So yes, I’m feeling pretty thankful, do you remember dear reader when I was at the center of this I-Team Report for Channel 9 seen below? Auh, the memories. I had spent a lot of political capital and personal reputation to challenge that premise of runaway costs in public education especially at the top, with the superintendents who were making more than the governors of most states. I was taking them on as phony CEOs and the heat was on. The Cincinnati media had a story they could get their teeth into. Shannon Jones and Governor Kasich trying to ride the ground swell of opposition generated by these news stories signed Senate Bill 5 which provoked the powerful Ohio public sector unions to riot in the streets and the long hidden con game that is public education was exposed. Yet there wasn’t really a solution, only the identification of the problem. Of course the solution I supported seemed like a far-flung one, School Choice was presented only nobody at the level of The Department of Education would dare adopt such a controversial innovation in the field of public education. Major changes at the very top were needed to brings costs down while increasing the results and the unions had all the politicians scared to even try leaving us all to fight it out on the ground without an end in sight.
I supported Donald Trump for president for many reasons, but the top of my list was the end game of public education innovation which I had been advocating for during many years, including that I-Team report which was quite alarming to regular people who otherwise didn’t know. When people wonder why I do a show from time to time with Matt Clark in Ann Arbor, Michigan they have to understand that I have been doing more than just looking for attention on the radio. I can get attention and make money in many different ways—so my interest in doing radio and television has been for one primary reason, to inspire political addicts and those able to take the necessary action to position themselves for the needed changes. In Cincinnati, we had things covered very well but we needed other regions also and Michigan was high on my list for tactical reasons. Casual people fascinated with mainstream topics don’t normally listen to a program on WAAM radio, but those who run Republican Party activity in Michigan often do and one voice I hoped to reach directly or indirectly in that rust belt state was the Chairman of the Republican Party Betsy DeVos and wife to billionaire Dick DeVos—who were sympathetic to public education changes—such as School Choice. I had heard that several years after that I-Team report into Ohio school superintendent pay that Betsy was warming up to School Choice as a public education option in 2013. That stood the hairs up on the back of my neck—and she wasn’t the only one warming up to the idea—now if only we could somehow get those types of people into a position that mattered. Obama certainly wasn’t open to the idea—so a major change would be needed at the top to free up the ground forces ready to implement innovation and competitive forces in public education because that was the only hope of an end game started by all of us public education reformers.
The day before Thanksgiving 2016 newly elected President Donald Trump announced that Betsy DeVos was going to be his pick for Secretary of Education and the teacher union of the NEA said this:
“Every day, educators use their voice to advocate for every student to reach his or her full potential. We believe that the chance for the success of a child should not depend on winning a charter lottery, being accepted by a private school, or living in the right ZIP code. We have, and will continue, to fight for all students to have a great public school in their community and the opportunity to succeed no matter their backgrounds or circumstances
“Betsy DeVos has consistently worked against these values, and her efforts over the years have done more to undermine public education than support students. She has lobbied for failed schemes, like vouchers — which take away funding and local control from our public schools — to fund private schools at taxpayers’ expense. These schemes do nothing to help our most-vulnerable students while they ignore or exacerbate glaring opportunity gaps. She has consistently pushed a corporate agenda to privatize, de-professionalize and impose cookie-cutter solutions to public education. By nominating Betsy DeVos, the Trump administration has demonstrated just how out of touch it is with what works best for students, parents, educators and communities.
“The National Education Association advocates for investing in smart strategies that we know help to improve the success of all our students, including creating more opportunities and equity for students, classes small enough for one-on-one attention, modern textbooks and a well-rounded curriculum for every student. We also know that the voices of educators — those who know the names of the students they educate — should always be present at the table when making decisions that impact student success. Educators will continue to focus on raising their voices in support of their students and against any effort by the Trump administration to undermine the educational opportunity of all public school students.”
Otherwise, what the NEA is saying is that they are scared to death and know that changes to their power structure are imminent and with Donald Trump giving unwavering support to someone like Betsy DeVos, who is fearless in her efforts, competition is coming to public education and they will be powerless to stop it. Betsy DeVos was my dream pick for solving this public education nightmare short of completely shutting down the DOE. The scam the unions had worked out with the superintendents of these public schools was that boards of education who were just citizen members elected by the community to manage school affairs hired professional educators to perform the executive action of school management. The unions through manipulative tactics ensured that the flow of money to those superintendents was extraordinary and they fed the egos of those people in an attempt to make them believe they were “real managers” when in fact there were just figureheads protecting the union activity of the teachers. The large wages that the superintendents were making were essentially payoffs by the system to preserve it from reform—which is why the NEA is upset because “they” control politics locally, which must stop if public education is ever going to be fixed. Running for school board isn’t enough—otherwise I would have done it. You must change the priorities of the entire institution decentralizing it and putting an emphasis on competition. That is the only way to break the monopoly the teacher unions have on public schools using children as human shields to prevent action.
Betsy DeVos is the end game I have been wanting to see and thankfully Donald Trump made that decision early. Being independently wealthy, the DeVos family is free from the temptations of corruption since they don’t need money from back room deals meaning Betsy is free to act 100% on her consciousness, which genuinely cares about this public education issue—and she is not the kind of person who will accept failure. A lot of things had to happen to make this possible. I can’t say that while we were doing any of the television and radio broadcasts identifying the vast evils shown in public education that real solutions were more than a pipe dream. But always in the back of my mind was the hope that if enough people learned of this problem, that they’d be inspired to do something about t. And Betsy DeVos is the perfect type of person to take on the challenges presented in public education.
That makes this particular Thanksgiving perhaps the one I am enjoying most. For maybe the first time in my adult life—I am truly thankful that there are solutions to the many things that have held my country imprisoned behind stupidity and a lack of conviction. Betsy DeVos is the kind of pick for Secretary of Education that would alone seal the fate of a successful Donald Trump presidency, and for him its only one thing. But for me, it’s the biggest thing. Happy Thanksgiving!
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