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Wednesday, February 08, 2017

The speech DeVos should give

At 2 p.m. Eastern, Betsy DeVos will become secretary of education, and she will address the staff after taking the oath of office from Vice President Mike Pence.

She needs to tell it like it is.

My speech for her:
"Thank you ladies and gentlemen. I bring you some good news and some bad news. Two years ago, Congressman David Brat of Virginia said, 'Over 30 years, federal spending on education has grown by 375 percent, but test scores remain flat.'
"Brat is in the education business, having been chairman of the business and economics department at Randolph-Macon College before seeking office in 2014.
"This department is largely responsible for this increase in spending, but takes no responsibility for the lack of achievement. Nor should it. 
"This agency has 4,400 employees, the overwhelming number of whom are dedicated to serving the nation in general, and the education of children and young adults in particular. You are very talented and well-trained, and yet this agency is totally irrelevant. It is redundant. 
"It duplicates fifty state departments of education, who themselves are of little to no use because all their rules, regulations, and requirements are irrelevant to the success of each child and young adult.
"In fact none of the 8 million or so people in the American education industry are responsible, really, for the success or failure of a child. That is on the child. Abe Lincoln and his sister were self-taught. However, I do not recommend that system. We do need teachers, and we do need principals.
"But we do not need much more than that. And yet the education industry is loaded with extraneous staff and employees. Harvard, for example, has 16,000 employees and 21,000 students. Its instructional staff numbers 4,671 people. What do the other nearly 12,000 people on the payroll do? Fund-raising? 
"At the collegiate level, we know what drives the increase in staff: student loans. The federal government has turned every adolescent into a trust fund baby who does not have to work her way through college. The result is a disconnect between the price of college and the student. Tuition rises? So what? Just put it all on the credit card.
"The result is a trillion-dollar debt on a generation of people who feel entitled to success because they got good grades in school. They leave college with a debt that keeps them from buying a car or a house or otherwise becoming a responsible and productive member of society.
"This is an education policy that must end. We need to tell the colleges that they should guarantee their own loans.
"But it is the public education level where the tragedy really is. No one in this department is to blame, in fact no one in the education industry is. 
"As I said earlier the failure of a child is on the child. Parents must take responsibility. They should make sure each child is fed and in school in the morning, and has a proper place to return to when school ends. Parents should make sure the child does his homework, and should encourage the child to participate in school activities.
"But federal policy elsewhere undermines parental authority. Federal welfare programs -- and not just TANF but food stamps and myriad other handouts -- encourage the dissolution of the family. The federal government's unspoken but very real policy is to separate fathers from their progeny.
"This -- not a lack of education -- leads to the societal problems that fills so many neighborhoods with crime, fills so many cemeteries with young, black men, and fills so many prisons with men who will have no future when they leave.
"This department is not responsible for this mess, nor are the teacher unions -- bad as they are -- or the buildings or the buses or anything else. Until we reconnect men with fatherhood, these problems will persist.
"What can be done? Here? Nothing. It's time to close up this shop and let the states handle the matter. I support Kentucky Congressman Thomas Massie’s bill to close this department no later than December 31, 2018.
"Yes, I will fight for school choice, but really that should be left up to the states. The federal government has no business telling Alaska or California or West Virginia how to raise their kids.
"I know that many of you are angry. You have done nothing wrong. Why should you lose your jobs?
"Coal miners, auto workers, steel workers, chemical plant employees, and millions of other hard-working Americans also ask that question.
"This department is redundant and obsolete. It has to close. Consider this to be your two-year notice of the plant closing."
That's what I hope she would say.

She won't.

No one wants to admit that anti-poverty programs extend poverty, and remove a large incentive for seeking an education.

No one wants to admit that there are things the federal government should not cannot do.

@@@

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18 comments:

  1. Bravo! Don, I think you missed your calling...

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  2. President Trump and the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of Education: "You're fired!"
    And get the U.S. out of the student loan business NOW. - Elric

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  3. A superb speech with great info. Didn't know how bloated (except in the head) Haaaaaavaaaaad is either.

    Representative Thomas Massie (R-KY) has introduced a bill that states that the Department of Education shall terminate on December 31, 2018.

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  4. The one area in which I think the Federal DoE could be of help to the state DoEs is in the construction and modernization of school buildings. It used to be that a good school could be built for under $10 million. Today, the cost is closer to $80 to $100 million to build a modern school building. Rich states like NY can perhaps afford such high prices, but for small states and poor states, the cost can be a serious financial burden. If the Federal government were to relieve the states of part of that burden, the state DoEs could concentrate on the teaching side of education. Let education policy be set in the states by local school districts, but help them with financing the construction of modern facilities for learning. I'm OK with that approach. It means Federal taxes return to the states in aid of students rather than fattening the wallets of the bureaucrats in the education industry.

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    1. The Left prefers that gritty Sweathog look for a school.

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    2. One problem I have seen with the increased cost is that in my state the design is not owned by the school system by law. So there is no cookie cutter ability for the design of new schools; of course some design parameters depend on the site. Additionally as with our new libraries, they are much more pleasing to the eye with additional costs.

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    3. One problem I have seen with the increased cost is that in my state the design is not owned by the school system by law. So there is no cookie cutter ability for the design of new schools; of course some design parameters depend on the site. Additionally as with our new libraries, they are much more pleasing to the eye with additional costs.

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  5. Some of the smartest people I have known graduated from the Eighth Grade in a one-room schoolhouse. The building is not what confers an education. The teachers do. Therein lies the major problem with our education system today. I agree that there must be certain standards as far as sanitation, but the school building itself is a secondary consideration. The teachers (and discipline in the school and at home) are the critical factor. Perhaps if all the money, time, and effort expended on school sports was spent on actual education our schools would improve. The current system is failing our children. - Elric

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    1. Elric, I'll bet you don't live in a state where the temperatures in the schoolrooms hit 90+F midday and the kids can't concentrate on their lessons. One of the biggest expenses in running schools these days is the cost of electricity for heating/air conditioning and lighting. Solar panels can help to reduce the cost of electricity, but represent a huge capital cost to school districts. Modern school buildings can be designed to reduce maintenance and operating costs in the long run, but the initial outlays are correspondingly high. Don't get stuck in the 1800s thinking about Little House on the Prairie school houses. There's a lot to be said for providing school children with comfortable and expansive learning environments. That's not a substitute for good, dedicated teachers. But it does make good teachers even better.

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    2. I agree in providing a modicum of classroom comfort. There is a simple solution to moderating heating and cooling costs: Build the schools underground. For better education results require teacher competency testing. - Elric

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    3. Building schools underground is neither simple nor a solution where the water table doesn't allow it unless the structure is built like a submarine. Besides, a school room without a window is better called a prison.

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  6. Homeless children under federal law, the McKinney–Vento Homeless Assistance Act of 1987, must be transported to their original school if the state takes money for the overall homeless program. My county school system has an unfunded $155,000 mandate for this effort. For years I have pushed for the school budget to be published showing the state and federal government funded and unfunded madates.
    The goal seems to be in our school system to graduate a higher percentage of students. But from what I see from my wife subbing and the knowledge level of my grandchildren, present students have less of an education than I did. In particular, civics and history courses have been watered down.
    IMO, the major problem is classroom discipline. Smart phones are allowed in the classroom because parents put pressure on the school admin to allow contact in case of a family emergency. My, I don't know what we did in my youth when their was a family emergency since we didn't even have cell phones-/sarc. I know for a fact that students engage teachers to evoke statements that could be deemed controversial and someone records it and it is then put on Face Book. In my state a one party recording is illegal as John Stossel found out when he did undercover work in Baltimore. I informed the school board that they had better tell the students before a student is arrested under that law and the school system sued for allowing such activities.
    More money for schools and smaller classes, yet test scores and the level of general knowledge are flat or worse.

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  7. Homeless children under federal law, the McKinney–Vento Homeless Assistance Act of 1987, must be transported to their original school if the state takes money for the overall homeless program. My county school system has an unfunded $155,000 mandate for this effort. For years I have pushed for the school budget to be published showing the state and federal government funded and unfunded madates.
    The goal seems to be in our school system to graduate a higher percentage of students. But from what I see from my wife subbing and the knowledge level of my grandchildren, present students have less of an education than I did. In particular, civics and history courses have been watered down.
    IMO, the major problem is classroom discipline. Smart phones are allowed in the classroom because parents put pressure on the school admin to allow contact in case of a family emergency. My, I don't know what we did in my youth when their was a family emergency since we didn't even have cell phones-/sarc. I know for a fact that students engage teachers to evoke statements that could be deemed controversial and someone records it and it is then put on Face Book. In my state a one party recording is illegal as John Stossel found out when he did undercover work in Baltimore. I informed the school board that they had better tell the students before a student is arrested under that law and the school system sued for allowing such activities.
    More money for schools and smaller classes, yet test scores and the level of general knowledge are flat or worse.

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  8. I still say the teachers unions should be decertified and the politicians who negotiate raises with them prevented from accepting their "donations".

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  9. Every one of the Mercury astronauts were graduates of one room schools. Without air conditioning.
    When I lived in Africa we had no air conditioning and it was over 100 degrees on a regular basis.
    The fucking building doesn't matter.

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    Replies
    1. Did you have to walk five miles to school through waist deep snow, uphill, against the wind, both ways, while fighting off saber-toothed Tigers?

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  10. All these lefties wringing their hands about DeVos is complete bullshit. The left always - always - tells us that if we spent as much money on Program X as Country Y does that our results would be through the roof. Education completely guts that ridiculous shaming tactic: we spend more money than anyone else, yet get mediocre-at-best results. So, basically the left was/is out there fighting to maintain the status quo (gotta keep those NEA dollars coming in). Pretty easy to do when you can afford to or do send your kids to private schools. They must hate all those black, brown, and white kids who want to learn but are doomed in failing schools. Way to show your privilege, lefties.

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  11. School Bldg's are underutilized.
    The average school day is 6 to 6.5 hours a day.
    That is roughly one quarter of the day yet we pay to run them 24 hrs a day. Bad efficiency.

    I recall in the early 1960's that the private Catholic School in my city neighbourhood used to double shift the use of the school with kids starting at 6 am to 12:30 pm and second shift from 1:00 pm to 7:30 pm.
    The kids adapted and all was well.
    Of course the watchword here was "private school".

    I should mention that the school did receive some taxpayer funding.

    Sam C

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