Should we really pay attention to what the AFT believes about Betsy DeVos

New Mexico’s AFT has been very active on social media in opposing President Trump’s Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

They hate DeVos for one simple reason: she supports broad-based government policies aimed at increasing school choice. Every other objection is mere window-dressing.

The AFT touts itself as a “union of professionals,” but is the AFT really an organization that we should trust to make policies for educating our children? I happened to drop by the “Center for Progress and Justice” in Santa Fe a Democrat/liberal epicenter on Cerillos Road just south of St. Francis.

As seen below (a view from the road), the AFT has a presence there. I believe they have offices in the facility and they use it as it was the site of an event with their national boss Randi Weingarten when she visited New Mexico to stump for Hillary Clinton.

As other pictures show (taken of the south-facing wall), the Center for Progress and Justice is no ordinary “center-left” outfit. If anything, from reading the writing on the wall, I’d call their “workers of the world awaken” rhetoric closer to Marxist:

All of this may not change the views we hold of AFT which, like most unions tends to support leftist/Democrat causes “uber alles,” but the fact that they are willing to post their signs in front of a facility that touts such hard-left rhetoric should give us all pause when considering AFT as an arbiter of education policy both nationally and here in New Mexico.

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12 Replies to “Should we really pay attention to what the AFT believes about Betsy DeVos”

  1. I have been closely following Devos because I like the idea of change since the “education” system has been failing so many of our children (especially the most needy) for years. The scary thing is that the opposition for Devos is fierce, as well as the campaign to keep the local incumbent school board member here in Albuquerque. I find it odd that for the first time in the 11 years I have lived here, we are receiving multiple live and robo calls to keep the incumbent on the board (who is supported by the teachers’ union), as well as online advertisements and snail mail postcards. We want change to the system, but obviously the teachers’ union does not. If one looks at APS’ budget, it is so easy to see that there is gross incompetence at the highest levels of our school system. In case anyone wants to see it, here is APS’ $1.3 BILLION budget for 85,000 students from (the average per pupil cost is over $15,000 per student)–The 2016-17 budget is $1.3 billion which includes:
    $698 million in operational funds
    $350 million in capital funds
    $82 million from federal, state & local grants
    $51 million for food services
    $19 million for transportation
    $6 million for instructional materials
    $134 million for debt service

    Operational vs. Other Funds

    Day-to-day expenses – everything from employee salaries and benefits to utilities, supplies and maintenance – are paid for with operational funds, 97 percent of which come from the state.

    Capital Funds
    Voters approve property taxes to pay for new school construction, renovations, repairs and technology. By law, these funds cannot be used to cover operational costs such as teacher salaries and benefits.

    APS receives federal, state, city and private grants that have specified uses. They may be used for salaries and benefits of employees providing those services. Grants usually have an expiration date.

    Food Services
    APS Food and Nutrition Services, which provides breakfast and lunch for students, is operated under the federally-funded National School Lunch Act and Child Nutrition Act and the National School Breakfast Act.

    The state provides funding for buses. APS operates most of those buses and also hires contractors to get students to and from school.

    Instructional Materials
    Each year, the state provides funding for textbooks and other instructional materials.

  2. I am Will Steinberg. School Board Candidate for District 7. I am for change! I am self funded and not connected to any organization. One of my opponents is supported by the Teacher Unions and the other is supported by a PAC. The unions want to promote their union of Teachers Assistants. Is that because Teachers are leaving their profession due to Common Core? They are not allowed to teach, have not had pay raises in TEN years. The results for the students gets worse each year. I am for “Dollars to Diplomas”. I am screaming for Change!

  3. Betsy has spent her entire life, not working in or with our public schools, but instead working to take money away from our public schools and put it into other types of schools which have been shown time and time again not to be better for children. As one Senator stated, the only reason she has been nominated for this position is that she and her husband have given millions to Republican candidates’ campaigns.

    Vouchers don’t work. The students they are supposedly intended to help can’t afford to make up the difference between what the voucher pays and what the private school costs. No voucher is going to get a minority kid from the war zone, no matter how bright and deserving, into Albuquerque Academy. Vouchers have been rejected by voters by a 2-1 margin every time they have been proposed and rejected by even higher margins in minority and poor neighborhoods. But, never mind what voters want. Politicians know better.

    In response to questions Betsy demonstrated her ignorance of education by not being able to distinguish between proficiency and growth. I assume everyone reading this post knows the difference, but none of you has been nominated to this position.

    She also refused, three times, to answer the simple Yes or No question, “Should all schools be held to the same standards?” Each time she said, “I believe in accountability.” The only possible conclusion: She knew she was under oath and did not want to answer the question truthfully: She believes only public schools should be held to any standards; all others, not.

    I don’t care who a union supports or opposes, it’s obvious to me this person is not qualified to be Secretary of Education.

    1. I actually agree with you Ken, not because DeVos is unqualified to be Secretary of Education, but because there shouldn’t be such a position. The best way to solve our education problems is to get the federal government out of education entirely. Ideally, states, rather than PROVIDING education in the form of government-run schools should instead provide the means to attain education for those unable to afford it.

      No, a voucher won’t get you into the Academy, but in a world with more vouchers and more choice you’d have more high-quality options available.

  4. Since we have a local election happening February 7th 2017, worrying about Betsy DeVoss is a distraction. The fact that the union supports the incumbents that have been on the board for 8 years and have been involved in the educational failures speaks volumes. The one fact missing in this discussion is the reality that 4 people on the board voting in the majority can change the direction of the board. If they support the unions, that is the education you will get. If they support vouchers, that will be the direction. The sad part is who is focusing on the students and their success? Ask yourself that question before you vote.

  5. Will Steinberg I wish you luck and commend you for wanting to help change our schools. Our family watched the forum and we were impressed. We know how difficult it is to get elected when no large party or union group is backing you. I have to say that it is extremely odd how district 7’s school board election is turning out. We need more people challenging our broken system of education and everything else here. We hope that HB 226 “Minor Party Candidate Nominating Signatures” passes to allow diversity in choices at the ballot box and leadership in government.

  6. Paul,

    More reasons why Betsy is unqualified: She has a long record of supporting private and religious school vouchers, even religious schools that teach creationism instead of Evolution. How’s that for handicapping kids who want to enter scientific fields? Her performance at her confirmation hearing only reinforced my opposition. She refused to rule out cutting money from public schools to pay for vouchers. She claimed that private schools that take vouchers should not have to adhere to federal laws that protect kids with disabilities.

    And, these are not “government” schools. They are our public schools, free and open to all students regardless of race, creed or none, color, economic background, special needs, behavioral problems (Yes, these children have a right to an education, too), every child. They are led by an elected Board of Education and not part of any city or county government. I agree, the feds and the states have too much control over local schools. But, since we must accept things the way they are now, the very least we should do is put someone in charge at the federal level who knows a few things about public education.

    Let’s not forget, our public schools are a reflection of our society.

    I believe one thing leading to many of our problems with our public schools today is at least 40 years of “education reform” foisted on schools by folks who never spent even one day in a classroom working with kids or even worked in a school in any capacity. Apparently, we will listen to anyone who has any idea about what needs to be done with our public schools, unless that person is a teacher. Billionaires (Gates/Kochs), economists (Friedman), politicians (Reagan/Bush I/Bush II/Kennedy/Jeb!/Pearce/Martinez/Skandera) all think they know more about education than the actual practitioners.

    For those who think politicians have no place in our medical system, now you know what kids and teachers in our public schools have had to put up with for decades.

    Paul, you once wrote that we were paying teachers too much. New Mexico is having a tremendous problem filling teacher vacancies. Could it be because teachers can move to any neighboring state, escape the senseless morale–destroying burden put on them by the Martinez/Skandera regime and be paid considerably more for doing the same job. BTW, the problem is not fear of evaluation. The problem is an evaluation scheme that amounts to little more than betting a teaching career on the spin of a roulette wheel

  7. School board candidate Tierney (District 7) wants teachers to carry guns in school, both for protection against bad guys coming into the school and also to control unruly students. “I don’t know what happened principal Jones, I had my pistol when I stepped into the hallway and now it’s gone.” “Hey Johnny, if you hit Chuck again I’ll shoot you.”

    School board candidate Brown (District 6) wants creationism taught in public school science classes along with evolution and then let the kids decide which one they like. Shall we put 2+2=4 up for debate as well? Maybe some of the kids would prefer 2+2=5

    1. You cannot promote teaching the scientific method and only present one theory for a process when there are just as viable alternative theories available. Therefore, those who promote teaching only evolution which cannot be proven are favoring brainwashing rather than letting the opposing theories be presented and examine how each hold up to scientific review.

      1. The Bible and its account of the creation of the world is not a scientific theory. It is a religion. The theory of evolution in based on biological scientific evidence. Yes, it’s just a theory, but it is not a religion. These are two different things. The Bible doesn’t have scientific evidence to support its story.

        1. Are there no theories that are not inherently religion-based? I honestly don’t know. I’m not knowledgeable on the various theories of evolution etc.

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