“Pro-life” is a euphemism for “pro-patriarchal authoritarian.”

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

[UPDATED] "Neel Kashkari benched."

 The above headline is the headline Steve Timmer used, here.

Read it, there is no quoting. However, there is a repost of a link to a complaint of unlawful lobbying Timmer lodged with state election supervisory authorities, against Kashkari. Access that linked complaint brief, for the full story.

Crabgrass via revision of an earlier post expressed the worry that Kashkari's activity, with others, was a disguised effort at promoting vouchers which would transfer public money to private schools; in effect, childless single persons and couples pay for the public good of public schooling and the voucher effort would redirect their money to the hands of private schools, when parents would want that. 

Subsidizing religious indoctrination being one possible outcome. That earlier post's headline does not mention the Kashkari - McFadden so-called "Page Amendment" yet the post meanders to the topic in updating. 

Beyond that, earlier Crabgrass objection was that the Amendment used the term "quality education" when it then referred to standardized testing, and not to "quality" defined at all in any meaningful sense. Yes, standardized testing gives numbers, but as a measure of "quality," be real!

That latter point is best seen in a juxtaposition of Strib opeds first by Katherine Kersten, then a counterpoint by "Amendment" key sponsor, Republican Mike McFadden, an alum of Omaha's most elite private Catholic Jesuit high school and a Tommie, who has served on the board of the local branch of the Jesuit Cristo Rey private high school network. 

While hardly a fan of Kersten, credit is earned where due, and Kersten's item hit an enormous out of the park home-run in stating in words better than I have used:

 Put another way, the amendment mandates an outcome we don’t know how to achieve and doesn’t specify how we are to accomplish it.

Yeah. Fully true. Of interest, the McFadden counterpoint has no answer, so it rhetorically acts by totally ignoring the point, while not modest in length; read it and see. 

Both oped items are recommended reading for Crabgrass readers.

From that background, Timmer's brief looks less at the substance of the proposal, but how Kashkari has used his Fed posture and position as his cred base for his lobbying actions and opinions, with the Fed under his leadership having shown clear bias. Expending public money in the process, with it being outside of the purpose or purposes the Fed holds in our nation's ordered system of politics. 

Of further interest, Kersten's allied "think tank" American Experiment has echoed the belief that Kashkari was out of line and taking the Minneapolis Fed out of line; their critiques being online here and here. See also the formal letter of complaint from that operation to Fed Chairman Powell, as linked to in the second above linked American Experiment item.

Kashkari himself is an alum of the most outstanding and elite private high school in Cleveland, and that may have been a factor in his indirect promotion of voucher possibilities along with his Catholic Amendment co-sponsors (Page, McFadden, and Mike Ciresi).

Helpful in understanding the national status of Catholic private schools, this item, stating in part

Almost three years after the start of the COVID-19 health crisis, Catholic schools have continued the legacy that has characterized Catholic education: academic excellence, a strong partnership with parents, a sense of community and a faith-filled education for students nationwide. In the 2022-2023 school year, Catholic school enrollment has grown (0.3%) to 1,693,493 students in 5,920 schools, continuing the two-year trend of increasing Catholic school enrollment across the nation. Catholic schools have attracted and retained new students, supporting their academic, spiritual and mental health. The merits of Catholic schools evident in national test scores from the National Assessment of Educational Progress1, high school graduation rates of 98.9%2, four-year college attendance rate of 85.2%3 and other data demonstrating the quality of Catholic schools in comparison to schools in both public and private sectors. This data brief highlights the most significant findings in NCEA’s latest version of its annual statistical report.

[...] 10.5% of Catholic school students use a parental choice program4 and 27.6% of Catholic schools enrolled students using parental choice programs. Catholic school students in Arizona utilized parental choice programs the most (73.8% of students), followed by Indiana (52.7% of students). Expansion of parental choice programs has long been viewed as a way to support parents as the primary educators of their children. Thirty-two states and the District of Columbia offer school choice programs, all of which vary in terms of their funding mechanisms and criterion. Iowa and Utah, both of which already had programs, recently expanded school choice to include more families across the states. Catholic schools should work together to support expansion of parental choice programs across the nation, including the federal tax credit program currently in Congress Educational Choice for Children Act.

[formatting in the original] First the tout of "excellent we are" and then the plug for further extension of vouchers, beyond states already having them. For readers interested in the current Congressional H.R. 531 Educational Choice for Children Act bill detail, GovTrack summarizes and also presents full text, respectively, here and here

For consideration, the actual word "voucher" is absent in the entire fairly lengthy bill text; but reading it for what it says, "scholarship granting" and "tax credit" and such, it would be public money pumped into support of private schools, via "charitable" intermediation, i.e., indirectly via intermediary and tax credit manipulations, WE WANT VOUCHERS, and the bill includes some clear language:

5. Organizational and parental autonomy

(a) Prohibition of control over scholarship organizations

(1) In general

(A) Treatment

A scholarship granting organization shall not, by virtue of participation under any provision of this Act or any amendment made by this Act, be regarded as acting on behalf of any governmental entity.

(B) No governmental control

Nothing in this Act, or any amendment made by this Act, shall be construed to permit, allow, encourage, or authorize any Federal, State, or local government entity, or officer or employee thereof, to mandate, direct, or control any aspect of any scholarship granting organization.

(C) Maximum freedom

To the extent permissible by law, this Act, and any amendment made by this Act, shall be construed to allow scholarship granting organizations maximum freedom to provide for the needs of the participants without governmental control.

(2) Prohibition of control over non-public schools

(A) No governmental control

Nothing in this Act, or any amendment made by this Act, shall be construed to permit, allow, encourage, or authorize any Federal, State, or local government entity, or officer or employee thereof, to mandate, direct, or control any aspect of any private or religious elementary or secondary education institution.

(B) No exclusion of private or religious schools

No Federal, State, or local government entity, or officer or employee thereof, shall impose or permit the imposition of any conditions or requirements that would exclude or operate to exclude educational expenses at private or religious elementary and secondary education institutions from being considered qualified elementary or secondary education expenses.

(C) No exclusion of qualified expenses due to institution's religious character or affiliation

No Federal, State, or local government entity, or officer or employee thereof, shall exclude, discriminate against, or otherwise disadvantage any elementary or secondary education institution with respect to qualified elementary or secondary education expenses at that institution based in whole or in part on the institution’s religious character or affiliation, including religiously based or mission-based policies or practices.

(3) Parental rights to use scholarships

No Federal, State, or local government entity, or officer or employee thereof, shall disfavor or discourage the use of scholarships granted by participating scholarship granting organizations for qualified elementary or secondary education expenses at private or nonprofit elementary and secondary education institutions, including faith-based schools.

(4) Parental right to intervene

In any action filed in any State or Federal court which challenges the constitutionality (under the constitution of such State or the Constitution of the United States) of any provision of this Act (or any amendment made by this Act), any parent of an eligible student who has received a scholarship from a scholarship granting organization shall have the right to intervene in support of the constitutionality of such provision or amendment. To avoid duplication of efforts and reduce the burdens placed on the parties to the action, the court in any such action may require interveners taking similar positions to file joint papers or to be represented by a single attorney at oral argument, provided that the court does not require such interveners to join any brief filed on behalf of any State which is a defendant in such action.

If that is unclear to you, read it again. Subsidy to private schools, religious ones getting specific mention and blessing; and intervention rights by statute in any challenge to the bill, if made law and subsequently contested as  being in contravention to any state's Constitution, such as per Minnesota's Article 13. 

And we see - The cleaver purveyors of that stuff never have the guts to write "vouchers, vouchers, vouchers" and in stealth we seek them by insidious mechanistic rhetorical sleight of hand. (Allow that mixed metaphor, it says its intent clearly.)

It is vouchers! Parental Choice? A choice to gut public education which is paid for by parents and non-parents paying public taxes for public goods. 

Such "Parental Choice" is simply not a good thing however it is dressed and tarted up in indirect rhetoric but with direct mention of religious school inclusion for the perks.

Crabgrass contends: Subsidization of indoctrination is un-American under Constitutional separation of church and state, an original intent that judicial "originalists" willingly and wittingly ignore. Bless Knight of Malta Leonard Leo, bless the Federalist Society, and bless a packed and biased judiciary.


Readers might be interested in the pupils per school, or class sizes. The previously cited Catholic school resource does not give teacher numbers, so average class size is not known. Overall -

Private Catholic Elementary schools have on average 248 students each. Secondary schools have on average 444 students each. Size, for example, can vary from Matt Birk's Unity High School founded in 2019 in Burnsville, MN with a handful of students, to, for example, St. Louis University High, which is one of the largest and oldest schools of any kind, in Missouri It was recently reported to have 997 students, and 91 faculty for a student:teacher ratio of 11.

For comparison, McFadden's board membership was at Cristo Rey, which is reported as:

[...] an above average, private, Catholic school located in MINNEAPOLIS, MN. It has 405 students in grades 9-12 with a student-teacher ratio of 17 to 1. Tuition is $13,250 for the highest grade offered. After graduation, 70% of students from this school go on to attend a 4-year college.

That Cristo Rey school has its own Wikipedia page, and a homepage -


The contention is not that private schools, Catholic or otdherwise, are elitist or comparable to public school districts, but that they are parallel, charge tuition, can be aimed as profit-making busineses, and those private schools that are Catholic have a mission to educate and raise students in the Catholic culture with prayer and lessons focused upon the religion in history and in practice. They are not public schools, nor answerable to a public school board elected by voters. They are, presently in Minnesota, similar to Lakeside Christian Academy, as having no impact upon true public schools and charter schools, absent a switch in policy to vouchers. 

And that is: Vouchers in fact, or the functional equivalent regardless of how the wording is rigged and contorted and how hairs get split in rhetorical distinctions, without any true basic difference.

__________FURTHER UPDATE__________

The objection is not to Kashkari having opinions, or as a single citizen banding with others of a like mind to suggest publicly that education reform is needed with an opinion of specific measures desired; it is to his using his office and Fed personnel time and resources to pursue a political end in what looks much like political lobbying for which Steve Timmer, as already noted, has pursued State regulatory relief.

Discovered today (3.1.2023):  Peter Nelson, of American Experiment, posted online (2.28.2023) about Kashkari. He posted while linking to a FOIA request AE sent the Fed seeking disclosure of a range of items (listed 1 - 10) including:

5) All records relating to the Minneapolis Fed’s financial support of the Our Children organization;
6) All records related to the Minneapolis Fed Board of Directors decision to “fully” support the Minneapolis Fed work “in offering an informed view of the Page Amendment” as expressed in a letter from Srilata Zaheer to Peter Nelson, dated January 19, 2022;
7) Records sufficient to show the number of Minneapolis Fed officials and employees who have been engaged in activities related to the Page Amendment;

Presumably MN-Fed, in preparing a response, would sensibly consider any governing or advisory board members or affiliates as within "officials and employees" as AE specified in its FOIA letter. 

Also of interest, same request:

9) All records describing or relating to whether the activities of any Minneapolis Fed officials or employees in support of the Page Amendment violate any laws, rules, regulations, or policies, including but not limited to, the Minneapolis Fed Code of Conduct;

Response to this ninth request-item should be of interest to media outlets which have recently covered Code of Conduct in recent publishing. E.g. -

Neel Kashkari and other Fed employees now prohibited from advocating for constitutional amendments