February 3, 2017

Ehmonie Hainey

Betsy DeVos – Uneducated About Public Education

Photo via Flickr user Ted Eytan

While the Senate continues to advance Betsy DeVos’ nomination to head the Department of Education, concerned parents, students, educators, community members, and a growing number of senators staunchly oppose her confirmation.

DeVos may be President Donald Trump’s pick for Secretary of Education, but she is nothing more than another out-of-touch billionaire, conservative lobbyist, and political donor. She lacks any personal or professional experience with public schools – neither as a student, an educator, a school board member, nor even as a parent. Her agenda is to defund and dismantle the public school system at any cost – and she has spent millions to do it.

DeVos spent the past two decades pushing her “school choice” agenda, under the guise of improving K-12 schools in Michigan. DeVos bankrolled and lobbied for schemes like controversial voucher programs, which take money away from public schools to fund private schools at taxpayers’ expense, and with little to no accountability. She designed Detroit’s failed charter school program, which harmed our most vulnerable students.

Trump’s nominee fares no better when it comes to higher education. DeVos has no experience managing loan programs, nor has ever even taken out a student loan for herself or her children. However, DeVos does have a personal financial interest in companies that profit off of college students, including student loan debt collection, on-campus laundry facilities, parking garages, and textbooks. Despite her personal profits, when asked about tuition-free college, she refused to commit to a direct answer, responding: “…There’s nothing in life that’s truly free.”

Further, DeVos holds uninformed and alarming positions on combating campus sexual assault, students with disabilities, and guns in schools. During her confirmation hearing, she gave vague responses to questions about how she would protect college women against sexual assault and argued that schools need weapons to protect against grizzly bears. She refused to commit to protecting the rights of students with disabilities and contended that “enforcing the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act is a matter best left to the states.”

Americans need a highly qualified Secretary of Education who wants to invest in, improve success for, and create equity among all students. Between her demonstrated lack of proficiency and her lifelong fight against public education, there are countless reasons why Betsy DeVos is the wrong choice for our country’s Education Department. Our students deserve better.

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