I distinctly remember the first time I heard his name… It was during the 2014 election. No, it wasn’t the first time he ran, but it was the first time I noticed him.
I had become so disenchanted with both the Republican and Democratic sides of the political spectrum. I was frantically searching for other options. So, I took one of those online surveys to see where my current views aligned. It came out that I was more Libertarian leaning than anything else.
My next mission was to find out all that I could about the Libertarian candidates running for office. In doing so, I learned of Scott Gesty, and I was impressed.
Now, as a teacher, I couldn’t wait to present election information to my 5th grade students. It used to be difficult for me to just give the facts on the “two parties,” and I tried my best to be impartial but always felt that I leaned one way or the other.
Not this particular year!
Even though it wasn’t a presidential election, my school was going to have a mock election for the local candidates. I had my information ready to go. I felt really good about my
presentation that year, because it gave a great picture of lots of options: Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Green, and Independent.
Well, let me tell you about the unfortunate event that followed…
My students went to the computer lab for the mock election. And, as they were navigating through their choices, hands started rising into the air. I thought that there must have been some “technical difficulties.”
Nope. They were raising their hands to tell me that some of the candidates weren’t on the ballot!
We were all so disappointed. I mean, I had just finished telling them that they had several flavors of ice cream to choose from, not just chocolate and vanilla. And, well, we were reduced to choosing from only those two. Bummer.
I can only imagine what they really learned from my presentation and not being able to vote for some of the options I mentioned. It ended up being a lesson for me, as well.
Perhaps, I should have given them a lesson on what oligarchies are.
Now, back to Scott Gesty…
Scott Gesty takes the “guessing” out of who you should vote for in the Delaware race for Congress. In fact, he happily signed the “Candidate Pledge to Fight Federal Involvement in Local Education” put out by the organization Delaware Parents Involved in Education (DEPIE). He has pledged to “reject all federal mandates tied to federal funding. I will fight against federally mandated curriculum, standardized tests, and all illegal and unconstitutional mandates from the federal Department of Education.”
Mr. Gesty believes that the best strategy for the Federal government to pursue in public education is to hand back as much authority and resources as possible to the school districts themselves. This is something that all educators can agree with. Who knows a district’spopulation and needs better than the district itself? Education cannot be a one size – fits all approach, as we have seen the ramifications of that for 16 years.
Scott Gesty’s website, http://gesty4congress.org/, goes more into detail about his thoughts on the issue of education. There, he states the following:
Federal dollars normally pay for only about 6% to 8% of public education spending in Delaware, but dictatorial Federal programs like No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top and now Common Core have seriously damaged our schools instead of helping them. Regulatory compliance with US Department of Education programs sometimes costs more than the total amount awarded to the schools. Almost no Federal money reaches our classrooms without strings attached that remove authority from parents, teachers, and locally elected school boards.
Before 1979, Federal involvement in public education was controlled by a sub-section of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. The US Department of Education has not materially improved student performance or school quality in thirty years, despite billions of dollars being poured into top-down initiatives every time a presidential administration changes. This has to stop.
The US Department of Education should be abolished, and the necessary funding and compliance services that constitute the Federal role in public education should be brought back under the Department of Health and Human Services. Except when prevented by statute law (e.g. special education funding), Federal funds for public education should be block-granted to the states, with a prohibition against the state departments of education taking more than 10% of the total as an administrative pass-through cost.
Now, compare this with the website of the Democratic nominee for Congress, Lisa Blunt Rochester. Her website (https://lisabluntrochester.com/issues) doesn’t even list K-12 education as an issue. Instead, Rochester chooses to focus on “Affordable and Accessible Education” (college). This should send up a red flag to educators and parents who are concerned about the whole movement for children to be “career and college ready” starting in pre-school. Rochester skips talking about all of the preliminary schooling and goes directly into affordability of college. Sounds like she is on the same sinking ship with the other educational reformers. Delaware needs help with the deep issues surrounding its K-12 schooling… This should be a priority of any candidate running for Congress!
Conversely, Republican Hans Reigle does mention education reform. His website, http://www.hans2016.com, states the following:
I believe that all children deserve a quality education. Education decisions should be at the state and local level so our schools are accountable to the communities they serve. Our teachers are now teaching to the test and our country will ultimately pay the price. Reducing federal bureaucracy will allow parents and communities to find the best solutions suited to the children in their local area.
College is not for everyone. Many successful people never went to college. I disagree with the plan to provide every high school graduate with two years of community college education. The plan itself is noble; however there are not enough resources to pay for it. Spending $60 billion over the next ten years is another burden on our already strained national budget. We need to focus on fixing programs already in place instead of creating new ones. Not everyone needs to attend college to earn a decent wage. There is a huge need for skilled individuals in the construction and trade fields. Many of the educational benefits of community college can be learned with improved high school curricula.
As provisions of Obamacare become law, there will be fewer dollars available to our public universities and schools. Education budgets will have to compete with other budget items to make up the difference. The Affordable Care Act and the way it is currently written is one of the reasons for the rise in college tuition costs and this issue needs to be addressed now.
Reigle’s ideas about education reform are not to be condemned. However, he fails to mention a plan to implement his ideas.
Scott Gesty is the only candidate that has part of the plan figured out. With the exception of funding special education, which is mandated by federal law, Scott wants to abolish the US Department of Education and wants the necessary funding and compliance services brought back under the Department of Health and Human Services. This is an excellent plan to combat federal overreach in education!
The blogger for Exceptional Delaware has also posted a well-written endorsement for Scott Gesty. If you haven’t read it, I encourage you to do so: https://exceptionaldelaware.wordpress.com/2016/08/31/exceptional-delaware-endorses-scott-gesty-for-congress/
In conclusion, Educators to the Rescue is proud to endorse another Libertarian:
In Delaware, Scott Gesty takes the “guesswork” out of voting! Educators need to unite behind this man with a plan for giving control of education back to districts, schools, teachers, and parents.
VOTE GESTY FOR CONGRESS!