While no Secretary of Education in a Republican administration would be to my liking, it’s pretty clear Il Trumpe’s nominee, Betsy DeVos, is unqualified and a theocratic zealot. She’s an advocate of school vouchers, which have always been seen, by their staunchest supporters, as a way to undermine the public school system. But DeVos adds a special twist to this:
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.”
Someone like DeVos would see the Milwaukee school system as a success, where religious schools receive government funding, even as they are unable to meet their students’ basic needs. This problem is only worse in rural areas.
As you might imagine, DeVos has also spent a lot of money trying to bust unions, including teachers unions–and despite whatever failings teachers unions may have (they are no better or worse than their members), they are the voice of teachers.
And while DeVos claimed schools of any type should be held to the same standards*, there’s no reason to believe her: not only do voucher proponents always fail to apply the same standards to private schools that receive public funding, but DeVos doesn’t even understand the very basics of school assessment. Forget about problems of sample size and linear regression, she didn’t even comprehend the difference between achievement and progress. That’s Education 101–the first damn day.
To top it all off, DeVos has financial ties to an educational debt collection service (and the Office of Governmental Ethics investigation hasn’t even finished yet).
It’s clear DeVos wants to use public funding to promote religious, private schools, and public schools be damned. She has little, if any, comprehension of education policy. She is utterly unqualified, no matter how hard Republicans try to protect her (they only allowed each senator one five minute question period).
Since I live in the mainland colony (aka the District of Columbia**), and suffer taxation without representation, please call your Senators, even if they’re Democrats, and politely ask them not to confirm Betsy DeVos as Education Secretary.
*The accountability standards are themselves problematic, but DeVos is so awful, we don’t even reach that level of discussion.
**D.C. is going to screwed especially hard by DeVos–and there will be little we could do about it.