Ok, I’m back. The semester is coming to a close, and I just have to finish up my grades, attend a few meetings, and answer about a dozen e-mails from students who didn’t realize they actually had to turn their assignments in to earn a passing grade. What did I miss?
What’s all this bitchin’ and moanin’ over the POTUS-elect’s cabinet choices? (The POTUS. The Donald. The Ohio State, hmmm…)
Well, let’s take a look what we’ve got so far:
- an ExxonMobil chairman who’s been very cozy with Russian leaders and would like nothing better than for everyone to just forget we ever heard the word “Ukraine” (The Ukraine?),
- Looks like The CIA’s gonna have a director who’s into S&M.
- There’ll be 2 science skeptics in charge of protecting our natural resources and environment (Facts are soooo yesterday).
- Next, we have two medical doctors including a token Black guy who relied on food stamps and other programs to help him stay alive during hard times but now wants to end those programs for anyone who might be following him up the ladder.
- A few billionaires including 2 Wall Street high rollers who will be in charge of guarding America’s finances from the shenanigans of, well… Wall Street high rollers.
- 2 outspoken advocates of white nationalism, including one who has publicly used the ‘N’ word, and called an attorney “Boy,” and jokingly affirms his affinity with the KKK.
- And then another former Wall Streeter turned voice of the alt. right, who has openly denigrated, well… just about anyone who wasn’t born a white, straight male (and stayed that way).
- Finally a female: the daughter of a shipping magnate who, therefore, knows a lot about transportation (oh, and coincidentally, she just happens to be married to the senate majority leader.
- So how’s that drainy, swampy thing workin’ out for everybody?
But, hey… we’re here to talk education. I hear people are upset with Betsy DeVos, The Donald’s choice for Secretary of Education, but compared to the above, she’s just…hmmmm… what we’d expect. No, she never attended a public school, nor sent her children to public schools. (The public can be sooo pedestrian.) No, she doesn’t have any teaching experience nor has she ever enrolled in an education course that I know of. But Betsy DeVos is our girl. (No worries: It’s ok to talk like that again in America. Go ahead… give it a try. “I guess you say, what can make me feel this way…”)
Now, before we have a panic attack, let’s take a breath and see how this could play out with our girl and The Donald at the helm (This would be so much more fun if her name were “Marlo”). First, let’s take a look at The Donald’s vision (which is now The Betsy’s vision) as laid out on his website, DonaldJTrump.com:
DONALD J. TRUMP’S [Education] VISION
- “Immediately add an additional federal investment of $20 billion towards school choice. This will be done by reprioritizing existing federal dollars.”
Now what’s so bad about that? Who are we to deny parents the choice of where their beloved sons and daughters should attend school? Let’s face it, many kids are forced to go to a school that we white folks wouldn’t be caught dead in… because we just might be. Haven’t you all read Alex Kotlowitz? Or Alice Goffman? How about Sudhir Venkatesh? (Don’t feel bad; neither has The POTUS-elect.) And who’s against “reprioritizing existing federal dollars” more than The Donald himself? Take that Boeing! Take that Lockheed Martin! Take that United Technologies!
- “Give states the option to allow these funds to follow the student to the public or private school they attend.”
See? Ok, The Betsy’s agenda in her home state of Michigan has been to funnel property tax money to religious schools by stuffing kids’ pockets full of vouchers and leaving them on some doorstep, but The Donald’s page says it’s not all about financing private schools or religious schools or private charter schools. It says right here that he’d be perfectly ok with stuffing kids’ pockets full of vouchers for public schools!!! Public-Private, Private-Public, no difference. See? And you were worried…. Geesh!
- “Establish the national goal of providing school choice to every one of the 11 million school aged children living in poverty.”
Wow! 11 million??? That’s like every man, woman, and child in the whole state of Ohio: Columbus, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dayton, Toledo, Akron, and even throw in that little town up near Canton with the radar trap. Well, actually, that number might be a bit low by about 4 million, but, again, let’s not let facts get in the way. It means that about 1 in every 4 American school children can start singing, “The sun will come out tomorrow, bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow, there’ll be sun…” They can finally have access to the one thing that’s been missing in their lives: a great education. You won’t believe how great it’s going to be! Don’t take our word for it. Trust The Donald and our girl Betsy!
- “If the states collectively contribute another $110 billion of their own education budgets toward school choice, on top of the $20 billion in federal dollars, that could provide $12,000 in school choice funds to every K-12 student who today lives in poverty.”
C’mon Betsy! Jump on this! “… of their own education budgets” does not mean additional money; it just means “reprioritizing” the current money. When we send all the urban voucher kids to new schools of their choosing, we can just close down the old city schools and save. They can be sold as “lofts” to nice folks from the suburbs who are tired of spending all their time commuting. Or they can be torn down to make room for luxury high-rises, which are kinda like the projects, only nicer. Pretty soon, there’ll be coffee shops, art galleries, Trader Joe’s, and concerts-in-the-park. This keeps looking better and better. Right?
Ok, let’s play this out in real time. Let me cite Hamilton High School in downtown Milwaukee. I hate to say this Hamilton people, but your school sucks! I know it’s not the only one, but holy cow! I won’t bring up the facts because you know how we feel about facts, but at $11, 000+ a year for each student, you should get a refund. Seriously. Now, the good news is that about 90% of you students at Hamilton are exactly who The Donald is talkin’ about. And trust me, he’s lookin’ out for you. You might not realize it with all your entitlements and Title 1 money, but you are poor! So, he and Betsy want you to have a choice. What’s it gonna be?
Allow me to make a suggestion.
I Googled up a map of Wisconsin’s Milwaukee County and you won’t believe your good fortune. Just down the road a ways is a nice place called New Berlin. You’re not going to believe how much better the schools are there. Trust me. They’ve got two high schools, both with high test scores, very few behavioral problems, super-high graduation rates, and students who virtually all go to college. What’s even greater about this is that they lack the very thing only you can provide when you show up on your very first day: DIVERSITY. You’re Hispanic, Black, poor, and they’re… not. How cool is that?! Come January 20th, catch a bus and just ease on down the road. They’ll be waiting for you! (Whoa! Did anyone else just experience a little déjà vu? Shake it off, shake it off, shake it off…)
Let me close here by laying out what everyone has been feeling in their hearts. Choice can happen anywhere in the country where poor, marginalized kids of color languish in schools with bad teachers. If there are no successful, wealthy public schools in the vicinity, a mediocre for-profit, or independent charter will do. Or how about a private Christian military academy? Look for the “Right to Carry” logo at the main entrance. A great education is just waiting to happen. All it takes is a voucher and a dream.
Betsy, I think I just handed you the first sure thing you’ve had since you married into that perfect pyramid scheme masked as a cleaning products company. And don’t worry: Seeing that it didn’t require any fancy education or intelligence on my part, it probably won’t on yours either. God and The Donald surely have a plan for you as Secretary of Education. What could possibly go wrong?
(And a word of caution for you folks out there in the Blogoshere: I know many of you reading this are still feeling bad for losing that election thingy, which was a historical landslide. Even if you count the millions who voted illegally, you still lost bigley. If you fill up my comment box with your stupid facts, The Bets and I and the you-know-who, will Tweet you down so bad tomorrow at 3am, you’re not gonna believe how bad. Just sayin’…)