two minutes of hate

The horrible thing about the Two Minutes Hate was not that one was obliged to act a part, but that it was impossible to avoid joining in. Within thirty seconds any pretence was always unnecessary. A hideous ecstasy of fear and vindictiveness, a desire to kill, to torture, to smash faces in with a sledge hammer, seemed to flow through the whole group of people like an electric current, turning one even against one’s will into a grimacing, screaming lunatic. And yet the rage that one felt was an abstract, undirected emotion which could be switched from one object to another like the flame of a blowlamp. -George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-four

No one makes a better villain than Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos. She’s the enemy of public education that everyone – on the left and right – can agree to hate.

DeVos is our very own Emmanuel Goldstein, the bipartisan uniter and designated enemy, who continues to bring all of us together in our updated – dare I say innovative – version of Orwellian inspired two minutes of hate.

Sadly, the fix was in long before DeVos was summoned by Donald Trump and convinced to leave behind her public education destroying work in Michigan and take her callous, innovative disruption to scale as the nation’s Secretary of Education.

The ground work for the destruction of public education as we know it was already laid by the ESSA, the victory of bipartisanship and ticking time bomb of education innovation.

Don’t Look Behind the Velvet Curtain

One of the horrible ironies of the ESSA is that so many lobbyist had a hand in writing the bill, these special interest groups just can’t help bragging about their work.

Take social impact bonds, which got a doublespeak makeover and were renamed Pay for Success in the ESSA.

Check this out from America Forward.

All indications are in just a few short days, with the likely passage and enactment of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), we will have our first update to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) since No Child Left Behind was signed into law 14 years ago. The America Forward Coalition worked closely with Congress to shape key elements of the bill, including the development of language and advocacy around the addition of Pay for Success language and authority.

Here’s a closer look at the America Forward driven Pay for Success provisions included in ESSA:

  • Title I, Part D: Prevention and Intervention Programs for Children and Youth who are Neglected, Delinquent, or At-Risk:In this part ESSA, funding is provided to improve the education services for children and youth who have challenges meeting State academic standards, helping children and youth make a successful transition between correctional facilities/institutions back into locally operated education programs, and working to prevent at-risk children and youth from dropping out of school or supporting those who have dropped out with the structure needed to get back on track. In addition to the Pay for Success authority granted in this Title, there is also language that services and interventions delivered, to the extent possible, be evidence-based.
  • Title IV, Part A: Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants: The purpose of this piece of the ESSA is to improve students’ academic achievement by increasing the capacity of states, local education agencies, schools, and local communities to provide a well-rounded education. The authority to use Pay for Success is associated specifically with Section 4108: Activities to Support Safe and Healthy Students, which emphasizes school coordination with other schools and community-based services/programs (i.e. substance use, mental health, violence, etc.) as well as parental involvement and partnership with higher education, business, nonprofit organizations, and other private entities. Like Title I, there is also an emphasis on the use of evidence-based practices strategies and programs when available in this Title.
  • General Provisions: Additionally, Pay for Success is also defined in the General Provisions section of ESSA. This is the first time that Pay for Success is defined in Federal legislation and the comprehensive nature of the definition is important for implementation of the Pay for Success authorities in ESSA but is also helpful for use the overall use of Pay for Success in federal programs.

What does this mean for the future of Pay for Success?

With this allowable use of Pay for Success authority, states and school districts will now have the option of structuring funding decisions using outcomes as the driver of payment allocation. They will be able to use the independently and rigorously evaluated impact of programs and activities as the determinate of the allocation of Federal education dollars to best serve their students.

Something like this would never be implemented in Washington State, right?

Except it has.

Right now, The Washington State Department of Early Learning and Thrive Washington are busy working together to use Pay for Success (PFS) as a funding method for statewide home visits. Here’s the Overview-FINAL-10.5.15.

Pay for Success Home Visits McCleary and Pay for Success

This is where Pay for Success takes an ugly turn.

In a blog post titled Social Impact Bond Divides WA Legislators, Republican Representative Hans Zeiger let this drop.

Social Impact Bonds and McCleary

Go read the whole blog post, it’s an eye opener.


After the democrats pitiful performance pretending to fund McCleary in Olympia this legislative session, everyone who cares about public education should have their guards way up.

We learned the hard way how ready and willing democrats are to cave and support the most  hairbrained education funding schemes put forth by republicans – no matter how punitive this policy may be to their constituents back home.

Expect Pay for Success or social impact bonds to be the 11th hour solutions, put forth in a bipartisan manner, as the way to fund McCleary.

Don’t buy it.

-Carolyn Leith