Ryan, Mc­Carthy, DeVos — the Big 3 needs to set ed­u­ca­tion agenda

The Washington Times Daily - - METRO - DEB­O­RAH SIM­MONS Deb­o­rah Sim­mons can be con­tacted at dsim­mons@wash­ing­ton­times.com.

Now that the lines of the red state-blue state models are as blurred as those in the Robin Thicke-Phar­rell Williams 2013 groove “Blurred Lines,” it’s time to be­gin for­mu­lat­ing a chitchat about fed­eral ed­u­ca­tion pol­icy.

There’s a long line of con­ser­va­tives and Repub­li­cans who still want to snip the thick ed­u­ca­tion cords teth­ered to pub­lic school­ing, while the teach­ers unions and the Demo­cratic Party are tied to the more, more, more sta­tus quo.

So the next cou­ple of years are not the time to be­gin ask­ing if the U.S. Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion should stay or go. The Cab­i­net-level agency isn’t go­ing any­where any­time soon.

Yet now is the time to ask who’s driv­ing the ed­u­ca­tion bus, who’s rid­ing shot­gun, where is the bus head­ing and when will it ar­rive.

The lat­est test scores of the Na­tional As­sess­ment of Ed­u­ca­tional Progress (NAEP) beg, for sure, that at least those four ques­tions be asked be­fore the cur­rent fis­cal year ends on Sept. 30 and be­fore House Speaker Paul Ryan, who leaves of­fice in Jan­uary, is re­placed.

It’s not easy to ink in who will re­place Mr. Ryan, Wis­con­sin Repub­li­can and a solid pro­po­nent of school choice. His col­league, House Ma­jor­ity Leader Kevin Mc­Carthy of Cal­i­for­nia, ap­pears to be a front-run­ner.

And be­cause Mr. Mc­Carthy is a school choice ad­vo­cate as well, that’s an A-plus and a key rea­son why he and Mr. Ryan should broach the idea of a three-way dis­cus­sion with Ed­u­ca­tion Sec­re­tary Betsy DeVos.

Mrs. DeVos was slammed by spe­cial in­ter­est groups for not get­ting all the ed­u­ca­tion fund­ing she had pro­posed in her bud­get. Fine. The $1.3 tril­lion spend­ing bill that Pres­i­dent Trump signed into law is what it is.

How­ever, the un­re­lent­ing pres­sure to boost spend­ing for fis­cal 2018-2019 is not go­ing to sub­side merely be­cause the play­ers change. Mrs. DeVos could do as Mr. Ryan and de­cide to leave Wash­ing­ton, but the pro­gres­sive hard-lin­ers will re­main — and they love noth­ing more than to claim that Amer­ica’s schools need more money to “fix” all of their prob­lems.

Amer­ica’s school sys­tem is bro­ken, and that bunch prefers school­house paste to Go­rilla Glue. Go fig­ure.

Any­way, one of Mrs. DeVos’ first as­sign­ments be­fore such a meet­ing would be to look at school spend­ing. She wouldn’t have to con­sider ev­ery state or ev­ery school district.

As a mat­ter of fact, she could sim­ply look at the D.C. school sys­tem and a few oth­ers to learn whether the fed­eral money des­ig­nated for un­der­priv­i­leged stu­dents and schools is be­ing used or stirred around in school district cof­fers for … well … what­ever.

For ex­am­ple, The Wash­ing­ton Post re­ported this past week­end that Mayor Muriel Bowser’s ad­min­is­tra­tion “mis­spent mil­lion of dol­lars des­ig­nated to help the city’s most vul­ner­a­ble stu­dents, di­rect­ing the money in­stead to cover day-to-day costs, ac­cord­ing to gov­ern­ment data, D.C. Coun­cil mem­bers and ed­u­ca­tion ac­tivists.”

“The money is in­tended to pro­vide ex­tra aca­demic at­ten­tion and so­cial ser­vices to boost the aca­demic per­for­mance of chil­dren who lag be­hind their wealth­ier peers,” the story fur­ther stated. “But D.C. Pub­lic Schools uses a big chunk of the money to plug holes in the bud­get, cov­er­ing rou­tine costs such as pay­ing the salaries of art teach­ers and aides.”

If no fed­eral dol­lars were used to blur D.C. school-spend­ing lines, it could be a whop­ping jolt — just as sur­pris­ing as two other re­cent scan­dals, the fake grad­u­a­tion rates and the poor school-res­i­dency over­sight.

The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion and the Repub­li­can ma­jori­ties in Congress must get their act to­gether ASAP and ex­plain to par­ents, sup­port­ers and other stake­hold­ers that their money is in good hands.

The Democrats and lib­er­als, mean­while, are pre­par­ing for a midterm war, which means more teacher and stu­dent walk­outs, and more de­mands for more money.

Their anti-choice bus will be on the road soon, and those hitched to the sta­tus quo are pre­par­ing new cry­ing tow­els, too.

Be pre­pared to drive in the right di­rec­tion.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.