Tag Archives: Donald Trump

How Might a Clinton or Trump Presidency Impact Federal Education Policy?

Every day the online New York Times prints the “odds,” expressed in a percent of the Clinton-Trump race – yesterday Clinton was leading 90% to 10%.

The election is no longer 24/7 all over TV screens; as we move towards September the baseball pennant races and the opening of the college and NFL football season are beginning to eat up the media air.

A few shots of a Clinton or Trump rally, a paid Clinton advertisement warning about Trump provoking a catastrophe and lengthy talking head reflections on San Francisco quarterback not standing for the national anthem as a protest against the treatment of Afro-Americans in America.

For large percentages of Americans election fatigue has set in.  There are probably very few undecided voters – yes, Republicans voters who can’t bring themselves to vote for Trump and unenthusiastic Hillary voters … the electorate has chosen sides.

For the last few weeks my morning coffee crowd has moved from political chatter to renewed interest in the resurgent Yankees and Jets/Giants chances; quite sensible.

The last chance to address tens of millions of Americans will be the debates

First presidential debate (September 26, 2016, Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY)

The debate will be divided into six time segments of approximately 15 minutes each on major topics to be selected by the moderator and announced at least one week before the debate.

The moderator will open each segment with a question, after which each candidate will have two minutes to respond. Candidates will then have an opportunity to respond to each other. The moderator will use the balance of the time in the segment for a deeper discussion of the topic.

Second presidential debate (October 9, 2016, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO)

The second presidential debate will take the form of a town meeting, in which half of the questions will be posed directly by citizen participants and the other half will be posed by the moderator based on topics of broad public interest as reflected in social media and other sources.

Third presidential debate (October 19, 2016, University of Nevada-Las Vegas, Las Vegas, NV)

Same format as first debate.

The last time a presidential debate changed minds was the 1960 Kennedy-Nixon debate.

Of course, to quote, Yogi, “It’s never over until it’s over.”

Both camps are already having internal discussions about cabinet choices.

On the education front the Department of Education is in the final stages of crafting the regulations for the new Every Student Succeeds Act, a Department of Education that will undoubtedly have a new leader no matter who wins the election. The proposed rules are highly controversial (See Ed Week cheat sheet here  and read the extensive criticism and suggestions from the NYS Commissioner Elia here.

One item hanging over New York State and Colorado, the only two states with significant percentages of opt outs; in both states many schools fell below the 95% participation rate and may face unspecified sanctions.

Should the current lame duck Secretary of Education make the decision or the next Secretary of Education? In fact, should the current Secretary of Education release the new regulations or leave it to the new administration?

I imagine in some quarters names for a successor to Secretary King are already being tossed around – not here. I’ll wait until the networks declare a winner on November 8th.

The entire election season, from the cavalry charge of Republicans and the Bernie/Hillary battles:  virtually nothing about education. The reason is not complicated – the American public is sharply divided. See Education Next polling result here.  Appealing to one faction alienates another.

We know a Republican would push for choice, i.e., charter, parochial, private and home schooling all eligible for public dollars. For example, Title 1 Portability, Title 1 dollars would follow the student to wherever the student is receiving education services. Of course, Trump could call for abolishing the entire Department of Education and sharp cuts in federal dollars.

The Democratic side is more complicated, while opt outs and others might want reduction or the end of testing civil rights organizations, allies of the Democrats are strong advocates of testing and the disaggregation of results by ethnicity, race and handicapping condition. One the other hand Clinton made very pro-teacher, pro public education speeches at both the NEA and AFT conventions, and, appears to have an excellent relationship with AFT President Randi Weingarten.

Check out Diane Ravitch’s web site – she will report a talk with Hillary.

Let’s win the presidency, the Senate and the House on November 8th – and then we argue over the future of the federal role.

The AFT Convention: Summing Up – Can Teachers and Their Union Prevail in the Clinton-Trump Matchup?

They have taken untold millions that they never toiled to earn
But without our brain and muscle not a single wheel can turn
We can break their haughty power gain our freedom when we learn
That the Union makes us strong

At the end of the AFT Convention the delegates stood, clasped hands and sang “Solidarity Forever,” a fitting ending to an exciting and upbeat week.

As I arrived in Minneapolis for the convention, the hundredth year of the founding of the American Federation of Teachers, I wondered whether the bruising Bernie-Hillary primary battle would spill over into the convention. Would the Bernie supporters still bear scars from the months of sparring, at times personal and nasty, or, would the specter of Trump heal all scars?

I was pleasantly surprised, there were plenty of teacher leaders who were avid supporters of Bernie, and unquestionably the goal now was the defeat of Trump and total support for Hillary. I spoke with a number of teachers who will be attending the Democratic National Convention today as Bernie delegates who are already working with the Hillary election machine.  They weren’t Hillary acolytes, they have their doubts, and the fear of a Trump victory overcame doubts.

The AFT Convention attracts a wide range of union members, from the big cities (New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, etc.) to small cities and rural communities; from teachers to nurses to a wide range of other public employees – 1.6 million AFT members.

The theme of the convention: Honoring our Past and Inspiring Our Future, was obvious throughout the week. A 98-years old retired teacher from Chicago gave a rousing speech, the head of the Minneapolis Area Labor Federation, who looks 18 and had been a grocery store clerk was now organizing across the region. The AFT is the second largest organization organizing nurses, local after local recounted fights with hospital conglomerates cutting corners to maximize profits and endanger patients. Teachers and nurses are natural allies.

The convention moved from speaker to speaker, interspersed with videos, and the reporting of resolutions from the thirteen committees

Read the text of the approved resolutions here.

After each session the convention publishes a description of the events of the previous day called “Afterwards” Select and watch speakers here.

On the first day of the convention the delegates divide up by interest and attend one of the thirteen committees that discuss the ninety-one resolutions submitted by locals from across the nation. The committees range from Education Issues (the most popular – about 800 delegates attended), Human Rights, Organizing and Collective Bargaining, Pensions, International Affairs, Women’s Rights, Higher Education, Nurses Issues and a few others. For two hours, under Robert’s Rules, the committees discuss the resolutions: they may amend, add, delete, and combine or defeat resolutions. (Voting concurrence or non-concurrence) Three of the resolutions are chosen by the committees to be debated on the floor of the convention. (The other resolutions are acted upon by the Executive Council). In the past the debate has been vigorous, at time contentious. This year virtually all the resolutions had the support of the overwhelming number of delegates. In some instances locals worked together to modify similar resolutions, the AFT staff provided research backup, to me, the one overriding issue was the November election.

Rashad Robinson, the leader of “The Color of Change” explained national efforts to build a political constituency,

ColorOfChange.org exists to strengthen Black America’s political voice. Our goal is to empower our members – Black Americans and our allies – to make government more responsive to the concerns of Black Americans and to bring about positive political and social change for everyone.

Alex Caputo-Pearl, the president of the Los Angeles Federation of Teachers (UTLA) and Keron Blair, the Director of the Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools  (AROS) discussed plans in the fall for school walk-ins, a nationwide movement to build support for public schools in school communities. The words of Solidarity Forever, “We can break their haughty power gain our freedom when we learn that the Union makes us strong,” echoed again and again as I trudged back to the Big Apple.

I did watch the Trump Acceptance Speech, and it reminded me of something, something deep within my memory neurons; then, that flash!

Have you ever watched the 1935 classic “Triumph of the Will,” the Leni Reichanthal documentary of the 1935 Nazi Party Congress?

Watch a few minutes of film showing der Fuhrer speaking to Nazi Youth linked below:


And the mix tape of clips from the Donald and the Richenthal classic.


and draw your own conclusions.


Can Donald Trump Become Our Next President?

Back in October/November all the political gurus, the experts, predicted that Donald Trump would not be the Republican nominee. Nate Silver, the statistical wunderkind and the writer of the fivethirtyeight blog, rather smarmily, mused that Trump has a “less than 20%” chance of becoming the Republican nominee.

“Right now, [Trump] has 25 to 30 percent of the vote in polls among the roughly 25 percent of Americans who identify as Republican. (That’s something like 6 to 8 percent of the electorate overall, or about the same share of people who think the Apollo moon landings were faked

I hate to gloat, as I talked to the folks in the street I increasingly felt that Trump support was deep, especially among those not involved in politics. Joe Six-Pack was angry – angry at everything and everyone, after all, weren’t all politicians corrupt? Remember, more than half of eligible voters do not participate regularly in elections, the traditional non-voters, to me, appeared to be leaning to the Trump column.

See my November blog: https://mets2006.wordpress.com/2015/11/30/can-trump-end-up-as-the-republican-presidential-candidate/

Over the next three months leading up to the Republican convention Trump will have a clear path to unify the Republican Party. There are Republicans, the evangelicals, the loyal party insiders, Republican women who may deride the Trump candidacy and choose not to participate in November. The anti-Trump Republicans will not move to the Democratic column.  Clearly the Republican insiders have a conundrum: how do they campaign for Republicans in the Congress and State legislatures without jumping on the Trump bandwagon? And, will it matter?  Would a Trump presidential campaign have coattails, or, alienate traditional Republican voters?

On the Democratic side Bernie plans to campaign across the nation leading up to the Democratic convention; ironically as Bernie wins primaries Hillary edges closer to wrapping up the requisite number of delegates. It is possible that Bernie could win all of the remaining primaries and Hillary end up with the number necessary to guarantee nomination. In close primaries Hillary and Bernie split the delegates. The Bernie machine will continue to highlight his differences with Hillary, continue to attack Hillary’s positions and behaviors.

Hillary plus Bernie voters equal a Democratic victory in November and possibly gaining a majority in the Senate and reducing the Republican majority in the House, and, re-taking State capitals and legislatures. If any significant number of Bernie voters remain on the sidelines a Trump path to the White House would be easier.

If anti-Trump Republicans and anti-Hillary Independents and Democrats choose not to participate it would be impossible to predict the outcome.

Campaigns are usually about issues and policies; the Trump campaign has been policy-free.

Trump is the ultimate Teflon candidate.

No matter the outrageousness of his comments his popularity increases.  Trump, musing that Ted Cruz’s father cavorted with the Kennedy assassins had no negative impact, in fact, may have gained him votes. His “build a wall,” his “invade Syria,” and on and on only encourages and motivates his voters.

Virtually every “talking head,” every professional who has spent a lifetime running campaigns has been proven wrong,

As Trump rolls to victory, Cruz and Kasich have dropped out; however, the latest polling gives Clinton her largest lead over Trump since July.

The new CNN/ORC Poll, completed ahead of Trump’s victory last night, found Clinton leads 54% to 41%, a 13-point edge over the New York businessman, her largest lead since last July.

With conventions not scheduled until the end of July, and Trump and Sanders hammering Clinton her polling numbers can erode. On the other side as Clinton slowly turns from Bernie to Trump her campaign will continue to build support among women, Afro-American and Hispanic voters. For me, a key to the election are the younger Bernie voters: will they, enthusiastically or reluctantly, move to the Clinton column?  The more Bernie continues to campaign vigorously and toss barbs at Clinton the harder it will be to move his supporters to the Hillary camp. I am sure in the Democratic establishment/Hillary camp the discussion is over how to appeal to the millennials and the left-wing of the party.

The specter of the 1972 McGovern debacle haunts the Democratic Party.

Just as Trump’s rise to the Republican nomination is so incredible so is Bernie’s challenge to Clinton. Remember Sanders is a seventy-two year old independent from Vermont – not even a registered Democrat. Two years ago he was an anomaly, a quirky outsider; no important legislation bears his name, an avowed Democratic Socialist, an agnostic or atheist in a nation that views socialist with godless communism; who mobilized younger voters and the left wing of the Democratic Party.

Bernie can be remembered as the candidate that refused to acknowledge his loss, gave Clinton a lukewarm endorsement and will be blamed for a Trump victory in November, or, the key to a Clinton victory by bringing his voters to the Clinton column.  Or, neither.

The real campaign begins in August – three months of head to head – can Trump, or should Trump rebuild himself? Can he morph to a kinder, gentler, saner candidate? Or, should he?  Should Trump continue to be Trump, outrageous outbursts, seemingly insane accusations, the “loose,” unpredictable candidate so loved by his supporters?  The Republican Party is panic struck.  Trump could be trashed at the polls taking down other Republicans, or, do they jump on board and hope he has coattails.

In a policy-free election cycle education has totally disappeared. In all the presidential debates was there a single question dealing with education? In the CNN polls  referenced above the largest Clinton-Trump difference was in handling education. Of ten areas voters place education as third most important, behind the economy, terrorism and tied with health care. For voters who describe themselves as Democrats education tops the list. Among registered voters by 64% to 31% voters think Clinton would do a better job of handling education.

As the song goes, sort of, it’s a long way from May to November

Hovering at the edges of the Trump appeal are issues of race, ethnicity and gender.

Listen to Tom Lehrer:

National Brotherhood Week – precious and timely!!!