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Old 12-11-2016, 06:59 PM
 
Location: Jonesboro
3,264 posts, read 3,235,156 times
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Patrick Kearney is the facilitator for Teacher Leadership in the Johnston Community School District in suburban Des Moines.
Mr. Kearney's letter was addressed to Betsy DeVos, trump's choice to be our Education Secretary.
The Iowan seems to have hit a nerve with his remarks as the letter has picked up a national following & added to the pushback against the selection of DeVos who is a curious choice given that she lacks a single iota of experience with public school education.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/...=.6592e51bfc1b

Last edited by atler8; 12-11-2016 at 07:01 PM.. Reason: left out a sentence
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Old 12-12-2016, 07:46 AM
 
Location: Keosauqua, Iowa
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Given the state of public education in this country, I'm much more comfortable with having an outsider in that post than someone entrenched in the current failing system.
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Old 12-12-2016, 09:07 AM
 
Location: Des Moines, Iowa
2,401 posts, read 3,664,634 times
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I tend to agree with duster.

That said, education should be a state and local issue, not something directed from bureaucrats in DC. My hope is that liberals/progressives that have continued to push for more and more money and power for DC, will start to wake-up now and see why that is such a concerning proposition. That is too much power!

The Republican platform calls for the elimination of the Department of Education (or at least it has in the past). Maybe that is the plan here (doubtful as I don't think Trump is for smaller gov't anymore than most politicians...but I guess we'll see).

Let's block grants funds for education to the states and let them, along with local school boards, decide what is most needed for their states, cities, and neighborhoods school districts.
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Old 12-12-2016, 10:36 AM
 
157 posts, read 263,347 times
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I agree with Capitolcityguy about this.

The Department of Education should be abolished, and control of public schools should be at the state and local level. As long as the department does exist, it should be about letting parents have as much say as possible when it comes to the education of their children. I believe Trump's pick is a step in the right direction, although it would be better if the department and the position were eliminated entirely. Public Education should have little to no influence based on who is in the White House. My hope is that with Trump as president, the left will finally come to the realization that the President and the Federal Government has too much power, and conservatives will continue to fight that more decisions should be made at the local level. They should be worrying about national security and international relations, not public schools or other state and local issues. Trump's potential ties to Russia should be a bigger concern by lawmakers at the federal level.
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Old 12-12-2016, 03:02 PM
 
Location: Jonesboro
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Default Open letter...

Quote:
Originally Posted by rayman29 View Post
I agree with Capitolcityguy about this.

The Department of Education should be abolished, and control of public schools should be at the state and local level. As long as the department does exist, it should be about letting parents have as much say as possible when it comes to the education of their children. I believe Trump's pick is a step in the right direction, although it would be better if the department and the position were eliminated entirely. Public Education should have little to no influence based on who is in the White House. My hope is that with Trump as president, the left will finally come to the realization that the President and the Federal Government has too much power, and conservatives will continue to fight that more decisions should be made at the local level. They should be worrying about national security and international relations, not public schools or other state and local issues. Trump's potential ties to Russia should be a bigger concern by lawmakers at the federal level.

You make too many assumptions about what constitutes a "leftist" viewpoint on educational issues.
I am definitely left of center on social issues but it was largely a coalition of people such as myself who absolutely believe in local control combined with a large number of conservatives who also believe in local control who combined here in Georgia recently to defeat a top-down power grab by the conservative governor & republican, conservative-dominated state government of Georgia who sought to assume more state control over local school districts & to absorb power away from local school boards & parents.
And I personally know of no left-leaning co-workers or friends here in my circle in greater Atlanta who were in favor of the grab pushed here by the republicans who run our state government.
As for Ms. DeVos, I have been following her political activism for years & she is not an unknown quantity to me. Furthermore, she is a disastrous choice for Secretary of Education for various reasons among which are that she has NO experience in having attended public schools & her own children NEVER attended public schools.
Given some of her past policy advocacy, I would also oppose any effort by her to divert any funding away from public schools that over to private schools of any type.
Furthermore, hers is an IDEOLOGICALLY-based choice that would install a person as secretary who is no friend to public education & who as I pointed out has no practical familiarity with public schooling.
Let's be more sensible & less ideological here as to what is more important regarding education. Is it the installation of a person who is no friend to public school education & to push a rigid, straight jacket type of anti-public school agenda from top on down? That agenda smacks of exactly the opposite of local control which I would hope everyone would favor.
Below find an article from The Detroit Free Press that looks at the state of public education & charter school education in Michigan, Ms. DeVos's home state & one where she and her billionaire family have lobbied heavily & also contributed millions and millions of dollars in order to influence state educational policy.
A particular line in that long article jumped out at me: "The most accurate assessment (in Michigan) is that charter schools have simply created a second, privately-managed failing system."
Unfortunately Ms. DeVos is at best a lobbyist for the private charter school industry & just what our education department doesn't need as it's secretary: A billionaire with no practical public school experience & whose mark on Michigan has been made via her lobbying & spending.

Betsy DeVos and the twilight of public education
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Old 12-12-2016, 04:37 PM
 
157 posts, read 263,347 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atler8 View Post
You make too many assumptions about what constitutes a "leftist" viewpoint on educational issues.
I am definitely left of center on social issues but it was largely a coalition of people such as myself who absolutely believe in local control combined with a large number of conservatives who also believe in local control who combined here in Georgia recently to defeat a top-down power grab by the conservative governor & republican, conservative-dominated state government of Georgia who sought to assume more state control over local school districts & to absorb power away from local school boards & parents.
And I personally know of no left-leaning co-workers or friends here in my circle in greater Atlanta who were in favor of the grab pushed here by the republicans who run our state government.
As for Ms. DeVos, I have been following her political activism for years & she is not an unknown quantity to me. Furthermore, she is a disastrous choice for Secretary of Education for various reasons among which are that she has NO experience in having attended public schools & her own children NEVER attended public schools.
Given some of her past policy advocacy, I would also oppose any effort by her to divert any funding away from public schools that over to private schools of any type.
Furthermore, hers is an IDEOLOGICALLY-based choice that would install a person as secretary who is no friend to public education & who as I pointed out has no practical familiarity with public schooling.
Let's be more sensible & less ideological here as to what is more important regarding education. Is it the installation of a person who is no friend to public school education & to push a rigid, straight jacket type of anti-public school agenda from top on down? That agenda smacks of exactly the opposite of local control which I would hope everyone would favor.
Below find an article from The Detroit Free Press that looks at the state of public education & charter school education in Michigan, Ms. DeVos's home state & one where she and her billionaire family have lobbied heavily & also contributed millions and millions of dollars in order to influence state educational policy.
A particular line in that long article jumped out at me: "The most accurate assessment (in Michigan) is that charter schools have simply created a second, privately-managed failing system."
Unfortunately Ms. DeVos is at best a lobbyist for the private charter school industry & just what our education department doesn't need as it's secretary: A billionaire with no practical public school experience & whose mark on Michigan has been made via her lobbying & spending.

Betsy DeVos and the twilight of public education
I am not saying DeVos is a the most experienced candidate, or even what she has supported has a good track record. What I am saying is this. She believes that parents have the right to decide where their kids should go to school. If she is approved, my hope is this. Ms. DeVos will support and fight for more local control of public schools, as well as school choice. She does not need experience in education if that is her primary focus.

When it comes to school funding, I don't think public schools should be funded by the federal government(and federal taxes should be lowered so state and local taxes could raise their taxes to make up for the lack of federal funding), so the issue of money going to private schools should not be a federal issue. As long the the federal government is education, federal money should not go to private schools.

As for DeVos being a lobbyist, I have no problem with that. No matter what her income is, as a citizen she has a right to advocate for public policy, and that includes financially. Her role as the secretary of education should be based on her own personal views of education, with input from advisers. If she does a bad job, maybe there will actually be bi-partisan support to eliminate the Department of Education completely. Then a controversy like this wouldn't even exist.
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Old 12-13-2016, 03:04 PM
 
Location: Jonesboro
3,264 posts, read 3,235,156 times
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Your response was largely a head scratcher to me as regards your claims. A primary one that should be addressed first regards your statements here about the federal funding of education.
As the information from the first link I will supply here states, at the 2ndary & elementary school levels, 92% of the funding is derived from local & states sources other than the federal government.
Where that 8% funding contributed by the federal government heads is explained in that text. Please read it carefully so as to better understand what exactly the Department of Education has as it's mission & also manages to accomplish in reality as well as what it funds.
I will also supply a link here from the State of Iowa that gives even more financial information to support what I have just said. That state supplied link will further prove that the federal government is not running our schools via the funding of them. That is still done on a state & local level, i.e. a true example local control.
Another thing in your response that I am curious about is how the issue of "school choice", as you labeled it, would be applicable to a place like Iowa. There are 356 school districts in Iowa & a large majority of them are small. Often a single county in the state may contain as few as 2 or 3 or 4 school districts & that number will continue to shrink as the longstanding trend for consolidation continues. As a result, the geographic distance between the remaining districts will continue to increase which will further cloud how there will be "choices" available.
I would also like to know as to how "school choice" would even be an issue of any substance, as in what are the alternatives available for "choice", in a district of the size of a small city such as Fort Dodge, or an even smaller one such as Spencer, or an even still smaller one such as Clayton Ridge or Clearfield Community? How is the national mantra talking point of "school choice" even applicable in a state such as Iowa & many of it's peer states?
Given that DeVos has successfully lobbied over a period of decades for changes to public schooling in Michigan (her home state) such as the rise of charter schools, the editorial from The Detroit Free Press that I supplied yesterday should stop her nomination or at least be a strong caution against it.
Recall the words in The Free Press that the rise of charter schools, which she has totally supported and help bring about through personal and financial lobbying has not been a success in Michigan and led to better educational achievement. Instead, there are many poor charter schools in that state such that The Free Press called them "..a second privately-managed failing system."
What has she in Michigan or elsewhere ever accomplished that has been a benefit to the public school system of education? I would like to know of specific examples. And other than charter schools advocacy, or for the mantra of "choice", what does she really bring to the table in the way of helpful school reforms?
It's unfortunate that Ms. DeVos was picked on an ideological basis made largely with the intent for her to weaken or ultimately destroy the Department of Education from the inside. And that my friends, is unfortunate & not wise policy, despite the evils of the Department of Education being a widespread ideological talking point mantra.
The best way for us to make wise decisions is to be aware of factual information. The first 2 links supplied here should help in that purpose as regards The Department of Education & the issues of school finding & school choice as well as the funding of public education in Iowa.
A 3rd link I will supply mostly for reference purposes contains a map of the various school districts in Iowa. To see the myriad districts on a map may help to illuminate some of the challenges of maintaining public schools systems in the State of Iowa.

Federal Role in Education

https://www.legis.iowa.gov/docs/lsar...esentation.pdf

https://www.educateiowa.gov/sites/fi...ictMap1617.pdf

Last edited by atler8; 12-13-2016 at 03:18 PM.. Reason: left out a word
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Old 12-14-2016, 12:40 PM
 
Location: too far from the sea
19,662 posts, read 18,729,047 times
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Nobody knows how to fix the schools, least of all someone with absolutely no experience at all. This will be like re-inventing the wheel. This woman sent her own kids to private school--she's a billionaire who would maybe like to give some of her money away so that other kids may enjoy the same privileges as her own kids?

And charter schools are a short sighted solution to the problem--send a few kids to better schools. How does that fix things for the vast majority of kids who are stuck in the public schools? I taught in a charter school. They get to to pick the best and the brightest--and their parents are involved enough to apply to the schools in the first place. That leaves the public schools with the worst students so they get to be worse off than ever. What we lost a long time ago were the neighborhood schools where the kids walked to school together, knew each other, and all got an equal education.
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Old 12-15-2016, 08:05 PM
 
Location: Jonesboro
3,264 posts, read 3,235,156 times
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Default Open letter from Patrick Kearney

For more on Ms. DeVos and her ways, here's an update below on a multi-miliion $ fine imposed on a PAC lobbying group that broke Ohio law. The law-breaking occurred after the PAC was advised that a course of action they were taking would be against Ohio law. They went ahead & did it anyway. In other words, "screw Ohio".
The linkage here is that Ms. DeVos was tightly affiliated with the PAC lobbying group.
This is why to me the stench from lobbying gets worse over time, largely due to the Citizen's Vs. United Supreme Court ruling given us courtesy of the republican members of the Supreme Court. The PAC's & lobbyists think that their $$$ buys them immunity from the laws that the regular people must follow.
If anyone still believes that trump is going to "drain the swamp" & govern like the populist that he sounded like to economically distressed voters, they haven't been paying attention to his cabinet & other choices made post election. Wall Street has been watching closely & their euphoria is reflected in the climb of the stock indices to new record highs as he loads up what is being referred to as the "Billionaire Cabinet." Wall Street has figured out w/ relief that the populism was phony.
I'm in financial services but am sympathetic to the little guy rather than Wall Street fat cats & Devos style billionaires, i.e. my support goes to the likes of someone who teaches like Mr. Kearney of the Johnston School System who wrote the open letter I posted at the thread inception. Or the likes of our police & fire department manpower who put their lives on the line daily.
Pay attention folks. Mr. t is not yet in office but it's already stinking and then there is the Putin/trump story which is only just heating up.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/...=.5c166e97c60f

Last edited by atler8; 12-15-2016 at 08:06 PM.. Reason: added a word
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Old 12-19-2016, 11:00 AM
 
Location: Des Moines, Iowa
2,401 posts, read 3,664,634 times
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Again....get education out of DC and it doesn't matter who is Prez and then we don't all have to get so-bent-out-of shape based on who is elected every four years.

Trump election should be a wake-up call to those that continue point to the the gov't to be the answer to all out ills and to have such a huge influence in our lives.

And yet too many people think the government should be doing MORE. The growth of our gov't is staggering....

"Comparing federal government spending to gross domestic product (GDP) — the entire economy — is the most telling.
In 1930, federal spending was only 4.3% of GDP.
By 1960, federal spending ballooned to 18% of GDP.
Today, 21% of the GDP is federal government spending. Add in state and local spending, the total government spending in 1930 was 12.9% of GDP, 28% of GDP in 1960, and 36% of GDP today
.

The trend is unmistakable and alarming"

A stealthy coup subverted our Constitution
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