Wednesday, July 20, 2016

What Did Don, Jr. Have to Say about Public Education?

Last night's Republican convention saw speeches from a couple of Trump's children (I'm not really watching; I let other people do that and report out.)  One of his children, Donald, Jr.,was attempting to introduce his dad as a fairly "aw shucks" kind of guy (which is puzzling given his father's professional persona on tv.)  

But in his remarks he said this on public education:
Our schools used to be an elevator to the middle class, now they’re stalled on the ground floor. They’re like Soviet-era department stores that are run for the benefit of the clerks and not the customers, for the teachers and the administrators and not the students. You know why other countries do better on K through 12? They let parents choose where to send their own children to school.
That’s called competition. It’s called the free market. And it’s what the other party fears. (APPLAUSE)
They fear it because they’re more concerned about protecting the jobs of tenured teachers than serving the students in desperate need of a good education.

We’re going to make our schools the best in the world for every single American of every single ethnicity and background.
Mr. Trump, Jr. gets a lot wrong but then again, per his stepmother, I'm pretty sure he didn't write his speech.

Speaking of ground floors, I find it interesting that he says schools were the route to the middle-class as if that were the ceiling for education.  

Our schools are not failing or stalled in any widespread way.  We have the same issues that our schools have faced for decades like poverty and institutional racism that make public education for some children very difficult.  That's what needs to be addressed in a real and systemic manner.

I had to smile at the "Soviet-era" mention.  It manages to bring up the Cold War but also, in my mind, reminded me that if Trump were elected, he and Putin would be the best of friends.

But to his point, saying that schools are run for teachers and administrators does a real disservice to the millions of people in our country who devote their lives to educating children.

And his thought on why other countries "do better" in public education?  They have choice.  I'm not sure what countries he maybe referencing but for public education, very few countries have choice.  I'll go out on a limb here but with a billion+ people, I'm pretty sure Chinese parents have very little choice.  In fact, in most other countries, it's your local public school or a private school if you want a choice. 

He's also wrong - at least in Washington State - there is no "tenure" for teachers.  There's seniority but that's not the same thing.   The teacher contracts are negotiated for how teachers face sanctions for less-than-productive work.  I'd bet there are unions working for his dad that have the same kinds of workplace protections. 

He also said this knee-slapper:
We’ve produced the thickest network of patronage and influence of any country at any time in world history. It’s composed of a self- satisfied people at the top, our new aristocrats. We can’t live that way any longer, it’s too risky.
He doesn't say why this is "risky" which would seem to imply danger.  And if he thinks he can sell that union leaders are the new aristocrats,  I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell him and his father.


Anonymous said...

From what I understand, some of the statements in his speech were lifted from a conservative think tank paper. The whole Soviet comparison and the elevator comparison came from somewhere else. I have even seen some articles accusing his speech of being plagiarized too.


Anonymous said...

I completely agree with the analogy and the last CBA go around proves it.


Melissa Westbrook said...

Reality, how?

Outsider said...

Most convention speeches are just collections of recycled talking points already used thousands of times. It's silly to talk about plagiarism. Politics = repeating talking points.

The Republicans seem to be going down in flames, so don't worry. They can't even begin to reconcile the basic contradiction between the fundamental pro-corporate orientation of the insiders and the money vs. the desires of their grass-roots base. Among the base, there is indeed a huge passion for school choice, but it's not really tied to anti-union or anti-teacher sentiment, nor is it the same as wanting to be fed into the jaws of crony capitalist charter schools. But the campaign money is animated by anti-union, anti-public employee, and crony capitalist schemes.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

"The Republicans seem to be going down in flames"...really?

Rampant PC vigilantism is what's keeping many voters from showing their support for Trump. There seems to be no limits to the violence the left is capable of in support of Clinton. Think about it, if the left wing wackos have no restraints in assassinating law enforcement officers, just think what they would do to ordinary citizens out exercising their constitutional rights.

Every legitimate poll has the race as a tie and if you believe other sources, many Trump supports are reporting they are going to vote for Hillary or a write in candidate out of fear of being targeted by a left wing wackos.

So go ahead and think as you will, I believe more left wing wackos will cause more death and destruction in the coming months and easily push Trump into office.

If you really want to stop Trump you would be well served to get your own house in order and stop the killing.


Anonymous said...

really is NRA's trollish comment really on topic? this is a sps blog not a presidential rant.

dt-jr said the conservative helped him write the speech but did not comment on if he knew they were recycled from a previous publication and said the comments as they were his own ideas.

no caps

Melissa Westbrook said...

I ask that everyone please ignore NRA; that person is not welcome here and answering anything he/she says is useless.

Anonymous said...


no caps

seattle citizen said...

How do Republicans reconcile this:

"let parents choose where to send their own children to school. That’s called competition. It’s called the free market."

with this:

"We’re going to make our schools the best in the world..."

Who is the "we" who is going to make schools great if they're free market? If "we" try to do ANYTHING regarding public schools, wouldn't that be interfering with the free market?

Is he saying the Republicans will make schools great by giving up control of them? If THEY give up control, how will THEY make the schools great?

Anonymous said...

In a May article in The American Conservative titled "Trump Vs. The New Class," F.H. Buckley wrote, “What should be an elevator to the upper class is stalled on the ground floor. Part of the fault for this may be laid at the feet of the system’s entrenched interests: the teachers’ unions and the higher-education professoriate. Our schools and universities are like the old Soviet department stores whose mission was to serve the interests of the sales clerks and not the customers. Why the sales clerks should want to keep things that way is perfectly understandable.”

Don Jr. plagiarized his speech from this.

-Gotcha Again

biliruben said...

I'm not sure he has any experience with public education, about which he critically expounds. Didn't he attend some fancy private boarding school?