Many liberals are beside themselves about the appointment of Betsy DeVos to the position of Secretary of Education. Put out the fire in your hair and do not succumb to the fear mongering coming from the liberal Democrats.
Like the last 15 or so Secretaries of Education, DeVos will have little or no effect – good or bad – on public schools. Here are some facts that should help you sleep better at night.
Approximately 95 percent of the children in America attend public schools. That will keep happening.
Politicians do not really care about public schools. They have a lot of rhetoric, but they really do not care. All of their kids attend private schools.
Do not worry about more charter schools or more choice. The people who send their kids to private schools will continue to do so without harming public schools. The charter school movement is pretty much saturated at this point; they will not be taking more students from traditional public schools because there is no more money to be made. So, you are safe there.
Finally, over the past 60 or so years, no federal program has done anything to improve or hurt public schools. The federal programs burst onto the scene then fail and disappear. For example:
-1957 National Defense Education Act, President Eisenhower, Failed
-1984 Nation at Risk, President Reagan, Failed
-1992 America 2000, President Bush 1, Failed
-2000 No Child Left Behind, President Bush 2, Failed
2009 Race to the Top, President Obama, Failed
The good news is so far President Trump is not saying much about education. Maybe he will be the energy president or something and leave the public schools alone.
Public schools are what they are. I love them and worked in them for more than 42 years.
Public schools do not guarantee anything except a chance for success. That is the problem with the programs noted above. People want public schools to guarantee success, but they cannot. They can guarantee a chance for success but no more.
Students determine their level of success. Families determine the level of success of their children. Schools play a role, but they cannot do it alone.
So, teachers keep teaching. Stop worrying. Public schools are here to stay (like Rock and roll.) You are here to stay. Keep working hard. Enjoy the kids.
Don’t worry about DeVos, she too will pass.
Dr. John Metallo is a retired teacher and administrator. Among the positions he has held are the principal of Albany High School and adjunct instructor at the University at Albany and SUNY Plattsburgh. He lives in Slingerlands and can be reached at 577-7530 or Johngmetallo@live.com.