0291_Jan. 1, 2018_DeVos’ Speech on Education Reform_ The Good, The Bad, and the Incomplete_ Jane Robbins, Emmett McGroarty excerpts _Common Core _ ESSA

Donna Jack
January 18, 2018

Jane Robbins and Emmett McGroarty say U.S. Department of Education
Secretary Betsy DeVos is missing the obvious

Jane Robbins and Emmett McGroarty sent out an article, part of which is in this blog post.

In their article they point out that DeVos recommends making all learning individualized, with each student in front of a computer, possibly at home.

Jane and Emmett point out that:  “so-called personalized learning is actually depersonalized, computerized training rather than genuine education.

Robbins and McGroarty suggest Betsy DeVos improve education by:

(1) freeing the states from all federal mandates to the extent she can under the law; (2) working with Congress to revise ESSA to eliminate all mandates; and (3) creating a workable plan to shut down her department.”  (The U.S. Department of Education)

Editorial comment – more needs to be done: 

There also needs to be a change in the content of what is taught in schools, and how students are being taught in schools — changing from Type #2 education, and returning to Type #1 education.  [Type #1 and Type #2 education are discussed on the Home Page of this website, and in blogs:  0005, 0091, and 0247]

Teachers need to be taught to teach, rather than being trained and forced to be facilitators and baby-sitters, spying and reporting on students, parents and other teachers.

Information on ESSA (Every Child Succeeds Act)

ESSA (Every Child Succeeds Act) codified individual data tracking, social, emotional, behavioral and attitude standards and interventions, and a lot more:   0252, 0248, 0244, 0206, 0205, 0097

ESSA didn’t change some of what was already going on in many schools, but since it became federal law in December 2015, it has been officially forcing every school to comply.

Betsy DeVos’ American Enterprise Institute (AEI) speech linked in full

You can read here the full transcript of the speech U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos gave on January 16, 2018, at an American Enterprise Institute (AEI) conference, “Bush-Obama School Reform: Lessons Learned.”

Common Core is not dead

Betsy DeVos said that ‘the era of common core education is now dead“… she is saying Common Core is dead the Department of Education.  But saying it is dead, doesn’t make it dead, as Jane Robbins and Emmett McGroarty point out in their article — Common Core is alive and thriving, while our students continue to keep falling farther behind other nations in their academics.


From: Donna Garner [mailto:wgarner1@hot.rr.com]
Sent: Thursday, January 18, 2018 8:15 AM
To: Donna Garner <wgarner1@hot.rr.com>

1.18.18 – Townhall.com


 “DeVos’s Speech on Education Reform: The Good, The Bad, and the Incomplete”
By Jane Robbins, Emmett McGroarty

Excerpts from this article:

 Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is a bit of a puzzle. Every speech she gives is a grab bag of praiseworthy philosophical statements combined with dismaying practical proposals. Her recent presentation to the American Enterprise Institute is a good example.

…DeVos’s AEI speech marked her most cogent explanation of the Common Core phenomenon yet. She acknowledged that states adopted the national standards and “the Obama administration’s [other] preferred policies” only in exchange for Race to the Top money and No Child Left Behind waivers. She also praised the “public backlash” to the “federally imposed tests and the Common Core” and repeated her belated agreement with President Trump that “Common Core is a disaster.” 

DeVos further declared, “[A]t the U.S. Department of Education, Common Core is dead.” That’s nice to hear, but she hasn’t yet acted to assure states they can ditch the standards without federal penalty.

Because ESSA is riddled with sub rosa“encouragements” to retain Common Core, along with mandates about the required tests aligned to them, DeVos must do more than simply declare victory. As first steps, she must allow maximum flexibility in ESSA-required state education plans, issue a blanket assurance that standards need not align to Common Core, and issue guidance that interprets other ESSA mandates in as state-friendly a manner as possible. To the extent she can under the law, she must empower states to exercise their constitutional autonomy over education.

DeVos also endorsed local control and especially parental authority over education…. “It’s about educational freedom! Freedom from Washington mandates. Freedom from centralized control. Freedom from a one-size-fits-all mentality. Freedom from ‘the system.’” These words could be a rallying cry for any conservative.

But. DeVos then pivoted to her Jeb Bush side. Although she rejected the role of “the country’s ‘choice chief,” she did push school choice (without advocating any particular choice mechanism). She didn’t mention the central problem with this idea: the danger that when the money follows the child, government regulations will be close behind to strip private schools of the characteristics that made them appealing to parents in the first place. 

Another Jeb-like policy she endorsed also troubles citizens who monitor Education World. This is the idea of “digital” or “personalized” learning, powered by technology rather than guided by teachers. “Why do students have to go to a school building in the first place? . . . Why can’t a student learn at his or her own pace? Why isn’t technology more widely embraced in schools?”

As we’ve discussed repeatedly (hereherehere), so-called personalized learning is actually depersonalized, computerized training rather than genuine education. It replaces a liberal arts education with pared-down workforce-development training that concentrates on “skills” corporations deem necessary for the (current) job market. It props children in front of computer screens that feed them curricula (probably not available for parental review) that children can click through without really learning anything. It indoctrinates children with government-approved attitudes, mindsets, and beliefs. It collects literally millions of data points on children that will allow the government and vendors to create profiles and algorithms that may control each child’s future life path. It minimizes human interaction, converting professional educators into data clerks. 

But Jeb and his colleagues – among whom DeVos has long been included – are fully behind the concept. The concern is that despite her advocacy of local and parental control, DeVos will use her department to push digital learning – especially since ESSA embraces it, through both technology grant programs and computerized-testing mandates.

If DeVos is sincere about her philosophical rhetoric, she will devote her efforts to three things: (1) freeing the states from all federal mandates to the extent she can under the law; (2) working with Congress to revise ESSA to eliminate all mandates; and (3) creating a workable plan to shut down her department. That would be something conservatives can cheer.


Donna Garner – Wgarner1@hot.rr.com


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