February 7, 2017

Betsy DeVos will be awful for America's public schools, having never set foot in one herself. In Michigan she was one of the main financial backers of privatizing public schools, thereby making them clearly inferior for those from lower income homes.

Guess who else shares her sordid history? The man who cast the 51st vote for DeVos today, VP Mike Pence. The sanctimonious Veep shares her desire to turn public education into a very unfair, ├╝ber-religious system that favors the rich, yet provides an inferior curriculum.

Pence's Indiana experiment voucherizing public schools and clearly favoring religious ones has had disastrous results for most children, Mother Jones reported.

Pence's school choice experiment demonstrates that vouchers can create a host of thorny political problems and potential church-and-state issues. Almost every single one of these voucher schools is religious. The state Department of Education can't tell parents which or even whether any of the voucher schools are secular. (A state spokeswoman told me Indiana doesn't collect data on the school's religious affiliation.) Out of the list of more than 300 schools, I could find only four that weren't overtly religious and, of those, one was solely for students with Asperger's syndrome and other autism spectrum disorders, and the other is an alternative school for at-risk students.

Religious institutions benefited almost immediately from the program. Vouchers effectively served as a public bailout for the state's Catholic schools. As is the case in other parts of the country, many of Indiana's Catholic schools, financially troubled and facing declining enrollment, were on the verge of closing before the voucher program launched in 2011. By the 2013-2014 school year, more than 50 percent of the school choice vouchers were going to shore up Catholic schools.

Other Indiana Christian voucher schools use the A Beka program, whose history books are known for whitewashing slavery. An A Beka passage on slavery notes, "A few slave holders were undeniably cruel. Examples of slaves beaten to death were not common, neither were they unknown. The majority of slave holders treated their slaves well."

A study by researchers at Notre Dame University published last year shows that in the first three years of the program, Indiana kids who left public schools to attend voucher schools saw their math scores decline in comparison with their peers who remained in regular public schools. The public school students saw improvements in their English skills, but the voucher kids' results stayed flat.

Trump's administration is rapidly dismantling and destroying our beloved institutions which have benefitted millions of Americans for decades. This unqualified and corrupt woman will be in charge of our children's education and she's not the least bit interested in their well-being. No one in this administration seems to care about anything but enriching themselves while destroying America. So, we must continue to fight them any way we can.

But the most important part of this ordeal, despite its outcome, was that your resistance made a difference! DeVos lost more votes on her confirmation than any Secretary of Education in history. She had to be confirmed with the help of a fellow theocrat, after two Republicans chose to prioritize our children over one billionaire's power. Those letters and phone calls made a difference. THAT is what you should remember from this.


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