2 years ago

Why unions and education bureaucrats hate Betsy DeVos

People hate Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.

When she spoke at the Kennedy School of Government, students held up signs calling her a “white supremacist.”

When she tried to visit a school, activists physically blocked her way.

The haters claim DeVos knows little about education, only got her job because she gave money to Republican politicians and hates free public education.

Of course, education isn’t really “free.”

Taxpayers spend $634 billion a year on it. It’s laughable that activists claim conservatives “cut” education spending. Funds per student tripled over the past several decades, while test scores stayed flat.

Some of that failure is because of what DeVos really opposes: government’s education bureaucracy.

The department she inherited is a good example of that. K-12 schools are controlled and funded locally, but taxpayers are forced to ship education money to Washington, D.C., where bureaucrats there grab some, and then ship the rest back — with strings attached.

President Reagan tried to get rid of the Department of Education. He failed. Since then, it’s only grown. It now spends $193.1 billion a year.

DeVos proposed a mere $9 billion in cuts.

But nothing goes away in Washington, no matter how wasteful. The Republican Congress ignored her proposed cuts and increased her budget by $2 billion.

DeVos, like some other agency heads appointed by President Trump, resists expanding the federal bureaucracy.

People hate her for that, too.

When activists blocked her school visit, she told me for my latest online video, “We drove away, and (the security guard) said, ‘Ma’am, I don’t think we should go back’ and I said … ‘They are not going to win. I am determined to meet those kids and those teachers.'”

She did.

The protesters seemed less interested in her views on education than on the fact that she’s rich.

One yelled: “Keep giving money to senators.”

DeVos is rich. Her father built a company that became worth more than a billion dollars. Then she married into to the Amway marketing fortune.

Walter Shaub, former head of the Office of Government Ethics, told CNN, “DeVos’s primary expertise seems to be in being a rich person.”

I asked DeVos about the charge that she “bought her position.”

“Yes, I have been a contributor,” she said. “I’ve also been an activist. I think it’s important for people to engage in things that they believe in. But that’s not the point. The point is for 30 years I have been working on behalf of families that have not had opportunity.”

She benefited from the free market. Now she wants to bring those benefits to students who’ve been badly treated by government-run schools.

She donated to charter and private schools and served on the boards of groups that promote education choice.

None of that counts as expertise, says the education establishment.

“What she has done is actually made schooling worse in Michigan,” ranted teachers union boss Randi Weingarten on MSNBC. “Eighty percent of the charter schools in Detroit are failing.”

Some Detroit schools are doing badly, acknowledges DeVos, but charter students do “demonstrably better than the students in traditional public schools.”

She’s right. A Stanford study found that kids at Detroit charter schools get months of additional learning every year compared to their public school peers. Choice did help.

Charter and private schools are often better because they are freer to innovate. They can do things like set different hours, be open during summer and pay good teachers more.

Parents in the rest of the country deserve that opportunity, too.

“If there were real choice, good teachers would make much more money,” I suggested to DeVos.

“Absolutely,” she replied. “By the same token, teachers who aren’t good and really shouldn’t be in the classroom probably wouldn’t be… (N)obody would choose their classroom! People are not stupid. They know where their kid is going to do best.”

Unions and education bureaucrats don’t want parents making those decisions. They say, “Teachers should be retrained, not fired” and “Competition is not for kids!”

“We need to do something different,” says DeVos. “This country is on a trajectory to failure, ultimately, if we do not turn around how we educate kids.”

John Stossel is author of “No They Can’t! Why Government Fails — But Individuals Succeed.”

(JFS Productions, copyright 2018)

2 mins ago

Michael Jordan speaks to Univ. of Alabama football team — ‘Winning has a price’

Basketball legend Michael Jordan on Tuesday spoke via video conference to the University of Alabama football team.

The program, led by head coach Nick Saban, routinely has some of the most successful, well-known athletes and leaders from across the nation address the team each summer in preparation for the fall season.

Previous examples reported by Yellowhammer News include the late Kobe Bryant, as well as speakers from the business and political sectors such as world-famous entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk.

Alabama Athletics shared a one-minute video clip from Jordan’s virtual visit. Players seen in the video were socially distanced and wearing masks at the team facility.

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“This guy — I have the most respect for, of anybody, as a competitor. This guy is a great competitor,” Saban said introducing Jordan to the team.

The Crimson Tide coach also praised Jordan in recent months during the premier of the popular 10-part documentary “The Last Dance.”

Jordan spoke to the team on Tuesday about what it takes to be a champion.

“Winning has a price,” the six-time NBA champion said. “You have to put forth the effort every single day.”

“Coaching can only give you the motivation — they can give you plays and they can give you all that — but at the end of the day, you’ve got to have self-determination. You have to want to be the best,” Jordan advised.

He added, “If you’re all on the same page and everybody wants to win, that’s the whole process. If you guys are sitting there putting on that Alabama uniform, your attitude is about winning. Winning is a part of me. I will do anything to win. Your energy should be towards winning.”

Watch:

Alabama Football also shared this famous quote from Jordan in a tweet: “I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.”

The program, led by its players with support from the staff and administration, are currently trying to save the 2020 fall college football season.

RELATED: Alabama Senate majority leader to SEC: Let them play

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

36 mins ago

Alabama’s small business community needs Congress’ support

Affordable health care has long been a cause of concern for small business across our country with the cost of coverage has consistently ranked at the top of small business owners’ concerns. And now, amid a global health crisis, health coverage is more important than ever. As someone with years of experience working in the healthcare industry and alongside businesses, I have seen firsthand how the small business community faces unique challenges when it comes to employer-sponsored benefits.

There is no doubt that each employer wants to give employees the best benefits possible. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it makes small businesses competitive, attracting a more skilled workforce and helping to keep employees healthy. However, the large majority of small business owners run on extremely small margins, and as health care costs continue to rise, it is even more difficult to provide employees with quality health care coverage.

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Alabama is known for our friendly small business community, inviting many small employers to plant their roots in the Yellowhammer State. This is why we’re proud to have over 380,000 small businesses that employ over 765,000 of our state’s residents. Small businesses are, and always have been, the backbone of our economy. Alabama laws historically promote competition and small business growth but despite this, we still need our federal lawmakers to support us, especially at a time when businesses are struggling.

Today, with the pandemic continuing to spread across our state, small business owners are struggling to stay in business, and they are bracing for the full financial impacts of COVID-19. It is a devastating situation to be in and our small business community cannot survive on its own.

Fortunately, we have very dedicated small business champions in Washington, D.C. who have been working tirelessly to ensure any federal COVID-19 relief includes small businesses.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Senator Doug Jones and Congresswoman Terri Sewell supported bipartisan legislation that in 2019 repealed an Obamacare tax known as the Health Insurance Tax (HIT). This erroneous tax increased the price of health insurance for small business owners. Now we need them to further continue that work and work to implement policies that will continue to lower the cost of health care for small business owners, their employees, and their families, especially at a time when having health care is so crucial. A healthy workforce that is ready, and able, to get back to work is vital to our state, and country’s economic recovery.

Small business owners want to continue to provide health care for their employees, but they need Congress’ help to do so. I ask that our elected officials continue to come together to support Alabama’s small business community, especially when it comes to lowering health care costs and making health care more affordable — both as we continue to overcome COVID-19 and long beyond.

Curtis Cannon is a Managing Partner at Axis Recovery and has over 15 years of experience working with health insurance companies, brokers and consulting firms.

1 hour ago

Doug Jones: Kamala Harris ‘exactly what we need’

U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) on Wednesday sent out a fundraising email to his supporters celebrating that his “friend” U.S. Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) has been selected as the 2020 Democratic vice presidential nominee.

Harris joins former Vice President Joe Biden on the Democratic ticket. Jones is a longtime ally of Biden and was one of the first major elected officials in the country to endorse his presidential bid this cycle. It was also announced on Tuesday shortly before Harris was named as the VP nominee that Jones will be a featured speaker at the Democratic National Convention next week.

Reacting to Harris’ selection on Wednesday, Jones wrote, “First of all, I’m proud of my friend and colleague. Her tenacity and dedication are exactly what we need to take on so many of the challenges we face, from helping save lives and livelihoods during this pandemic to finally ending systemic racism.”

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Harris has previously announced support for Medicare for All, the Green New Deal, decriminalizing illegal immigration, gun confiscation and other policy proposals championed by the far-left. She even once compared ICE agents to the Ku Klux Klan.

“This election is going to come down to the contrast between unity and division, and Joe Biden and Kamala Harris know how to bring people together. In a lot of ways, it’s similar to what we saw in 2017. Everything we’re seeing shows that not only do we have to make sure everyone hears about our message of unity, but we also have to energize traditionally underrepresented communities like Black and Latinx voters,” Alabama’s junior senator added in his email. “We sure did that in 2017 – I know the power and energy of Black women and the difference their hard work made in my race.”

“Now, we can do it again, and we’ll make history by electing our first Black and South Asian woman Vice President. I’m so proud that person will be my friend and colleague,” he concluded, with the email ending with a link to a fundraising page for Jones’ campaign.

This is not the first time Jones has used Harris to solicit support for his campaign. She sent out a fundraising email for Jones last year.

The junior senator from California earlier this year also traveled to Birmingham in support of Jones’ reelection bid.

Harris during that appearance said that she and Jones “are always cuttin’ up and sending each other notes” in the Senate.

She added, “We were cuttin’ up in the impeachment hearings. Some of those words would not be spoken in church.”

Harris and Jones each voted twice to remove President Donald Trump from office at the conclusion of those impeachment hearings.

Her running mate on the Democratic ticket to unseat Trump has actively supported Jones’ campaign, as well. Biden campaigned in Alabama for Jones during the 2017 election.

Paige Lindgren, a spokesperson for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, on Wednesday noted, “Despite his claims of bipartisanship, Anti-Trump Democrat Doug Jones has hitched his wagon to a potential Biden-Harris administration.”

“By doing this in a state that overwhelming supports the President, Jones has given up on representing the conservative values that Alabamians hold true,” she concluded.

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

1 hour ago

Boeing submits Next Generation Interceptor proposal that would create Alabama jobs, continue to protect American homeland

Boeing on Wednesday submitted its proposal to the U.S. Missile Defense Agency for the Next Generation Interceptor (NGI) competition, with the stakes being high for Alabama.

The company is proposing a design that leverages Boeing’s more than 60-year track record and unparalleled expertise in strategic missile and weapon systems.

The NGI will be the interceptor successor for the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) system, currently the nation’s only defense program capable of protecting the entire United States homeland, including Alaska and Hawaii, against long-range ballistic missiles from threats such as North Korea and Iran. The GMD currently uses Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicles launched by Ground-Based Interceptors to track long-range ballistic missile threats and use collision force to destroy the target.

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Boeing manages the GMD program out of Huntsville as the prime contractor for the Department of Defense. The company has led the industry team since the inception of the program in 1998 with engineers and experts who work in Alabama.

The Missile Defense Agency put out a request for proposal on the NGI in April, saying that two companies will be selected to compete to build the final interceptor. That contract award is expected later this year.

If selected, Boeing will utilize its proven capabilities and a best-of-industry team, based primarily out of Huntsville alongside its Missile and Weapon Systems division headquarters, to ensure a unique, state-of-the-art offering is delivered on time.

“Boeing’s NGI proposal delivers unmatched performance, affordability and reliability for the nation and the warfighter,” stated Norm Tew, Missile and Weapon Systems vice president and general manager, and Huntsville site senior executive for Boeing. “Building upon our prior investments and proven technologies, our innovative proposal offers a creative, compelling and game-changing technical approach to outpace, out-innovate, deter and defeat rapidly evolving advanced threats.”

Boeing already directly employs more than 3,000 people in the Yellowhammer State, with approximately 5,400 employees and retirees being residents of the state. However, the company’s economic impact is much larger than those impressive numbers alone.

As of 2018, Boeing generated an estimated $2.3 billion of economic activity in the state annually. The company spent $606 million with nearly 200 suppliers, supporting about 18,000 direct and indirect jobs as of the latest available data.

The company’s NGI proposal could be key to continued job growth in Alabama.

“This program will create 1,000 new Boeing, supplier and other local jobs across the regional economy,” concluded Tew. “Boeing looks forward to continuing its strong relationship with Alabama, which spans nearly 60 years.”

Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn

2 hours ago

Navy considering Mobile as location to dismantle retired nuclear aircraft carrier

The U.S. Navy has added the city of Mobile to the list of possible locations for where it will dismantle the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Enterprise.

The Navy has commenced a “scoping period” during which the feasibility of using Mobile will be considered, and public comments are being welcomed. The period for the public to comment will last from August 12 until September 11.

Because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the Navy will not be able to hold in-person meetings, so any citizen with comments or questions on the proposed dismantling will have to submit their thoughts online or through the postal service.

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As noted on the Navy’s website on the dismantling, “The removal of the nuclear fuel from the decommissioned ex-Enterprise (CVN 65) reactor plants has already taken place and is not part of the proposed action.”

If the Navy decides to undertake the method of dismantlement that facilities at the Port of Mobile are capable of providing, then Alabama’s port city would be competing with facilities in Brownsville, Texas, and Newport News, Virginia.

The Navy is also considering three other alternatives for dealing with the ex-Enterprise that, if chosen, would mean Mobile is out of the running.

According to the Navy, the Enterprise was first commissioned in 1961 and sailed over one million miles during its more than 50 years of service. The ship was decommissioned in 2017.

More information on the project can be accessed here.

Henry Thornton is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can contact him by email: henry@yellowhammernews.com or on Twitter @HenryThornton95