On this date, at noon, in 1781, the Articles Of Confederation were ratified. We all know how that turned out.
Today in unfolding governance experiments, President Trump spoke to Congress last night. A few odd moments but nothing really crazy happened so the event is naturally being hailed as a big success. Any other politician and the knock on the speech would have been ‘a long laundry list of things with few specifics.’ Expectations matter in politics. He mentioned education but like most of the policy proposals he discussed, few details.
Trump’s education secretary, Betsy DeVos, is still getting heat for her comments linking HBCU’s to school choice – an unforced hammer – nail error – and a lack of context or sensitivity to context about the history of HBCUs. Getting less attention is this remark by DeVos:
Rather than focus solely on funding, we must be willing to make the tangible, structural reforms that will allow students to reach their full potential.
We discussed why that matters on the HBCU executive order yesterday. But more than that given the coming budget fight and the likely pressure on non-defense discretionary spending in the budget this sentiment reads like groundwork laying for a tough budget climate. There will be a lot of resistance to aspects of the Trump budget plan but it’s unclear Education will fare well in a budget fight given its institutional strength and current leadership. You’re already hearing more about State and foreign programs than education. And Republicans would like to shift some education spending to the tax side through some large tax credit aimed at school choice. The obvious political move is pushback that includes real ideas about tangible structural reforms that are long overdue in an education system that doesn’t work for too many Americans – and the funding to help that system do what it needs to be. But don’t hold your breath.
Also, forget the actual budget math, lines like this work politically because of how Americans think federal dollars are distributed.
“We’ve financed and built one global project after another, but ignored the fates of our children in the inner cities of Chicago, Baltimore, Detroit — and so many other places throughout our land.”
That was one of the strongest lines of the night for him and builds a clever political box. If President Trump learns that politics doesn’t have to be as hard as he makes it, watch out.
Earlier this week Kirsten Schmitz and I looked at one big idea – getting all teachers into Social Security. 40 percent are not covered today and it’s bad for them and a missed opportunity for Social Security’s fortunes, too.
Speaking of retirement policy did you know that the AARP has its roots in teacher retirement? It’s true!
Mike Rowe is all over the CTE issue. Education has its own voice over star on the ed policy scene – insiders know who I am talking about – but Rowe’s not bad either.
No one has yet successfully answered this trivia question. A number of guesses for Peter Cunningham, the former Arne Duncan hand. He’s a talented musician but that’s not the correct answer.
Sloths. On rocking chairs.