Tag Archives: President-elect

Reality Checked at the Door as Anti-DeVos Rhetoric Reaches a Fever Pitch

In case you weren’t paying attention, something really big happened in the education world two days ago. Betsy DeVos, President-elect Trump’s pick for secretary of education, had her confirmation hearing before the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. The hearing was actually supposed to happen earlier this month, but it was delayed “to accommodate the Senate schedule.” In other words, politics happened. But Republican leadership stuck to its word about not allowing Democratic complaints over ethics paperwork to prevent the confirmation process from moving forward, and so DeVos’s hearing went ahead. You can watch the full hearing here if you are so inclined. I’m still waiting for a credible transcript to be released. In the meantime, I’d like to talk a little about the slanted coverage of the hearing I’ve seen. I don’t know if you’ve ever watched a confirmation hearing before, but I have. They tend to amount to a whole lot of rhetorical jousting by senators looking to score points against their rivals’ picks, various attempts to force nominees to make (often absurd) commitments, and a cat-like ability to avoid answering trap questions on the part of the nominees themselves. They usually get partisan—and ugly—fast. […]

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DeVos, Delusions, and Difficult Decisions

Welcome back, friends! I apologize (again) for my absence (again) in recent days, but I had some important policy business in Washington, D.C. As a matter of fact, President-elect Donald Trump wanted to meet with yours truly to gather my deep and inspirational thoughts on the future of education in America. Okay, that’s not true. But I really was in D.C., and I really do want to talk about Donald Trump and education. I wrote recently about what we could expect in the realm of education from a Donald Trump presidency. In that post, which admittedly led to an awful lot of question marks and few firm answers, I said that “a strong pick for secretary of education that seriously redefines and redirects the department could lead to significant improvements.” As it turns out, we got exactly what I was hoping for on that front.

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So… What Happens Now? Thoughts on What President Trump Means for Education

Something happened last night. I was already in bed, of course, but I could hear strange shouting downstairs. I couldn’t quite make it out, but it sounded like someone saying, “Wisconsin?! What?!” This morning I found my dad still awake, sitting in an arm chair with bleary eyes and a strange expression that I’m not sure I’ve seen on his face before. It was weird. It was really, really weird. I am, of course, referring to Donald Trump’s utterly astonishing victory over Hillary Clinton in last night’s presidential election. He deserves a hearty congratulation for defying the political odds and, in the end, pulling off exactly the kind of map-changing, crushing victory he said he’d accomplish. Truthfully, I never thought I would write the words “President-elect Trump.” But here we are.

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Barack Obama's "Stimulus" Plan Would Grow Union Jobs, Hinder School Reform

The big story in the news is about President-elect Obama’s giant “stimulus” plan – better known as a giant spending spree that hangs even more debt on the shoulders of me and other kids growing up around America. That part is bad enough. But three leading education reformers – Michael Petrilli, Checker Finn, and Frederick Hess – see other serious problems that it will create for trying to improve our schools and help students learn. In the column they wrote for National Review yesterday, the authors challenge the suggestion that tons of federal government money “invested” in education will yield more positive results down the road: In concept, of course, well-delivered education eventually yields higher economic output and fewer social ills. But there’s scant evidence that an extra dollar invested in today’s schools delivers an extra dollar in value — and ample evidence that this kind of bail-out will spare school administrators from making hard-but-overdue choices about how to make their enterprise more efficient and effective.

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"Will President Obama's School Reform Bring the Change Kids Need?"

Things are changing in Washington, DC, and my friends in the Education Policy Center are wondering what the new presidential administration will mean for school reform. That’s why they agreed to publish a paper by a really smart group of people – three professors from the Department of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas. The new paper is called The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly: Will President Obama’s School Reform Bring the Change Kids Need? (PDF). The authors are Robert Maranto, Gary Ritter, and Sandra Stotsky. You really need to read this paper if you care about education and the future of America. As a candidate, Barack Obama gave a lot of different messages about education reform. The authors of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly sort out the different competing proposals, and encourage the President-elect to “appoint a Democratic reformer who embraces the good, opposes the bad, and avoids the ugly, to serve as the nation’s next Secretary of Education.” The Fordham Institute’s Education Gadfly has its ears to the Beltway grapevine, running a daily line to see who the favorites are to fill the Cabinet-level post. The latest entry has Chicago Schools CEO Arne Duncan […]

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School Choice for the First Family and Those Who Need D.C. Vouchers

I find it kind of nice to be not-so-famous, without all the media attention. We should just let kids be kids, right? That must be a lot tougher when your dad has just been elected President of the United States. To show its support for the burgeoning public school choice movement, the people over at Democrats for Education Reform were circulating an online petition encouraging the Obamas to send young Sasha and Malia to a Washington, D.C., charter school. In response to the petition, the Center for Education Reform’s Jeannie Allen wrote over at the Edspresso blog why choosing a charter school would be a bad idea for the First Family: While my organization is the nation’s leading advocate for charter school choices, I’m not so sure I want to see the Obamas choose a charter school. Though I disagree with our president-elect on many issues and fear that obsessive government solutions and spending will push us further into a government dependency, I want the best for him and his family when they come to Washington. I want him to have no distractions other than those that impact us all. With a clever, tongue-in-cheek tone, Allen explains the rigorous challenges, […]

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Obama Excites Colorado Charter Schools, Will He Protect D.C. Vouchers?

The Rocky Mountain News today reports on jubilation from some Colorado charter school quarters at the promise of a Barack Obama presidency: So last week, when America elected a president who promises to double federal funding for charter schools, KIPP Denver founder Richard Barrett was among the area educators hoping Barack Obama will follow through on his plan for public education. “We’ve made no excuse about it. We just deal with it,” Barrett said of the school’s facility issues. “But when are we going to have equity for our kids? “If Obama’s plan would help that process, more power to it,” he added. “Fantastic.” No doubt charter school supporters in Colorado and elsewhere would be “buzzing” about the potential of more federal funding to alleviate problems in facilities and other areas caused by unequal state funding. I would be glad to see the new President-elect demonstrate that he’s a true friend to charter schools, but there are limits to his backing of school choice: But if Obama is willing to step across some boundaries, there are others he is not. [Michael] Johnston, his education adviser, said that includes vouchers. This news is, of course, not surprising to anyone who followed […]

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