First: So? From Rebecca Klein at Huffington Post:
While running for governor of Michigan in 2006, Dick DeVos ― whose wife, Betsy, is now President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for U.S. secretary of education ― said that schools should have the option of teaching intelligent design alongside evolution.
To be sure, DeVos’ comments were made 10 years ago, and his wife has given no indication that she’d like to use her position in the Trump administration to promote intelligent design in schools. But Dick DeVos’ views on religion and education run parallel to his wife’s in many areas, and the couple’s family foundation has made donations that critics say have enabled the encroachment of religious education in the public sphere. More.
Oh? Maybe Dick could be a consultant to the NASA program, started under the outgoing administration, in which:
just a few days prior to our meeting, NASA’s Astrobiology Program—headed by Mary Voytek—awarded $1.108 million (5% of its annual budget) to the Center of Theological Inquiry, a religious think tank with more than $23 million in assets, to investigate how the world’s religions might respond to the discovery of life on other planets. John Templeton Foundation is co-sponsoring the two-year project (2015-2017) with a $1.7 million grant to CTI. (pp. 87–88, Suzan Mazur’s Public Evolution Summit
A far likelier bitchfest will turn out to be that Betsy is a strong advocate of charter schools.
School choice advocates say increased federal control over education policy is unacceptable. They point to wide disparities in test scores between white and non-white students as proof that urgent action is required to ensure that all students are receiving a quality education. As a result, school choice is becoming an increasingly bipartisan issue.
A good guess: Non-white children do more poorly because they are more likely to live in places dominated by government interventions to “help” people – help them, that is, to do everything except not to need government employees “helping” them. Which brings me to my second point:
Chill breeze from up north: Good for DeVos.
Just about any non-criminal development in U.S education would be a refreshing change. No, really! Achievement for dollar value is worse in the United States than in most Western countries, probably because of the unrelenting involvement of their federal government in creating vast multi-layer, overlapping bureaucracies and senseless jumbles of rules.
The rest of the developed world spends way less and gets much more, simply because we limit the number of shovels in the hole at any given time or place…
Tax-enabled mediocrities are doubtless shocked by it all. And they can use “teaching ID in the schools,” horrors!, to fire up their base.
If they were closer to being any kind of answer to the problem, the educrats would be dancing in the streets at the prospect that students could actually understand any ID concepts (information theory, anyone?) As opposed to “Five reasons not to blow your mind on drugs, Unit 4.” (= And big government paid how many million for that twaddle? )
ID fans: The US educrat system is a classic violation of the rule of subsidiarity in decision-making: Decisions should happen at the lowest effective level. = If Johnny can’t read, it is first and foremost his parents’ and his teachers’ problem; it must be addressed there, not in the Senate.
But ID is the least of the mediocrities’ problems – except when they need to fundraise with their base.
See also: My review of a film about a struggle for a charter school, Won’t Back Down.
The scene that made the strongest impression on me was teacher Nona Alberts explaining to a heady but fearful school reform gathering that the folk who build prisons study the huge dropout rate at Adams and similar schools, to decide how many cells to build. According to government statistics, one in every 32 Americans is “either in prison or on parole from prison.” Schools like Adams are feeder schools for prison, not for universities, and nothing will change, absent an honest national discussion of that fact.
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