I get to have a three-fer in this blog posting. A confession of sorts, a howl and protest, and a warning of what's to come. Might as well start with the confession and get it over. In my younger, far more naive and dumber years, I became an er, ummm, ahhhh ... crap, I can't quite get it out. Hey, here's an idea, I'll grab some "negative soap" to wash it out then I can type the rest.

Damn, there's still a little there to remind me I have to come fully clean on this: Okay, I sold soap for a big, and I mean Trump sized yuuuuge soap company and distribution empire based in western Michigan. Did I let the cat out of the bag with wet soapy water flowing over it yet? Or was that a soggy box of SA8? Yes, before englightened ideas finally took hold, I was an -a-a-a-amway dis---tri-butor.

Phew, finally crapped it out. Still alive. And my wife and I have been alive for the past sixteen years since we haven't been ever so motivatingly trying to push ... not the soap ... hell no, but the idea of being independently self employed. Being my own boss, doing the real American thing, becoming my own rugged individualist. Geesh, had enough? If not and you're not careful enough to let whatever Donald Trump's selection for Ed Secretary, Betsy DeVos settle in the space between your ears long enough to do some serious damage to your reasoning capacities, don't say you weren't warned in sufficient time before you decide what course of action to take before the brainwashing begins.

When it comes to public education, or anything to do with education at all, even the gov't's considerable influence within private colleges and universities, it'd be unfair and untruthful to say there hasn't been any ideological hanky-panky going on during the Cold War and recent years. Both liberals and conservatives have done their homework and tried their best to influence what our kids would learn or not learn and shape future generational kinds of thinking for years to come. Some folks are better at it than others, but not always for the most honest reasons. I'm referring to not just your basic conservatives who want to keep public schools doing what they best do, give our kids the best teaching in the most important, if albeit sometimes terribly boring, basic skills in readin', writin' righmetic, and gym classes. Not so with the DeVos and van Andel families who created Amway and from where Betsy comes from. Talk about a family affair. And don't get me going about the all so wholesome pro-family environment Amway's top earnin' n' sellin' n' motivatin' distributors. Oh, it's so well packaged as the All American business promoting family values, stability, you name it.

Yeah, you name it folks. One sad divorce, affair after another. No, none of that stuff affected us, but it was just too wholesome, too good, too syrupy All American schmaltz to promote and share enough in New England to build a successful business. Kind of hard to get around that Sunbelt sling o' bull, especially with all the Bible-belting stuff on the side as if to say, "if you're a good Christian and follow the Bible all the way, material success is bound to come your way." And I can't help wondering how many people lost their basic faith in Christianity, much less any other faith, due to all the bogus pressures that came down from the phonies on high with all their "you've gotta trust us, it's gotten us this far by following the system," and all that bull.

Take my word for it, and I'll admit I was a lousy distributor. Just when I was beginning to see signs that the company was jettisonning itself from its more extremist minded distributors, I started getting calls on the distributor wide telephone messaging system, Amvox, which was turning into a fundraising machine for Susan Myrick, a distributor who was running for Congress in '94. But I was getting these in Massaschusetts and she even came up to the north to plug, or flog her rightist views in the Bay State which I thought was strange for a woman from Charlotte, NC. Okay, it's a free country, but ... there weren't any Democrats getting a plug. Hmmm, what about this I began to wonder. Then one day a message came from my own "upline" to gin up support for a little known Republican running for Congress against a long time favorite, John Olver, (D-Amherst) who succeeded in a special election to the seat held by the late longtime serving Rep. Sylvio Conte (R, really in name only but a true human Republican). Damn, that was it. Everything just sank. All that positive vibe, poof. No SA8 or all the other stuff could wipe this negativity out of my system.

Now the same guy who gave us Trump University is ready to foist Betsy DeVos on our education system. This must be The Donald's revenge for running his so-called "university" like a one car funeral cortege from hell's junkyard of other bad ideas when it comes to education. What's to come, rah rah Americana? Doesn't that motivate you folks? Just thinking about the prospects motivated me to write this warning post. This time folks, DO check over what kinds of homework assignments your kids are bringing home, especially when it comes to civics and basic business economics (in the higher grades.) If there's any rightist junk in any of those books she'll be recomminding straight off some righty tighty author's keyboard ... get on the phone and start making a royal pain out of yourself. Your kids might go "sheeesh, there they go again" during the next four to eight years, but they'll thank you for the rest of their lives and that of your grandkids if you succeed in doing whatever it takes to get this woman out of our schools and as far away from even private education as you can. Privatization, more charter schools, more union busting. That's her idea of what makes for a "good all American plan for America's schools." Like a teacher warning about the price of procrastination when it comes to getting the homework done on time, it's never too early to get the jump on Betsy DeVos and her boss.

Homework reading assignment reading for parents: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/donald-trump-betsy-devos-education_us_5835dbc1e4b01ba68ac3ec1e


TomDorr's picture
TomDorr 2 years 34 weeks ago

Privatization would be a horrible outcome for our public school students.

It would start a race to the bottom in terms of teacher's salaries and hours, school resources, and academic continuity.

Privatization hasn't worked in schools, bus companies, or phone service.

What is needed in our public school system is better standardization of curricula and achievement, back to basics for the three "R"s, and higher expectations for all students.

Privatization attempts only started after teachers were given good wages and benefits, as well as administrators. Then privateers saw an opportunity to shave these wages and keep the extra for themselves.

In Philadelphia, private schools make big promises but perform no better than public schools, even when they have the advantage of "skimming" the better students.

Public schools have worked for the last 100 years when they were properly funded, taught the basics, and didn't have to take the role of parents or nursers, feed kids, or provide sports, recreational, or "safe" after school activities.

If public schools can just be allowed to resume their role of teaching the basics, and doing that well, while being adequately funded, there should be no need for "charter" or "privatized" schools.

Legend 2 years 34 weeks ago

Glad to see Tomdorr begin to see what this President is going to do with this country.

The President of Trump University gets to select the head of the Department of Education. What a system we have.

Just as a side note. When I worked in South Korea the workers use to kid me about how Americans only go to school 9 months of the year. They and many other countries go year around. By the time that they get to 12th grade they have 36 more months of education. With affordable college education in many other countries we are being left behind. Our educated infrastructure is failing. Trump told Tim Cook that he wants Apple products made in America. Tim Cook has said in the past that he manufactures in China and other countries because they have a better educated population. Is our 9 month per year education and expensive college going to kill this country? Where do we rank in Math in Science? The train has left the station and we are not on it. Bernie (and even Hillary to a degree) wanted affordable education. We now have a President that wants education for profit.

Steven PBarrett's picture
Steven PBarrett 2 years 25 weeks ago

I was originally going to list a few gems to look over for anybody tempted to show the slightest glimmer of "fairness" on their parts when the subject of Betsy DeVos for our next EdSec comes up for discussion.

However, fairness prompted me to do some "additional elaborating."

""In the first place, God made idiots," quipped Twain. "That was for practice. Then he made school boards." One can only wonder what he'd have to say about President Trump's insistence on making Betsy DeVos the next Secretary of Education.

I won't go so far as to call her or Trump an idiot. It wouldn't hurt her to do some "updating" her thinking on matters like "church and state" for starters. Being a lot pickier and choosier whom she wants to hang out with when she's politckin' for her favorite cause of privatizing the hell out of public education and replacing that hell with a series of ... to be charitable, extremely strange and downright heretical and dangerous theological principles ... well now, that wouldn't be a bad place for her to start. SInce it's unlikely that she won't unless forced to see where they've altered her beliefs about education and the proper role for religion in a free republic ... I'm off the opinion that it's best to share some articles describing in far greater detail, and in a far more interesting way, all the most politically incorrect sinning this woman has been up to in her rise and quest to become America's top Sunday school, errr, scratch that, Secretary of Education.

Oh yes, the vexing past of extreme ideological indoctrination, and I'm not just referring to those pesky liberals influenced by liberal ed schools in our leading "Ed Schools" that all good Bible-believing, God fearing American parents know are dominated by and for the teachers' unions. Mrs. DeVos has yet to diss herself from this golden moment and development in her evolutionary quest to be the top teacher standing atop her soap box to get the nation's kiddos, young and old, to sit up straight and pay attention, take notes and apply religiously, of course.

It's when she got into Reconstructionism, the teachings of Rousas Rushdoony, or even allowed herself to be tainted by it, that's when all considerations for her nomination should've stopped on the proverbial dime that somebody should've dropped on her to Trump's inner circle of cabinet member pickers.

Thirty years ago, while interning at the National Journalism Center in my younger and more (at least mainstream conservative years) I was assigned to cover an event thrown together by a yuuuuuuuge GOP fundraising Daddy Warbucks. It was a twofer; First there was a "seminar" held at a nearby hotel/"conference center" and besides the loose-tongued former General Jack SInglaub, there was a large contingent of Reconstructionist/Dominionist, whatever-ist folks from Michigan. Folks, for the record, these followers of this "religion" and the man/family, that came up with it, are NOT your average Michiganders. Anything but. They're head-turning dog-whistlers. They just happen to come from there, but the fact they're they're and they are one of several of the most conservative "reformed" Christian groupings in a state where the very devout Dutch Reformed DeVos (and Van Andel) Amway families hail from ... does form a worthwhile backdrop to keep in mind. This is anything but even mainstream Calvinism. It's something else.

(I thought Massachusetts had its share of bossy and arrogant know-it-alls when it came to mixing 'ligion n' politics, this was a real seminar in the value of keeping your patience and elbows sharp. Thankfully several years of riding Boston's T helped.

The more I tried to make out heads n' tails out of this snake oil Rushdoony was selling, the more alarmed I became to think these people were even considered safe enough to enter within ten miles on the ouside of Washington's Beltway. This is one of those mooments when we need in unison to voice our paternal/maternal and patriotic collective angst and urge President Trump to give Mrs. DeVos the sad news that she's simply too radioactive.

My Augustinian-run alma mater, St. Thomas University (FL) took as its motto "Tolle Legge" (Take up and Read) from no less than St. Augustine, a man who know a lot about both theology and how best to teach and form young minds. And not just to become better Catholics, etc., but to become more well rounded Roman citizens during the Empire's last years. (Well, somebody had to be prepared to keep truths, and not "alternative facts" safe from the barbarian hordes all set to take over Rome, which they in his lifetime.

In this Augustinian spirit, I strongly recommend reading this article and other listings you can find by Googling Rousas Rusdoony to peruse before letting your respective US Senator to hold back her or his vote to make sure Betsy DeVos never becomes our top teacher, even in a titular sense. Hell, she doesn't even qualify to sit on any local school board.

Legend 2 years 25 weeks ago

An educated population is part of the infrastructure of this country. If you have a poorly educated population your country will fail. We compete with countries that have free college education and highly educated populations. The USA ranks low in education levels. This only means failure in the future.

natanclyne's picture
natanclyne 1 year 51 weeks ago

It is difficult to talk about the forthcoming reforms (if they will certainly pass), and even more so about their consequences. There are many contradictions and I'm not a fan of Betsy's ideas. I would like to say something. Education is also necessary for the common goal - to get a job. Of course, this is a narrow vision of many people, but so it is. And this is all the "favorite" vicious circle: to get a good job, you need education and experience, and to get experience you need education. In this regard, students often use different services, where you can buy essays, because of the work is not always enough time. Now there are programs of online courses that can replace basic programs in universities and many people do without diplomas of higher education, but these are isolated cases, so there are still quite a few specialties that can not be taught at a distance.

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