Balderdash and Bilgewater, a Theory in Reactionary Tweeting – Following Betsy Devos’s Twitter Feed

This has become more of a habit for me. It is as if reading the twitter feeds from certain people has become one of the very ways to catch a glimpse into a scripted psyche of some of our public officials.

Trump has made as art of using Twitter as a means of communication and as a way of driving conversation. However, Betsy DeVos is not as fluid in this regard.

In fact, she’s quite reactionary in her approach. It’s almost as if she uses Twitter as a means to communicate the politically correct version of what she said in the first place. And what she tweets is still in direct contradiction to what she does or has said in the past.

Just follow her twitter feed. It is here: @BetsyDeVosED

No. I am serious. Follow it. What Trump uses as a means to lash out, DeVos uses as a means to build paper bridges.

And what surprises me is the relatively few numbers of followers she has, much less “retweets.”

But it is an amazing little journey and a neat exercise to juxtapose her tweets to what reality has presented to us.

tweet1

Every student? That’s not what many said when DeVos was nominated in late 2016. In fact, most public school advocates were very dismayed at her nomination.

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).

tweet2

When I see this, I seem to remember her confirmation hearing and her comments about the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. From the Washington Post – https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2017/01/18/six-astonishing-things-betsy-devos-said-and-refused-to-say-at-her-confirmation-hearing/?utm_term=.7200fa4402ea:

  • DeVos seemed to have no understanding of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, known as IDEA, which requires public schools to provide free and appropriate education to all students with disabilities.

DeVos said that states should have the right to decide whether to enforce IDEA, but when Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) later told her that IDEA is a federal civil rights law and asked DeVos if she stood by her statement that it was up to the states to follow it, DeVos responded, “Federal law must be followed where federal dollars are in play.” Hassan then asked, “So were you unaware when I just asked you about the IDEA that it was a federal law?” DeVos responded, “I may have confused it.” DeVos did not protest when Hassan said she was upset the nominee didn’t understand the law and urged her to learn about it.

tweet3

The feeling is mutual!

Not really. Because here’s DeVos’s resume when it comes to education:

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tweet4

Especially, from grizzly bear attacks.

“I will refer back to Sen. Enzi and the school he is talking about in Wyoming. I think probably there, I would imagine there is probably a gun in a school to protect from potential grizzlies.”

tweet5

From The Advocate – http://www.advocate.com/politicians/2017/1/18/should-lgbt-people-trust-betsy-devos.

However, the public record does not reflect DeVos’s statement. In an op-ed for The Advocate,titled “Betsy DeVos Is a Threat to America’s Children,” the president of the American Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten, noted this core family’s “long record of opposing LGBT equality.”

“Foundations run by her parents and her husband’s parents have donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to Focus on the Family, a group that’s promoted damaging gay ‘conversion therapy’ and called homosexuality ‘preventable and treatable,'” Weingarten noted.

“A foundation run by her husband’s brother and sister-in-law donated $500,000 to the antigay National Organization for Marriage, and a foundation run by DeVos and her husband has donated more than $100,000 to the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy. DeVos’s late father, Edgar Prince, helped found the Family Research Council; her mother, Elsa Prince Broekhuizen, sits on the boards of the FRC and the Acton Institute, which sponsored a conference held by an antigay hate group.”

tweet6

When she took stage at that event, she opened with this gem.

“I’m Betsy DeVos. You may have heard some of the ‘wonderful’ things the mainstream media has called me lately. I, however, pride myself on being called a mother, a grandmother, a life partner, and perhaps the first person to tell Bernie Sanders to his face that there’s no such thing as a free lunch.”

So much for free and reduced lunches.

tweet7

Those tweets were sent out literally in response to this press release.

FEBRUARY 28, 2017

Contact:   Press Office, (202) 401-1576, press@ed.gov

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos released the following statement after meeting with presidents and chancellors of Historically Black Colleges and Universities at the White House:

A key priority for this administration is to help develop opportunities for communities that are often the most underserved. Rather than focus solely on funding, we must be willing to make the tangible, structural reforms that will allow students to reach their full potential.

Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have done this since their founding. They started from the fact that there were too many students in America who did not have equal access to education. They saw that the system wasn’t working, that there was an absence of opportunity, so they took it upon themselves to provide the solution.

HBCUs are real pioneers when it comes to school choice. They are living proof that when more options are provided to students, they are afforded greater access and greater quality. Their success has shown that more options help students flourish.

Their counsel and guidance will be crucial in addressing the current inequities we face in education. I look forward to working with the White House to elevate the role of HBCUs in this administration and to solve the problems we face in education today.

tweet8

Which means that we should fully fund schools, right? Then why is she supporting a budget hat more than takes a tenth of the funds the federal government allocates to public education?

tweet9

Interestingly enough, one can go into any public school and find students just like Denisha. In fact they may not be the outliers, but the norms in many schools.

tweet10

So that means all school should be great, right? Betsy, are you listening to yourself? Or are you hearkening back to this?

“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.” – Lily Eskelsen Garcia, NEA President

tweet11

Reading Suess? Maybe pass along The Lorax to your boss considering what he is doing to the EPA.

tweet12

Been there. https://caffeinatedrage.com/2017/03/18/about-betsy-devoss-op-ed-in-usa-today/

tweet13

Nice words. But do the actions go with them? This is what public school advocates see.

  • 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 is 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 evangelical organizations have 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.

 

tweet14

Betsy DeVos and Malala do not even come together in the same thought.

Malala won a Nobel Prize for holding her own Women’s March against a tyrannical machine. DeVos cowers to a man who was the reason millions of women marched in January.

tweet15

 

DeVos went nuts on Twitter on March 13th. Just wanted to share that.

tweet16

That budget according to many actually deprioritizies public education and hurts the most disadvantaged kids. NPR’s report (http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2017/03/16/520261978/trumps-budget-blueprint-pinches-pennies-for-education) states,

Eliminated

  • The $2.25 billion Supporting Effective Instruction program, also known as Title II, Part A. This grant program for states was designated to better recruit, support and train educators, particularly for high-need schools.
  • The $1.2 billion 21st Century Community Learning Centers program, which provided before- and after-school enrichment, tutoring and other services.
  • The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant program, which provides $732 million in need-based aid for college students.

Cut

  • $193 million from TRIO and GEARUP, programs that help prepare low-income, first-generation and disabled students for college, starting in middle school.

For the Pell Grant, the federal government’s main income-based college aid program, the proposal calls for “level funding.” But, that “level” technically includes “a cancellation of $3.9 billion from unobligated carryover funding.” So, while Pell Grant funding would not go down, that $3.9 billion would not be available.

Pell spending has actually been on a downward trend since 2010-2011, but it had been expected to rise following a series of Obama administration changes to make it easier for families to apply for the grant.

Other

The proposal “eliminates or reduces” a list of programs without giving further details, including: “Striving Readers, Teacher Quality Partnership, Impact Aid Support Payments for Federal Property, and International Education programs.”

tweet17

Again, validating with an outlier.

tweet18

Dream big.

Or just wish you were born rich?

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