Dear Madame Secretary – Those Teachers Who Are Marching Are “Thinking About the Kids”

“I think about the kids. I think we need to stay focused on what’s right for kids. And I hope that adults would keep adult disagreements and disputes in a separate place, and serve the students that are there to be served.” – Betsy DeVos on April 5, 2018 according to The Dallas Morning News concerning teachers’ strike in Oklahoma.

Speaking as an educator with actual classroom experience in public schools and as a parent with children in traditional public schools, what those teachers in Oklahoma are doing really is for “the kids.” In a state that has not given a raise to teachers in almost a decade and created a revolving door of educators coming in and out of the profession because of low investment in salaries and resources, what Oklahoma has done is create an unfavorable situation for public schools.

What those teachers are demanding is for an investment in human capital because what schools are really about are the people. When a state does not pay its teachers well and resource its schools well, then those who ultimately suffer are the students. Therefore, what Oklahoma teachers are marching for are the very people Betsy DeVos is most disconnected from – public school students.

DeVos says that these protests should not have an impact on classrooms. Ironic that she does not see that what the protests are actually bringing into the bigger light is that policies championed by the state governments of places like Oklahoma, Kentucky, West Virginia, and North Carolina are having the most negative impacts on classrooms.

The secretary of education seems to be unable to see that while teachers may not be in the classroom with students, they are still doing the job of advocating for students and schools. In fact, they are still showing up for the job; the classroom just seems to have widened and not be confined to four walls and a school building. If the entire nation is looking at Oklahoma and Kentucky and West Virginia and getting insight into what is happening in public education, then that truly is teaching and learning at its most basic form.

And DeVos does not understand that.

Those teachers who are marching and protesting are probably spending more time working for schools now than during an average school week, yet could DeVos say the same?

Remember last year’s report by the non-partisan watchdog group American Oversight on DeVos’s time on job? They released a report on DeVos’s attendance record over the first six months of her term. Six months is four months shorter than a school year as defined by federal standards.

Through the Freedom of Information Act, American Oversight was able to conclude that DeVos only showed up for work 2 out of three days (https://www.americanoversight.org/unexcused-absences-devos). An analysis by American Oversight found that during that period – which stretches from February 8th to July 19th – DeVos only completed a full day of work 67% of the time.

That’s not a good track record.

Broken down specifically, the report says:

  • 113 federally mandated work days possible (February 8 – July 19, 2017)
  • 77 full days of work (68%)
  • 21 partial days taken off (19%)
  • 15 full days taken off (13%)
  • 5 hours of work on average partial day off
  • 11 long weekends in less than six months.

And while she was gone, the Department of Education was still open, theoretically. Even schools in Oklahoma, Kentucky, West Virginia, and all other states were open.

But when teachers are gone, schools cannot open for traditional classes. It seems in this equation that teachers are more vital for schools to stay open. If you hurt teachers, you hurt schools. If you hurt schools, you hurt students.

It is also interesting to see DeVos make comment on schools and areas that she really has no insight about. Remember that drastic 60 Minutes interview from last month?  The day of the 60 Minutes interview, DeVos had more than usual activity on her Twitter account. Maybe knowing her words from the interview were not as stellar as she would have hoped, she may have tried to lessen the blowback with this tweet.

DeVos

Look at that map more closely.

  • She has not traveled to West Virginia. Those teachers marched.
  • She has not traveled to Kentucky. Those teachers marched.
  • She has not traveled to Oklahoma. Those teachers marched.
  • She has not traveled to Arizona, whose teachers are galvanizing.
  • She has not traveled to North Carolina, whose teachers are planning a day of advocacy on May 16 in Raleigh.

Seems more than a little ignorant on the part of Sec. DeVos.

If there was one statement that came from DeVos in that 60 Minutes interview which was most memorable it was this one:

“I have not– I have not– I have not intentionally visited schools that are underperforming.” – Betsy DeVos, March 11, 2018 on 60 Minutes.

Those teachers marching in Oklahoma (and the other states) intentionally not only “visit” those schools, they teach in them. They work in them. They advocate for them.

And they march for them.

Our Public Schools Are Better Than the NCGA Would Want You to Believe

Our public schools are better than you may think.

Probably a lot better.

With the constant dialogue that “we must improve schools” and the “need to implement reforms,” it is imperative that we as a taxpaying public seek to understand all of the variables in which schools are and can be measured, and not all of them are quantifiable.

And not all of them are reported or allowed to be seen.

Betsy DeVos’s recent assertion on 60 Minutes that America’s schools have seen no improvement despite the billions and billions of dollars thrown at them was nearsighted, closeminded, and rather uneducated because she is displaying two particular characteristics of lawmakers and politicians who are bent on delivering a message that public schools are not actually working.

The first is the insistence that “they” know education better than those who actually work in education. DeVos has no background in statistical analysis, administration, or teaching. The second is the calculated spin of evidence and/or the squashing of actual truth.

Last week DeVos tweeted the following:

What she did not say was that:

  • “The U.S. average performance appears to be relatively low partly because we have so many more test takers from the bottom of the social class distribution.”
  • “A sampling error in the U.S. administration of the most recent international (PISA) test resulted in students from the most disadvantaged schools being over-represented in the overall U.S. test-taker sample.”
  • “Conventional ranking reports based on PISA make no adjustments for social class composition or for sampling errors.”
  • “If U.S. adolescents had a social class distribution that was similar to the distribution in countries to which the United States is frequently compared, average reading scores in the United States would be higher than average reading scores in the similar post-industrial countries we examined (France, Germany, and the United Kingdom), and average math scores in the United States would be about the same as average math scores in similar post-industrial countries.”
  • “On average, and for almost every social class group, U.S. students do relatively better in reading than in math, compared to students in both the top-scoring and the similar post-industrial countries.”

Those bulleted points come from a study by Richard Rothstein and Martin Carnroy entitled “What do international tests really show about U. S. student performance?” Published by the Economic Policy Institute, the researchers made a detailed report of the backgrounds of the test takers from the database compiled by the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA).

Either DeVos does not want you to know that information because it would defeat her reformist narrative or she just does not know. But when the public is not made aware, the public tends to believe those who control the dialogue.

Those who control the dialogue in North Carolina and in many other states only tell their side of the spin and neglect to talk of all of the variables that schools are and should be measured by.

Consider the following picture/graph:

schools 1

All of the external forces that affect the health of traditional public schools generally are controlled and governed by our North Carolina General Assembly, rather by the supermajority currently in power.

The salaries and benefits that teachers receive are mandated and controlled by the NCGA. When graduate degree pay bumps and due-process rights were removed from newer teachers, that affected recruitment of teachers. When the salary schedule became more “bottom-heavy” for newer teachers, it affected the retaining of veteran teachers.

With the changes from NCLB to RttT, from standard Course of Study to Common Core, from one standardized test to another, and from one curriculum revision to another, the door of public school “requirements” has become an ever-revolving door. Add to that the fact that teachers within the public schools rarely get to either help create or grade those very standardized tests.

North Carolina still spends less on per-pupil expenditures than it did since before the Great Recession when adjusted for inflation. Who has control of that? The North Carolina General Assembly.

Within the next ten years, NC will spend almost a billion dollars financing the Opportunity Grants, a voucher program, when there exists no empirical data showing that they actually improve student outcomes. Removing the charter school cap also has allowed more taxpayer money to go to entities that do not show any more improvement over traditional schools on average. When taxpayer money goes to vouchers and charter schools, it becomes money that is not used for the almost %90 of students who still go to traditional public schools.

And just look at the ways that schools are measured. School Performance Grades really have done nothing but show the effects of poverty. School report cards carry data that is compiled and aggregated by secret algorithms, and teacher evaluation procedures have morphed more times than a strain of the flu.

When the very forces that can so drastically affect traditional public schools are coupled with reporting protocols controlled by the same lawmaking body, how the public ends up viewing the effectiveness of traditional public schools can equally be spun.

schools 2

If test scores truly dictated the effectiveness of schools, then everyone in Raleigh in a position to affect policy should take the tests and see how they fare. If continuing to siphon taxpayer money into reforms that have not shown any empirical data of student improvement is still done, then those who push those reforms should be evaluated.

So much goes into what makes a public school effective, and yes, there are some glaring shortcomings in our schools, but when the very people who control the environment in which schools can operate make much noise about how our schools are failing us, then they might need to look in the mirror to identify the problem.

Because in so many ways our schools are really succeeding despite those who want to reform them.

When Our Secretary of Education Chooses to Remain Uneducated About Public Education

From last Sunday’s interview with Betsy DeVos by Lesley Stahl on 60 Minutes:

Betsy DeVos: We have invested billions and billions and billions of dollars from the federal level And we have seen zero results.

Lesley Stahl: But that really isn’t true. Test scores have gone up over the last 25 years. So why do you keep saying nothing’s been accomplished?

Betsy DeVos: Well actually, test scores vis-à-vis the rest of the world have not gone up. And we have continued to be middle of the pack at best. That’s just not acceptable.

Lesley Stahl: No it’s not acceptable. But it’s better than it was. That’s the point. You don’t acknowledge that things have gotten better. You won’t acknowledge that, over the–

Betsy DeVos: But I don’t think they have for too many kids. We’ve stagnated.

The embarrassment of that entire interview could be felt by even DeVos’s most ardent detractors, but the amount of tweets that DeVos sent the following two or three days were nothing more than damage control.

She tweeted four original tweets on March 12th. Ten on March 13th. Three on March 14th.

devos tweets

But it was a tweet from a week before that DeVos alluded to in her interview with Stahl that shows DeVos’s purposeful ignorance of what really happens in public education.

Simply put, DeVos is and has chosen to remain uneducated about education.

Here it is:

devos tweets 2

That’s in reference to the test commonly referred to as the PISA. What DeVos gets wrong is that we as a country are not average. We actually do very well when one considers the very things that DeVos is blind to: income gaps, social inequality, and child poverty.

Bob Herbert wrote an iconic book published in 2014 called Losing Our Way. He explored three different facets of our country that are foundational but are deteriorating because we as a country are not investing in truly remedying them but rather politicizing them. One he talks about is public education.

In the chapter “Poverty and Education”, Herbert discusses a study by Richard Rothstein and Martin Carnroy entitled “What do international tests really show about U. S. student performance?” Published by the Economic Policy Institute, the researchers (as Herbert explains on page 155 of his book), “made a detailed study of the backgrounds of the test takers in an extensive database compiled by the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA).

From that actual report (and I would encourage any reader to take a look):

Because social class inequality is greater in the United States than in any of the countries with which we can reasonably be compared, the relative performance of U.S. adolescents is better than it appears when countries’ national average performance is conventionally compared.

  • Because in every country, students at the bottom of the social class distribution perform worse than students higher in that distribution, U.S. average performance appears to be relatively low partly because we have so many more test takers from the bottom of the social class distribution.
  • A sampling error in the U.S. administration of the most recent international (PISA) test resulted in students from the most disadvantaged schools being over-represented in the overall U.S. test-taker sample. This error further depressed the reported average U.S. test score.
  • If U.S. adolescents had a social class distribution that was similar to the distribution in countries to which the United States is frequently compared, average reading scores in the United States would be higher than average reading scores in the similar post-industrial countries we examined (France, Germany, and the United Kingdom), and average math scores in the United States would be about the same as average math scores in similar post-industrial countries.
  • A re-estimated U.S. average PISA score that adjusted for a student population in the United States that is more disadvantaged than populations in otherwise similar post-industrial countries, and for the over-sampling of students from the most-disadvantaged schools in a recent U.S. international assessment sample, finds that the U.S. average score in both reading and mathematics would be higher than official reports indicate (in the case of mathematics, substantially higher).
  • This re-estimate would also improve the U.S. place in the international ranking of all OECD countries, bringing the U.S. average score to sixth in reading and 13th in math. Conventional ranking reports based on PISA, which make no adjustments for social class composition or for sampling errors, and which rank countries irrespective of whether score differences are large enough to be meaningful, report that the U.S. average score is 14th in reading and 25th in math.
  • Disadvantaged and lower-middle-class U.S. students perform better (and in most cases, substantially better) than comparable students in similar post-industrial countries in reading. In math, disadvantaged and lower-middle-class U.S. students perform about the same as comparable students in similar post-industrial countries.
  • At all points in the social class distribution, U.S. students perform worse, and in many cases substantially worse, than students in a group of top-scoring countries (Canada, Finland, and Korea). Although controlling for social class distribution would narrow the difference in average scores between these countries and the United States, it would not eliminate it.
  • U.S. students from disadvantaged social class backgrounds perform better relative to their social class peers in the three similar post-industrial countries than advantaged U.S. students perform relative to their social class peers. But U.S. students from advantaged social class backgrounds perform better relative to their social class peers in the top-scoring countries of Finland and Canada than disadvantaged U.S. students perform relative to their social class peers.
  • On average, and for almost every social class group, U.S. students do relatively better in reading than in math, compared to students in both the top-scoring and the similar post-industrial countries.

Because not only educational effectiveness but also countries’ social class composition changes over time, comparisons of test score trends over time by social class group provide more useful information to policymakers than comparisons of total average test scores at one point in time or even of changes in total average test scores over time.

  • The performance of the lowest social class U.S. students has been improving over time, while the performance of such students in both top-scoring and similar post-industrial countries has been falling.
  • Over time, in some middle and advantaged social class groups where U.S. performance has not improved, comparable social class groups in some top-scoring and similar post-industrial countries have had declines in performance.

The entire report can be found here: https://www.epi.org/publication/us-student-performance-testing/.

DeVos should maybe take a look at that report. In fact, she should read Bob Herbert’s book.

 

 

 

The Fear, Ignorance, and Unwillingness of Betsy DeVos

“I have not– I have not– I have not intentionally visited schools that are underperforming.” – Betsy DeVos, March 11, 2018 on 60 Minutes.

In one part of the disastrous interview that Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos did with Lesley Stahl of 60 Minutes, DeVos revealed what many public school advocates have been screaming about for over a year – DeVos has no concept of what public schooling is really about.

Below is the transcript of that segment.

Lesley Stahl: Okay. But what about the kids who are back at the school that’s not working? What about those kids?

Betsy DeVos: Well, in places where there have been– where there is– a lot of choice that’s been introduced– Florida, for example, the– studies show that when there’s a large number of students that opt to go to a different school or different schools, the traditional public schools actually– the results get better, as well.

Lesley Stahl: Now, has that happened in Michigan? We’re in Michigan. This is your home state.

Betsy DeVos: Michi–Yes, well, there’s lots of great options and choices for students here.

Lesley Stahl: Have the public schools in Michigan gotten better?

Betsy DeVos: I don’t know. Overall, I– I can’t say overall that they have all gotten better.

Lesley Stahl: The whole state is not doing well.

Betsy DeVos: Well, there are certainly lots of pockets where this– the students are doing well and–

Lesley Stahl: No, but your argument that if you take funds away that the schools will get better, is not working in Michigan where you had a huge impact and influence over the direction of the school system here.

Betsy DeVos: I hesitate to talk about all schools in general because schools are made up of individual students attending them.

Lesley Stahl: The public schools here are doing worse than they did.

Betsy DeVos: Michigan schools need to do better. There is no doubt about it.

Lesley Stahl: Have you seen the really bad schools? Maybe try to figure out what they’re doing?

Betsy DeVos: I have not– I have not– I have not intentionally visited schools that are underperforming.

Lesley Stahl: Maybe you should.

Betsy DeVos: Maybe I should. Yes.

It is no secret that DeVos favors school choice, charter schools, and vouchers for private and parochial schools. But what many who may have voted for her boss may not realize is that DeVos ignores what is happening to the traditional public schools that service over 90% of our nation’s students.

Stahl pressed her on that. A good journalist would. Stahl is more than a good journalist. 60 Minutes is more than a good show. It is in its 40th year – same time slot, same network, same night.

Think about when DeVos says, “I hesitate to talk about all schools in general because schools are made up of individual students attending them.”

Actually, schools are really communities, but if anyone has “generalized schools,” it has been DeVos. The day of the 60 Minutes interview, DeVos had more than usual activity on her Twitter account. Maybe knowing her words from the interview were not as stellar as she would have hoped, she may have tried to lessen the blowback with this tweet.

devostweet

Look at that map more closely.

school visits

She seems to really like Indianapolis, Washington D.C., and southern Florida. Rather, she likes to go where Mike Pence did more to privatize schools than most any governor in recent history. She likes to go to Florida where there is an abundance of “school choice” endeavors. She also likes the D.C. area that is still reeling from the Michelle Rhee high-stakes testing and value-added frenzy.

DeVos also tweeted on that day the following:

DeVos tweet 2

DeVos has been in office for a little over a year. But her efforts to reform education in Michigan have been happening for years

Part of Stahl’s interview focused on Michigan, a state where DeVos not only hails from but has used as an experimental lab for her amorphous policies. DeVos could not even talk about how well Michigan was doing. She surely would like to be able to brag about Michigan but good journalism sometimes gets in the way.

From the Detroit Free Press in a report entitled “Michigan test score gains worst in nation” from Feb. of 2017:

A new analysis of results of a national educational test shows Michigan students have continually made the least improvement nationally of scores since 2003.

The study, by University of Michigan professor Brian A. Jacob, of scores of the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP), also found that Michigan students were at the bottom of the list when it comes to proficiency growth in the four measures of the exam (https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/michigan/2017/02/20/michigan-test-score-gains-worst-nation/98144368/).

That lack of growth in a state where DeVos already has been enacting the policies that she is trying to force on the country? From a person who admittedly does not want to visit “underperforming” schools?

There could be a variety of reasons why DeVos does not want to visit what she terms to be underperforming schools. She could deathly afraid of what she perceives they may be like. She is afraid that she would have to answer questions on why many are so underfunded. She would have to display a knowledge of education to offer some sort of leadership to help those schools that she obviously does not have.

Or it could be all of those. Plus others.

But maybe the most obvious reason could be that she does not really know how to measure schools. If what she claims are the necessary ingredients for good equitable schools have not been working in her home state as she thinks they have, then how could she even begin to understand the dynamics of “underperforming” schools.

Ignorance and a fear of engaging authentically with people will make even the most educated of people unable to be authentic educators. And the national leader in education should be more than willing to go into any school.

But Betsy DeVos is no leader.

She sure as hell is no educator.

A Big Can of Canned Answers – That Betsy DeVos Interview on 60 Minutes

Leslie Stahl presented a segment on Betsy DeVos.

Stahl’s overview of DeVos, her questions, and the canned answers that DeVos gave in response are worth viewing even if it makes you cringe a little.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/secretary-of-education-betsy-devos-on-guns-school-choice-and-why-people-dont-like-her/

The link also has a transcript.

DeVos

The Ignorant Arrogance of Betsy DeVos and Her Bad Seating Charts

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos tweeted the following on the afternoon of March 6th around three o’clock.

It is simply ignorance and arrogance.

IMG_6270

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
  • Blackboards
  • 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.

tweet

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.

IMG_6273

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.

IMG_6272

Yes. That is a desk right outside of my classroom.

Like textbooks they need to be replaced.

What is DeVos doing about that?

 

Why Betsy DeVos Necessitates a “Defense Against the Dark Arts”

When you teach a number of years coupled with the fact that social media has become such a mainstay in our culture, you have the opportunity to stay connected with former students much more easily.

It is rather a humbling that these younger people (younger than I) would want to tell you about how their lives are progressing: their victories, their obstacles, their journeys.

And they also share with you their observations of the world and its changes.

And then there are the memes. One of my more outgoing former students who happens to be a fantastic dramatist as well sent me the following meme this past year in response to Betsy DeVos’s appointment as secretary of education.

It’s rather brilliant.

decree-0

(Credit:?)

And funny. I do not know who the credit should go to, but if you find out, then let me know.

Here are two women who have no real experience with public education (or the education of wizards) and no IDEA of what growth is versus proficiency. Entitled with the power of a ministry, both women have a certain agenda to force into schools that seems more in line with their own personal ideologies rather than the public benefit.

And then there are the standards that each strives to put in place within the schools.

For Dolores Umbridge it was the use of Educational Decrees. Defined by the Harry Potter Wiki website (http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/Educational_Decree), these decrees are,

“The Educational Decrees are laws created by the Ministry of Magic to set or modify standards at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

…the Ministry (spearheaded by Dolores Umbridge) created new educational decrees to suppress and outlaw behaviour of which the Ministry did not approve, some of which would outright expel the students found to be in transgression of. In truth, however, is just an excuse to strip Albus Dumbledore of his headship of the school and give it to Umbridge.”

decree1

In the book the Educational Decrees were as follows (thanks to Harry Potter Neoseeker – http://harrypotter.neoseeker.com/wiki/Educational_Decrees).

  • Educational Decree Number Twenty-four: All Student Organizations, Societies, Teams, Groups, and Clubs are henceforth disbanded. An Organization, Society, Team, Group, or Club is hereby defined as a regular meeting of three or more students. Permission to re-form may be sought from the High Inquisitor (Professor Umbridge). No Student Organization, Society, Team, Group, or Club may exist without the knowledge and approval of the High Inquisitor. Any student found to have formed, or to belong to, an Organization, Society, Team Group, or Club that has not been approved by the High Inquisitor will be expelled.
  • Educational Decree Number Twenty-five: The High Inquisitor will henceforth have supreme authority over all punishments, sanctions and removal of privileges pertaining to the students of Hogwarts, and the power to alter such punishments, sanctions and removals of privileges as may have been placed by other staff members.
  • Educational Decree Number Twenty-six: Teachers are hereby banned from giving students any information that is not strictly related to the subjects they are paid to teach.
  • Educational Decree Number Twenty-seven: Any student found in possession of the magazine The Quibbler will be expelled.
  • Educational Decree Number Twenty-eight: Dolores Jane Umbridge (High Inquisitor) has replaced Albus Dumbledore as the Head of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

And in the movie where so many got to meet Dolores Umbridge in a more personal way, these decrees were more numerous and amended somewhat. (Again, thanks to Harry Potter Neoseeker – http://harrypotter.neoseeker.com/wiki/Educational_Decrees).

  • Educational Decree Number 22 – In the event of the current Headmaster being unable to provide a candidate for a teaching post, the Ministry should select an appropriate person.
  • Educational Decree Number 23 – Dolores Jane Umbridge has been appointed to the post of Hogwarts High Inquisitor.
  • Educational Decree Number 24 – NO MUSIC IS TO BE PLAYED DURING Study Hours.
  • Educational Decree Number 25 – The High Inquisitor will henceforth have supreme authority over all punishments, sanctions and removal of privileges pertaining to the students of Hogwarts, and the power to alter such punishments, sanctions and removals of privileges as may have been placed by other staff members.
  • Educational Decree Number 26 – Teachers are hereby banned from giving students any information that is not strictly related to the subjects they are paid to teach.
  • Educational Decree Number 27 – Any student found in possession of the magazine The Quibbler will be expelled.
  • Educational Decree Number 29 – Although never actually passed, it was mentioned by Argus Filch, and would have presumably allowed Filch to torture the students as a punishment.
  • Educational Decree Number 30 – ALL WEASLEY PRODUCTS WILL BE BANNED IMMEDIATELY.
  • Educational Decree Number 45 – PROPER DRESS & DECORUM IS TO BE maintained AT ALL TIMES.
  • Educational Decree Number 68 – All Student Organizations, Societies, Teams, Groups, and Clubs are henceforth disbanded. An Organization, Society, Team, Group, or Club is hereby defined as a regular meeting of three or more students. Permission to re-form may be sought from the High Inquisitor (Professor Umbridge). No Student Organization, Society, Team, Group, or Club may exist without the knowledge and approval of the High Inquisitor. Any student found to have formed, or to belong to, an Organization, Society, Team, Group, or Club that has not been approved by the High Inquisitor will be expelled.
  • Educational Decree Number 82 – ALL STUDENTS WILL SUBMIT TO QUESTIONING ABOUT Suspected ILLICIT Activities.
  • Educational Decree Number 98 – THOSE WISHING TO JOIN THE INQUISITORIAL SQUAD for Extra Credit May sign up in the High Inquisitor’s OFFICE.

decree5decree2

While I cannot confirm if DeVos has an affinity for cats or for the color pink or office décor centered on putting plates on the wall, it is this adherence to the wishes of the “ministry” where she and Umbridge have a magical connection.

Since Cornelius Fudge is the Minister For Magic who places Umbridge in her educational post, he directs what Hogwarts can and cannot do in the classrooms. In fact, Umbridge on many occasions simply talks about herself as an extension of Fudge within Hogwarts.

“I am sorry, dear, but to question my practices is to question the Ministry, and by extension, the Minister himself. I am a tolerant woman, but the one thing I will not stand for is disloyalty.”

“Your previous instruction in this subject has been disturbingly uneven. But you will be pleased to know from now on, you will be following a carefully structured, Ministry-approved course of defensive magic. Yes?”

“It is the view of the Ministry that a theoretical knowledge will be sufficient to get you through your examinations, which after all, is what school is all about.”

Now that’s loyalty.

Betsy DeVos in her time in the POTUS’s cabinet has stated her allegiance with her own Cornelius Fudge, Donald Trump, as she has backed up his policies, especially when she was pressed in her conversation about guns at schools.

And when you talk about advancing the wishes of a “ministry,” then DeVos certainly is a proud disciple of that. The Mother Jones magazine article (yep, it’s liberal) entitled “Betsy DeVos Wants to Use America’s Schools to Build ‘God’s Kingdom’” is rather eye-opening and it includes some rather zealous statements about DeVos’s devotion to another cause that may be rather cloudy according to the separation of church and state (http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/01/betsy-devos-christian-schools-vouchers-charter-education-secretary).

Asked whether Christian schools should continue to rely on philanthropic dollars—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…[versus] what is currently being spent every year on education in this country…Our desire is to confront the culture in ways that will continue to advance God’s kingdom.”

From 1999 to 2014, the Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation gave out $2.4 million to the Grand Rapids Christian High School Association, $652,000 to the Ada Christian School, and $458,000 to Holland Christian Schools. All told, their foundation contributed $8.6 million to private religious schools—a reflection of the DeVoses’ lifelong dedication to building “God’s kingdom” through education.

Makes the word “ministry” take an even more celestial meaning.

Imagine the new guidelines for finding effective teachers after DeVos’s Common Core issues are finally politically cemented and then implemented (if she is confirmed). Umbridge went after many of Hogwarts’s most established professors with the acumen of an educational novice, but with the authority derived from being granted undeserved powers by a man bent on profit, there’s no telling how DeVos will measure effectiveness or growth or proficiency once she looks those words up in her dictionary.

In the books, during a round of standardized testing, Fred and George Weasley literally “drop out,” probably hum some Pink Floyd quietly and make a rather stunning display of civil disobedience that ends with Umbridge being “swallowed” by a dragon-shaped firework.

decree3

So the meme that puts both Umbridge and DeVos together is quite appropriate and shows that the magical world and the real world might not be that far apart.

At least in some people’s minds.

However, the meme does say that “we needed centaurs to get rid of” Umbridge.

Well considering that DeVos and her family have given heavily to organizations that are blatantly anti-LGBT, centaurs may not be the best choice of helping us rid ourselves of the “deforms” of Betsy DeVos.

So I suggest,

decree4

 

It might be time to go ahead and put Defense Against the Dark Arts on the registration list.

In fact, it should be a prerequisite.

decree6

 

For Alan Rickman – “Always”

The Privatization of North Carolina’s Public Schools – A Who’s Who

Remember Michelle Rhee’s visit to North Carolina last year for a “closed-door” meeting (February 7th  ,2017) with lawmakers brokered by an educational lobbying body of business leaders called BEST NC (coupled with the NC GOP’s invitation to Betsy DeVos who had just been confirmed as Trump’s secretary of education)?

It was another ominous omen of what has been and will continue to be attempted in North Carolina – the further privatization of public education in North Carolina.

This meeting with Rhee that was passed off as a session with leaders where candid questions could be asked and ideas exchanged on how to improve public education seemed to be void of the very people who know education the best – public school educators. The media did have a brief chance to meet and greet with Ms. Rhee and George Parker in a manicured and measured way, but what happened behind closed doors with people who make decisions on how to spend taxpayer money and fund public schools along with controversial educational reformers remains a mystery.

In fact, it seemed more like a special session of the NC General Assembly who used such “secret sessions” to spawn actions such as HB2, SB4, and HB17 (the latter two soon after Mark Johnson was elected as NC State Superintendent).

Despite what they claim, the intentions of BEST NC and other “reformers” to improve public education seems to have a different meaning to them than it does to those who are educators in our public schools.

That’s because there exist too many relationships between business leaders, lobbying groups, wealthy benefactors, politicians, and educational reformers to be coincidental. In fact, many in the “reform” movement that have started to dismantle the public school system are strategically linked to each other both outside of the state and inside.

Look at the graphic below:

graph1

That is a diagram of the relationships between entities that many public school advocates deem as detrimental to our public school system. It’s very busy and probably confusing. It’s supposed to be.

Consider the following national entities:

  • Teach For America
  • Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Walton Family Foundation
  • Eli Broad Foundation
  • KIPP Charter Schools
  • Democrats For Educational Reform
  • Educational Reform Now
  • StudentsFirst
  • America Succeeds
  • 50CAN
  • American Legislative Exchange Council
  • National Heritage Academies
  • Charter School USA
  • Team CFA
  • American Federation for Children

They are all linked. And the only teachers who seem to have any sustained dialogue with any of these is the Hope Street Group – and that dialogue seems mostly to have been with BEST NC (but not of late).

Somehow, someway all of the bulleted entities above have been at play in North Carolina even before that meeting with Michelle Rhee and BEST NC which took place literally days after Betsy DeVos was confirmed as secretary of education thanks to the first ever tie-breaking vote by a vice-president for a cabinet position.

They continue to be at play, more so now than ever before. And other are joining in thus making this document a work in progress.

If you are willing, simply follow the explanation below because what seems to be a simple meeting that took place in February of 2017 was just another step in the GOP-led NC General Assembly to dismantle public education and finance the privatization of schooling.

First, consider the national scene.

graph11

In 2014 a teacher/researcher named Mercedes Schneider published an informative book called A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who in the Implosion of American Public Education. What Schneider did was literally research and report on all of the bodies of influence that were applying forces on the landscape of public education for the benefit of political and capitalistic gain.

The fact that she is a teacher, product of public schools from southern Louisiana, a trained researcher, a survivor of Katrina, and a residential expert of the charter takeover in New Orleans, she has a unique perspective and an educated point of view.

Chapter 17 of the book is dedicated to the Democrats For Educational Reform and the Educational Reform Now groups (DFER and ERN).

DFER supports vouchers, union busting and other reform measures that are common in other reform circles, but they are (to summarize Schneider) not “non-profit.” What makes them powerful is that they have the word “Democrat” in their name and it allows them to literally “train” democrats into accepting and advancing a protocol that actually is more conservative in nature – initiatives that align with school choice and charter movements. Schneider talks about in pages 276-279 how the DFER even promoted “mayoral control and charter favoritism.”

It may seem a little bit like conspiracy theory, but it does make sense. Why? Because DFER is non-profit and has the word “Democrat” in it and therefore does not get the big time donations from conservative donators.

Or do they?

DFER is run mostly by hedge-fund managers. One of them is Whitney Tilson, who happens to be a Teach For America alumnus and a vice-chair of New York’s KIPP charters. He also sits on the board of DFER. That alone links DFER, KIPP, and TFA (p.278).

At least in 2013, DFER had an Executive Director named Joe Williams. He just happened to “also head another reform group, this one actually is classed as a ‘nonprofit,’ and it doesn’t have the D-word in its title.”  Education Reform Now (ERN) is a “democratic” body understood to be a “sister entity” to DFER (p.279).

By 2010, ERN counted the Broad Foundation and the Walton Foundation as donors. “ERN enables hedge-fund managers to quietly donate to Democrats advancing the privatization agenda…. Looks like the big Republican money is available to DFER, after all – through its ERN back door” (p.279).

More from Schneider:

  • Remember that Whitney Tilson is also a founding member of Teach For America along with Wendy Kopp. Kopp was the mentor of Michelle Rhee. Their ventures literally share the same circulatory system.
  • Tilson sits on the KIPP board and sits on the DFER board.
  • Kopp sits on the Broad Foundation Board which feeds money to ERN who in turn feeds DFER. Kopp is also married to Richard Barth, the CEO of KIPP Foundation.
  • DFER through ERN conducts business with StudentsFirst, founded by Michelle Rhee.
  • Tilson, Kopp, and Rhee are TFA alums.

BEST NC, based in Raleigh and architects of the recent controversial principal play program in the state, is affiliated with an outfit named America Succeeds that feeds and supports various “reform” groups within certain states that bring together powerful business leaders to push “educational reform.” Look at the following article: – http://www.prwatch.org/news/2016/03/13065/how-dfer-leaders-channel-out-state-dark-money-colorado-and-beyond. The title alone alludes to the ability for DFER to channel “dark” money to out of state entities that promote anti-union, pro-charter, voucher supporting measures. It shows something interesting.

  • America Succeeds’s address in Colorado is 1390 Lawrence Street in Denver.
  • DFER’s Colorado office is located on 1390 Lawrence Street in Denver.
  • KIPP’s Denver charter schools are headquartered in Denver. At 1390 Lawrence Street.

Seems that TFA, StudentsFirst, DFER, ERN, KIPP are about as incestuously linked as a Greek god family tree and it is feeding support to groups like BEST NC who just happens to be the Carolina affiliate of America Succeeds.

Think about it. North Carolina is an ideal target. Why? Because of the following conditions:

  • Right-to-work state.
  • Elimination of due-process rights.
  • Removal of caps for number of charter schools which are not regulated.
  • GOP controlled state assembly.
  • Opportunity Grants increasing.
  • Push for merit pay.
  • The new state superintendent is a TFA alumnus – Mark Johnson.

Part of that national scene includes three charter school chains.

National Heritage Academies is based in Michigan in the same state where Betsy DeVos began her quest to privatize public education. They’ve enabled each other. National Heritage Academies has 11 schools in North Carolina. One of them is Greensboro Academy. On the board of that school is Alan Harkes who sits on the Charter School Advisory Board of North Carolina. That’s convenient.

Betsy DeVos is also the founder of a school choice advocacy group in Washington D.C. called the American Federation For Children. On February 15th, 2018 Darrell Allison who was for years the head of the Parents For Educational Freedom in North Carolina, was chosen to assume a leadership position with AFC.

Team CFA is based in Oregon. John Bryan, the founder of the Team CFA, has been donating money left and right to specific politicians and PAC’s here in North Carolina to extend the charter industry including Lt. Gov. Dan Forest (through a PAC). He spear-headed an attempt to win the contract of the ISD school in Robeson that was recently given a green light with Dr. Eric Hall as the superintendent. He would report straight to Mark Johnson under provisions of HB4. (http://amp.newsobserver.com/news/local/education/article177836091.html).

Charter Schools USA is based in Ft. Lauderdale. It is run by Jonathan Hage whose political contribution to politicians in North Carolina are rather numerous.

Now consider North Carolina.

graph3

Those numbers correspond to:

  1. North Carolina General Assembly
  2. Charter School Advisory Board and State Board of Education
  3. Civitas Institute
  4. John Locke Foundation
  5. BEST NC
  6. SAS
  7. State Supt. Mark Johnson
  8. Gov. Dan Forest
  9. Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina
  10. Carolina CAN
  11. Jason Saine
  12. Jerry Tillman
  13. Innovative School District
  14. Bill Rabon
  15. Trinity Christian School
  16. David Curtis
  17. Hope Street Group

Go back to Charter Schools USA.

Below is a screen shot from followthemoney.org which tracks campaign contributions to political candidates (https://www.followthemoney.org/entity-details?eid=14298646). Here is a list of candidates who have received money from Hage in NC.

graph5

  • There’s Jerry Tillman, the former public school administrator who is a champion for opaque charter school regulation. He’s #12 on the state map.
  • And there’s Jason Saine who loves charters as well. He’s #11 on the state map.
  • There’s David Curtis, who loves charters as well. He’s #16 on the state map.
  • There’s Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, who sits on the state school board and lambasted DPI under Dr. June Atkinson for its report on charter schools that said they were disproportionally representing populations. He’s #8 on the state map. It is also worth noting that Forest is also on the state board of education and is ramping up for a run at the governor’s mansion in 2020.
  • There’s Bill Rabon, who stalled the HB13 bill in the Senate. That’s the bill that would have been a clean fix of the class size mandate that was replaced with a poison pill called HB90. He’s #14 on the state map.

Furthermore, Jason Saine has just been named the new National Chairman of ALEC and is helping to open yet another charter school called West Lake Preparatory school that is affiliated with Charter Schools USAhttps://caffeinatedrage.com/2016/12/08/open-letter-to-rep-jason-saine-youre-a-state-representative-fight-for-all-public-schools-not-a-new-charter-school/.

Brenda Berg who is the CEO of BEST NC has increasingly brokered working relationships with many entities that have targeted public schools – John Locke Foundation being one.

BEST NC’s VP is Julie Kowal, who at one time was the Executive Director of CarolinaCan, which is the NC chapter of an outfit called 50CAN, a national “advocacy group” that just a few years ago merged with another entity: StudentsFirst: https://studentsfirst.org/pages/50can-and-studentsfirst-merge-strengthen-support-local-education-leaders-across-country. StudentsFirst was started by Michelle Rhee.

Now, add to that the fact that BEST NC has had some workshops/meetings with people from the The Hope Street Group which is a group of teacher leaders who receive a stipend in exchange for gathering and communicating educational concerns with public school teachers. Hope Street Group receives funding from the Gates Foundation. Hope Street Group and other teachers were not in the meeting that Michelle Rhee attended with lawmakers that was set up by BEST NC. In fact, there has been no evidence that BEST NC had even worked with Hope Street Group in any endeavor of late meaning that BEST NC really does not reach out to any teacher-affiliated groups.

Additionally, Mark Johnson was granted a massive amount of power over public education through House Bill 17 and Senate Bill 4 (HB17 &SB4), power over charter schools, and the control of the Innovative School District and has retained the services of ex-Pat McCrory aids who possibly were enabled by other McCrory cronies, such as Art Pope who is linked to the American Legislative Exchange Council, otherwise known as ALEC. Art Pope is also part of the aforementioned John Locke Foundation.

The North Carolina General Assembly has backed Johnson with money and resources to fight the state board of education in a rather long-timed lawsuit thus showing he NCGA’s loyalty to Johnson and not the state board. Furthermore, it has reduced DPI’s budget significantly and allowed Johnson to hire people loyal to him including a former official with the Mississippi Charter Schools (#14 on national map) as a high ranking person in DPI.

And Mark Johnson is an admirer of Betsy DeVos. When interviewed by the Charlotte Observer for a Jan. 27th, 2017 feature Johnson expressed his support for the neophyte DeVos.

When asked about her, Johnson didn’t hesitate: “I support her.”

It’s not ironic that Betsy DeVos is also associated with ALEC. From sourcewatch.com it is learned that DeVos has “bankrolled the 501 (c) (4) group the American Federation for Children, the 501 (c) (3) group Alliance for School Choice and by having these groups participate in and fund the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).”

And remember that Darrell Allison who served as president of the Parents For Educational Freedom in North Carolina for the past few years will now be a director in DeVos’s American Federation for Children. Allison still plans on being based in North Carolina.

Oh, Allison is also on the UNC Board of Governors. He will remain in that capacity. So a man who has influence over the state’s university system is employed by national school choice advocacy group founded by the current secretary of education that feeds funds to ALEC, an organization that just named a NC lawmaker (Jason Saine) as its national chairman.

All of these connections seem more than coincidence and this perfect storm of timing, state politics, gerrymandering, and people in power can’t just be by chance. Could it?

So where are the teachers in this dialogue? The schools of education in one of the best college systems in the nation and from some of the highest ranking private schools in the country?

Well many teachers have been represented by groups like NCAE (which is an association and not a union). Multiple times the NC General Assembly has tried to weaken any group like NCAE through stopping automatic dues payments and other things such as what the Civitas Institute tried to do here – luring teachers in NCAE to “buy” their membership back.

Remember this?

graph6

That website was established by the Civitas Institute, which was founded by Art Pope. It showed NCAE members how to withdraw their membership in NCAE and make $450 because that is what they would not be spending in dues.

Now look at that first map again:

graph1

Hopefully, it makes a little more sense.

The NC GOP has been very instrumental in the following actions:

  • Removal of due-process rights
  • Graduate Degree Pay Bumps Removed
  • Standard 6
  • “Average” Raises
  • Less Money Spent per Pupil
  • Remove Caps on Class Sizes
  • Jeb Bush School Grading System
  • Cutting Teacher Assistants
  • Opportunity Grants
  • Virtual Schools
  • Reduction of Teacher Candidates in Colleges
  • Elimination of Teaching Fellows Program and reinvention in a different entity.

Also look at this timeline:

  • Art Pope became McCrory’s budget director – 2013
  • Graduate Degree Pay Bumps Eliminated – 2013
  • 50Can created CarolinaCan – 2013
  • School Performance Grades – 2013
  • Due-process rights taken from new teachers – started in 2013
  • Charter school cap in NC lifted – 2014, but proposed in 2013.
  • Opportunity Grants (vouchers) – 2014

Now consider SAS, a software company whose president, James Goodnight, is married to one of the founders and current Board Member of BEST NC, Anne Goodnight. Mrs. Goodnight was also one of the founders of Cary Academy, a rather prestigious private school in the Triangle area.

In a data-driven, educational-reform era that seems to crunch and use data to position evidence that supports their claims, it would make sense to align with SAS, an “American multinational developer of analytics software based in Cary, North Carolina. SAS develops and markets a suite of analytics software, which helps access, manage, analyze and report on data to aid in decision-making” (Wikipedia).

SAS controls the EVAAS software system. It is used by the state to measure teacher effectiveness. It uses rather surreptitious methods and secret algorithms to calculate its data – https://caffeinatedrage.com/2017/11/26/why-teachers-should-be-wary-of-evaas-and-sas/.

Other lawmakers aligned with the privatizing movement here in North Carolina include Sen. Chad Barefoot who heads the powerful NC Senate Committee for Education. It is rumored that he is being considered as a possible head of the NC community college system in the next few years.

What has happened is that much of what should be “public” in the North Carolina school system is now being guided by non-public entities.

And we in NC get this:

graph4

Simply put, the privatization of the public school system.

The Chronic Unexcused Absenteeism of Betsy DeVos

As a teacher, if I worked the kind of schedule that Betsy DeVos worked, then I would be “nonrenewed” which is effectively fired.

Before anyone says, “Well, teachers have tenure!” please be reminded that tenure really means having due-process rights and blatant absenteeism is hard to defend if it is not for medical leave or another hardship. Besides, here in North Carolina, due-process rights were taken away from new teachers a few years ago long before Betsy DeVos started her current “tenure” as secretary of education.

And if anyone says, “Well, teachers have summers off!” please be prepared to explore a much deeper issue in which appearances are wildly different from realities.

It seems plausible that leaders set an example through work ethic and willingness to accept responsibility which is why I do not consider Betsy DeVos a leader. In fact, it seems that she does not even desire to be the leader of the nation’s public school system.

Consider a recent report by the non-partisan watchdog group American Oversight. They released a report on DeVos’s attendance record over the first six months of her term.

Six months is four months shorter than a school year as defined by federal standards.

Through the Freedom of Information Act, American Oversight was able to conclude that DeVos only showed up for work 2 out of three days (https://www.americanoversight.org/unexcused-absences-devos).

An analysis by American Oversight found that during that period – which stretches from February 8th to July 19th – DeVos only completed a full day of work 67% of the time. 

DeVos schedule

That’s not a good track record.

Broken down specifically, the report says:

DEVOS’S CALENDARS BY THE NUMBERS:

  • 113 federally mandated work days (February 8 – July 19, 2017)
  • 77 full days of work (68%)
  • 21 partial days taken off (19%)
  • 15 full days taken off (13%)
  • 5 hours of work on average partial day off
  • 11 long weekends in less than six months

If a teacher was to take a partial-day off, then a substitute teacher would have to be called in for the other half-day. That would be 21 sub jobs there.

If a teacher was to take a whole day off, then a substitute teacher would have to be called in for the entire day. That would be another 15 sub jobs there.

That hurts the school system’s budget because subs have to be paid and it hurts morale because if the teacher is not there for reasons not really excused, then students and other teachers get affected by that. Besides the continuity in the class would be totally compromised therefore hurting student achievement.

And any school will tell you that “voluntary” long weekends are especially hard to navigate.

Leaders do not do this. People who do not really want to lead do this.

Imagine if a student only came to school two of three days and most of the days missed were “unexcused.” That student would not pass.

Makes you want to see Betsy DeVos’s report card at the end of the school year.

So, How Is That Betsy DeVos Thing Working Out For You?

It has been a year since Donald Trump made Betsy DeVos his selection as Secretary of Education and thus began a much maligned, yet brief tenure, of one of the most controversial cabinet members in recent history.

DeVos’s resume coming into the office was not impressive and certainly one that displayed an unqualified individual whose intent on privatizing public education was already well-known.

The following is her resume in public education at this point last year:

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In fact,

  • Betsy DeVos still has no degree in education meaning she is still not even educated in how to educate.
  • Betsy DeVos still has no teaching experience. NONE, but she 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 DeVos’s monetary contributions to Christian-based schools and evangelical organizations has been conservatively estimated at $200 million. That is still growing.
  • Betsy DeVos is totally anti-union and believes that teachers are paid too much.
  • Betsy DeVos supports vouchers like no other.

But now that we are almost a year into this current administration, it might be worth looking at what DeVos has done as the highest public education official in the country.

  • Betsy DeVos has tirelessly promoted school choice without mentioning the challenges that come with school choice and the effects on traditional public schools.
  • Betsy DeVos proclaimed that schools need guns to protect them from grizzly bears.
  • Betsy DeVos remarked how historically black colleges and universities (HBCU’s) were the “real pioneers when it comes to school choice.” Just look at the speech at Bethune-Cookman during last year’s graduation to see the response to that.
  • Betsy DeVos has shown to be unknowledgeable of the basic tenants of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
  • Betsy DeVos removed consumer protection rules on student loans and allowed for collection fees for some borrowers to be put back into effect.
  • Betsy DeVos removed protection for transgender students in public schools.
  • Betsy DeVos rolled back protections for victims in college campus sexual assault.
  • Betsy DeVos has allowed many positions in the Department of Education to remain vacant.
  • DeVos has cost taxpayers lots in just having a certain entourage with her on her travels because she is so polarizing that she requires security.
  • She’s still donating money to privatization efforts.

So how is this working out for us?

It’s not.

Unless you are a Dolores Umbrage fan.

betsy-devos