Education then, beyond all other devices of human origin, is the great equalizer of the conditions of men, the balance-wheel of social machinery.
President Trump, a billionaire, has demonstrated elitist hatred for our most public democratic institution and its teachers. It is the institution, despite its problems, that has the greatest chance of taking a poor person and lifting them to a better place in society.
President Trump, if allowed, will put a lock on public schooling for good.
President Trump and his choice for education secretary, Betsy DeVos, another billionaire, also displays a lack of connection with the middle class, those who struggle to make ends meet. They do not seem to understand the need for good public schools for all children.
And public school teachers who struggle against all odds to give our students hope and a good place in life are considered failures by those on their golden thrones.
Senator Bernie Sanders asked DeVos in the confirmation hearings: “Would you be here if you weren’t a multi-billionaire?”
President Trump has demonstrated he will end public schools if allowed. He speaks against public schools with vengeance and acts like they are despicable places.
- He chose Betsy DeVos after interviewing Michelle Rhee and Eva Moskowitz, all privatization shills.
- On the Eve of his inauguration he stated that education is “easy. Very very easy….”
- He also bashed public school test score results with unsubstantiated accusations.
- And in his inauguration address he said: “An education system flushed with cash but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of all knowledge.” Kellyanne Conway also states that billions are spent on public schools without results (Meet the Press 1-22-17).
I have never seen President Trump visit a traditional public school. In fact, I have never seen him visit students and teachers in any school.
And Trump isn’t alone. Many individuals in the top 1% hate public schooling and see dollar signs in their privatization.
But it isn’t just about money. It is elitist ideology.
It is about keeping poor children in their place.
Think about what will happen with school privatization.
- A few students will get a voucher to a good private school if they are lucky, but most exclusive private schools don’t want vouchers. They don’t want challenging students either.
- Most students will go to religious schools or substandard charters with little regulation.
- Such schools can be selective too. So if a child has disabilities or difficulties, they will not wind up with peers who will accept them for their differences.
- The teaching profession has been deregulated so anyone can teach. Students will not have access to well-prepared, credentialed teachers.
In Michigan, schools in general have declined due to charter schools that are failing, which have sucked precious tax dollars from public intentionally underfunded schools.
And millions are being poured into unproven technology for schools without the research to show it works.
The DeVos family opened their own Aviation charter school, apparently the best charter school in the state. But it not only gets public dollars, they pour their own money into the school, and it gets donations from wealthy donors–from the aviation industry.
How many schools can sustain such a set up? What about the students left in defunded public schools–schools left to flounder so elitist schools can succeed?
And how many children from that school will graduate and get actual jobs in aviation?
Also, should we be placing students on a career path so early in their education?
The ideas of the elitist are to leave in place well-endowed private schools and create substandard tech schools for others. These tech schools will create service workers.
If this weren’t the case, why aren’t they creating charter schools that emulate the very best private schools in the country that provide students with a wide variety of subjects?
Instead, those with an elitist ideology believe “no excuses” charter schools, where the poor are pushed to shape up and behave themselves, to do what they are told, are what is needed in society.
They do not see children as equals but as those who need rescuing and rehabilitation for the jobs they eventually want them to do.
There are three kinds of elitist reformers.
- Those who inherited their money and never set foot in a public school.
- Those who made their money in business and went to public school, but don’t attribute their success to public school. Or they believe public schools went downhill (think Eli Broad or Sam Walton).
- Those who are not wealthy, but who believe in and even idolize the ideas of wealthy people–if they are rich they must be right.
- Or, those who rely on the wealthy because they are powerful.
Some senators are caught up in elitism themselves. How many are supported by wealthy billionaires? How many will have to say and do what they are told to get enough money for their campaigns—so they will get reelected?
We will all see which ones have the courage to stand up against the selection of Betsy DeVos. It is quite evident that she is not qualified.
But even if DeVos is not selected, who will be? Michelle Rhee? Eva Moskowitz?
My guess, if we get to this point, is that it will be someone who is able to tell us IDEA is federal law, and what’s different between proficiency and growth scores. But the new selection would still be on board for the elitist agenda of privatizing schools.
Horace Mann wanted schools to bring about equality for all children. But let’s face it. Equality is not what the top 1% want. And getting rid of the institution that hails equality is the best move to keep it that way.