Sunday, November 27, 2016

DeVos as Education Secretary. . . Maybe, Maybe Not

By Douglas V. Gibbs
AuthorSpeakerInstructorRadio Host

In the United States Constitution the authority regarding education is not expressly enumerated, so the federal government has no authority to have a Department of Education in the first place.  If Donald J. Trump truly desires to follow the rule of law, he will work with the United States Congress to remove all federal influence in the education system and return it back to local control where it belongs.  From a constitutional point of view, education is the responsibility of the States.  Localism is the key.  American Education's decline went into high gear when the Department of Education was created under Jimmy Carter's regime back in the late seventies.  We became a super power educating our children in little red schoolhouses and using the basic standards carried down from the early years of our country.  When the liberal left began to seize control in the early 1900s, with Dewey's socialist ideals crammed in wherever he could squeeze them in, it was the beginning of the end for American dominance in education.

When it comes to the importance of localism, in relation to education, the common sense of it all is that a community is going to know more about what it needs in terms of education than a bureaucrat in an office in Washington D.C.  The other thing about it is that the federal government tries to use a "one-size-fits-all" strategy, which always fails.  The problem is, if the federal government's bureaucrats are the only ones allowed to do anything with education, there is no opportunity for innovation.

Innovation occurs when there is competition, and a free market of ideas and opportunity.  When the States control education within their own borders, rather than a single system being shoved down the throats of We the People, it creates 50 different laboratories who can learn off of each other, and create an innovative atmosphere as they compete with each other for the most successful education system in the country.

Unfortunately, right now that is not what we have.  So, until we can eliminate the Education Department, we must first incrementally reform it until we can finally give it the heave-ho out of existence.  Therefore, if there must be an Education Secretary, the person needs to understand that federal influence on education must be reduced, and eventually done away with.  The person needs to be against Common Core, and supportive of Private Schools, Homeschooling, vouchers for school choice, and must be one who encourages a process that is designed to return education back to local authority.

In other words, the perfect Education Secretary would be one actively seeking to eventually eliminate their own employment position from the purview of the federal government.

Trump, while determining who should take over the U.S. Department of Education, decided it was once again time to reach outside the establishment, and grab someone from the private sector.  His choice?  A fellow billionaire, but one who is happy to be a benefactor for good causes, Betsy DeVos.

“Betsy DeVos is a brilliant and passionate education advocate,” Trump said in a press release. “Under her leadership we will reform the U.S. education system and break the bureaucracy that is holding our children back so that we can deliver world-class education and school choice to all families.”

Previously a member of the Jeb Bush team, and someone who said she supported Common Core, DeVos now says she is against Common Core, and supports localism in relation to America's educational system.

“I am honored to accept this responsibility to work with the president-elect on his vision to make American education great again,” DeVos said in a statement. “The status quo in education is not acceptable. Together, we can work to make transformational change that ensures every student in America has the opportunity to fulfill his or her highest potential.”

I titled this article with a "maybe, maybe not" at the end of it because I am not fully convinced she is anti-Common Core.  She says she is.  I do know she claims to support school choice programs such as vouchers, private schools, and homeschooling; but her past connection to Jeb Bush's pro-Common Core team bugs me a little.

Upon accepting the position of education secretary, DeVos issued a statement clarifying that she is not a supporter of Common Core “period.”  Trump campaigned on eliminating Common Core standards which, on top of being unconstitutional, are downright diabolical in how the curriculum seeks to hijack America's education system not only for the benefit of federal control, but literally by changing how children are taught from math, reading, to a system of deceptive revisionist history.  It's the same "new education" they tried in the late sixties and seventies, but this time the collectivist standards are even more deceptive, and more hostile towards the basic education standards we should be following.

The fact is, as she accepted Trump's offer for Secretary of Education, DeVos also currently serves as head of the Foundation for Excellence in Education, which was started by former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who Trump criticized for defending Common Core.

While I have my concerns regarding DeVos' past association with those who support Common Core, her otherwise record is pretty good.  She supports charter schools, which the teacher's unions absolutely hate.  While still a part of the public school system, charter schools are outside many of the rules public schools are forced to operated under, which means that charter schools operate with more autonomy than traditional public schools.

DeVos is the daughter of Edgar and Elsa Prince. Her father was an extremely successful engineer, developer, and industrialist, who founded Prince Corporation.  Betsy DeVos’ in-laws, Richard and Helen DeVos, are longtime supporters of conservative organizations like The Heritage Foundation, and Richard DeVos is the co-founder of Amway, which is now one of the largest and most successful companies in the world.

Betsy DeVos' educational philosophies seem to be in line with her own track record not only as a person involved in education, but by the fact that she chose to send her own children to private Christian schools, according to Chalkbeat.  Growing up, DeVos attended Holland Christian High School in Michigan, and graduated from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration and political science. 

Is DeVos the right decision for the head of the federal government's unconstitutional Education Department?  Perhaps.  Time will tell.  I will consider her a good pick if her first line of business once in position is to drive a stake through the heart of Common Core.  The elimination of Common Core has to be her number one peragotive if she is indeed someone who truly understands that the federal government, and outside influence from organizations like the United Nations, must be removed from our children's education.

-- Political Pistachio Conservative News and Commentary

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