Imagine a charter school that uses tax payer money to allow instructors to deliver a curriculum which is not sanctioned by a regulatory body. Students are given admission as long as they are not from the LGBT community and hold an evangelical view of the Christian faith. There would be no instances in which a person would be convicted of a sexual assault because those accused would have extra protections under the law. Armed security would be provided by a private company with real-world experience in mercenary warmongering, and all graduates would be guaranteed admission to a four-year for-profit college accredited by ACICS only after signing an agreement to have loans come from predatory lending entity that charges exorbitant interest rates.
And there would be no bears in the vicinity.
That charter school really is not that hard to imagine if the person who established it was Betsy DeVos. The policies that she has championed and the uneducated view she has of what public education actually is like make what appears rather hyperbolic rather realistic. Keep in mind that many charter schools (and the private schools that DeVos wants to expand vouchers for) practice highly exclusionary admission practices.
And in her less-than-two-year tenure as a cabinet member, DeVos has more than shown her allegiance.
Consider her wish to advance “God’s Kingdom.” From Politico in 2016:
School choice, they say, leads to “greater Kingdom gain.” The two (DeVos and Her husband) also lament that public schools have “displaced” the Church as the center of communities, and they cite school choice as a way to reverse that troubling trend.
“…Our desire is to be in that Shephelah, and to confront the culture in which we all live today in ways that will continue to help advance God’s Kingdom, but not to stay in our own faith territory,” she said.
Consider her unwillingness to speak for protections for LGBT students. From USA Today in 2017:
U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos clashed with Democratic lawmakers on Tuesday over protections for LGBT students, balking when asked directly if she would ban private schools from receiving federal funds if they discriminate against these students.
The Trump administration wants to invest millions into an unprecedented expansion of private-school vouchers and public-private charter schools, prompting critics to worry that religious schools, for example, might expel LGBT students or, more broadly, that private schools might refuse to admit students with disabilities. Testifying before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee, DeVos told Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., “Let me be clear: Schools that receive federal funds must follow federal law. Period.”
Consider her reversal of an Obama-era on how to handle sexual assault allegations on college campuses. From NPR in 2018:
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced sweeping rules on how colleges handle cases of sexual assault and harassment that she says will fix a “failed” and “shameful” system that has been unfair to accused students. In what the administration is calling a “historic process,” the proposed rules aim to significantly enhance legal protections for the accused and reflect a sentiment expressed by President Trump that men are unfairly being presumed guilty. More than a year in the making, the rules replace Obama-era policies on how to implement Title IX, the law barring gender discrimination in schools that get federal funding.
Consider that DeVos is the only Trump cabinet member to “require” around-the-clock security. From NBC in 2018:
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos began receiving around-the-clock security from the U.S. Marshals Service days after being confirmed, an armed detail provided to no other cabinet member that could cost U.S. taxpayers $19.8 million through September of 2019, according to new figures provided by the Marshals Service to NBC News.
While it remains unclear who specifically made the request, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions granted the protection on February 13, 2017, a few days after DeVos was heckled and blocked by a handful of protesters from entering the Jefferson Academy, a public middle school in Washington. DeVos was confirmed as education secretary on February 7 of that year.
Don’t forget who her brother is. Erik Prince founded Blackwater.
“Mr. Prince, who founded Blackwater — since renamed Academi — in 1997, gained notoriety when security contractors employed by his company killed 17 Iraqi civilians during a 2007 assault in Baghdad. Four of his guards were later convicted in U.S. court of either murder or manslaughter charges as a result of that incident.
Consider how DeVos restored power to a rather controversial accreditation entity. From the Washington Post in 2018:
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Wednesday restored federal recognition to a controversial agency that accredits for-profit colleges, reversing an Obama administration decision to put it out of business.
The move is one in a number of steps DeVos has taken to undo an Obama-era crackdown that she argues unfairly targeted for-profit schools for scrutiny not applied to other colleges. But critics say she is propping up an industry with a record of misleading students and poor educational outcomes.
Consider her stance on loan forgiveness for students defrauded by loan agreements at for-profit colleges. From the New York Times in 2018:
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos proposed on Wednesday to curtail Obama administration loan forgiveness rules for students defrauded by for-profit colleges, requiring that student borrowers show they have fallen into hopeless financial straits or prove that their colleges knowingly deceived them.
The DeVos proposal, set to go in force a year from now, would replace Obama-era policies that sought to ease access to loan forgiveness for students who were left saddled with debt after two for-profit college chains, Corinthian Colleges and ITT Technical Institute, imploded in 2015 and 2016. The schools were found to have misled their students with false advertisements and misleading claims for years.
And the bear thing?
“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.”
Betsy DeVos said those now famous words during her confirmation hearing on January 17th, 2017 in response to questioning about guns on school campuses.
So that charter school described earlier that may have seemed a little (or lot) unbelievable?
Maybe its mascot could be the Grizzlies.