Education Matters, And More Than Unions *Open Thread*


As you all (may) know, President Trump has nominated Betsy DeVos to be the Secretary of Education. I am sure it goes without saying that the Left is just apoplectic about this nomination. Why? Well, because she supports alternatives to public education.

And you know what THAT means – the Teachers’ Unions are going BALLISTIC about this nomination as  result. Shocking, I know.

Sadly, a couple of Republican women Senators have pronounced that they aren’t on board. Sigh.

So how about a few truth bombs for these unions, Democrats, and Republicans who are threatening to impede this nomination? Ashley Bateman writing for The Federalist does just that in her recent piece, “Unions Attack Betsy DeVos To Sideline The Research That Supports Her Ideas.” First up, some of that research:


The U.S. public school system costs the country more than $600 billion annually, yet those funds are not equating to student success. While the United States has nearly tripled inflation-adjusted per-pupil spending over the past 40 years, “test scores have remained flat and internationally unimpressive,” writes Jason Bedrick, an education policy analyst at the Cato Institute.

A new report from the Pew Research Center found that American students continue to fall behind their international peers in math and science. According to the Program for International Student Assessment, the U.S. ranked 35th in math and 27th in science out of 64 developed countries. Nearly half of all polled members of the American Association for the Advancement of Science said U.S. students are below average in K-12 science and math subjects.

This is not only a problem for academic advancement. Low math and science achievement has created major hiring gaps in the marketplace for U.S. workers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has determined that almost half of the 30 occupations set to expand most quickly in the next ten years will require a college degree. Yet, according to the McKinsey’s Global Institute, nearly 2 million workplace positions will remain unfilled by U.S. employees for their lack of analytical and tech skills.

Dang. Well, we sure do not seem to be getting much bank for the billions of bucks we are spending on Education, do we? It is unfathomable that the United States is in the middle of the pack when it comes to Math and Science. Check that – it is UNACCEPTABLE that we are in the middle of the pack.  Clearly, we are not getting the results for which we are paying.

And that brings me to more research from Bateman’s piece:

Evidence-based research has found that at the local level, access to school choice programs such as vouchers or tax-credit scholarships, in which individuals and businesses get tax deductions for funding private K-12 scholarships, increases graduation rates and therefore, employment, while saving taxpayer money.

“School choice programs consistently produce similar or better results for much less money,” Bedrick writes. “…a 2009 review of the global research literature, the Cato Institute’s Andrew Coulson found that every study to measure efficiency in education returned a statistically significant positive result for markets.”

In studying South Carolina counties, Sven R. Larson found self-employment increased up to 25 percent more in areas with school choice programs. School choice also reduced the rate of high school dropouts and the associated costs and problems. […] (Click here to read the rest.)

Holy moley. That ain’t no small thing – 25%? Yeah – that’s huge. And telling. There is more in Bateman’s good piece, including how some national programs are benefiting those in poorer areas, as well as the issue of Special Education. It is an informative piece to be sure, and I recommend reading it in its entirety.

Speaking of South Carolina, you may have heard that our US Senator, Tim Scott, has endorsed and is supporting the DeVos nomination. Senator Scott had an Op-Ed in our local paper recently on why he, a black man who grew up poor in the Charleston area, thinks DeVos is the right person for the job. From the Post And Courier:

[…] I grew up poor, went to four schools by the fifth grade and almost failed out of high school. I know the challenges facing low-income and minority students. Still, every neighborhood is unique, every student learns in a different manner and every teacher teaches in his own fashion. We need to ensure that students and their families have a variety of educational options. My belief in school choice stems directly from that notion and is a primary driver of my support for Betsy DeVos as the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education.


We have seen school choice programs around the country not only improve graduation rates for their own students, but force the public system to improve as well. In Washington, D.C., the Opportunity Scholarship Program, which serves more than 80 percent minority families making an average of $21,000 a year, sees 90-plus percent of its students graduate. In 2011, traditional public schools in Washington’s graduation rate was 56 percent, and as OSP has continued to flourish the public schools have seen their graduation rates rise to 68 percent. That is still way too low, but improvements have been made. Programs in New York City and Milwaukee have brought a brighter future to thousands of kids, and we are seeing that success spread across the country.

Further we have seen school choice programs work well for decades utilizing federal dollars — both Pell Grants and the GI Bill allow recipients to go to the school of their choice. If we are OK with this for higher education, why not K-12? […] (Click here to read the rest.)

Exactly right. School choice does not WEAKEN public schools – it makes them better. And if we can have school choice in higher education, why in the world would we NOT in K – 12 schools?

Senator Scott makes some other great points in his Op-Ed and touches on the political hue and cry surrounding the DeVos nomination. You can read more here if you wish.

school-choice-artThe bottom line is this: public schools are failing our students despite the hundreds of billions of dollars we are pouring down. Since the advent of Teachers’ Unions, that seems to be the case, sadly. And magnet schools, like the Math and Science school in CharlestonMath and Science school in Charleston, are highly rated and doing well by their students.

Now THAT is money well spent, and something we need more of in this country. If Betsy DeVos can make that happen, I am ALL for her becoming the Secretary of Education.

That’s what I think. How about you?




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38 Responses to “Education Matters, And More Than Unions *Open Thread*”

  1. mcnorman Says:

    One only needs to look back one hundred years ago to understand that the most basic skills were taught early on as most children were relegated to searching for work as soon as they could. Remember the kiddies losing their small hands cleaning the cotton gin machines? My point being that basic reading, writing, and arithmetic were taught, learned and retained.

    Why is it that the Dept of Education has mucked up everything so badly that most high school graduates can barely write a sentence let alone string them together into a proper paragraph? Without calculator apps on phones, kids are lost Even multiplication and division is a strain for many graduates today.

    Parents should have a choice. We don’t bring them into this world to be parasites. We want them to be productive. I worked very hard to get my kid into private schools. Public school teacher begged me not to take my kid out of public school. They wanted to boost the class competency by using my kid. I thought that was wrong. The kid was a worker because I had trained her to read from an early age. Why should my kid do the work of tutoring for the teacher? Give the kids a chance to succeed. Teacher unions do so much damage.

    • kenoshamarge Says:

      Evidently “choice” only matters when it comes to abortions. Everything else we are to shut up and let the government tell us what to do.

      And what they are doing is wasting the potential of an entire generation, maybe two, by indoctrinating them to be good little socialists with their hands out but starving their minds and leaving them ignorant.

      • mcnorman Says:

        Sadly, I will have to tell you that they have already reprogrammed a generation to further their socialist agenda. What’s worse it that they have been trained to believe that it is good for them.

      • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

        Isn’t that the truth – Choice only matters if it is something Liberals want.

        And no doubt they are already being programmed to be Socialists. I think we have been seeing a lot of that these days. Heck, just look at the success of Bernie Sanders, of all people…

    • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

      I wish I knew why the Ed Dep’t has SO screwed everything up, bu t they surely have.

      At least according to the National Assoc. of Scholars, we can blame the Left for where we are now, something that started back in the ’70’s. I am inclined to agree with them, especially since it is a lot of those kids who grew up to become the ones teaching Socialism and “New Civics” to kids now:

      And you are right, mcnorman – it is not right of the teacher to want your child to not get as good of an education as possible to help the TEACHER’S score, as it were. So wrong…

      • mcnorman Says:

        At the time that this was happening to my kid, they were instituting teaching the “test.” They didn’t understand anything about the test, but how to take the test. It was frightening. Our town had a huge and I mean huge problem with teacher unions helping to create fraudulent placement scores. In one high school, the one that sits directly across the river from Mexico they deleted students in order to keep the scores from shutting the school down. Most of the kids came from Mexico. The principal refused to ask where they lived or verify anything. I will go as far as saying that only 5% of the student population understood and spoke English. They cheated the students (masters of neither language). They stole from them. Many of the kids live in Mexico here and some have dual citizenship. This was the largest school district and they were aided by the teacher union. Many of the administrative people are serving federal time. Some have the audacity to fight to keep their teaching certifications.

        • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

          Oh my God, are you kidding me with this?? That is TERRIBLE! Of COURSE the teacher wanted to keep your child in the classroom. Again, though, for her to care more abt her test results than your child’s EDUCATION speaks volumes, and none of it good.

          Do you remember the fairly recent (within a few years) revelation of the MASSIVE fraud going on in Atlanta? Teachers and principals were faking test scores all over the place to get their money. Those poor kids – they pad a mighty high price for the incompetence of their teachers…

        • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

          Oh, WOW, mcnorman! That is incredible!! Holy smokes. Just SMH at this.

          Yeah, this whole tying federal money to schools never should have happened in the first place, and we can sure see the results of doing so.


          Thanks for the link!

          • mcnorman Says:

            The NYT got in on it as well.

            Know that because this is a sanctuary city, many of the affected are not from here. This is a free benefit for Mexico. That said, the school districts are the largest employers aside from DHS locally. If it were not for Mexico’s population, we would not have the high property taxes to support the school districts.

            It’s a catch 22. Lots of kids means lots of federal $$$$ that really are not able to give much back to the community because they don’t want to be here except for the freebies.

            • mcnorman Says:

              For the record, the Shapleigh guy that they quote was a former state representative who is serving time for a RICO case. He was the center of the problem He was telling the teacher union what to do. He is the reason that the city is a sanctuary city. He is one of those Democrats that gives out trinkets smiling while he slashes your throat. Horrible man. Finally was taken out by a federal judge that was not from here so he had no ties to this mobster.

            • mcnorman Says:

              Sorry, not state rep but senator.
              The clown representing our district in DC today is one of his spawns.

            • mcnorman Says:

              Finally was taken out by a federal judge that was not from here so he had no ties to this mobster.

              He didn’t go to jail. His pal Luther did for another huge case pay to play school district healthcare contracts.

          • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

            mcnorman, that has to be SO frustrating to the people there to have higher taxes in part because you are educating people from another country for free. How freakin’ frustrating.

            And you said it – y’all are pouring money into a population that is not planning on using that education to better the community.

            And the Mobster Dem. who made it a sanctuary city and was pulling the union strings sounds like a movie just waiting to be made. People wouldn’t believe it though – unless they made him a Rep. (Sorry – couldn’t resist the sarcasm!) So glad a judge finally put him where he belonged…

            What an incredible tale from El Paso!

            • mcnorman Says:

              The border is filled with things like this. For those of us who have put up with this for decades it is never a a surprise. It’s only a shock to the country. You know most people don’t really know but this town is where the drug industry was birthed. A very good read. Dirty Dealing Gary Cartwright. It explains how the business grew in the 70s. I knew the family. Let’s just say no one gets worked up over much here. It’s a stye.

        • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

          Are you kidding me that the Mobster State Senator didn’t have to go to prison? WOW!!

          Yeah, y’all must be some thick-skinned folks there on the border, mcnorman. Rather, you must HAVE to be to deal with all of this. Good grief!

          And yeah – it IS a shock to those of us who don’t live on a border. Holy moley.

          Thanks for the recommendation. Much appreciated!

  2. kenoshamarge Says:

    Great post on an important issue Amy! These young people are the future of this country and they are not being served well. And because they are kept ignorant they simply don’t know what they don’t know.

    Individual teacher’s may well be fine people, I know several that are but many are not. But so long as they remain a part of an organization that is destructive to children, which the Teacher’s Unions are, they are part of the problem.

    If they keep quiet while disagreeing with the actions of the union simply for better pay then there is a matter of character deficiency too.

    My mother’s brother, my Uncle Walt, was a truck driver and a member of the Teamsters Union. He often said that he didn’t believe in a lot of what the teamsters did. But he stayed for the better pay didn’t he?

    I pointed out that so long as he was a member, and paid his union dues, he was helping fund those actions he detested. A family row ensued. Never could keep my big mouth shut.

    • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

      Thanks so much, Marge. I appreciate that!

      And yes – there is no doubt that many teachers are good ones, but the union has so corrupted the entire “industry” that it is next to impossible to hold them accountable. Moreover, they use their positions too often as bully pulpits on OUR DIME. No child should know what a teacher’s political position is at ALL in the classroom. Anything else is using our tax dollars to fund political propaganda. We saw a LOT of that during the Obama years.

      I sure hope DeVos, or another person who is pro-school choice, gets in there and cleans house. Heaven knows, it needs it!

      ROTFL abt your uncle – oh, my – I can just see that unfolding!

  3. kenoshamarge Says:

  4. kenoshamarge Says:

    The absolute hypocrisy of those opposing Betsy DeVos is incredible. And that includes idiot Republicans Murkowski and RINO Susan Collins.

    • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

      I was disgusted when I saw that Collins and Murkowski were going to oppose the DeVos nomination. WTH?? I mean, REALLY – after the TERRIBLE Common Core disaster, you would think they would want someone with fresh eyes to come in and FIX the damn thing already.


  5. cindyindie Says:

    Great post, Cuzin, and much needed!
    I am so impressed with your Senator Scott, and pleased to hear he supports DeVos.
    My feelings are summed up in one fact: When I was a young teacher, children were respectful towards the school and teacher, parents were supportive, as was the community….and guess what? The Department of Education didn’t even exist (as a single powerful entity)! So, what should that tell people? Who needs it! It has only made Teachers Unions more powerful and rich. I hope Dr. DeVos decides to dismantle it, frankly!
    Jimmy Carter created it in 1979, and I wish he had not, for all of the “good” it’s done.
    But other than that, I don’t have an opinion…LOL

    • kenoshamarge Says:

      The daughter of one of my friends quit teaching a few years ago and now home schools her grandchildren. She said her conscience wouldn’t allow her to continue to teach what she was told to teach.

      Sad that one of the really good teachers in our town is only teaching 3 kids.

      • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

        Marge, that is sad. I know I have mentioned this before, but my liberal cousin who was an Ed. Prof teaching teachers for YEARS said she would not send her kids to school now. She would definitely homeschool them.

        Says a lot abt where we are now, the power of the Unions, and the terrible Gov’t programs in Education.

    • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

      LOL – I hear you, Cuz! I do wish you’d speak freely, though – you’re among friends here! 😀

      You are so, so, so RIGHT abt the Dep’t of Education and the Unions. Absolutely. And if DeVos can lessen the stranglehold of the unions, I am ALL for her being in office.

      Thank you! We are very happy with our Senator. He is taking a LOT of crap from people outside the state for his support, though. He said that he can tell people are reading from a script to try and get him to stop backing choice. They don’t know how strong he is…

      Thank you for the input, Cuz’n. A teacher’s perspective is important in all of this…

  6. Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

    Well, it seems one of Wisconsin’s Senators is in a bit of hot water:

    • kenoshamarge Says:

      The Dems in our state are truly repulsive. They have been out of control since Walker was elected. Baldwin thinks she’s bulletproof. She may be.

      But most of the fuss is that Sheriff David Clarke is after her seat. They are trying to smear him already. Nothing new about that.

      But although Clarke as a bit more class than Trump, make that a lot more, he is very outspoken. They go after him at their own peril.

      • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

        I would pay GOOD MONEY to watch them go after Sheriff Clarke – and to see his responses. He does not seem to brook much nonsense, and I cannot imagine him holding his tongue against smears. Nor should he.

        God, I hope he takes her seat!

        • kenoshamarge Says:

          You aren’t the only one! It will depend on whether enough people come out to vote or not. It takes the whole state to defeat the liberal enclaves of Milwaukee and Madison. The GOP vote is spread thought the state and it takes all of them to overcome the numbers in those two areas. And they should go for Clarke. He’s very popular with Republicans.

          Although it may make some difference that he’s from Milwaukee and is black. That may pull some of the black vote away from her. Either way she had best not get too in his face – he’s not like a Republican – he fights back.

          • Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

            Oh, wouldn’t that be something? Can you just IMAGINE him in the Senate when people like Schumer start spewing their leftist talking points?? I swear, I would seriously pay to watch that, and buy popcorn for everyone. 😀

  7. Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

    With so many actors out there screaming and yelling, or like Sarah Silverman, calling for the overthrow of the government, it is refreshing to have someone like Matthew McConaughey speak out:

  8. Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

    DAMMIT – that didn’t last long. Grrrrr:

  9. Rabble Rouser Reverend Amy Says:

    This is an excellent piece on the frustration of those who came here legally, or who adopted internationally, have with those who just want to waltz in and the liberal elite who defend that:

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