Paying off DeVos, Perhaps a Fall Guy?

It’s pretty obvious that DeVos is not qualified, and yet she likely has enough votes for confirmation. Its super crazy, even a good chunk of governors are advocating for her… and yet she is way out of her league with this, it just doesn’t add up.

Yes, I get the Republican’s have a vision where they want to go education wise. And the thing is, I believe many Democrats agree with a good chunk of the vision. Consider the following from the governors letter.

…. will fight to streamline the federal education bureaucracy, return authority back to states and local school boards, and ensure that more dollars are reaching the classroom.

AND

we look forward to partnering with …. to ensure that every child has the opportunity to reach his or her potential in the classroom.

I mean short of some control freak, who would disagree with that?

And yet, I agree there are some pretty big differences too, especially related to accountability measurements, funding allocations, and public vs for-profit control. Alas, with a republican legislature and exec, they aren’t going to nominate someone who isn’t pretty much aligned with that ideology.

The thing is, why DeVos? There are smart Republicans in the education sector,  folks with experience in education, folks with experience how rule making body’s work, folks who know how to lead. Granted, said folks aren’t massive donors which admittedly is pretty important.. but I think its a lot more than that. I think smart Republicans capable of doing a good job with the position, don’t want to touch it with a hundred foot pole.

The reason? It was looking to be a challenging role, which has been made impossible… so if someone is going crater their career, why not let it be a donor. That way, you get them paid off… and it doesn’t matter if no one will ever hire them again. Bottom line, I think this is a replay of what happened to Michael Brown, the FEMA guy under George Bush during Katrina. All the responsibility, limited experience, and hardly any power to do anything about it.

The reason for this is… the ESSA  (replacement to NCLB, and RTTP was passed in a bipartisan fashion in late 2015. Some good bits, some really sucky bits,  but overall, probably as good as could be expected. As such, once it was passed, the dept of edu got rolling on the regulations, ie the details as to how the law would operate, the nuts and bolts through the traditional regulatory process.

Alas, there were a lot of comments during the NPRM process… which for the most part seemed to be of a conservative bent… albeit more than a few comments were not relevant to the proposed rules being they were outside the scope of the ESSA. Bottom line, my guess is a lot of conservative constituents took issue with the ESSA and complained to their legislator about the NPRM.

Thus, when GOP got the majority, they plan to nullify some major sections (teacher preparation and accountability and state plans ) of the ESSA rules using the Congressional Rule Act. If said nullification passes, the rules are eliminated, and new ones cannot be issued by the dept of education. The problem with this, is that the ESSA law remains in force… but the dept of education has no nuts and bolts to make it work.

In other words, the law says do this great big thing… but the regs don’t exist to accomplish it. Even scarier, states have been working on ESSA plans… which now won’t have any federal backup. In other words, this is going to be one nasty screwed up mess… with the only possible fix being a rewrite of the ESSA… which was near impossible to pass in the first place, and writing a new one is probably going to be even harder, especially in a time efficient manner.  Beyond that, there is a lot more edu law than just the ESSA.. so you can’t just rip it out, as other laws require key aspects of it, which may or may not be popular with a GOP congress and senate. I predict a ton of litigation over this…

Since I believe much of today’s government operates under Hanlon’s razor, I don’t think the setup was intentional, as much as it was the GOP crazy on their newly found power and yet totally failing to consider the unintended consequences. Bottom line though, it will take a top notch leader with a ton of educational experience to fix and at least a year if not more to pull off depending upon what crisis come up… and even then, it might not work very well. As such, someone needs to be the fall guy for it… maybe a donor is the best option.

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