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Opinion: Trump’s Secretary of Education is Disastrous for Education

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Betsy DeVos and Donald Trump

Earlier this week, President-elect Donald Trump announced his pick for Secretary of Education: Betsy DeVos. After picking multiple white men to posts like Chief of Staff and Attorney General, he decided to diversify by picking DeVos. Sure it is a nice sign to see a woman on his staff, but DeVos is an awful choice.

To start, she has no educational experience. She has never even attended or worked in public, private, or charter schools. She has never held a government role in regards to education. DeVos’s influence in education comes from her philanthropic organizations that work to expand school choice and school vouchers: She has served on the boards of numerous education-related political action committees. DeVos is known for her work in trying to expand school choice in her home state of Michigan. Responding to her record, the president of the State Board of Education in Michigan, said,”It’s like putting the fox in charge of the henhouse, and hand-feeding it schoolchildren. DeVos’ agenda is to break the public education system, not educate kids, and replace it with a for-profit model.” An August Detriot Free Press investigation found that the lax oversight pushed by DeVos “…enabled a range of abuses in a system now responsible for 140,000 Michigan children.” Should someone with no experience and a disastrous record in “advocacy” serve as the nation’s Secretary of Education?

Secondly, her vision for education is a dangerous one. As previously stated, the Michigan reforms she pushed have had disastrous results. She pushed for a system of school choice with no accountability. As a result, philanthropy groups have drastically slowed down investment in Detroit schools because of Detroit’s lack of quality control. The reforms that DeVos pushes will steer already scant resources away from public schools. In the case of school choice, money will go to charter, schools often run for profit, while with school vouchers, money will go to private or parochial schools. Even the director of a pro-charter advocacy group in Michigan said that DeVos had “the potential to undermine the nation’s hard-won progress by diverting resources from the young people who most need them…”  The Secretary of Education should work to increase the quality of education, not divert money from education.

Thirdly, the Acton Institute, a think tank that DeVos funded and formerly directed, published a piece literally advocating for child labor. In response to a Washington Post gallery of child laborer images, the piece states that the faces “represent the faces of those who are actively building enterprises and cities, using their gifts to serve their communities, and setting the foundation of a flourishing nation, in turn.” The author then advocates for the loosening of child labor laws in order for kids to work more and earlier. He recommends children be able to work at places like Chik-Fil-A and Walmart, a place known for its mistreatment of workers. If companies can’t treat their adult workers ethically, why would they treat kids with no legal rights any different? DeVos served on the board of the Acton Institute for 10 years before she left, and still donates money. Education should uplift, not punish kids to be cogs in the corporate labor machine. DeVos sees the poor as people without work-ethic, not people without an education and equal opportunity to succeed.

In addition, DeVos’ views on higher education and early childhood education are literally unknown. All of her “advocacy” has been about K-12 education. Even a prominent libertarian, Neal Mccluskey of the Cato Institute, agreed, saying “Another worry is that I have no idea where DeVos stands on early childhood or higher education issues, and the latter, especially, is gigantic, with Washington furnishing tens-of-billions of dollars in student loans, among other higher ed matters.” There are currently 20.5 million college students in the United States, and we don’t even know how the Secretary of Education plans to help them.

Betsy DeVos is disastrous for education. She has no experience or “skin in the game,” and she has a record of diverting money away from our already underfunded education system. DeVos also has no literal experience or stances on higher education or early childhood education. Our education system is no longer the best in the world. Thankfully, there are smart people with solutions to fix it, and obviously, an inexperienced billionaire is not one of them.

 

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4 Comments

  • Tedster

    Keep trying buddy, you’ll get nowhere though, so this entire article is pointless.

     

    [Reply]

    Jon Ababiy Reply:

    Its nice to see that people read my articles. I’m appreciate the fact that you took time to make an pointless comment on a high school newspaper opinion piece! I can tell you have a talent for nuance!

     

    [Reply]

    GWiz Reply:

    That was a burn son, but Ted does have a point….

     

    [Reply]

    Jon Ababiy Reply:

    As in??

     
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Opinion: Trump’s Secretary of Education is Disastrous for Education