Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos tweeted the following on the afternoon of March 6th around three o’clock.
It is simply ignorance and arrogance.
Two photographs of a what she calls a “typical” classroom and she makes numerous claims that she thinks are stereotypical of American schools.
- Desks in rows
- Teacher in front of room lecturing
- No talking
- Eyes all up front
- Waiting for a bell
- Walk to next class
This from a person who never attended public schools, never taught in public schools, and does not even have a degree in education.
As of this post, DeVos’s tweet has been retweeted 99 times and liked by 426 people.
There are over 2.2 thousand comments.
That’s eye-opening. If you get a chance to go to the actual tweet and see some of the comments, there is a running theme especially from educators who not only took offense at DeVos’s words, but invited her to actually stop in their schools to see if what her vision of the norm is really is the “norm.”
Again, over 2,2 thousand comments.
The room in which I teach does not look in any way shape or fashion like the one DeVos uses. I do not have a blackboard. I walk and sit among the students who often move around and work in groups in a collaborative fashion. There is always talking. In fact, it is a den of organized chaos.
The walls are decorated with student work like art, projects, and Shakespeare props. Sometimes I let my Shakespeare class do “Sudden Shakespeare” in which they recreate Shakespeare scenes and can use anything in the classroom as props or costumes. They tear “their” room apart and make brilliant products.
There are bookshelves of books that I have brought from home or bought at library sales or at Goodwill.
After reading DeVos’s tweet my first reaction was to invite her to come and see my classroom, or any classroom where I teach. She would see something so much more organic and dynamic.
But I won’t invite her. She would never come.
Why? Because Betsy DeVos seems more scared of visiting public schools than actually exploring them and seeing what they are really like.
Today, DeVos visited Douglas High School in Parkland, FL. Gathering from the “Twittersphere,” she was not there to answer questions or to engage with students. She was there for a photo-op and to fulfill some sort of duty. There seemed to be no evidence of interaction like you would see in a classroom. Her visit seemed manufactured, much like the tweet she sent out on March 6th.
Dwayne Wade came to Douglas the same day. HE interacted. He engaged. He was a part of their community.
That was heartening. And I just became a bigger Dwayne Wade fan. In actuality, he is more qualified to be secretary of education than DeVos.
He sure seems more student-centered.
But back to the desks. Interestingly enough, DeVos has helped to champion a budget that would actually hurt schools’ abilities to keep desks in classrooms.
If on some miraculous wist of fate she did accept an invitation to come see my classroom, I would even allow her to arrange the desks as she saw fit.
But first I would ask her why so many schools don’t have enough desks in the first place.
Yes. That is a desk right outside of my classroom.
Like textbooks they need to be replaced.
What is DeVos doing about that?