Schooling Betsy


Conservatives frame privatization as a civil rights issue, but Trump’s extreme agenda is energizing racial justice and public education advocates.

Last September, at a rally in Roanoke, Virginia, then-presidential candidate Donald Trump made a promise to black America. “I will fight to make sure every single African-American child in this country is fully included in the American dream,” he said. “That includes the new civil rights issue of our time: school choice.” This has been a familiar refrain for Trump. “At rallies last year across the country,” The New York Times reported in March, “Trump said over and over again that he would use the nation’s schools to fix what he described as failing inner cities and a virtual education crisis that most hurts black and Hispanic children. In North Carolina, he called school choice ‘the great civil rights issue of our time.’ In Florida, he declared that ‘every disadvantaged child in this country’ should have access to school choice.”

“School choice” is conservative-speak for charter schools and vouchers, both of which represent a different degree of privatization in education. Vouchers use taxpayer dollars to fund attendance at private and religious schools, while charters are publicly funded but, in many cases, privately controlled. Trump’s education policy advocates for both, and in his controversial appointment of Betsy DeVos as education secretary, he elevated a longtime champion of the cause.


Original painting, Happy Birthday Miss Jones, with apologies to the late, great Norman Rockwell

(Click on image for larger version)

And don’t think I forgot about remaking the seals for the different Cabinet departments.

department of education

Original seal

Like her boss, she has pitched school choice as a solution to racial inequities in education, saying in February that historically black colleges and universities “are real pioneers when it comes to school choice. They are living proof that when more options are provided to students, they are afforded greater access and greater quality.” (This is flat wrong. These schools were created, the Times notes, “as a direct response to rigid racial segregation when the doors of white colleges were typically closed to African-Americans.”)

Trump and DeVos are among the many opponents of public education who, for more than a decade now, have cast school privatization as a civil rights mission, arguing that vouchers and charters extend opportunity to communities of color. Even many Democrats, while maintaining that education is a public good, have bought into this narrative. But last year, the NAACP and the Movement for Black Lives called for a moratorium on charters, with the former saying the schools exacerbate segregation and destabilize traditional public schools (not least by diverting funds away from them). These civil rights groups, the Times reported, “portray charters as the pet project of foundations financed by white billionaires, and argue that the closing of traditional schools as students migrate to charters has disproportionately disrupted black communities.”

The NAACP’s concerns over charters were front and center at its annual convention in Baltimore this week.


This report, coming as it does six months into the Trump presidency, represents a significant confluence of events. As charters are increasingly associated with the administration’s toxic education agenda, progressives now see an opportunity to change the national conversation about school reform—to push back against privatization, and convince communities of color that these policies don’t address racial injustice. The Center for American Progress released a report earlier this month on the “racist origins” of vouchers, and last week Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, said in a speech that privatization and disinvestment in education were “only slightly more polite cousins of segregation.”

There’s plenty more at the NEW REPUBLIC link above.


Filed under Amway, Betsy DeVos, humor, Painting, parody, politics, religion, Republicans, satire, snark, Wordpress Political Blogs

4 responses to “Schooling Betsy

  1. Let’s hope the apple will at least take out all those spelling mistakes on the blackboard when it detonates.

    I recognize the turd at the base of the new seal, but what’s the significance of that nasty-looking plant? And these days, I’m not sure that “Untied States” is incorrect.

    Can you do anything about that autoplaying video ad at the end of the text section? It kept force-scrolling my screen down to itself while I was trying to read the post and I had to keep scrolling back up to what I was looking at. It’s done the same thing at least a dozen times (pulling me up to where the ad is) while I was typing this comment and I had to keep scrolling back down to the comment box to continue typing.

    • The spelling mistakes can stay. Let the exploding apple cover the evil woman with so much applesauce that she is covered with fruit flies for the rest of her life.

      Here’s the official explanation of what the seal signifies:

      With its sturdy trunk set in solid earth, the tree expresses the confidence and strength imparted to the individual through the development of the mind and the assimilation of knowledge. The glory and satisfaction of achievement are exhibited in its leaves. The background of sun and rays suggests the role of the Department in the promotion, nurturing, and encouragement of the best in all aspects of the nation’s educational system.

      It was officially selected by the Former Secretary of Education, Shirley Mount Hufstedler in 1980. The U.S. Army Heraldry Directorate apparently is charged with designing these things with input from the individual departments.

      Anyhoo, instead of a tree exuding confidence and satisfaction denoting achievement, I think the present Secretary is making sure that public education is more accurately depicted by a bunch of weeds that will overtake any good growth. The shit and the flies speak for themselves.

      I apologize for the ad. I don’t see ads when I log onto the site, but I have seen that type of annoyance on other blogs. I wish I could do something about it. I will do a bit of research to see if there is a way to turn it off, but I doubt that WordPress will have any remedy for that other than shelling out money for an ad-free site. I wish I could afford that, but I can’t, and I would never ask the Raisinettes to pay to visit. Hopefully, the ad will have a short shelflife and will be replaced by one that is less intrusive.

  2. I have to agree about charger schools and segregation. There are several in my small town and I have yet to see a number of black students exiting teh schools, to be picked up by their parents. Same thing with church schools. More parents are making sacrifices to put their kid/s in church schools which seem to be pretty popular in my city. Folks claim they are not racist but when it gets down to it- well that’s a different story. My children went to public schools and were bused across town. It was good for them and they learned from their black friends about racial divide.

    • If parents don’t want to send their kids to public schools, they don’t have to. Instead, they can home school them or PAY to send them to a private school. Taxes should go to public schools. Period. No parent should ever worry about the safety of their kids when they send them to school, and they shouldn’t worry about them not receiving a good education. Every penny should go to public schools so that every one of them is safe and has all the resources necessary to teach the kids.