The failure to defeat President Trump’s nomination for Secretary of Education has squashed Democrats’ hopes. Not one Democrat broke ranks, but with Mike Pence’s casting of the tie-breaking vote, Betsy DeVos has been confirmed. “Obviously, defeat of DeVos was a top priority for the teachers unions, and they pulled out all the stops,” writes Francis Menton in Manhattan Contrarian.
DeVos has devoted much of her life to the cause of school choice, particularly to giving poor and minority children the ability to escape failing unionized public schools. Fox News yesterday described the “furious push” to find one more Republican to vote against DeVos and defeat the nomination. Forbes on January 17 accurately identified DeVos as “public enemy number one” with the teachers unions.
Well, you don’t have to look very far, or think very hard, to understand what this is all about. School choice absolutely does pose an existential threat to the teachers unions. When there is educational choice, that means charter schools and private schools, most of which are non-union. The charter and private schools can out-perform the traditional public schools precisely because they can institute teacher evaluations, pay differentials and termination of under-achieving teachers — all things that are verboten in the unionized schools. So as soon as the alternatives are available, parents move their kids away from the traditional schools and into the alternatives.
Read more here.