Another Assault Begins…

The Hill reports that Trump has rolled back the Obama Administration’s education measures intended to ensure adequate teacher preparation and assess school performance.

The teacher preparation regulations included training requirements for educators, and the school accountability rules were meant to gauge schools’ effectiveness.

The rules drew sharp criticism from Republicans, who argued states should have more control over the classroom. This falls in line with the philosophy of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

Republicans lawmakers earlier this month voted to strike down the two rules through the Congressional Review Act, which gives them the power to roll back certain regulations. In the Senate, the special procedure prevents the use of the filibuster.

Trump signed the bills Monday, not only eliminating the Obama-era education rules, but also prohibiting future presidents from issuing similar rules.

Repealing these rules will “encourage freedom in our schools,” Trump said.

Yes indeed. States like Indiana should be free to bleed resources from public schools without having to comply with pesky rules from Washington requiring that they actually evaluate the performance of the (primarily religious) schools that are receiving those resources.

Parents should be free to use taxpayer money to send their children to private schools without some bureaucrat requiring confirmation that the people teaching in those schools actually know anything about subject-matter or pedagogy.

Evidently, the respect for “freedom” shown by Trump and DeVos doesn’t extend to the freedom of taxpayers to demand accountability for enterprises being supported by our tax dollars.

In fact, a discussion about what elements of our social and physical infrastructure should properly be provided by citizens’ tax dollars is long overdue.

We have bridges failing and roads that look like those of third-world countries. We barely–and grudgingly– support public transit. Our tattered and insufficient social safety net is under unremitting assault by politicians who demean Americans who rely on any aspect of it, while ignoring their own dependence on the public purse. (Yes, Paul Ryan, I’m looking at you–but you have a lot of company.)

The public school system is a key element of our social infrastructure. At its best, it provides skills enabling children to escape poverty, a “street corner” through which diverse citizens come to know and understand each other, and an introduction to civic competency.

Do all public schools meet that standard? No. But we have an obligation to fix those that don’t–just as we have an obligation to fix our decaying bridges. Instead, the Republican response is to privatize education and let private interests build–and toll–our roads and bridges. That approach is a rejection of the very definition of an infrastructure–utilities that serve all citizens.

Trump and the GOP don’t want to fix either our schools or our bridges; their definition of “freedom” is enriching private interests at the expense of the public good.


  1. My children are grown and I wonder what interest I have in paying taxes for public schools that will only be diverted to vouchers for corporate schools. If they’re so successful, why can’t they make it without my tax dollars? I want my public dollars to pay for public education, not carpetbaggers over whom we have no control.

  2. Daleb’s comment is an interesting twist on the common complaint people make. “I have no kids, so why should I be taxed to support the public schools.” But this version makes clear that the point of the privatized schools is to drain tax monies into corporate coffers.

  3. If we fix our educational system, people might grow up knowing things. That would be detrimental to the Republian party. We can’t allow that.

  4. Tax dollars for private religious schools is, in my opinion, a violation of the separation of Church and State. This issue needs to be resolved by the courts.

  5. Keep ’em dumb and thus politically pliable (as in Texas, where the state school board has removed civics from the high school curriculum). I give up and hereby announce that I am going to support Trump and the Freedom Caucus from here to eternity. April Fool! Nevah (as expressed by Rex Harrison in My Fair Lady)!!! Trump will sign most anything put before him if you massage his ego a bit, and I suppose that might include bills to remove Social Security and Medicare from the American socioeconomic scene. After all, why should superrich libertarians only pick on school children to make more money for their overflowing coffers? The rest of us have a right to starve and die on the sidewalks, too. Fair’s fair.

  6. The education of our children should not be sold to the highest bidder whose only interest is a return on his/her investment, which DeVos openly admits. The public schools serve everyone, not a select few, and they do not discriminate. Why should our tax dollars end up in some Fat Cat’s pocket when those same dollars will educate many children for the future?

  7. Why make it so no other president can change this order? That’s hysterical. I don’t want my tax dollars going to private schools too!

  8. Amen, Pat. I don’t want my tax dollars going to promote religion. Often wondered why that is not subject to litigation. I would be glad to be the test subject.

  9. mike from iowa; unless it was changed, and I don’t remember seeing any bill covering this, the Indiana Constitution is also against using tax dollars for private schools. The way House and Senate members, on federal and state levels, slip hidden issues into bills to get them passed, it could have been done here. The Charter schools and Voucher Students became law under Daniels and expanded under Pence.

    Gov. Holcomb on the front page of the Star today has much more important issues than education to be concerned with; selling cold beer on Sundays.

  10. In Indiana it is past time for the taxpayers to come together and revolt by refusing to pay the portion of our taxes that go to education until a law is passed that guarantees those dollars go only to public schools. Sure wish I could figure out a way to start this revolution.

  11. The Indiana Supreme Ruled back in 2013 > Indiana tax dollars may be used to finance private school tuition under the state’s voucher program, the state Supreme Court ruled unanimously Tuesday, in 2002 the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a similar program in Ohio.

    I am have spoken with people in person who get all riled up about over regulation and laws. I always challenge them by asking: What specific regulations are you referring to?? Never have I received a specific answer. The reply is some generality talking point about job killing regulations.

    The poster child Grover Norquist: “On the deregulatory front he’s been phenomenal.” Trump’s picks to staff his administration, Norquist said, were “all people who understand the costs of the regulatory burden and are committed to ruling back the over-regulations of both George W Bush and Obama”. >>> Needless to say he is happy with the Trumpet. <<<

    Norquist follows the formula a broad statement totally unsupported and devoid of ANY factual examples.

  12. As a close friend of mine is fond of saying, “it’s easier to keep ’em poor if you keep ’em dumb…”

  13. Louie; thanks for this info, it has been longer than I thought since I looked at the Indiana Constitution.

  14. This may be one of the most important things that we try to contend with DT and the r’s about.

    Thanks, Pete! You nailed it in eight words!

  15. South Dakota wingnuts designed a plan to give Insurance companies tax breaks in the same amounts the Insurance companies donated monies to charter or religious schools.

    Still sounds like taxpayer monies involved for non-public schools. If the Scotus okayed it under Scalia, then it has to be wrong.

  16. Public schools are a leveler. They are anti-feudal and promote the values of the Enlightenment. That’s why they hate them. They know religion is bullshit. They just don’t the serfs to know.

  17. The U.S. and Indiana Supreme courts have okayed taxpayer funded vouchers for private schools with the argument that the money goes to the parents and not the private schools. In essence, tax funds are laundered through the parents.

    The GOP contends the parents will hold those schools accountable for performance so government doesn’t have to do so. But what about the rest of the taxpayers who have no children in private schools? How do THEY hold private schools accountable?

    Private schools are not subject to open meetings or open records laws. We don’t know when they have school board meetings or adopt budgets. We have no right to inspect their income and expenditures. Voters have no ability to elect private school board members. Taxpayers’ children do not have an equal opportunity for enrollment – churches may preference church school admission for children of their congregation or those with the best test scores or without handicaps to accommodate.

    This is tax-paid discrimination as well as taxation without representation. (To my knowledge, none of the legal challenges to vouchers has been fought on the taxation-without-represenation basis).

    Laundering money for criminal activities is still illegal. Laundering money for unconstitutional activities should be illegal too.

  18. when I was a kid most everything came (delivered) by US Post Office. Some marginal providers were Greyhound and Railway Express but mostly government “enterprise”. Finally the taxpayers got tired of subsidizing these inept USPS providers, and voila came UPS, FedEX, DHL (for a short while – owned by German Postoffice) and others. Costs went waay down, service is up, all because taxpayers poured their dollars into corporate coffers. And guess what, even USPS vastly improved since they realized they were on the ragged edge of becoming essentially defunct. I get trinkets from China through USPS, (via ALIBABA, often) and real stuff from UPS and FEDEX ground. Most folks on here are probably too old to shop on Amazon, etc. but efficient shipping makes all this possible. Now we have the same situation with inept public schools across our country, really hurting poor people, soaking up cash that otherwise might be spent wisely. And the feds, truly a paragon of inefficiency, decide to step in and spend more money. We let GI Bill students support the Pope and the Catholic Church, via Notre Dame (instead of IU Indianapolsi Extension) support Martin Luther via Wartburg, and also the millions of Concordia’s, etc. A private school, on the average, at least gives poor families the chance to move to the middle class, vs. being trapped in poverty. It has been often noted that the elite that support keeping kids in public school ghettos are usually the same people that make sure THEIR Kids are in private schools or the rare public schools aimed at the elite. The current SEC ED (DeVos?) at least is not hard core bureaucrat.

  19. So, the same federal government that gave us the booming success of NCLB should be given additional authority?!?? Here is a public service announcement: If your son wrecks the car through negligence, don’t buy him a nicer one.

  20. The voucher money does NOT go to the parents; it is a credit amount parents apply (not always full tuition amount) to the school they choose to send their child to. If the child leaves the chosen school for any reason; the voucher amount stays in that school, it is not returned to the public school system.

  21. Ken, what has DeVos ever accomplished? Nothing that I know of. NCLB improved the lives of some children. She’s improved nobody’s lives.

  22. Talk to teachers, Pete! NCLB was a huge boondoggle. The reporting has nothing to do with effective teaching. Average Yearly Progress compares one group of students to the previous group instead of measuring how the same kids did from one year to the next.

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