Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Day 19, 01 Year, Trumpland: The Death of Education

I don't know about you, dear reader, but I am exhausted. We lost this one, the most clear cut battle. I don't know how we can fight any of these cabinet posts. Worse, our children will suffer.

Some families have a tradition of military service. Others have generations of family working in farming, or coal mines or manufacturing. In my family it's teaching school. It was my uncle looking down from the classrooms to watch a girl die in a riot at Kent State. It was my grandmother chased around a homec class with a knife. It was my grandfather threatened with power tools in a shop class. When I was in 7th grade, Poppaw asked what I wanted to be when I grew up. When I told him, he spent the next hour telling my why not to become a teacher. It skipped a generation. My son teaches English. His wife teaches physics. Indeed, I trace 18 teachers in my family.

Today a horrendous travisty has taken place. Betsy Devos, heir to the Amway fortune and donater of hundreds of thousands of dollars, bought a cabinet. Devos wants to "advance God's kingdom" through educational reform. She openly supports Focus on the Family, an anti-science evanglical group, which means she supports creationism (Mike Pence also does not believe in evolution). The code words are "intelligent design" rather than creationism, so don't be fooled. Worse, Devos has coopted the the phrase "creative thinking" to justify teaching intelligent design.

Devos has no experience in public education. She donated to the campaigns of some of the senators who voted for her. She couldn't answer basic questions during her confirmation hearing about measuring profeniency among students, or understanding Individuals with Disabilities Act. And don't forget her suggestion that guns are needed in a school to protect against grizzlies.

Michigan residents believe the schools are a disaster as a result of her reform. There are charter schools that work in other states. In Michigan, 38% charter schools are in bottom performing schools. These schools have no transpartency. Michigan went from being a top performing school to the bottom. Now she wants to share this vision with the nation. She can harm special ed, nutrition, science. Devos sends children with special needs back to pubic schools for services. But their funds will be cut.

Furthermore, she favors privatizing and defunding education and has demonstrated a noted lack of understand of funding programs for things like autism. The evangelical right has tried for forty years to win this battle; it seems they finally have the victory. 

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