Off With Her Head!

bird-of-paradise

“Oh you can’t help that”, said the cat, “we’re all mad here.”

Today I thought a lot about the beautiful Bird of Paradise flowers that are flocking like mad in my backyard.  Why, you ask?  As a distraction from my Facebook feed, which is blowing up right now over a 59 year old grandmother from Michigan who just got confirmed as the new Secretary of Education.  Once the virtual mob had moved on from tar and feathers and started calling for the guillotine, I’d had enough, so off to the backyard I went.  Ahhhhh, such pretty flowers, they really do look an awful lot like birds too.

So who is this person and what’s all the kerfuffle about? Her name is Betsy DeVos and apparently she has some scary ideas about giving low income parents more control over which schools their children can attend.  DeVos has been involved in education reform for decades and in 2010 created an organization called the American Federation for Children that backs politicians on board with expanding voucher programs and charter schools.

Outraged yet?  Well get this, she also feels that public schools have become an ineffective monopoly, where too many decisions get made for the benefit of the unions that control them over the needs of students.  These schools of course end up in the poorest of neighborhoods, trapping families in a rotten system that has little incentive to change.

Ms. Devos thinks offering parents a choice by way of private school vouchers gives kids a shot at a good education, while at the same time bringing much needed competition to failing schools who are forced to reform.  In her own words, “Above all, I believe every child, no matter their ZIP code or their parents’ jobs, deserves access to a quality education.”

I know, crazy talk, right? Where’s my pitchfork?

Yes, I’ve read the negative reports on Betsy DeVos’s record of charter school and voucher programs in Michigan and these concerns are not invalid, but nothing I’ve seen provides justification for the devil horns and tail she’s being smeared with.

There are  positive reports  too that show marked improvement from her efforts, which also should not be overlooked.  And here is a more balanced view; long, but nuanced and  it provides a detailed look in to Ms. Davos and the complex issues that ensconce education reform.

I’ve been reading off and on about Betsy Devos for the past 20 years and quite honestly I’ve always been impressed.  She has a strong passion for helping kids and a hard core dedication for fighting the bloated, change resistant  bureaucracy blob that is our education system. She believes in private sector efforts though and a more decentralized process that empowers families instead of the federal government and unions.

Oh the horror, it’s just shocking, because everyone knows what public education in America needs is more bureaucracy, right?

Anyway, back to the garden I go…..just love those flowers!

 

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32 Responses to Off With Her Head!

  1. Canuck Carl says:

    This is the 1st time I have heard of the name Betsy DeVos up here in Canada. A very interesting read Tricia that had me intrigued that much to open your 3 links you provided. The 1st one from The Washington Post I have noticed that in whatever are topic it may be there will be “worst case scenarios”. when there is change like they have listed in this article. People just do not like change. Interesting reading about the statistics and learning she was a Christian in the 2nd article and learning that it is the unions leading the charge against her. And in the final article learning more about her and her faith and what she has been doing. Interesting she could just live life easy with her wealth and she believes in this strong enough to take this role.

    I think she would be great . To give that better opportunity to kids who might not have it. Canada could use someone like her as well. Thanks for sharing!

    Your Bird of Paradise flowers indeed do look like birds. Absolutely beautiful! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tricia says:

      Hi Carl, I appreciate your thoughtful comment and the fact that you actually read the web links! I agree, change is hard and when you are being fed a daily appetite of catastrophe and doom (in this case the vested interests doing this to the people), it can be easy to succumb to fear and demonize the target instead of looking at things rationally. We desperately need change here too!

      Have a wonderful day Carl. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You have flowers?? I have snow! I can’t grow birds of paradise here, so I have tiger lilies and hummingbirds. It’s the strangest thing, but here in the middle of winter we still have so, so many hummingbirds.

    I think she’s a great choice and the opposition to her is pure politics.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Tricia says:

      Tiger lilies and hummingbirds sound wonderful. Snow though? Not so much! 😉

      Yup, pure politics is right. The sad thing though is so many very nice and rational people are falling for it and being absolutely played by the unions and other vested interests. Should be interesting to see what happens going forward.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wally Fry says:

    Beautiful flowers. I don’t know enough about all this to really say a lot.

    I do know kids in our school district, a “good” one, cant write a decent paragraph down in a way that makes sense.

    I know they have so many external guidelines, programs, and requirements that they don’t teach jack..just try to meet requirements so they get money, from the Feds usually.

    I know most things get messed up when the government gets involved.

    Pretty flowers, though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tricia says:

      Thanks Wally! It’s always nice to have something pretty to look at when things get crazy. You’ve hit the nail on the head with your observation on the kids you know and how too many “guidelines” are gumming up the works. There are a lot good teachers and schools out there, but also a fair amount that are not and we are just failing the kids stuck in those places. Things need a giant shake up.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. We are living in a time where there is ONLY ONE way to achieve GOOD in this world. It falls under the title DEMOCRAT or REPUBLICAN. People have seemed to lose their minds. To believe achieving GOOD can ONLY BE ACCOMPLISHED from ONE PERSPECTIVE is both naive and ludicrous. Until people are willing to remove HATE from their hearts, society will continue to get in its own way preventing POSITIVE change and progress. People are stuck anticipating the WORST without giving any plan of action a chance. Our political system is promulgating this attitude of demise and hatred.

    We, as a society, would be much better off mapquesting directions to your house to share the joy and beauty of your Birds of Paradise flowers. It might bring SANITY back to many lost souls! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. ColorStorm says:

    Ha, love your title T! One would think that the good lady is aka Mrs. Antichrist in certain circles. Geez. The vitriol tossed her way is probably enough proof that she is a half-way decent person. lol

    But you cleverly changed the subject……….back to the flowers…………sweet.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Dennis says:

    Very pretty flowers Tricia. Cactus are pretty too! It’s that “eye of the beholder” thing I reckon.

    The dems have had control of the education system for decades and will fight reform tooth and nail, in the courts and in the streets all the while proclaiming they want to better the school experience for the children. All they want is the union vote and more taxpayer money spent so the union sheep will get raises and continue to vote for the failed system.

    This is the same tactic they use to keep the black vote. We’re doomed to stay locked in this cycle unless the dems are defeated at every turn and there are not enough of them to make trouble.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tricia says:

      Thanks Dennis! And yes, cactus can be pretty too but I have none to enjoy in my yard. Guess I will have to make a visit to your place.

      And you are so right about Democratic control of education and while I know many are sincere in their desire to help kids, they are so steeped in blindness in regards to their union allegiance and the financial life support this brings at the expense of rational policies. Of course many are not sincere at all and will only do what’s best for their pocketbooks. I can’t for the life of me understand why Bernie Sanders’s supporters don’t see this. If there is one thing honest people on the both the left and right should be able to come together on, it’s the corruption of pay to play politics which the unions of this country have made an art form of. Strangely they are always left out of Democratic discussions on reform.

      Like

  7. Congrats on the game Tricia—the better team did win…
    and your flowers are gorgeous—all we’ve got is grey with a few tulip trees gearing for an entrance…
    and you are so right—seems every nominee is “an off with their heads” sort of nominee—and as a retired educator, I think she will do a fine job…better then what we’ve had what with all this madness over testing, test scores, federal funding verses state or local funding, the racing to the top, new math, old math, keep the arts, ditch the arts, STEM offerings, IB, AP… yada, yada, yada—none of which has worked very well for very long or has worked and got dumped any way… hence the constant quest for the magic bullet… US kids continue to drop globally when compared to other industrialized nations….DeVos certainly can’t hurt….

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tricia says:

      Thanks Julie, like I said the Falcons played well, for at least 2 if not 3 quarters! 😉 Come spring time your tulips will be glorious and I’m sure you’ll be posting gorgeous photos of them.

      I really appreciate your input as a former teacher. I’ve heard similar views from others who feel their voices are being drowned out by all the hysterics. Worse, some of them are afraid to show any kind of support towards DeVos for fear of backlash. That is troubling to me and our kids deserve SO much better than what they are getting now.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Tricia we’ve always had that bipartisan bickering as both sides have always acted like they were playing chess, jockeying, albeit rather civilly and politely, for position– now that’s all been thrown out the window — I think that if mother Teresa had been nominated by trump to serve in his cabinet.. all Dems would block her nomination just to spite president trump despite her perfect record to serve– so now we have a portion of the leading body of this country working blatantly against the very well being of those they’ve been voted into office to serve– sigh

        Liked by 1 person

        • Tricia says:

          I know Julie, big sigh from over here too. Funny how “obstructionism” is all the rage now among Democrats and being viewed as patriotic by them and the MSM, but when Republicans were doing it against Obama it was to deliberately harm the country so he’d look bad. Double sigh….

          Liked by 1 person

  8. Education reform was a big deal 20 years ago when computing, networks and Internet were just getting started.

    There was so much hope and optimism as educators, artists, computer programmers and engineers began teaming up to lead American education into an unimaginably bright future.

    Less than five years later the public education establishment had us all squashed like bugs on a windshield.

    Hopefully DeVos can free our American Republic from the tyranny of the public education establishment.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Citizen Tom says:

    @Tricia

    Great post!

    Technically the Federal Government does not have much of a role in education. Certainly, we don’t need a Department of Education. The headache is the Democrats will fight tooth and nail to keep it. So we need a decent Education Secretary to minimize the damage. DeVos working for school choice looks to me like a good choice.

    Don’t really much care for charter schools, but I think vouchers are a good idea.

    The Washington Post does hatchet jobs. Their article does not compare apples with apples. Like it or not, the quality of an intercity school, whether charter or public, is not likely to be as good as a school in the suburbs.

    Parents have to choose from the choices available to them. If they are choosing charter schools, it is because they prefer them to the public schools in their area.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tricia says:

      Thanks Tom, good comment. And I agree the Dept of Education is not needed (we got along fine without it for years) and I think DeVos is a good pick to tame it down so it actually works towards decentralizing things back to the states IF she is given the chance to. Big IF there. No one is every going to get rid of it all together, not in our lifetimes, but drastic reform is needed and only true market forces and real school choice can make that happen.

      I often wonder how the Internet can help with this. Probably a lot if the buggy era rules in place that govern education can be brought in to the 21st century.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Citizen Tom says:

        @Tricia

        I see the Internet as just another kind of tool. Tools can be used for good or ill.

        Thus far our government has not had the adaptability to use the Internet very effectively against us, but it is trying. That was part of the reason for putting our medical records online; it gives government ready access.

        If someone is going to control you, it has to know you and where you can be found. That is why gathering information about us and our shopping habits has become a big business. Such data gathering can be a nuisance when private companies acquire lots of data about us. We can only speculate what crony capitalists — working with government partners — would do with such databases.

        Our best hope for self defense is a decentralized society that allows us to make our own educational choices and purchase software tools to defend ourselves.

        Is the problem posed by the Internet actually something entirely new? No. Consider one of the ways they kept slaves docile in the Old South. The slave states prohibited the education of slaves (blacks in particular). The Democratic Party continues that tradition today with intercity public schools which are notorious for the poor quality of the education they provide. That’s one reason why most blacks vote for Democrats. They are too ignorant and too well mentally conditioned to realize the extent to which they are voting against their own best interests.

        So Barack Obama was black? What good did he do for the people who live in poor neighborhoods? Obama left office in a more prosperous state, and he aided his cronies, but he left the country far more weak and much poorer. Because they have been taught to refuse any alternative, don’t poor blacks suffer from incompetent leadership more than anyone else?

        We must never forget that the moral character of that people who lead us is no better than our own. If we can be tempted by great power and wealth, then so can they. If we care more about our own children than the children of the “lower classes” (someone is always beneath us in the pecking order), then so do they. If to maintain what we have we could become more concerned about the indoctrination of the lower classes than their education, then so could they.

        In fact, power is more likely to tempt our leaders than it is the rest of us. Have they not already shown how much work they are willing to do to obtain it?

        Liked by 1 person

        • Tricia says:

          Very good points on the moral character of our leaders being reflective of us. That was something I pondered a lot over this past election due to the nominees we ended up with. This definitely bleeds in to every area of government and whether we voted for corrupt people or not, we are still responsible. I don’t think it’s ignorance either that causes people to vote against their self interest but brain washing, i.e., social conditioning like you said. Funny though that the the Left says the exact same thing about the Right.

          I think the Internet can be a very effective tool in allowing people more control over their education choices and it’s already happening, albeit slowly, in higher education where students can take on line courses from anywhere in the world that count towards degrees. I believe this will revolutionize the industry which K-12 will be a part of but the regs governing such things need to be brought up to speed.

          Liked by 1 person

  10. David Ross says:

    The current education system is a mere puppet show in Plato’s cave. Our educators, while having good intentions, are feeding the kids a lie along with the main stream media and it is doing more harm than good. There is an agenda to keep the masses stupid and our education system is doing a great job at this! Thus, it needs to be totally dismantled in my opinion especially with the teachers unions and media trying to block anything worthwhile. The lies in the media give me hope that she will be good. Certainly, we do not need anymore highly educated idiots as we have plenty of them!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Pingback: The Weekly Headlines – My Daily Musing

  12. Great post, Tricia.
    Like you, I was shocked by the hatred of this woman on Facebook. I have several Facebook friends in public education and I saw a side of them I didn’t know existed, kind of scary. I stay far away from getting in to those kind of political discussions on Facebook. The opposition to this woman was surprising from a political standpoint because Black Americans are overwhelmingly Democrat, but school choice is something that the majority of Blacks support. But, the truth is, it’s primarily the teacher unions organizing the national outrage – they don’t want competition.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tricia says:

      Well thanks Bill for coming by and the compliment. You are so right about seeing a different side of your friends over this. It was truly just some ugly stuff that I’m sure will only get worse .

      Like you said, a lot of blacks benefit from and support school choice, but the unions don’t care and they buy off politicians to let the continue on with their reindeer games.

      I don’t blame you from staying away from these contentious topics on FB, it’s a horrible arena to discuss this things. Stupid me though I feel compelled to speak out at times, if only to let the people doing all the hollering know that others think differently. Also to let others who share my beliefs that it is ok to be vocal on them.

      I hope things are will with you Bill, I will have to jump over to your site to see what’s going on over there. God bless.

      Liked by 1 person

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