Betsy DeVos Confirmed: Finally an evolution beyond the teacher’s unions

What’s better than the great Superbowl from last Sunday night, or that Trump won the presidency—or even a new Star Wars movie?  It was and is the confirmation by the senate of Betsy DeVos for the Secretary of Education under the Trump Administration.  You might recall dear reader that I started this blog site as a means to promote School Choice and other reforms to public education and in a lot of ways, Betsy DeVos is the end game goal for me.  Having her in place to take on the monopoly of the powerful teacher unions is a dream come true—so I am ecstatic.  And in a lot of ways, only someone like Betsy could even think of doing this job because she’s a billionaire herself and can afford to be ostracized from the public for the next decade, because that’s what’s going to happen as she implements reforms to public education.  But as my personal story shows, there is light at the end of the story and Betsy will come out of it fine even as the world around her crumbles down.  It’s the only way that a job of this magnitude can get done.  Here is just a preview from Fox News of the nature of the protests that will come from the teacher’s unions.

‏If her critics are to be believed, Education Secretary nominee Betsy DeVos is a danger to special education, could end public schooling and has plans that “will kill children.”

Think that’s hyperbole?

“That is not an exaggeration in any sense,” tweeted Vanity Fair film critic Richard Lawson, who fired off a series of tweets early Tuesday arguing that DeVos’ confirmation would be deadly for “queer and other at-risk kids” – because of DeVos’ support for voucher programs.

“Voucher programs will create systems in which queer kids have literally zero access to support apparatus bc they are in religious schools,” Lawson wrote. “Meaning voucher programs will lead to more suicides. Betsy DeVos’s policies will kill children.”

DeVos’ nomination is set for a noon vote in the Senate on Tuesday, and, despite the defection of two Republican senators, she’s likely to be confirmed – though by the slimmest of margins. Vice President Mike Pence is expected to cast the deciding vote in his role as president of the Senate.

But critics like Lawson have gone into overdrive in a bid to convince just one more senator to oppose the school choice advocate.

Democrats kept the Senate in session all night into Tuesday morning protesting the DeVos nomination on the floor. “The president’s decision to ask Betsy DeVos to run the Department of Education should offend every single American man, woman, and child who has benefitted from the public education system in this country,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement.

Schumer’s warning paled in comparison to some of the vitriol aimed at DeVos from the media.

“Betsy DeVos is the worst person to be around schoolbooks since Lee Harvey Oswald,” Bill Maher snarked on his “Real Time” show.

The New Republic urged readers not to “normalize Betsy Devos. Her views are simply much too dangerous.”

The things that excite me most in life are books and ideas—especially outside the box type stuff. When I step into a bookstore or anywhere there are large collections of books I see the various ideas and opinions of the human race hard at work.  I also like children because when they are little they don’t know that things are impossible—so they learn more from age 1 to 5 than they will at any point in their lives, and that is exciting to me.  It always has been.  I like smart people, I personally enjoy using extensive vocabulary when speaking because being smart is fun, and is a privilege specific to the human condition.  So education is probably more important to me than it is most people.   But my idea of education is far different than the typical teacher union member or politician who takes money from their mobster-like organization.

When I was in school I hated it. I hated every day of every hour of it.  I never liked one single year of it and was happier than I should have been to graduate from high school.  I went to college because people told me I should—but I hated it worse.  I felt the people around me were stupid and were not aiming to improve themselves in any regard—and that was the culture established by all public education from top to bottom under the flag of the Department of Education.  Much of what I have learned in life I did on my own by reading books and pushing life to its limits outside of school.  If I didn’t have to go to a public school, I would have likely done much more than I have which for a lot of people is incomprehensible.  But that was my experience.

When it came time to send my own kids to school I didn’t like it. In fact, you could say I hated it.  But I worked with my kids and taught them a lot.  I’d say they learned more from me than they did all their teachers and friends in public school because I made our time together work and filled them with ideas that I had learned from the many books I had read and thought about.  It was never that I hated education—it was that our American style of public education didn’t come anywhere near where I thought it should and it was making bright eyed nice kids into blithering idiots with each year of public school.  My kids were homeschooled for a while and actually graduated a year early.  Each of them spent their 18th years in Europe while their classmates were still planning how to get drunk on their graduation nights.  Both of my children today are exceptional in their abilities and headed toward very good things—one is a professional photographer that many think is the best in Cincinnati—the other is a magnificent illustrator on her way to many open doors which are now in sight and I can say that there wasn’t anything that public school or college did to make them that way.  It was a combination of great parenting and their own natural inclinations that were not turned off by their mom and me.  In fact we nurtured that aspect of their character and now that they are adults—it’s obvious, they are great people in every way.

So it came as some surprise that having raised two exceptional kids into adulthood that I offered my wisdom to other kids who I wanted to help grow up and become better adults. Because as I looked around there were so many stupid people walking around miserable that I felt compelled to help them.  That led me to challenge the public education system which of course unleashed the teacher’s union against me—which in 2010 EVERYONE was afraid of.  Having a history of taking on bullies I decided to fight back at them and I committed myself to that task and have been doing that for a number of years now.  My thinking was that my reputation was such that I didn’t have to worry about the teacher’s union harming me.  When they tried to attack me for being a back-woods hillbilly—the image didn’t stick because people who knew me understood that certainly wasn’t the kind of person I was.  And when they tried violence—well that didn’t work either—because after all—I’m a master bullwhip handler.  What were a bunch of teacher union radicals going to do to me?  So I had them beat both ways and have spent the last 7 years taking them on—sometime quite spectacularly.  I did many of the things Donald Trump is doing now well before anybody had seen it before—and the tactics worked—as I always expected them to.

I remember a trip I took to Disney World in 2013 when WLW called me after Sharon Poe had just been on the air talking about education problems. I was about to go into Hollywood Studios and was speaking to the producer in the parking lot over the phone.  The teacher’s union for Mason and Lakota had been getting bold again and Sharon had warned them over WLW’s airwaves that Rich Hoffman would have something to say about it—which went out to over 500,000 people that morning.  WLW called me for a comment for which I told their news department that if they (teacher’s unions) stuck their heads above the sand that I would crush them in Butler County.  If they tried to strike, I’d come after them.  If they didn’t stop pushing school levies to justify their step increases, I’d come after them.  If they did anything to create a new levy in Lakota or Mason, I’d work with Sharon Poe to fight them to the point they could never show themselves.  That’s when the producer asked me if I wanted to come on and talk about it on the radio and I told them it was up to them.  But that I would likely cause them to hit the mute button a lot discussing how those fat assed bitches who were simply latté sipping prostitutes with diamond rings the size of car tires and asses to match were bringing great harm to the future of our civilization by destroying our children’s minds in exchange for a fat communist inspired paycheck and that they were detrimental to the public education process.  I was about to go into Disney World after all with my family and I had said all this stuff before.  But WLW wondered if I had mellowed out a bit over the years so they could reignite the issue.  They declined to put me on which I was fine with.  I felt I had said everything I could on the issue and wasn’t in the mood to play nice with the school boards and the unions that controlled them.  I knew that only through elections could we hope to see the kind of next step corrections that were needed.

A few years later Trump threw his hat in the ring so I jumped on board because he was the next step I had been looking for—someone who would take all these regional fights we had been having to the next level. Trump of course won then did just what many of use reformers expected him to do—nominate someone like Bessy DeVos to the Department of Education.  She was the end game I had been fighting for and now we can look forward to seeing all the school reforms that people like me had been striving for in an effort to save children from the stupidity of a public education system ran by the teacher unions.

All the things that the teacher unions are now saying about Betsy DeVos are things I have personally heard about myself—but we now know how to break their backs. I’ve done it and the blueprint is now there for everyone to study within these pages—which many in power today have read and modified to their own effect.  I couldn’t be more proud to see Mike Pence cast that deciding vote in the Senate for Betsy DeVos.  It is the greatest news I’ve heard in a long time and gives me great hope that future children—such as my own grandchildren, might finally get a public education experience that does not seek to make them into stupid people—but into thoughtful adults who can carry our civilization into new heights of expectation.  Now good things can finally happen in public education and the unions won’t be able to stop it—and that is what’s good for kids.  Children have a better chance of playing in the street of a freeway in Los Angeles and surviving unharmed than they do in surviving public education with intact minds if the parents at home are not engaged.  And now, we can have a little hope that the danger of that reality will change for children once and for all.

Rich Hoffman


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