Dear Townsend/Trump voters: Betsy DeVos loves everything you hate about Florida education, including Common Core
As you know, Townsend/Trump voters, I don't lie to you. I think that's why so many of you voted for me, even though we often see the world in different ways.
So I think it's important for me to give you the unpolitically-correct truth about Betsy DeVos, Trump's nominee for Department of Education secretary. She has her confirmation hearing next week.
In short, if you like standardized testing, you'll like Betsy DeVos. If you like Common Core, you'll like Betsy DeVos. If you like what happened with the teacher transfers in Polk County this summer, you'll like Betsy DeVos. If you like fraudulent VAM and fraudulent school grades and toxic micromanagement, you'll like Betsy DeVos. If you like teacher shortages, you'll like Betsy DeVos. If you like the Florida model, you'll like Betsy DeVos.
If you work, teach, or attend a traditional zoned school, like the vast majority of Americans in education, Betsy Devos has no respect for you. She doesn't respect your choice. She would like to make your experience at those schools as miserable as possible, so she can redirect traditional school tax money to private sector cronies.
The one ray of hope in this is that the federal government's leverage over the states has diminished with the deep unpopularity and failure of No Child Left Behind. I doubt DeVos will be as consequential or damaging as Arne Duncan, Obama's education secretary. As I've said many times, Education Obama is my least favorite Obama. And I say that as a No Party Affiliate who proudly voted for him twice.
Well, there you have it folks. Trump has just picked his education secretary after narrowing down his choices to two pro-Common Core, pro-micromanaging women: Michelle Rhee and Betsy DeVos. I've already discussed what a terrible pick Rhee would have been, but DeVos is no better. DeVos fails on two key promises Trump repeatedly made to voters: "Get rid of Common Core" and "keep education local."
Like Rhee, DeVos has adamantly supported Common Core. She’s even a board member of Jeb Bush’s Common Core-supporting education foundation (and one of its biggest donors), not to mention “closely aligned to Republican education officials like Sen. Lamar Alexander” — which should give any education freedom lover convulsions...
...DeVos now claims to be against Common Core, of all things! That’s sure news to all the grassroots folks she pit her big money against during their legislative battles to reject Common Core. Grassroots folks report to me that DeVos’ husband personally called state senators in Michigan to get them to vote against a Common Core repeal bill. DeVos’ American Federation for Children also contributed huge sums of money for state school board races in Alabama on the side of Common Core supporters trying to oust Common Core opponents...
...Setting “high standards” is the job of parents and local communities, not the U.S. education nanny. Tying “high standards” to school choice is also troubling, because this is again bureaucrat-speak for “requiring all private schools to teach Common Core using the control mechanism of tests.”
When DeVos touts “school choice,” she’s pushing an education agenda that includes requiring all the schools that take voucher money to use state-determined curriculum, like Common Core. This is how she has used her millions of dollars in the past. If she’s education secretary, we have every reason to believe it’s how she’d use even more power.
Again, those are the words of big Trump supporters, not my words.
It's worth noting that DeVos tweeted this a while back.
Many of you are asking about Common Core. To clarify, I am not a supporter—period. Read my full stance, here: https://t.co/qB2nAXvX0B
— Betsy DeVos (@BetsyDeVos) November 23, 2016
There's a pretty simple answer to this: she's not telling the truth.
And that brings us back to Trump. I see him primarily as a timeshare salesman, a genius of shameless, in-the-moment sales aggression. He could sense how much his crowds and supporters hate the test-and-punish/Common Core/toxic stress model of edcuation. So he mouthed the right words, and he got big cheers.
But he hasn't given two seconds of thought about what any of it means. He doesn't care about your kid as a human being. (Does he care about anybody as a human being?) He doesn't know anything or care about education, unless it's gonna let Trump University attach itself to some of your tax money. Indeed, it wouldn't surprise me to see "Trump Charter Schools, Inc." emerge in the next few years.
And that is a key difference between me and Trump. I have thought deeply about what's going on behind Common Core/test-and-punish. And as you can see, I'm moving forward to try to do exactly what I said I was going to try to do -- as openly and clearly and assertively as I can.
I particularly like how Conservative Review framed Trump's choice between DeVos and Michelle Rhee. Rhee is the nominally "liberal" version of DeVos. And this illustrates how "conservative" and "liberal" and party politics mean essentially nothing in state and national education policy.
Basically, you either want all our kids treated and developed like human beings. Or, like Florida and Rhee and Trump, you want them treated like spreadsheet cells. I'm on the human side. I think the vast majority of Trump voters are too. DeVos is not.
Because I respect you, Trump voters, I can't be politically correct to you. I fear that you voted for a guy who's going to play you for suckers over and over again. His education pick illustrates it beautifully. I'm going to keep telling you the truth. The question is: what are you going to do about it?