School Choice May Leave Some Behind


During his presidential campaign, President Donald Trump promised to re-purpose $20 billion in school vouchers for low income families while visiting an African American charter school in Cleveland, Ohio.

Betsy DeVos, a Michigan school choice advocate and billionaire philanthropist, is Trump’s nominee for secretary of education. Yesterday, the Senate panel approved DeVos’ nomination after publicly appearing to have failed miserably.

Debating her qualifications and potential conflict of interest range from her knowledge of educational pedagogy to financial investments. It has been reported that she has financial ties to a charter school, an online student  lending company, and a for profit online charter school company.

Her advocacy for private school voucher programs has made her the ultimate public education adversary. Teacher unions across the nation oppose her nomination. Her idea of education reform has caused a great deal of mobilization.

School choice gives low income families the opportunity to use vouchers to attend private schools that participate.

Where would this $20 billion come from? The 2017 budget request for the Department of Education is $69.4 billion, which includes Pell Grants. Special Education and Title 1 would receive a combined $28.4 billion in funding.

Title 1 is a provision of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 that allocates funding to impoverished schools and school districts. Concern has been expressed that the Trump’s voucher program will take away from the overall educational opportunities from disadvantaged students, who receive public education.

Although, school choice gives some parents options. It doesn’t seem to promote equitable education. While choice and option on the surface are synonyms, parents should be able to select the best option from many choices. Separate is the racial component while equal addressed class disparity.

Rob Goad, former congressional aide, is assisting President Trump in formulating a school choice plan. Goad helped Rep. Luke Messer of Indiana launch a school choice caucus in 2014. DeVos’ family and organizations donated millions to the school choice initiatives in Indiana.

On Trump’s website, it states “If the states collectively contribute another $110 billion of their own education budgets toward school choice, on top of the $20 billion in federal dollars.” State contribution “could provide $12,000 in school choice funds to every K-12 student who today lives in poverty.”

Vouchers have had both positive and negative impact on student achievements in states such as Ohio, New York and Louisiana. There are no definitive studies that state significant academic gains. Moreover, many districts don’t have the private schools to participate. Many cities are dealing with numerous school closings and consolidations. Often the voucher doesn’t foot the bill for the entire cost of private school tuition, let alone supplies needed or the necessary transportation.

In 2006, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) reported a substantial achievement gap amongst private and public school in reading and mathematics for grades 4 and 8.  But per Paul E. Peterson and Elena Llaudet the advantage disappears in math for 4th graders and equality is maintained, while similarity is achieved in math for 8th graders and lost in reading after statistical modifications are made. Often these reports have sample size inconsistencies and methodological problems.

African American students need expectation. Vouchers and resources can’t fix a pupil who is being taught by an individual that looks at him through the lens of statistics. Often a child’s experience is vastly different than her teachers. When the educator doesn’t believe, respect can’t be established and the opportunity is lost.

Application of education is to be able to further utilize resources with the intent to be viable within one’s community. Bad parenting is not the blame for poverty, overcrowded classrooms, little to no resources, outdated curriculum and antiquated early childhood collegiate programs.

Education is not the place for an adult’s idle mind or savior complex. Just elevate their minds. Give them the tools to save themselves.

Evidence shows the no one way of schooling solves the educational crisis in America. There are several issues that need to be addressed. Hopefully, DeVos’ dedication to school choice doesn’t ignore them.

Despite the public’s outcry, her political donations or her anti-LGBT sentiments aside, a DeVos confirmation should be expected given Senate Republicans have a 52-48 majority. She needs 51 votes. U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) are in opposition. There’s still Mike Pence’s vote.




“Twisted” by 50 Cent featuring Mr. Probz

“Big Rich Town” by 50 Cent featuring Joe

“Look Who’s Talking Now!”


Why is change so radical?

I suppose the pursuit of positivity and progress can appear to be significantly remote.  Change is inevitable, right, or is that something that just sounds encouragingly good? 

It’s instantaneous.  And revolution has many degrees.  It’s just a matter of which or whose direction you choose to follow.

How do you define school and what is its function? Your answer dictates what you deem as plausible solutions to a largely, failing national education system.

One or many need the aptitude to discern the point of no return or when it’s time to turn around. Such is cued, when complexity becomes too complex.  There’s this notion that if it’s significant, luxurious, and glossy; the product created from this thing, this idea will be equally productive, life altering—if not sustaining.

Strangely enough, many “thinkers” forget that what it takes to break ground and plant a seed is elementary—nature completes the hard parts.

Everything is trendy. 

These Warholesque concepts creep up the ladder to places of elected importance; with the hopes of acquiring enough capital to have the means to brainwash people.  The façade is that they will fix things because they can afford to.

The craze of the times is technology.  Technology’s durability is arguably supplied by its innovative exigency. 

It has become the great Messiah that will save education

The presence of electronic components will baptize America’s schools; wash them clean of their problems.

There were no silver spoons or golden toilets present during my childhood, but there was definitely peace.  My innocence was not only protected, it was cherished.  I think back to hours spent in my room imagining, thinking, creating and playing. In grade school, my mother expected my projects to consist of necessary experiments with real resolutions. My teachers were onions of knowledge.  My fifth grade science teacher was a dead ringer for “Valerie Felicity Frizzle.”

I’m searching for something outside of myself and the persons who orchestrated inspirations that afforded me my personal ambition for wanting to know things.  I am coming up short.  Unless we nominate things to have value; they are lifeless, idle, and stoic.

In February 1996, Gary Wolf for “Wired” Magazine interviewed Steve Jobs to learn what the “the next insanely great thing” was.  “This stuff doesn’t change the world. It really doesn’t,” Jobs said when Wolf asked him about the big surprise that technology would deliver.

Technology is just something else thrown into the shredder to appease those who actually create the problems.  Education has become a business sullied by non-educators and socio-politics.  The bottom line is no longer to construct an environment that garners self thinkers that will discover new and better inventions. Beyond things, schools need people that are invested in tilling and planting.  Naturally, antagonists oppose accepting blame.  Greed has stripped teachers of their freedoms to ingeniously share their wells of scholarship.  Thus, students must now learn according to scripted curriculums in order to pass standardized tests.  In an ocean of statistics, adjectives like single, most, rich and poor have smeared the roads to success.  Prejudices have doomed students before books are even cracked open.  Shortcuts have eliminated countless essential procedures and resources.

I am not choking on old-fashioned ways or afraid of new strategies but I am very concerned with the sufficiency of any ideas that are being debated or readied as the savior of our educational communities.  Technology can not be handed off as some golden key, if the very edifice or door it intends to open is not secure.

Machines are not suitable replacements for humans.  We were the machines before the machines.  Think about it!


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