Picking Betsy DeVos as the Secretary of Education is like letting an arsonist loose in a drought-ridden forest and giving her gasoline and matches to play with. Furthermore, she controls the weather.
It’s a terrible choice by President-elect Trump and an indication that the privatization movement that already has a head start in North Carolina now has a national champion.
The New York Times, which of course is not Donald Trump’s favorite newspaper, ran a report by Kate Zernike on Nov, 23rd, that sums up the DeVos certain effect on public schools.
But Ms. DeVos’s efforts to expand educational opportunity in her home state of Michigan and across the country have focused little on existing public schools, and almost entirely on establishing newer, more entrepreneurial models to compete with traditional schools for students and money. Her donations and advocacy go almost entirely toward groups seeking to move students and money away from what Mr. Trump calls “failing government schools” (http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/23/us/politics/betsy-devos-trumps-education-pick-has-steered-money-from-public-schools.html?_r=1).
When the government has the ability to change the criteria by which traditional schools are measured while controlling the resources those schools get and also being able to “interpret the data” and tweak the variable by which schools are graded, then what is mentioned above is really a carefully planned self-fulfilled prophecy that screams the need for “reforming.”
Just look at North Carolina that has a school grading system which beautifully shows how poverty affects the extreme amount of schools that are graded as “D” or “F” and then turns around and celebrates a graduation rate among high school students that is at an all-time high.
So, the idea of a privileged billionaire “privatizer” leading the nation’s public schools is more than contradictory or antithetical; it’s diametrically repugnant.
Simply look at her resume in public education:
In fact, when it comes to public education, this is what becomes apparent. And you can do your own research on the following. It is actually rather common knowledge, especially in Michigan.
- Betsy DeVos has no degree in education meaning she is not even educated in how to educate.
- Betsy DeVos has no teaching experience. NONE, but she will be the leading official for public schools in the nation.
- Betsy DeVos never attended a public school or state supported university. None of her children have either.
- Betsy DeVose’s monetary contributions to Christian-based schools and evangerlical organizations has been conservatively estimated at $200 million.
- Betsy DeVos is totally anti-union and believes that teachers are paid too much.
- Betsy DeVos supports vouchers like no other.
That’s right. The top official for public schools has no experience as a student, parent, teacher, or administrator of public schools, but she does have experience in funding privatization movements.
But as the spouse of the heir to the Amway fortune who had her own privileged childhood, Betsy DeVos does have great, ample experience in throwing money into causes that she feels would benefit her own ideology and personal interests.
In Jane Meyer’s book Dark Money, Betsy DeVos is quoted as saying the following,
That’s disturbing. She just admitted in that quote that she expects favors in return for her “philanthropy.”
Trump seems to have allowed a woman to have control over the government’s spending on public education to possibly funnel more into vouchers and other privatization reforms, most likely with Title I monies that actually go to traditional school in the first place.
Lily Eskelsen Garcia, NEA President issued the following statement yesterday after DeVos accepted Trump’s offer.
“Betsy DeVos has consistently worked against these values, and her efforts over the years have done more to undermine public education than support students. She has lobbied for failed schemes, like vouchers — which take away funding and local control from our public schools — to fund private schools at taxpayers’ expense. These schemes do nothing to help our most-vulnerable students while they ignore or exacerbate glaring opportunity gaps. She has consistently pushed a corporate agenda to privatize, de-professionalize and impose cookie-cutter solutions to public education. By nominating Betsy DeVos, the Trump administration has demonstrated just how out of touch it is with what works best for students, parents, educators and communities.”
When Trump espouses school choice he does not realize that not everyone really gets a choice when it comes to schools. He never really had to confront the situation. His family’s resources ensured that never happened. DeVos enjoyed a similar situation.
Betsy DeVos’s resume and “philanthropy” make Trump look more “pro-Public education,” and you must know that Trump is not a proponent of public schools.
What needs to really be discussed is that while the word “choice” is included in the phrase “school choice” what it really means is that families get to choose to be in a lottery that may never “choose” them. What it really means is that families get to choose to try and get money to attend a private school that has every right to not accept them and probably costs much more than a voucher could fund. What it really means is that most families don’t have a choice because someone else has made the choice to not fully fund or fully resource public schools based on uneducated ideas. What it means is that when some students may get into a charter situation, money is taken away from students who still attend traditional schools.
The job of Secretary of Education is to help ensure that every community and every zip code has a public education system that works.
Betsy DeVos’s words and actions do nothing but preach privatization and educational segregation.
This country is divided too much already.