News that the North Carolina GOP has invited newly and (barely) confirmed U.S. Education secretary Betsy DeVos to come and “share ideas” with lawmakers concerning school choice is rather humorous.
As reported in the News & Observer yesterday (2/9) in an article entitled “Republicans invite DeVos to North Carolina for advice on expanding school choice,” Lynn Bonner quoted NC GOP state chairperson, Robin Hayes, as stating,
“As leaders in the school choice movement, we would be thrilled to host Secretary DeVos at the earliest possible time. We look forward to showing her North Carolina’s success, and examine ways how we can expand school choice with a now willing federal government” (http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article131486504.html).
However, DeVos’s history is not one of sharing ideas as it is pushing an agenda, one that seems to be detrimental to the public schools.
Remember that her confirmation hearing was one that revealed a great many concerns that her real agenda was not to support public schools, but to support the always changing dynamics that weaken public schools to give validation to “reform” them.
From the confirmation hearing about funding:
“Can you commit to us tonight that you will not work to privatize public schools or cut a single penny from public education?” asked Sen. Patty Murray, Democrat from Washington.
“I look forward, if confirmed, to working with you to talk about how we address the needs of all parents and all students,” DeVos said. “We acknowledge today that not all schools are working for the students that are assigned to them. I’m hopeful that we can work together to find common ground and ways that we can solve those issues and empower parents to make choices on behalf of their children that are right for them.”
“I take that as not being willing to commit to not privatizing public schools or cutting money from education,” Murray said.
“I guess I wouldn’t characterize it in that way,” DeVos said.
In an expose for Mother Jones (yep, it’s liberal, but still cites quotes correctly) it was shared that:
“However, in a 2001 interview for The Gathering, a group focused on advancing Christian faith through philanthropy, she and her husband offered a rare public glimpse of their views. Asked whether Christian schools should continue to rely on giving—rather than pushing for taxpayer money through vouchers—Betsy DeVos replied, “There are not enough philanthropic dollars in America to fund what is currently the need in education…Our desire is to confront the culture in ways that will continue to advance God’s kingdom” (http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/01/betsy-devos-christian-schools-vouchers-charter-education-secretary).
Those are not the words of someone who is looking to strengthen public education; those are the words of someone who wants to dismantle public education. (Funny, c to think of it, those seem to be words that have emanated from the NC GOP the last four years.)
The NC GOP wants to “share ideas” about public education with a woman whose resume in public education looks like:
They to “share ideas” about public education with someone who:
- has no degree in education meaning she is not even educated in how to educate.
- has no teaching experience
- has never attended a public school or state supported university
- has never sent any of her children to public schools.
- has distributed monetary contributions to Christian-based schools and evangelical organizations conservatively estimated at $200 million.
- has shown that she is totally anti-union and believes that teachers are paid too much.
- has supported vouchers like no other.
The NC GOP wants to “share ideas” with someone who has no idea about public education but is supposed to lead the public school system.
The NC GOP wants to “share ideas” with someone who doesn’t even know have an idea about IDEA.
Call it for what it is – this exchange of ideas is really a meeting of like minds who have a similar agenda that has nothing to do with strengthening public schools.
But when DeVos does come to North Carolina, it will be interesting to see if she will visit any public schools. If any visit goes anything like what happened today in Washington, D.C. at Jefferson Middle School Academy, then DeVos will come face to face with the very majority of people who voiced opposition to her appointment.
Yet, I will extend her an invitation to come to my school and my classroom. For all of the time and effort she has put in to show how public schools are failing, I would love to show her where public schools are succeeding despite efforts to dismantle them.
She can sit in on one of my classes, participate, talk to students, and experience a wonderful environment.
And I’ll even let her borrow a pencil.
That I bought.
With my money.
For my students to use.