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If Democrats Think Mike Pence Is An Extremist, Will They Stop Supporting His Education Policies?


If Democrats Think Mike Pence Is An Extremist, Will They Stop Supporting His Education Policies?

Jeff Bryant

Soon after the announcement that Indiana Governor Mike Pence would be the vice presidential candidate for the Republican Party, word came from Democrats that he was an extremist – and not just your garden-variety extremist.

“The ‘most extreme’ vice presidential pick in a generation,” an article in USA Today quotes a statement from John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman.


“School choice” is the full stop for me. I’m not concerned about partisan history or adherence to some constructed program known as “education reform.” This article is a perfect example of the twists that kind of thinking puts one into.


Don’t hold your breath waiting for Clinton to go against the establishment’s desire for education money. That’s a done deal.
What the Republicans want but can’t push through, the Democrats can get done easily and mostly get a pass. Wedge issues are the only things Dems protest.
We have to keep in mind that the Republican party and the Democratic party hold hands behind the curtain after the political theater closes.
They make lots of noise about each other but in the end they agree on many important issues and obviously education, or the lack there of, is just one.


One of the most effective things a prosecutor can do is to establish pattern and opportunity. Therefore, when one reviews the following paragraphs, they should also remember that Obama cut out Dr. Flowers and any advocates for a single payer health care plan; and in their place, it was Big Insurance that met with “lawmakers” behind closed doors to write the rules to the new Obama Care program.

Similarly, it was not honest economists or university professors with expertise in economics who helped preside over the nation’s policies when the blow-back for taking down the wall separating investment banks from Wall St. speculation (Glass-Steagall) led to near fiscal collapse. Instead, the usual Wall St. insiders got to write the script and as is now so very clear, their motive was to bail out the banks at taxpayers’ expense.

It works the same way with so-called education reform and its ruse about “choice.”

Obama’s health “care” plan was Mitt Romney’s item. And the emphasis on school testing and public funding for charters (right wing protocols) are only criticized by prominent DLC Dems when they are competing with Repugs for the same donor dollars.

"So for the past eight years, the Democratic Party’s education agenda has chiefly been based on an idea conceived in right wing policy shops then pushed into the party’s most powerful circles by a very small but wealthy group of individuals with the ability to push the right levers.

"Based on this understanding, it’s not a surprise that extremists such as Mike Pence have been eager to adopt much of this agenda.

“But in calling out Pence as an extremist, is Hillary Clinton signaling there may be “shifts in her party’s education agenda,” as American Prospect’s education journalist Rachel Cohen suggests?”

No shift. Just demonizing the opponent to increase the odds of collecting Big Money once she passes “go.”


That anyone would give the slightest bit of credence to any “progressive” policy utterance by Madame Mayhem evinces a distinct and disturbing lack of ability to learn the lessons of political expediency.

A signal case for actual education reform, I’d submit.


As a teacher for over 40 years, I always take interest in education-related articles here on Common Dreams. Interestingly, there are seldom more than a handful of replies in the comments section, which signals most CD readers’ interests in the issues.

I lost much of my Hope for Change when Linda Darling Hammond was passed over for Education Secretary. Arne Duncan was one of the good-old-boys in Obama’s pack. This signaled that education was to be put on the back burner, and so it was. Reform started in the early 80’s with A Nation At Risk, and the attacks on teachers have not yet abated. No Child Left Behind and its various offshoots like Common Core continue to cripple our country’s schools.

Classroom teachers are the only ones who are seldom if ever consulted on matters of Education. Why is that? When you see an expert refer to him or herself as an “Educator,” that is code for “I’m not a teacher, I’m higher on the food chain.” Unfortunately more Educators are consulted than real teachers.

During my 36 years as an elementary teacher, I served on many curriculum committees. Much of our work was choosing which texts to use in our curriculum. I served on Reading, Language Arts, Spelling, and Math committees. In the mid to late 1970’s we had texts from six or eight book companies to choose from in Math, Language, or Reading, and as many as thirteen in Spelling! By the late 1980’s we had fewer than four because of consolidation of publishing companies. The range of choice became smaller.

Another factor we always needed to consider was that the book publishers had to cover the cost of writing and publishing their wares. This amounted to a certain looking over each others’ shoulders. Industrial espionage? LOL. A sub-factor, but very real was that many states used statewide adoption of materials. Think of the bulk orders for California, Texas, and Florida. I know the publishing companies did. (Sidebar: do you think that might affect the way slavery was discussed in a Social Studies text?) Our state allowed adoption by school district, but as you can see, our choices were limited.

I just delved into a very small fraction of the minutiae in a complex system like Public Education, and I could go on all day. Complex systems need committed and honest people to affect change. I don’t believe that 2 or 3 word slogans can be effective agents of change. Do you?


I worked for one of those textbook publishers (a small one) at the very end of the 70s, and worked on diving into the adoptions market. What trying to win California made us do with our spelling series was convert it from consumable to hardcover. The prize would have been not only the state designating our series for use throughout, but the state itself buying and warehousing enough books for at least a third of their students (there were 3 series adopted in each cycle). The bad part in states like Texas where adoption guaranteed sales, but where the content in subjects like Social Studies and science could be dictated by political interests, was that publishers couldn’t afford to offer a more reasonable version to more reasonable states. That is greatly relieved by today’s publishing methods, which make it workable to produce multiple versions of a book. The big state adoptions are still big sales, but they no longer get to dictate what will be available to the rest of the country. (And their own teachers may substitute materials available on the Internet.)


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Accurate observations. “Teacher” implies getting one’s handiz dirty. “Educator” means never been in a classrom.


Free speech is prohibited by someone -whoever grayed you out for your opinion. You must have written a disturbing truth! I will always look with interest to see what any hidden post was. A lot of favorite posters are missing because of censorship. One good thing came from the corrupt primaries- the curtains showed that both parties are equally corrupt.