In politics they say that no good deed goes unpunished. That is never truer than on the issue of school choice.
President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee to be the Secretary of Education, Betsy Devos, has committed an unpardonable sin. Yes, she has tried to help millions of disadvantaged families have the ability to send their kids to better schools. This is of course reprehensible behavior on her part that must not be rewarded.
Oh, and there is one more thing, she has spent millions of dollars of her own money in order to try to help these kids be able to achieve their dreams. How awful.
In Louisiana we enacted the biggest school choice statewide program in the country. And in New Orleans every public school will soon be a charter school, allowing for real innovation. There will be literally zero traditional public schools, and education is improving.
But let’s be clear, this is Holy Grail for the American Left. They will fight to the last gasp to stop anyone from delivering equal opportunity in education. They attacked me for it every waking hour after we got our program enacted, in the same irrational and nasty manner they are now attacking Betsy.
Yes, the hard Left and the teachers unions are vilifying Betsy DeVos for exactly the reasons I listed above. They believe that allowing the money to follow the child is an attempt to destroy public education and ultimately the United States.
These people are not rational. They are protecting a one size fits all monopoly that creates winners and losers in our education system. The winners are kids whose families have money and the losers are those who do not.
If you are born to affluent parents – good news, you will either live in a ZIP code with good performing public schools, or, they will put you in an expensive private school. You are all set.
If you are born to middle class parents, they are likely going to either make sure they live in an area with decent public schools, or they may save and scrimp and send you to a private school, albeit not at the country club.
But, if you are born to poor parents, or one parent who is struggling to make ends meet, you may be out of luck. Your parent or parents don’t have the resources to move, and they certainly don’t have the money to send you to a better school. And the chances are pretty strong that your local public schools are failing, and there is a decent chance that you are an ethnic minority.
So, one would logically assume that every bleeding heart liberal in America is rooting for you, and wants you to be able to go to a better school. Right?
Because they care about people more than money, they certainly want you to have a choice. Right?
The Democratic Party and the American Left opposes equal education opportunity. Write it down and memorize it.
They oppose equal opportunity in education. They demand that you keep your children in a failing government school and they tell you to wait for their reforms to finally kick-in sometime in the next 100 years.
These people are illogical and really should not be teaching anyone anything anywhere.
Which brings me back to Betsy Devos. She has fought tirelessly for decades to give disadvantaged kids the opportunity to receive a great education. That is the sum total of why these Luddites on the Left are attacking her.
You really have to hand it to Donald Trump here. Instead of picking an education bureaucrat, he picked a person who sees the bigger picture and knows that American education must get out of the Stone Age and move into the 21st century. Because Trump does not come from out of the political class, he has no regard for how hard it is to make any progress on education reform. Thank goodness for that. This is the breath of fresh air we needed.
Finally, there will be a lot of folks to testify at Betsy’s confirmation hearing, and many will be raging liberals who are desperate to protect the Stone Age monopoly that is America’s education system.
Not one of these people, not one, will have done as much in his or her life to improve the lives of kids in need as Betsy has. And most of them are total hypocrites who do not practice what they preach when it comes to their own children.
Remember that while they rage. Also remember that it’s not the kids they are fighting for, it’s the antiquated government monopoly that they are protecting.
What we have now is a closed government system that is failing. What we need is an open system that allows for change, choice, and innovation.
Donald Trump clearly understands what is at stake, and that’s why he picked a reformer who cares about helping those kids who are currently being left behind.
Republican Bobby Jindal is governor of Louisiana and a former Republican candidate for president of the United States.