This Lady

There are people out there who think that paying your dues for decades is outdated and irrelevant. We should just look for innate talent and eschew specific experience to find the best people for the job, they say. Look outside of the normal channels.

And then there’s Betsy DeVos.

Here are some excerpts from the article linked above.

In places where there is a lot of choice that’s been introduced,” DeVos told CBS’s Lesley Stahl, “Florida, for example, studies show that when there’s a large number of students that opt to go to a different school or different schools, the traditional public schools actually, the results get better as well.”

This is DeVos’s core case. Introducing charter schools forces public schools into the sort of competition you see in the free market, forcing the public institutions to improve. It’s a market-based proposal for solving the endemic problem of low-performing schools. Florida, DeVos argues, is an example of where it works.

This idea that we can just turn education into an engine of capitalism would be fraught with challenges just on principle, but then there’s the fact that it just doesn’t work…

“Have the public schools in Michigan gotten better?” Stahl asked. Michigan is a key litmus test because it’s the place where DeVos’s pre-government advocacy was centered. DeVos stumbled over a response.

“Your argument that if you take funds away that the schools will get better is not working in Michigan,” Stahl said. “Where you had a huge impact and influence over the direction of the school system here.” She later added, “The public schools here are doing worse than they did.”

For-profit and free-market policies are not something I personally agree with, but if they actually had positive results in education, there wouldn’t be much I could say. The only positive results, however, end up in the pockets of the people promoting said policies, and not with the students who need the support they are being denied.

One more thing.

A 2016 analysis of New York City schools found positive effects in public schools near charter programs, but that effect was linked to increased spending at those public schools, not necessarily increased competition.


I get why people think we should go out of the box. It’s a shame that people have soured on expertise, but I can at least understand why it might occur. But there’s a big giant gap between doing the same things as before and trying something new without actually considering its possible validity.