Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Please Vote for Candidates Who Truly Support Public Education

This blog is about education . . .  and more specifically about Louisiana Education. I have tried to limit my blog to education issues and have not gotten involved in political issues except as they apply to education. It turns out that on November 8, we will have a real choice between pro-public education candidates and candidates for national office that would promote the destruction of our public education system. This is a system of education which has been one of the greatest sources of success for our nation. For the benefit of public education and for many other reasons, I want to recommend  a candidate for the U.S. Senate and one for the office of President of the United States.

I have written thousands of words in this blog explaining what I believe is solid evidence that the nationwide move to privatize our public education system is a huge mistake. I have pointed out in many posts the overwhelming evidence that privatizing education through the use of charter schools and voucher schools is generally counterproductive, does not improve education, and opens up the funding of public education to fraud and abuse. Not all charter schools are bad and not all schools that accept vouchers are bad, but I believe the concept of allowing our public school taxes to go to unregulated and unsupervised private groups is a bad idea.

Please don't believe all of the horrible stuff you have heard over the last 10 years about Louisiana having failing public schools. There will always be some schools that are not doing the best they should be doing for our children, but I truly believe that any student who is motivated and works hard will receive a great education in our public schools. Sure, we have schools where students score below average on state and national tests but that can be much more accurately ascribed to the rate of poverty of the students and their families. In almost all cases efforts of the teachers and administrators in so called "failing schools" is extremely caring and almost heroic despite the unfair criticism our warped system of accountability heaps on them each year. Our public schools in Louisiana provide all children with a path to success if they just are willing and able to take advantage of what is being offered.

Unfortunately, our public schools have had very poor leadership at the state and national levels in the last 10 years because of an extremely misguided reform movement that has pushed an ineffective college prep "for all" program and that has promoted all forms of privatization over the support of our public schools.  But my research for the past 10 years shows conclusively that charter schools and voucher schools often do not give our taxpayer's their money's worth. Again I repeat, there are a few such schools that really do a good job, and I have personal knowledge of such schools and their success, but the overall effect of privatization encourages fraud and abuse of our tax dollars and does not do justice to most students. You need only to look at the results of privatization of schools in Chile to see the end result of privatization. That country is now facing a major effort to reverse the destructive results of privatization.

It is with the above principles in mind that I would like to strongly recommend Foster Campbell for the U.S. Senate and Hillary Clinton for President.

I have personally known Foster Campbell for over 30 years and have always found him to be a true supporter of public education. Foster respects the teaching profession and would never recommend national policies that would force half-baked education reforms over the recommendations of our educators and parents. He does not support the current privatization move and will instead work hard to strengthen our public school system and elevate the teaching profession.

Now for the big one! In all my many years of involvement in the democratic process for election of our leaders have I ever seen a more important decision for the office of president. 

I want to start by making clear that I do not believe Hillary Clinton is a perfect candidate. She has in the past been misled to some extent by the propaganda that has so effectively promoted charter schools as a magic solution. But I believe that she has great respect for the teaching profession and will listen to reason on major issues relating to privatization and support for the profession. I believe much of the criticism of Mrs. Clinton has been exaggerated by the tremendous partisanship of our current two party system which seems to value party success over the welfare of our nation.

I will just make one small point in contradiction to what I believe has been unfair criticism of Mrs. Clinton when she was Secretary of State. Republicans have spent millions of our tax dollars investigating the Bengazi incident where 4 courageous and loyal American public servants were viscously murdered by terrorists. It is alleged that Clinton was negligent in not providing adequate security and in not rescuing the victims. The problem is hindsight is 20:20. Certainly now we can see that more should have been done, but I will never believe for one minute that Secretary Clinton did not care sincerely for the wellbeing of these dedicated individuals. I just want to make one comparison: Years ago, president Reagan was warned repeatedly by security professionals that is was not wise to maintain a base in Lebanon for U.S. Marines. He ignored these warnings and our security system was not able to prevent a huge bomb from being driven to the marine barracks which resulted in the horrible deaths of over 250 marines. Our nation was horrified, and Reagan very quickly closed the base and moved the rest of our troops out of harms way. But the difference, is our congressional leaders did not choose to have endless investigations and second guessing of the mistakes by Reagan and his appointed leaders that may have prevented this catastrophe. Now, the political climate is such that every mistake of our present leadership is always blown out of proportion.

I repeat: Hillary Clinton is not perfect, but I believe she is extremely well qualified to be president of the United States, is highly respected by the world community and will always attempt to do what is best for our country and the world in general. I do not believe the same can be said for Donald Trump.

One of the major reasons I believe it would be a serious mistake for the citizens and voters of the United States of America to elect Donald Trump is that he obviously knows nothing about elementary/secondary schools, but he has stated repeatedly that he wants to remove all barriers to expansion of both charters and vouchers with our public taxes. The national Republican party also has a solid position promoting the expansion of both charter schools and vouchers.

But there are other very important reasons why Trump should not be elected president. So much of what we have seen and heard from Trump himself and from persons who have had dealings with Trump over the years show him to be unprincipled, dishonest, deceptive, greedy, hypocritical, and unworthy of our trust as president of our great country. Trump is obviously a pathological liar as evidenced by his promotion of the Birther Movement against president Obama, his outlandish claims about his Republican opponents, his attacks on Hillary Clinton, the media and the Republican leadership. His proposals to ban immigrants, to torture prisoners, to murder the families of radical Islamist enemies, and to simultaneously be an isolationist and to be a war monger would certainly destabilize international relations. His vow to banish 16 million people, most of whom are good people, and who contribute greatly to the workforce of the construction industry and farming industry in this country, according to most economists, would quickly deal a severe blow to our economy.

Trump has been one of the worst examples of the abuse of our American economy by the privileged class. We have no reason to believe that he will change and somehow become a good leader for all the citizens our country.

Please consider voting for Hillary Clinton for President and Foster Campbell for U. S. Senator.


KimberlyDtchr said...

Brave post, Louisiana Educator.

Seems this year's national election is forcing a closer look at each issue before setting anything to the balance. What is of greater substance? Is there one more exacting than a configuration of others?

I KNOW the lever for which there is not the force to pull. The question remains: Will there be a push to exceed the counterbalance?

Thanks again for the timely piece.

Anonymous said...

This is one time I disagree with you. I wish that you would not have expressed your political views on this site.

Below I have copied the Lake Charles Diocesan Bishop Provost's statement that appeared in our Sunday bulletin last weekend.

"Among candidates for elected office, the choices for voters can be perplexing. In any election, a Catholic is obligated to vote according to the judgment of correct conscience. This requires the Catholic voter to be informed about Catholic teaching found in definitive sources , such as the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Sacred Scripture, and Sacred Tradition, as well as the positions held by candidates and their party platforms. The more fundamental the issue, like human life, marriage or religious freedom, the greater priority the issue possesses in the judgment of correct conscience. The exercise of a correct conscience requires that a Catholic vote for the candidate whose positions best correspond to the church’s moral teaching on such fundamental issues. The authentic teachings of the Catholic Church are timeless realities that defy being categorized as fossilized relics of a remote past. They are the legitimate expression of the teachings of Jesus Christ, and when lived out, they define us as Christians. These teachings exist because God cares about how we live and what happens to us. The question to ask is the fundamental. In voting for a candidate, to what end am I contributing? What goal am I seeking to accomplish? Simply stated, voting endorses a candidate’s goals and contributes to accomplishing them. This statement is made without prejudice to any candidate or political party. It is intended rather to remind the Catholics of this Diocese that voting is a serious matter and can have immediate as well as eternal consequences, for we will ultimately stand before God for the decisions we make and the actions we take. (cf. Romans 14:12)."

The presidential election is about more than either candidate. It is about the direction in which we want our country to go in the future. With the next president choosing anywhere from 1-4 supreme court justices, our choice of president is critical since the decisions of the supreme court will affect our country for decades. I choose life! I will not vote for Hillary!

Michael Deshotels said...

Anonymous, you raise a very difficult issue for me. Even though I am a not-so-good Catholic, I would never dream of contradicting the leaders of the church on this matter. I guess it just gets down to the fact that I don't trust Trump on anything!

Anonymous said...

Thank you Mike for writing this great entry on your blog. Your blog. Where you have provided so much information and helped so many by sharing the truth!!! Your blog. Where you can write anything you want to and with all the freedom to express yourself how ever you want. Yet you have chosen to spend thousands of hours researching the evidence, investigating all sides of the issues and sharing all that you find with all of us to support our public schools against the lies, subterfuge and selfserving manipulation by our elected and appointed officials. I will be voting for Foster Campbell and Hillary Clinton also. Will they make everything wonderful and everyone happy? Absolutely not, that is NOT what we will elect them for. I will pray they are elected because all in all they actually care. They actually have the experience and intelligence to make decisions that will benefit our state and our nation a as a whole. I will disagree I am sure with some things they will do, but I do not expect a large and diverse nation like the United States to survive if lead by narcissistic, mysogonist, racist, corrupt and sexist bullies. We will survive if we embrace our diversity, work towards equality and compassion for each member of our myriad communities and agree to respect the worth and rights of each human being regardless of their differences, beliefs or income. You value each child who enters our public school system across Louisiana and advocate for students and families based on their humanity, not their socioeconomic level or a standardized test score! Thank you seems inadequate, but Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Where can I get info on all the amendments? 5 has to do with our retirement fund so I will vote for that one. Just wondered about the others
Thank you!

Michael Deshotels said...

Public Affairs Research of Louisiana has an excellent analysis of the proposed amendments at their website. Go to
Mike Deshotels