Betsy DeVos, selected for Secretary of Education

DeVos, an advocate for school vouchers, has chaired the Michigan Republican party and played a key role in some major education policy decisions there in recent years. But unlike former D.C. schools chief Michelle Rhee and charter-school leader Eva Moskowitz, two others Trump considered for the education secretary position, DeVos has kept a relatively low national profile. She has neither worked in public education nor chosen public schools for her own children, who attended private Christian schools.

Earlier this week, Chalkbeat compiled a few things we could reasonably surmise from a DeVos pick:

1. Trump intends to go through with his sweeping voucher plan.

On the campaign trail, Trump vowed to use federal funds to encourage states to make school choice available to all poor students, including through vouchers that allow families to take public funding to private schools.

That’s exactly what DeVos has zealously worked to make happen on a state-by-state basis for decades. In 2000, she helped get a ballot measure before Michigan voters that would have enshrined a right to vouchers in the state’s Constitution. After the measure failed, she and her husband formed a political action committee to support pro-voucher candidates nationally. Less than a decade later, the group counted a 121-60 win-loss record.

One recipient of its support: former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, who created the voucher program that Trump’s vice president-elect, Mike Pence, later expanded. Indeed, DeVos’s vision puts her more in line with Pence, who has supported private school vouchers for both low- and middle-income families, than with Trump, whose plan extends only to poor families.

Here is much more information.

Comments

Chalk up one in Trump's favor then....

She's also fervently against any kind of oversight for charter schools... which have a history of misallocating funds.

Chalk one up against her then.

The VA has a history of misallocating funds, too. Are you saying they shouldn't have funding?

Are you saying they shouldn't be subject to oversight?

The point (my point, I can't speak for Harun) would be that oversight does not seem to remedy misallocation of funds; but certainly adds its own costs.

Frankly, I don't see what the point is of an anti-corruption measure that costs more than the corruption it purports to prevent. If charter schools can achieve better quality results than public schools with the same or less funding, that's all that matters. If they embezzle 1$ for every $2 the public school system wastes, it's still a net gain.

Why is public oversight a necessary condition for accepting public money? Wal-Mart doesn't "misallocate" the food stamp dollars it receives. Why do we assume charter schools are different?

Moreso than public schools?

i like it;;
You’re lucky you aren’t a sheep like the rest of us.

Then, it's a good thing that, with school choice, parents are allowed to act on their own oversight by sending their kids to the non-misallocating schools.

Not really sure what the value of charter schools are, at least the way they are sold. They are sold as 'experiments' to find 'best practices' but none of them are set up as controlled experiments and you're not going to find best practices when you lack blind selection on both the student and teacher side (unless you're setting up the school as a fly by night scam, you're going to always start with 'above average' outcomes).

They also are often set up as a zero sum game rather than enlarging the pie, taking funds from public schools under all circumstances unless you have no parent that wants to use the charter school. In reality if you did have innovation in an industry it typically enlarges the pie of the whole industry. Personal computing, for example, did drive some older firms out of business but overall it increased the market size....IBM is bigger today than it would have otherwise been because of the PC revolution. If charter schools were set up with funding that increase total funds in the whole system based on outcomes then you might be able to spark positive competition between traditional public and charter systems. Instead you have a negative Apprentice type system where one can't do better without others doing worse. This is not how business actually works.

Vouchers are now being accepted at Trump University.

....so you're annoyed at Trump University, but the Trillion dollars of taxpayer money already wasted by the US Dept of Education since 1980... doesn't bother you at all ?

One of them was flagrantly fraudulent activity, the other produced the current generation of students and public debate has been open on the matter the entire time (without fear of who might sic how many lawyers and spooks after you to ruin your life or otherwise silence you)

The current level of public debate is a mark of shame hanging around the neck of the education system.

However, virtually everything that is done in the US that is done well is done by graduates of private colleges like Trump university. No doubt when people first started thinking about asking that slave trader and drug smuggler Elihu Yale for some cash, people like you were dismissive.

Excuse me, there are no private colleges like Trump University. It is demonstrably better than any other college in the world.

This is true. But if Yale undertakes to paint more of their Quads with Gold Lame, they will, at least, close some of the gap.

"virtually everything that is done in the US that is done well is done by graduates of private colleges like Trump university"

You must have missed the news that he settled for $25 million in a class action suit, because it was not only not well done, it was fraudulent.

I'm quite prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt about how he will serve as a president, but let's not lie about recent history that is easily available on public record.

Trump University is indeed demonstrably better than any other college in the world-- at fraud, LOL.

Wait!

What about Pol Pot & Hitler!!

"Trump University is indeed demonstrably better than any other college in the world– at fraud, LOL."
Not even remotely. The Ivy league university reap hundreds of millions of dollars per year providing an education about the same quality as a typical state school (essentially selling prestige and an aptitude test) despite having mullti-billion dollar endowments, and what's more, a large chunk of that revenue comes from taxpayers.

There is absolutely no reason prestigious schools should get a cent in government subsidies for students to attend them. It's akin to buying filet mignon to feed the homeless.

Troll me November 23, 2016 at 7:17 pm

You must have missed the news that he settled for $25 million in a class action suit, because it was not only not well done, it was fraudulent.

Yet again Nathan, your ideological blinders prevent you from understanding what you are told. But you are right. He settled. For chump change. Six thousand students, allegedly, were suing. They are going to get just over $3000 each. It won't even cover their legal bills.

That is not an admission of guilt. It is a sign that the case against him was weak but he had more important things to do and wanted it to go away.

@So Much For Subtlety

"However, virtually everything that is done in the US that is done well is done by graduates of private colleges like Trump university."

Good thing for you that you don't have to take a urine test to post here.

SMFS - The powerful ideology of seeing a fact for a fact, and not twisting it.

In the meantime, you talk yourself into an ever more deluded corner, where settling for $25 million is a sign is innocence. You are THAT out of touch with basic reason and reality.

It's possible to be bothered by both...

TC,

You're going to like the Trumpening even if you can never admit it amongst your social circle.

I do get the sense that Tyler likes this development even if he can't say so and maintain his status in society.

Which is why Trump happened in the 1st place.

Yep, the Trump surge was driven by well-educated, wealthy whites silenced from expressing their true opinions at California, Boston, NYC and Beltway dinner parties. All silently voting for Trump but pretending the opposite while sipping their liberal wines.

Not sure if this is a joke or not, but I don't think it's true as the most educated went for Hillary in a landslide. Unless that's based on exit polling and you think the exit polling is off?

It was sarcasm.

As we all know, the Trumpening was driven by whites who felt ostracized at liberal wine and cheese parties.

Trump won the majority of college grads, but lost the post grads. Most folks know the smart ones get out when they graduate, and the lesser so hang on for a few more years.

This is well known, is it?

Or did you just type something based on nothing. Seriously, back your claim up regarding "most college grads" voting for Mr. Trump.

'even if you can never admit it amongst your social circle'

Cowen's social circle, in the sense of the people he more than occasionally talks about having lunch with, is exceedingly unlikely to care. After all, these are the sort of people that believe that the free market can conjure water from the sky to solve a drought, for example. Or at least they write such things in all apparent seriousness.

To paraphrase Stalin: "Everyone is entitled to be stupid, but Comrade prior_test2 abuses the privilege."

If you google "bankrupt charter school" you get a lot of hits. Firm believers in markets say this means that these were bad schools which deserved to fail. Some have even told me that experiences of kids in those bad schools were just the cost we have to pay for greater excellence. I'm not super comfortable with that. It's not like a 4th grader in a failed school can or should go repeat 4th grade at a better school. This isn't like an adult changing jobs. This is one shot at cumulative lifelong human capital.

I think anyone who "likes" failed schools is too glib.

I think you have to look into those cases and see how the kids made out. Not everyone is a delicate snowflake like you. I ended up missing a year of school from moving around and learned a lot on my own (which has proved valuable) and it hasn't hurt me.

I have a feeling they would try to make it easy on the kids, like end at the end of a semester. But they always have glorious glorious prison they can....err I mean public school they can go back to.

That anecdote is contrary the data.

"The study, conducted by economists Raj Chetty and John N. Friedman of Harvard and Jonah E. Rockoff of Columbia, tracked 2.5 million students over 20 years from a large urban school district from fouth grade to adulthood, making it one of the largest and most consequential educational studies in recent years."

http://www.cnn.com/2012/01/11/opinion/bennett-good-teachers/

No snowflake, no snowflake. You're the snowflake.

anon,

The data on the value of teachers is EXTREMELY mixed and certainly far from settled. By the way his anecdote wasn't about good or bad teachers. Look, plenty of public schools fail but they just go on and on and on until eventually they get taken over by the state or something 20 years later. At least with a charter school you can shut it down and get something better. We know that charter schools on average do as well for less money and some charter schools do much better. You certainly can't say with any confidence that charter schools fail more students than public schools, so what's the point? If we can do it better let's do it.

That might be the best argument for charter schools: if they fail you can close them.

As for the students in a failed charter school, it is better to lose one year than 12.

Try to change ANYTHING in a public school. Go ahead and try - I dare you.

No one likes failed schools but plenty of folks don't like failed schools that are still allowed to take in more kids to fail.

"When I can no longer bear to think of the victims of broken homes, I begin to think of the victims of intact ones."
Not only homes...

Good argument to kill all public schools.

No likes failed schools per se, but a failed public school that remains in operation isn't teaching that 4th grader and usually resorts to social promotion, which results in the student falling further behind or ending up with a virtually worthless credential. That isn't helping the student either.

We are not coincidentally in the middle of a data revolution for public schools. Thanks to those (hated) standardized tests "failed" is now quantitative, and parents and departments of education can demand better.

Sad irony might be that haters of standardized tests and lovers of charter schools can be the same people. Make them for-profit and less accountable?

As long as public schools have to take every child who comes through the door, and voucher-taking private schools can turn down applicants, the public schools will be preprogramed to fail significantly more often than the privates. This is part of a program to systematically drain public education by putting it into an irreversible downward spiral and eventually end it altogether.

"This is part of a program to systematically drain public education by putting it into an irreversible downward spiral and eventually end it altogether."

No, it would just mean that the stats would overstate problems in the public schools and also overstate the quality or benefits of the charter schools.

It's particularly bad for reasonably intelligent kids whose parents don't care or are misinformed. They end up at the low achieving public school with mainly low achieving students.

The standardized tests are too close to IQ test to measure real important education.

BTW I am against vouchers but would support charging middle and up income parents for sending their children to Government schools.

The way that schools are measured today is by PISA test, but maybe the PISA tests do not measure anything important. Maybe the PISA test and other tests like the SAT are too close to IQ tests to tell us much about schools.

There's also this funny thing that scores on all of those tests rises with both education and preparation effort for the test.

For some strange reason, no one, anywhere, uses the IQ test for practical applications.

Demanding better from a public school (especially the larger school systems) is a far cry from forcing it to get better precisely because of the way that most public schools are structured.

Value Added is contentious, but it is better than preferring "nice" teachers, or assuming that "Government" schools are bad.

Trivia ... it comes from Kansas: https://www.texastribune.org/plus/edu/vol-3/no-15/kansas-conservatives-call-public-education-governm/

Agree 100%. Let's appoint committees to monitor data and develop proposals for debate, and modify them, and debate them, until 2020 or 2024. Choice is overated And pay teachers more. More.

I don't see any coherent argument in your statement. At a guess you are trying to say that some charter schools fail. So what, public schools fail frequently also. Are you arguing to close failing public schools down? If not, what is your point?

I am just looking at the idea of "creative destruction" in education. It isn't just the schools that fail when experimentation is too wild. I'm saying that in education any destruction is too much. Better to optimize from status quo. That is the risk averse strategy.

The problem is that this is not an option. It is the solution preferred by the teaching Unions because they game the system and don't want any of their members fired. However in the real world failing public schools fail and go on failing, generation after generation, while teachers collect their fat pensions and nothing is done.

The choice is more of the same - illiterate ghetto graduates mostly - or doing something different.

If you want to vote for more failing inner city schools, that is fine by me. But you will condemn generation after generation of poor mainly Black children to poverty and crime.

LOL this is particularly choice even for you. I'm sure you believe that the only reason black people are poorer and more prone to criminality than white people is their schools. I thought black people were dumb and beyond help, per previous posts by you and your lot.

What I think is irrelevant. However Black dysfunction has got a lot worse. More Black children were raised in intact families, more Black children got something like an education, more Black families made enough economic progress to close the gap with White families *before* the Sixties radicals got hold of social policy.

Whether or not we can close that gap completely, we can, at the very least, close part of it. As long as the Left is not left in charge of things like education. That is progress worth making.

The only people who stand to lose are the bad teachers - and their Unions were two of the top five donors to Hillary.

Ah yes, the Alternate Universe of Right Wingers, where only the bad teachers are members of unions.

Well, yeah. Obviously. How long do you think bad teachers survive in the real world? How long do you think drug dealing sex offenders would last in the classroom without the Feds and a Union to protect them?

Do you think all regular Government schools are pretty equal in quality?

I think we have data, and as I say, we can use that data to demand better, ever better.

... and just what does your precious "data" say about the quality of public schools ?

(for starters, it says public schools do a horrible job of educating poor & minority children)

Actually, no. The very best schools are a mix of public and private.

http://www.usnews.com/education/best-high-schools/national-rankings

There you go. So you have vouchers so you can go to a public or private school, and each has to compete for children by doing a good job.

If the private schools do poorly, they won't get kids.

TJHSST is listed as a public school, but it receives virtually all of its funding from private/corporate donations, so I'm not sure how legitimate it is to call it a public school. It's true that you don't have to pay to go there.

By the way, the fact that some public and some private schools might be among top schools does not mean the private schools are not better overall (far from it).

But I would also disagree with the claim that our system does a bad job of educating minorities. The best data I have seen on the question seems to indicate that the public system actually does pretty well, in international comparisons of demographic groups. I'm sure it could be improved though.

I see the problem here, but we also have a number of failed public schools. They don't close down, they just keep screwing their mostly poor and nonwhite students out of a decent education.

anon,
The idea of a "4th grade" is itself antiquated. My kids attended a charter school for three years where I volunteered to help in the math class. Some kids were way behind and others way ahead. The advanced students were moved up one grade as a unit. Eventually, some of the advaced kids dropped completely out of the math class and studied online at their own very fast pace. No teacher needed.

The current education model, maintained by vested, unionized, self-interest groups - teachers unions - is antiquated, designed in an era when most people lived in a farming economy, when most people could not afford or did not have access to knowledge (books), and when, out of expediency, all knowledge had to be delivered from the teacher to a group of students in person at the same time, no longer applies. Anybody can study anything at any time from almost anywhere. The model is walking dead.

OK, let's treat that as a 10 on the 1 to 10 scale. What would be at the other end? Perhaps a fundamentalist, young earth, creationist school with 1930's style rote math? Perhaps that one, rather than "failing" would be very successful in the market. Would that be a good thing?

I guess it wouldn't be since it does not match up with what your team wants. Far better to tell people what to think.

Well, Biblical literalists certainly think it's far better to tell people what to think.

I'm not a fan of theocracy in any form, be it Gaia worship, progressive dogma, or any other religion that demands that others believe.

That's not an argument to inject public money into semi-private schools (or, for that matter, fully public schools) without accountability. Without standards and measurement, all we have is marketing, mood affiliation and graft.

When parents have choice they won't hold the schools accountable?

Do you know *any* parents??

Conservative school choice supporters have udually been opposed to standardized testing and accountability. That was one of the big deals with Common Core - when it started out, it had bipartisan support, so it seemed promising. Then conservatives freaked out at the idea of uniform standards, and now Common Core is a pariah. If you can't agree on what kids need to be learning and how to measure it, you can't have accountability.

You're sure opposition to common core is based in conservative circles? That wasn't my impression

anon,

Actually, I thought it sucked, but I was making several points:

1. Grade level does not matter - work can be made up to catch up, if you care.
2. Teachers unions resist change, any change. Charters can be outside the direct control of the self-serving union.
3. Online education is going to blow up the system. Good!!!!

What do you care if some fool sends their kids to a religious school? That should self correct anyway. Let them choose and live with the consequences.

We have public education because we consider it a public good.

In fringe libertarian circles people will reject that, and prefer less good, less personal welfare, if it means less government.

It gets even worse when it combines with an anti-intellectualism that is already coming together in the US to regard education as corrosive to religious and political values.

Nonsense. Libertarians consider freedom and choice to be a value, the end. They don't support "lower personal welfare" to get "less government"

Different stuff works for different people.

Yeah, different kinds of charter schools make different charter school companies rich. But what about the students learning creationism and being ignorant of the theory of evolution?

They go extinct!

When I think of the people who learned creationism and were ignorant of the theory of evolution - Shakespeare, Newton, Washington, Lincoln - and the people who rejected creationism and supported the theory of evolution - Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, Noam Chomsky [*] - I am not sure I see what the basis of your complaint is.

You mean we might have fewer genocides in the future? We might have more functional PTAs? What?

[*] I admit - that was blatant Fan Service

@SMFS: gotta give credit where it's due, I LOL'd

Schools should teach the basics of the knowledge we currently have, in science as in other fields. Were Shakespeare, Newton, Washington, or Lincoln alive today, they would certainly accept no less.

You never fail to miss a chance to pair history's most infamous people alongside whatever ideas you don't like.

And if you're going to group Stalin in with people who believe in evolution, you might like to inform yourself about the particular brand of evolutionary theory (Lamarckian) going on in Russia at his time, which in fact is a completely wrong understanding of how evolution works except for some particular cases relating to methylation.

God,

"...charter school companies..."

Our sucky charter school was under the public school district umbrella - no private sector involvement.

The Free Market Is Not God November 23, 2016 at 7:03 pm

Schools should teach the basics of the knowledge we currently have, in science as in other fields

So they should. But the experience of the distant past, and the recent past, suggests that such teaching confers no civic benefit at all, no social advantage. It does not make people better. It does not make society better. In fact it is hard to think of any benefit to teaching it at all except it may well be true.

67 Troll me November 23, 2016 at 7:23 pm

You never fail to miss a chance to pair history’s most infamous people alongside whatever ideas you don’t like.

Atheism and evolution are directly linked to the genocides of the recent past. No Darwin, no Hitler.

And if you’re going to group Stalin in with people who believe in evolution, you might like to inform yourself about the particular brand of evolutionary theory (Lamarckian) going on in Russia at his time, which in fact is a completely wrong understanding of how evolution works except for some particular cases relating to methylation.

Like it is relevant. Stalin also had Trotsky killed. Discussing the finer points of their disagreement is a waste of time. It is enough to know that is how Communists settle their differences. Likewise, which type of atheistic evolution Stalin made mandatory is beside the point. As you would well know if you were not so blinkered.

The most extreme example of freedom vs welfare might be religious homeschooling. There are now "survivor" sites where now-adults process what they consider abuse.

I guess if you are a big enough libertarian the freedom of a parent to f' up a child is more important than government intrusion in education or welfare.

https://homeschoolersanonymous.org

That's a complicated question. Parents want what is best for their children and have a right to parent as they think best. Some parents are bad. Evidence indicates little effect of parenting but I'm sure there is some in outlier cases.

"Atheism and evolution are directly linked to the genocides of the recent past. No Darwin, no Hitler."

Except of course Hitler just adapted his Catholic blood libels and pogroms to the an industrialized world. Why burning people lwhen you got Zyklon B?

"When I think of the people who learned creationism and were ignorant of the theory of evolution – Shakespeare, Newton, Washington, Lincoln – and the people who rejected creationism and supported the theory of evolution – Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, Noam Chomsky [*] – I am not sure I see what the basis of your complaint is."
Of course, Christ and Muhammad didn't need no Newton, too. In fact, he didn't even need Arabic numerals, whay should we need?

As opposed to bad public schools, which just get more funding at taxpayer expense and continue to ruin students' education in perpetuity.

The fact is, a bad school closing down isn't near as bad as a bad school staying 'in business.'

Will the voucher give students the opportunity to attend Trump's Alma mater, Kew-Forest?

"Tuition ranges from $13,545 to $36,390 per year for grades ECD (Pre-K) through grade 12."

Or New York Military Academy?

"Tuition $37,190 (local, boarding)
$14,990 (day)
$43,340 (international)"

(The latter became insolvent and even after attempted bailout by alumni, ended up deeper in debt and was sold at auction to Chinese investors for $15 million. My bet is the Chinese investors get residency visas and admittance for their kids.)

Owning and operating a business in a specific country might make it easier to meet residency requirement there, yes. And owning a school might make it easier to ensure one's own children's admission.

Not the definition of egalitarian justice, but it's gotta be pretty far down the list of unfair things which are highly legal for generally good reasons.

Do students at shitty public schools get those opportunities?

What exactly is your point? Right, you don't actually have one.

More good news for American women as a result of this historic election... last week we had the first woman to ever manage a successful US Presidential campaign, and now this!

Let's keep shattering those ceilings. Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!!!

I believe that Betsy DeVos is the daughter-in-law of the founder of Amway. The DeVos family likes school vouchers because they will cost less in taxes than public schools. A cynic might suspect that owners of Amway also want to lower the general intelligence of the public since most people involved with Amway lose money.

+1 on the Amway attack.

...don't like Amway either, but:

- what specific qualifications 'should' a US Secretary of Education have ?
- what exactly has that Dept of Ed accomplished in past 36 years ?
- where is "education" mentioned in US Constitution ?

"what exactly has that Dept of Ed accomplished in past 36 years"

One point of reference that some people use is the "do nothing" option. Compared to that, it has done all that it has done. So ... what EXACTLY has one of the largest departments in one of the largest countries done over the course of an entire generation? Entire shelves of library space might be dedicated to such a question.

Care to answer your own question?

Measurably decrease the quality and increase the cost of education year on year during their existence?

Measurably in what way? Aren't IQ scores rising (Flynn effect)?

I'm not sure which benchmark you'd suggest to use, but if looking at international comparisons it would be easily the case that many countries are catching up and getting ahead in some areas of education, not that the US is necessarily deteriorating in quality of education.

The US education system certainly is failing the cost benefit analysis when compared to other developed countries.

@Octavian: do you feel the same way about the cost benefit analysis of the US healthcare system vs other developed countries?

Every woman is the daughter of somebody. So what?

Tyrpicsl liberal thinking.

Yes, she's devoted her life to education in order to lower her tax bill and make us stupider.

That's how the rich get richer.

You don't even know I'm being sarcastic do you?

So only conservatives are allowed to think that their oppenents operate in a public-choice special interest framework?

The chain is long and tenuous from charter schools to Amway

The voucher idea is actually interesting. However, DeVos should prioritize improving quality in public schools.

You know what is really mind-blowing. "DeVos" is almost "deros", the race of mind-controlling creatures science fiction writer Ray Palmer promoted as real (even being sent letter from people who swore having seen them) when he was the publisher of a pulp (Amazing Stories?). Education, mind-control, Trump eleected, mind-controlling monster, a person called "DeVos" who donates money to help politicians to win (and has having much success in getting them elected). Everything fits...

It is also very close to Davos...

And Devo. Whip it good!

And DeVs. Which looks kind of like Deus.

Also (Bell Biv) Devoe.

So it seems,

I guess.

The biggest impact to real school choice, and the biggest ultimate fund of resistance to it, has nothing to do with education. It's about property values.

A house in a good school district (mostly upper- and middle-class- white and Asian students, good test scores, good graduation rate, few disciplinary problems) gets a huge price premium--there are places where you can literally move across the street and see the same basic house cost hundreds of thousands of dollars less, as you move across a school district boundary.

Moving to a system where parents get to choose the school their kids go to may lead to better overall schooling--I'm not sure one way or another. But it will also involve a *massive* reallocation of wealth from currently wealthy and well-connected people to everyone else. I strongly suspect that this will lead to much more pushback than mere changes to how kids get educated. However, it would probably be a good social change overall, if we could make it.

Making vouchers only available to the poor will avoid some of that shift, but will also make the voucher schools much less appealing for middle-class families, since poor students tend to also get worse grades and have more behavior problems. To the extent the vouchers are a voluntary program that require the parents to jump through hoops to use, this effect will be moderated--only the parents who really care about their kids' schooling will bother, and so the voucher-fed schools will get the children of more motivated and smarter parents. But you can imagine voucher programs actually making private schools less appealing than they are now.

My underlying model here is that quality of the school matters some, but that the quality of the students matters more. One mechanism to make sure your kids' classmates are mostly reasonably serious about learning and passably well-behaved is to send your kids to a Catholic school that will expel unruly kids and that will expect parents to lean on their kids to do their homework. Another way is to move to an expensive neighborhood in a good school district, where the parents had to be pretty bright and functional to manage to afford a house, and so their kids will mostly be relatively bright and functional due to genetics and upbringing.

Why should people with children have more of a say how public funds are spent? That's my problem with vouchers.

We already have a voucher system but the voucher is only good in one school.

How would you like a health care system where only one doctor's office was allowed to accept reimbursement? Or a food stamp program where the food stamps were only good at one store? You'd (correctly) scream "MONOPOLY".

Why should parents with children decide where their children go to school??

Why should geezers be the only one's with a say as to how their Social Security check is spent?

I agree with a lot of points in your comment but why would there have to be a massive reallocation of wealth? Couldn't a scenario exist where the rich areas stay rich and the poor areas improve?

My house value would go down because I live in an elite school district and you would no longer have to live here to send your kids to school here.

The extra amount you're willing to pay to buy a house in a good school district, relative to one in a mediocre or lousy district, is based on the difference in quality of school your kids will get. If the schools available to parents in the mediocre/lousy school districts get better relative to the good district, you won't be willing to pay such a big premium for the good school district.

I think that best thing non-government run schools could yield would be schools more responsive to parents desires in regard to things other than standardized test scores. things like convent hours and locations.

Interesting idea.

I wonder if we can manage to keep Trump tarts and Brietbart juice advertisements from lining the buses that would take them where they want to go?

As an interesting aside, this would create a political constituency favouring improved public transportation quality and access. Whether that's a net cost or benefit excluding considerations linked to the education policy may not be clear (probably a good thing, since the relevant groups are not usually punching above weight in political representation).

Sailer has a good perspective on this in his column of today:

Regarding charter schools and other quasi-privatization schemes, Trump should play both good cop and bad cop.

There are genuine reformers out there, such as the two guys, Mike Feinberg and David Levin, who set up KIPP as a boot-camp school system to provide blacks with the stricter moral guidance from society that they need. The slow rollout of KIPP demonstrates that its leaders understand that they haven’t found a cure-all for The Gap among the races, just a slow, grinding way to make things a little better.

On the other hand, the fact that Imam Gülen, the cult leader in exile in the Poconos who apparently tried to overthrow the Turkish government in last summer’s coup, is, in effect, the largest charter-school operator in America should point out to Trump that charter schools are easy for unscrupulous operators to abuse. The charter-school process often turns over to operators tremendous amounts of real estate and buildings, worth as much as nine figures in the case of a single large urban high school. There are many ways to skim money if you are handed a twenty-acre school site.

Link: http://takimag.com/article/trump_u_steve_sailer/print

One of those times when Sailor says "blacks" but should have said "low SES" or "kids in stressed environments."

Basically "moral guidance" sounds good for any high crime zip code, regardless of skin color.

True, this is one reason I prefer class based to race based programs. Plenty of black people will get help there too, and it's less racist (in both directions).

The thing is that the KIPP schools are actually geared towards non-whites. According to Wikipedia, "[m]ore than 96% of KIPP students are African American or Latino / Hispanic." Many of those schools are in fact close to 100% black.

Another reason for "Sailor" to use that moral guidance phrase is that he has used the same words before. It's a bit of an inside joke.

He said "to provide blacks with the stricter moral guidance from society that they need."

That is deeply offensive, but spell check, so I am as bad, right?

I know. You need a pat on the head. This is America 2016 and you think "I can be a racist, but don't call me a racist" is the new normal.

It is just so unfair when anyone calls you on what you write.

LOL, you can call me a racist if that makes you happy. It doesn't change the fact that what Sailer wrote is just good sense.

As I say above, there is nothing wrong with tailoring education to the community. But in these little moments Sailer reveals himself. He doesn't say the community, he defines by race. His brain doesn't see anything to edit in the idea that we need "“to provide blacks with the stricter moral guidance from society that they need.”

And yes, if you stand by that and do not accept that this is a general truth, for all communities, you too are a racist.

The problems of the American K-12 system are racial. If international student comparisons are anything to go by, students get good to excellent educations in American schools, regardless of race. There's nothing wrong with the schools. The problem is with the students: due to reasons that cannot be addressed by schools, there are intractable differences between white and black students (and, because of foolish immigration policies, now also Hispanic students).

Offensive/not offensive is a different axis from true/false. I'm a lot more interested in figuring out where we are on the true/false axis than on the offensive/inoffensive axis.

Really? Then why do low-SES whites do so much better?

"Trump should play both good cop and bad cop."
Maybe he could be the good... or Pence should be the good... never mind. You know what, I think I will miss Obama and Biden after all.

"There are many ways to skim money if you are handed a twenty-acre school site."
For example... He cant build the Gülen Tower there, can he? And it is sad to see how a man is considered guilty in America because T

"There are many ways to skim money if you are handed a twenty-acre school site."
For example... He cant build the Gülen Tower there, can he? And it is sad to see how a man is considered guilty in America because Turkey's savage dictator doesn't like him.

As a Trump supporter and a teacher in a public school, I see the "education policy" debate and more often than not think, "a pox on both your houses." I've seen the abject laziness of a minority of teachers, and woe to the student who winds up with a teacher in that minority. Yet, the Left rails against any possibility of teacher accountability as if it were a return to the gilded age. And the pro-charter people go on about how the public schools are "failing" while ignoring the mountains of data proving that charters are no better.

The best thing is competition. In BC schools get per student funding, and have had to sharpen up otherwise they lose students to homeschooling or other schools since parents can choose.

There isn't any pat answer here except that parents need to be able to have choices. Every parent has experienced a teacher and child butting heads, and a simple move solved the problem. More choice the better.

Good points. Teacher accountability is a complex issue though. In inner city schools with a lot of troubled kids with stressful home environments, whichever teacher gets those kids is going to look like a bad teacher, according to the standardized tests. Teachers who don't have enough seniority or pull with the principal to keep those kids out of their classes, are going to look like bad teachers. Whereas teachers who teach the easy students will look good, even if they go to little effort in teaching. School districts can end up hiring and then firing lots of beginning teachers who are actually quite decent or good, because standardized tests do not necessarily show show who is really a "bad" teacher. There is a limit to what teachers can do to compensate for a chaotic home life of a child.

It is actually very easy to measure value adding. Black students in Texas are notably behind Black student in Minnesota. But Texas adds more value - their scores improve more while in the Texas School system.

Those teachers will look bad because on the whole they are bad. Decent teachers don't put up with that environment. They leave and get jobs elsewhere.

Decent teachers don't put up with the environments present in schools where kids have chaotic home environments? So then who is going to teach those students?

How do you know their home environments? Is this a racist euphemism?

I hate to break it to you, but no one is going to teach those children. Some people may be hired to try to keep them quiet and in their chairs for a couple of hours a day, but they are sure as hell not going to teach them anything.

No fault divorce and obligation-free welfare is really working out well isn't it?

The ACLU's civil rights campaigns have had a death toll. So have marriage reforms.

+1 Good level headed post

As a "Conservative" who's not opposed to public schools (to make sure everyone has a chance and a start), I am extremely opposed to "Vouchers." Why? Because it gives people with children more of a say in how money is allocated to public schools than people without children. Public Schools exist to make our nation stronger. People without children shouldn't be disadvantaged when it comes to deciding how Taxpayer money is spent on public schools.

Since we are paying...

People without children don't get to decide how taxpayer money is spend, bureaucrats and politicians do. The idea behind vouchers is that parents, who have an incentive to send their kids to good schools, would allocate funds to schools according to schools better than the public education system would (given that they're primary interest isn't the students' education, but their own salaries and bureaucratic fiefdoms; a parent will declare a bad school a failure and take their kid to another; a superintendent will just demand more taxpayer money).

So, in terms of improving the correlation between allocation of funds with efficiency, vouchers are a definite step in the right direction, and the best chance at reducing education spending (and taxes, for all of us) without reducing quality.

Rather than supporting public schools, maybe you should instead favor a system in which only people with children have to pay taxes for education, with the exception of poor people of course.

Frankly, yours strikes me as an asinine reason to support the public school system. What say do you have in how public money is spent?

The goal here is to make sure everyone gets a good basic education. We might do this in several ways, including:

a. Have a set of government-run free schools that everyone attends.

b. Decide how much an education should cost and give everyone with kids a voucher for that much, and let them choose their kids' school.

I don't see why (b) is any inherently worse or less fair than (a). The social goal is met either way. If there were strong evidence that (b) resulted in much better outcomes than (a), I can't see why it would make sense to oppose vouchers. Similarly, if there were strong evidence that (a) resulted in much better outcomes, I wouldn't see a reason to support vouchers.

Disturbing thought I just had: "Underperforming" students are more or less being educated to their full potential.

Don't believe everything you think.

Some of those underperforming students would benefit from free school lunch programs, or community programs where they or their parents could get help or mentoring of various kinds. That might increase their potential greatly.

A lot of policy with regard to schools assumes that the only thing that affects the student's performance is the teacher. Although the teacher does affect student performance, students with chaotic home lives, drug addicted parents etc. need more than just what their teacher can provide during the school day, to them plus 20 or 30 other students.

Ironically, you demonstrate that, in fact, throwing more money into the education system is largely a waste of money, as it does nothing to fix bad parenting or bad neighborhoods. It well illustrates why people like me categorically oppose increases in education spending. You don't fix a broken pipe by pouring more water through it.

Let the Great Fleecing begin!!

You're lucky you aren't a sheep like the rest of us.

"1. Trump intends to go through with his sweeping voucher plan."

And he doesn't plan to go through with his promise to "largely eliminate" the Department of Education.

Take the budget and give it to families not bureaucrats.

It also appears Carson will accept HUD position - WSJ reporting that Carson's spokesperson has confirmed this.

There's a separate question here about what we mean by "Trump intends..."

Almost post unto itself?

In its pretty comprehensive list of things Ms Devos and Mr Trump will do, MR- perhaps, predictably,- neglects to mention re-entrench LGBT discrimination and bullying in public education: what little of it they leave behind.

I'm very surprised that conservatives have not made the voucher approach to education funding the front-and-center issue. In fact, the same is to be said with regard to health insurance funding. In other words, vocherize it all.

Why not?

I'll tell you why not. It would get in the way of their corporate welfare spending programs and free reign foreign and defense policy that's so expensive. Vouchers on an ideal mass society scale would be truly expensive, but good.

It's not hard to imagine at least some schools attracting parents and thus funding dollars with flash advertising, etc., without having much of substance to offer. It could even be sustained over time with low results due to whatever marketing strategy being used.

Also, there's the concern of corporate entities getting into private schools, their impacts on curriculum, etc. If the public dollar is to pay for the schooling fees at the private centre, further subsidy in the form of marketing to a captive audience of students could lead to lots of strange and bad outcomes.

There is a certian logic to the benefit of vouchers, but the assumption that private markets, where much activity is more hidden from the eye than in the government, will serve more efficiently and effectively over time without developing their own centres of pork barrel, etc., seems a little unlikely to pan out.

Will it be better on the margin? Maybe. I think a better solution would involve learning from other countries' experience in school funding mechanisms, specifically, ones which do not heap the largest amount of resources and benefits on those who already have the most advantages in many other ways.

So there will be many more shariah, I mean Christian schools.

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