Why the US needs Betsy DeVos

Betsy DeVos's nomination to become secretary of education was a squeaker.  It made history by being the first confirmation to be put through because of a tie-breaking vote in the U.S. Senate by the vice president.

The closeness of the vote shows the importance of DeVos's selection.  We have a government running out of control in terms of its attempt, beginning with the No Child Left Behind Act in the Bush administration and continuing with national standards falsely labeled under Common Core as "State Standards" (CCSS), to do an unprecedented end run around the Tenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which gives control of education to the states.  Even before No Child Left Behind, we had Outcomes Based Education, where the Department of Education "incentivized" methodologies and goals instead of leaving those determinations wholly to the states.

Mrs. DeVos' life's work reveals a different strategy – not more government involvement in education, but less.  New competing centers for educational growth will incentivize educational improvement, not more dollars and more government (especially federal) programs and so-called strategies.  Federalism in the area of education with its restored respect for state authority is the key to change and progress.

This trend of Federal control over education with its attendant uniformity was perceived as early as 1926 by the late Princeton Professor J. Gresham Machen who stated at that time "The department of education… is to promote uniformity in education. That uniformity in education under central control it seems to me is the worst fate into which any country can fall."

The overreach in education is part of an overreach of the "administrative state," which the voters have pushed back against in our latest presidential election.  The administrative state means too many regulations undermining economic growth; too many bureaucrats calling the shots from Washington, D.C.; limitations on the individual's sense of self-worth because of collectivist P.C. thinking enunciated from the halls of government; and, in the schools, a regular dumbing down of the students and increasingly lockstep agenda of learning from coast to coast.  This dumbing down has been orchestrated by the federal government under the guise of making us more competitive with other countries educationally.

The Department of Education and politically correct mantra is: we need higher standards.  We need more aggressive studies in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), and we need higher levels of literacy and concomitant numeracy.  But despite unprecedented investments of per pupil expenditures, the rates of achievement have stagnated in recent years. 

Teachers in the public schools can be heard sighing and moaning as the latest "strategies" are foisted on them, new benchmarks for evaluating them are put in place, and more staff development (sic) is demanded.  Mrs. DeVos's philosophy will actually provide some relief to the beleaguered teachers in the public schools as well as introduce innovation through expanded charter schools and other private school options.  The teachers in our public schools (which certainly will not be dismantled) will again be perceived as the nexus for educational growth, and not educational strategies imposed upon those teachers by supposedly omniscient education managers who control "the system."

Betsy DeVos's nomination to become secretary of education was a squeaker.  It made history by being the first confirmation to be put through because of a tie-breaking vote in the U.S. Senate by the vice president.

The closeness of the vote shows the importance of DeVos's selection.  We have a government running out of control in terms of its attempt, beginning with the No Child Left Behind Act in the Bush administration and continuing with national standards falsely labeled under Common Core as "State Standards" (CCSS), to do an unprecedented end run around the Tenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which gives control of education to the states.  Even before No Child Left Behind, we had Outcomes Based Education, where the Department of Education "incentivized" methodologies and goals instead of leaving those determinations wholly to the states.

Mrs. DeVos' life's work reveals a different strategy – not more government involvement in education, but less.  New competing centers for educational growth will incentivize educational improvement, not more dollars and more government (especially federal) programs and so-called strategies.  Federalism in the area of education with its restored respect for state authority is the key to change and progress.

This trend of Federal control over education with its attendant uniformity was perceived as early as 1926 by the late Princeton Professor J. Gresham Machen who stated at that time "The department of education… is to promote uniformity in education. That uniformity in education under central control it seems to me is the worst fate into which any country can fall."

The overreach in education is part of an overreach of the "administrative state," which the voters have pushed back against in our latest presidential election.  The administrative state means too many regulations undermining economic growth; too many bureaucrats calling the shots from Washington, D.C.; limitations on the individual's sense of self-worth because of collectivist P.C. thinking enunciated from the halls of government; and, in the schools, a regular dumbing down of the students and increasingly lockstep agenda of learning from coast to coast.  This dumbing down has been orchestrated by the federal government under the guise of making us more competitive with other countries educationally.

The Department of Education and politically correct mantra is: we need higher standards.  We need more aggressive studies in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), and we need higher levels of literacy and concomitant numeracy.  But despite unprecedented investments of per pupil expenditures, the rates of achievement have stagnated in recent years. 

Teachers in the public schools can be heard sighing and moaning as the latest "strategies" are foisted on them, new benchmarks for evaluating them are put in place, and more staff development (sic) is demanded.  Mrs. DeVos's philosophy will actually provide some relief to the beleaguered teachers in the public schools as well as introduce innovation through expanded charter schools and other private school options.  The teachers in our public schools (which certainly will not be dismantled) will again be perceived as the nexus for educational growth, and not educational strategies imposed upon those teachers by supposedly omniscient education managers who control "the system."

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