A Simple Guide to the Education Secretary from a Black Queens Special Educator
I’m sure by now you’ve heard about the education secretary nominee, Betsy DeVos. Be it from Charlemagne tha God dubbing her “donkey of the day” two weeks ago for having no idea what she’s talking about (more on that later) or from the teachers on your Facebook timeline expressing their outrage.
Who is this woman? In short, Betsy is a wealthy white republican whose family has donated a possible 200 million dollars to the republican party. Bernie Sanders shaded her to oblivion at her confirmation hearing when he said “Do you think if your family had not made contributions of hundreds of millions of dollars to the republican party do you think you would be sitting here today?”
No, no she would not. On Tuesday, DeVos was approved for senate vote. Let’s talk about why she’s a terrible pick.
Betsy DeVos doesn’t get the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA)
Any first-semester education student knows that IDEA is a federal law which ensures that all students with disabilities receive a fair and appropriate public education (FAPE). This law allows students with intellectual disabilities, chronic health impairments, and other disabilities the same access to resources and curriculum that is afforded to general education students. At the January 17th confirmation hearing, DeVos was asked if she believes all schools should adhere to this law to which she replied, “I think that’s an issue that’s best left to the states.” What!? Someone who identifies as an education advocate can’t be so unfamiliar with this basic federal education law. Following this embarrassment, DeVos has since written a letter stating that she would protect IDEA. *eyeroll*
Betsy DeVos doesn’t have a valid opinion on guns in schools– nor does she understand education pedagogy and curriculum.
At her confirmation hearing, DeVos was asked if she opposed guns on school grounds. By the way, according to Everytown, there have been over 200 school shootings in America since 2013. That’s about one per week, on average. With major school shooting tragedies such as Columbine and Sandy Hook Elementary, one might think she’d vehemently oppose or at least recognize that America has an ugly and violent history of school shootings. Instead, she cited “potential grizzlies” as a reason why a Wyoming school might want to keep guns around. Is that really her response to the question of guns in schools?? Also, I’m a city girl through and through, but bear spray works just fine, DeVos.
She was also asked about test scores being used to determine student proficiency and student growth. This is when she did that blank stare thing that you do when the teacher calls on you and you don’t know the answer. How can she know so little? Well, DeVos has zero experience, and her own children didn’t even attend public school in their rich Michigan neighborhood of Grand Rapids.
Betsy DeVos wants to use taxpayer dollars to pay for private and religious schools.
According to MotherJones, DeVos has supported Christian groups such as the Foundation for Traditional Values, which as been known to blur the lines between church and state. In her home state, Michigan, DeVos has aided in the expansion of charter schools. According to the Washington Post, a number of these schools have math and reading test scores that are below state average. The money that Betsy DeVos has donated has done nothing to ensure America’s children, with their diverse learning needs, will receive a good education. In fact, according to journalist Stephen Henderson,
“Largely as a result of the DeVos’ lobbying, Michigan tolerates more low-performing charter schools than just about any other state. And it lacks any effective mechanism for shutting down, or even improving, failing charters.
We’re a laughingstock in national education circles, and a pariah among reputable charter school operators, who have not opened schools in Detroit because of the wild West nature of the educational landscape here.”
Betsy DeVos is unqualified and frankly dangerous as the education secretary pick. Trevor Noah said it best: “Here’s a student [DeVos] who’s clearly not proficient in the required subject matter, but because of the system, we know they’re still going to get pushed through.”
What a metaphor for the current state of American education, right?
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