Education, Politics

Devos as Education Secretary Nominee

Sunday, 27th November 2016

From Nov. 27, 2016

Devos as education secretary is a clear case of putting ideology over students, empirical results, and the public good. While her experience is with primary and secondary education, I also worry about what she’s going to do with higher education. I expect the same will happen here – right-wing ideology will be positively incentivized, while actual research (no matter which ideology it supports) will be discouraged.

I do wish someone was in this role who had even a single second in public education at either the secondary or post-secondary level. You know, an actual first-hand understanding of what she’s about to destroy.

I also wish that we had a clear understanding of what choice actually means, and whether having a choice about schools is the same as a choice about which strawberry jam to buy. Actually, I have a pretty good idea about that, and will probably write about it at some point. Short version – we still operate with a 19th century sense of what the market is and what it can do, despite a lot of work by economists from across the political spectrum to wrest it from the totalizing version from back then. But that’s too long to discuss here.

I also wish that being rich was not the primary qualification for a seat in this government. So far, that seems to be the primary qualification for a cabinet post. I suppose if you think that being rich is a kind of score-card for success, it makes some sort of twisted sense. Except that Trump himself inherited his money, would have done better to just put it in an indexed fund, has declared bankruptcy a bunch of times, and is no real business-person’s definition of what a successful business person actually is. Plus, do I really have to say that being rich is not a score-card for winning at life?

Anyway, “let’s just give them a chance, see what they’ll do” does not answer the ideological and theoretical issues that are already apparent.

There are many things I wish.

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