I’ve yet to see a copy of the five-page document, but it’s being reported that the Council for National Policy, a group the New York Time calls “a little-known club of a few hundred of the most powerful conservatives in the country,” has started circulating a policy paper on education reform in the United States. And, given the fact that, until recently, White House strategist Steve Bannon was a member, and our new Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has close ties, people seem to be taking it seriously. [While it doesn’t appear that Betsy DeVos has been an official member of the group, she’s donated to the organization through her family foundation, and both her mother and father-in-law have served on council’s board. He mother, Elsa Prince Broekhuizen, served on the council’s board of governors, and her father-in-law, Amway founder Richard DeVos Sr., served twice as president.] As for what’s in the policy document, here’s a clip from the Washington Post.
A policy manifesto from an influential conservative group with ties to the Trump administration, including Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, urges the dismantling of the Education Department and bringing God into American classrooms.
The five-page document produced by the Council for National Policy calls for a “restoration of education in America” that would minimize the federal role, promote religious schools and home schooling and enshrine “historic Judeo-Christian principles” as a basis for instruction…
A version of the council’s report, created by an 11-member education committee, was posted on the council’s website, but the document was no longer available online as of Wednesday afternoon, after The Washington Post reported on it. Three committee members confirmed its authenticity.
The document proposes demoting the department to a presidential “Advisory Council on Public Education Reform,” a sub-Cabinet-level agency that would serve as a consultant to states. New employees should subscribe to the educational worldview of the Trump administration, it says, “from assistant secretaries to the mailroom.”
It also says states should encourage K-12 public schools to post the Ten Commandments, teach Bible classes and recognize holidays such as Easter and Christmas; promote instruction “from a Judeo-Christian perspective”; and remove “secular-based sex education materials from school facilities.”
It calls for the termination of the Common Core academic standards and an end to the government collection of student data, which has generated concerns among activists on the right and the left.
The goal, it says, is a “gradual, voluntary return at all levels to free-market private schools, church schools and home schools as the normative American practice.”…
On it’s own, I might be inclined to disregard a report like this, as it seems so incredibly insane, and so very contrary to the underlying principles of our democracy, but we know from things said by Betsy DeVos and her husband Dick that they share the same opinion. [Remember that recording from the conference for wealthy Christians called “The Gathering” of Dick DeVos saying that their work to defund public education has been driven by a desire to “advance God’s kingdom” on earth?] So, I don’t think we can afford to take this lightly… not now that Betsy DeVos has essentially bought herself a seat on the President’s Cabinet as our Secretary of Education. No, all that stuff we’ve heard the Dick and Betsy DeVos say about how their goal is to remake society with the church at the center of American communities, and not secular schools, has to be taken very seriously. We need to take them at their word and respond accordingly.
I know I don’t need to tell you this, but we need to keep fighting this at every turn. This is deadly serious. If we’re to avoid a second coming of the dark ages, we’re going to have to fight with everything we’ve got from this moment forward. And we can never stop.