs.

    The arguments that I’ve heard from anti-choicers are that parents (especially ones from the hood) aren’t capable of knowing whether a school is good or bad for their child because they either don’t have the educational background to make a good decision or they will choose because they will make the wrong choice out of desperation. Another argument is that we can’t allow for choice because it would lead us down the path of privatization and would leave the poor without an education. Even though the poor are already left out in the cold in our current system.

    1. They dont want to have to face competition and at the same time they can pretend to care and fight for them

  19. Democrats aren’t stupid here. They are protecting key components of their party machinery. The public school system that propagandizes for a bigger government, and the teachers unions.

    1. Id say the leaders of teachers unions. I doub teachers at inner city schools think they have a gravy train

      1. They all do. They think they’re entitled to combat pay, but they could easily have much less dangerous jobs if the problem children had the choice to not go to school at all. But then 50% of the teachers could be fired and then they’re back into the zero-skill job market.

  20. Bernie complains about high school being meanimgless now so solution is to make college free? What a dolt. Up next free grad school and then phd and then first 20 degrees on house as they keep making education a joke

    1. He said nothing about making college free, he said make college tuition free. Tuition is about 1/8 of the total bill per semester.

      1. True but you have to know it is a bait and switch

      2. Where’d you get 1/8? It’s the vast majority of the cost of going to college.

        1. Depends on if you use college-owned housing/dorms and cafeterias or not. During my college years (late 80s), room and board on campus was just about the same as tuition.

  21. charter schools, which, mind you,[are] a relatively moderate and practical reform

    which is exactly why they must be demonized and smothered in the cradle.

    It should be a not-very-subtle-hint that the idea of any “liberal/libertarian compromises” on issues will all go the same way as soon as they have any real prospect of becoming reality.

    reforms are wunderbar when they’re just theoretical. when they become potential policy, they are in opposition to all that is good and holy.

  22. One argument I hear all the time is that giving money to non-government religious schools is “promoting religion and that’s unConstitutional.” One snappy comeback, that I haven’t heard refuted yet: “Well the religious school can hold the religion class separately and make parents pay directly for that class.” Hey, if the left thinks that Planned Parenthood can segregate its abortion services from its health services, then why can’t a religious school be trusted to similarly segregate the religious portions of its program?

    1. Then the progs will merely counter that the word problem in math class will be religious.

      If John said six hail mary’s and and Mary said two acts of contrition, who was absolved of more sin?

    2. I’m not a pro-lifer, but I do agree with them on the simple point that nobody should be compelled to pay for a practice they consider abhorrent.

      That cuts both ways: atheists shouldn’t be compelled to pay for someone else’s religious schooling. So I agree with you, let them have their schools. If their parents want to attend religious classes, they can do so at their own expense and be billed for that directly, just like they’re expected to pay for other extracurricular activities.

  23. “DeVos did not distinguish herself during her confirmation hearing with her knowledge of the finer points of education policy (she didn’t seem to know about the debate between proficiency and growth metrics to measure student performance, for one thing).”

    Maybe she isn’t being brought in to micromanage and finetune top down control of the education system by Washington, making this particular insider dispute irrelevant to her confirmation?

    1. And if she had experience they would whine it isnt draining the swamp because liberal journos are looking out for trump supporters!

    2. Maybe she’s being tasked to dismantle the department, once Congress gets rid of it?

      1. One can only hope!

  24. Ok, I’m no fan of American Socialist, but the spoofing has got to stop or you will all be blocked. It was funny at first, not it’s just confusing.

    1. You haven’t blocked that yet? Why?

      1. I don’t block anybody, I value all viewpoints…some more than others. It is important for me to know my enemy, friend, and combinations of each.

        1. ^This. I’ve got a scroll wheel and know how to use it.

          1. ^Friend

    2. I don’t think it’s actual spoofing. Someone pointed out earlier that the other account was “American SociaIist” (note that the “ell” in “socialist” is actually an uppercase “eye” – which looks the same as a lower-case “ell” in this stupid typeface). Either way it’s annoying but I’m still not responding to it. Also, on one of the weekend threads, AmSoc (not sure which one, still don’t care) announced that he’d been spoofing us all along and was not an actual socialist; this accompanied by a sob story.

      1. *with* salty ham tears?

        Links or it didn’t happen!

    3. … ponders changing handle to ‘American Socalist’

    4. Why am I responsible for posts being posted by an imposter?

  25. Bureaucrats with education experience have had such rousing success!

  26. School choice would be like voting. We can’t have THAT! You might not get the result we want!

    1. It’s almost like some kinds of ‘choice’ are utterly verboten, and other kinds of ‘choice’ may never be abridged.

  27. One time I had a really strange conversation with an avowed liberal progressive on the subject of school choice. She was agreeing with me, but something about the conversation seemed odd. Turns out that she thought I was talking about abortions in school. You know, “Choice” equals “Abortion.” As soon as she figured out that I was talking about parents being allowed to choose where their children go to school, as opposed to that decision being made by the government, she declared me to be a fascist and ended the conversation.

    1. The lefties are so inclusive arent they? They cant take anyone not agreeing with them

    2. Of course. Nothing says ‘anti-fascist’ like demanding children attend state propaganda classes.

    3. “Turns out that she thought I was talking about abortions in school. ”

      If you’re going to choose to have an abortion, why wouldn’t you have it at a clinic instead?

  28. DeVos did not distinguish herself during her confirmation hearing with her knowledge of the finer points of education policy

    I call bullshit. It was a deliberate attempt to “trip her up” with a question based on jargon.

    1. ^This. She’s an appointee. It’s her job to implement POTUS vision as much as possible. Leave it to the careerists to explain the jargon, what happened when a thing was tried before, etc.

  29. So, DeVos is great, and all, but shouldn’t the libertarian position be “please show me where the Constitution empowers the federal government to be involved with education, at all?”

    1. It doesn’t, but it doesn’t forbid it either. More states need to stand up for their constituencies and the Tenth Amendment and push the federal government out of areas it has no business interfering.

      1. “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
        Sounds like a pretty clear prohibition to me.

      2. You just contradicted yourself. By the 10a the feds are prohibited, but we live in a time where literally means figurative, literally.

  30. 1984 (the William Hurt version) was on last weekend. Totalitarian governments always indoctrinate the children. It’s really really important to control the schools. Schools, pensions and health care…..three legs of the same stool.

    1. William or John?

      In fairness, any version of 1984 really ought to lead you to that conclusion ….

      1. oops….John. My point, poorly stated, is that government indoctrinating children is a feature of many dystopian novels and movies. Yet here we are in the real world parsing out exactly how the government should control the schools, when the very idea should be a hard No.

        1. How else can they be taught to avoid fake news?

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