The Long Game of Betsy DeVos

To understand Betsy DeVos’ vision for education, you have to know where she comes from…

devos1I first laid eyes upon Trump’s pick for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, at Campbell Brown’s forum for GOP presidential contenders. It was the summer of 2015, back when Trump was little more than a punchline, and Jeb Bush, despite drooping in the August heat that day, still seemed like the real contender. Because the event wasn’t an official debate, Bush, Walker, Vindal, Fiorina et al couldn’t appear on stage together—which meant that Brown asked the same questions of each, and got similar pablum-esque non-answers, in an endless *conversational* format. And then suddenly there was Betsy DeVos, a Brown chum, holding forth about an education *moonshot.* It wasn’t what she said that interested me so much as what she represented. Could the education reform coalition’s major selling point, its bipartisan-ness, really stretch to incorporate the extreme right-wing views of DeVos? Mightn’t it be better for her to remain in the favored domain of the DeVos family, the shadows, or at least in Michigan? Continue reading →

No Education Summit for You!

How is The 74’s Education Summit 2015 like a school of choice? 

Teacher Penny Culliton with her ticket to the 74's Education Summit.

Teacher Penny Culliton with her ticket to the 74’s Education Summit.

Greetings from sunny New Hampshire where I’m spending 9 hours with Campbell Brown, six GOP presidential candidates and a great many young staffers from education reform groups. Did I just type that? I meant to say *public.* Except that not all of the public is welcome at the 74’s Education Summit apparently. Teacher Penny Culliton, who teaches English (shout out!) at Mascenic Regional High School, was turned away at 8:15 AM despite having a ticket and a registration confirmation. The official reason: like a school of choice, The 74 makes its own rules and can accept or reject anyone it chooses. Fortunately an alert bystander captured the exchange. Now it’s back to work for me. Next up: Joel Klein!

Will Campbell Brown’s “The 74” Investigate Charter Scandals?

My source says no…

74Reader: I j’adore investigative journalism. Which is why I was beyond excited to learn that Campbell Brown’s new edu-venture, The 74, will include an investigative component. After all, at a moment characterized by the movement of massive sums from public to private hands, perhaps no *space* cries out for investigating like education. But then a tip arrived in my inbox that made me sad. A reporter who interviewed for a job at The 74 reported that The 74 will not be investigating charter school scandals. Could such a thing really be true? It was time for me to investigate… Continue reading →

Everyone’s a Winner! The Kids vs. Bad Teachers Lawsuit Hits the Road

WinnersWell that certainly didn’t take long. Just two weeks after California’s kids celebrated their victory vs. bad teachers, the kids vs. tenure lawsuit is hittin’ the road. And that’s great news, reader. Because just as the California case produced lots of winners that weren’t exactly, ahem, pint-sized, round two of the civil rights cause of our time seems certain to be a win/win/win for everyone involved. From Campbell Brown who’ll be enjoying more screen time since, well any time in recent memory, to the Obama administration alums who won’t have to lobby for for-profit colleges after all, everyone’s a winner! Well, make that almost everyone… Continue reading →