On February 7th, 2017, the United States Senate voted to take away the future of 50.2 million people.

 

You maybe know some of them. They are your siblings. Your nieces and nephews. Your sons and daughters. You’ve definitely seen some of them. You probably were one of them, just a few years ago. Most of them haven’t done anything remarkable yet, and now, they may never have the ability to.

 

They are the children of America. More specifically, they are the children currently enrolled in the American public school system

 

On the seventh of February, the Senate voted on Donald Trump’s pick for the United States Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos, a woman whose appointment to the position has been contentious at best. A billionaire who has never held any position in public education (or even received public education), she referred to public schooling as a “dead end”, called for the end of mandatory college sexual misconduct reporting, and said that it was best for schools to decide on an individual basis whether their security guards should be equipped with firearms. For “potential grizzlies”, no less.

 

Amongst a host of other things, DeVos also came under fire for plagiarising Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta during her senate hearing, and potentially bribing her way into the position she now holds. Of the twenty-three currently sitting senators that her family has donated to, only one of them did not vote to confirm her.

 

As the child of a public school teacher, I frankly find it insulting that a woman like this is allowed to decide what is best for our nation’s education system. The public school system has a host of problems, but few of them that reach a nationwide level of concern are caused by the teachers themselves. Rather, they are the product of bureaucracy, private companies that schools contract out to, and those in administrative positions having no experience with, and therefore no knowledge of how to deal with these issues.

 

Much like DeVos.

 

The “pay to play” system of education is especially unfair to minorities. Poor students rely on public education to provide any sort of equalizing factor, and the government providing funding schools would cut budgets to districts already struggling to stay afloat. A majority of private schools are both religious and Christian- 13% are non-sectarian, 3.2% are Jewish, and less than a percent are of other religions. Private schools also are not required to accommodate the disabled, and can provide their own standards for the vetting/training of teachers who work with handicapped students.
It’s funny how the “school choice” that DeVos and those who support her are pushing for offers the people who need it most almost no choice at all.

Sources:

Back to School Statistics, National Center for Education Statistics https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=372

Betsy DeVos Confirmed as Education Secretary; Pence Breaks Tie, New York Times

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/07/us/politics/betsy-devos-education-secretary-confirmed.html?_r=0

Here’s How Much Betsy DeVos And Her Family Spent To Back The GOP Senators Who Confirmed Her, Huffington Post

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/betsy-devos-senate-contributions_us_589a12d1e4b040613139a5a4

Betsy DeVos appears to have plagiarized quotes for Senate questionnaire, CNN 

She’s a billionaire who said schools need guns to fight bears. Here’s what you may not know about Betsy DeVos., Washington Post

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2017/02/07/shes-a-billionaire-who-said-schools-need-guns-to-fight-bears-heres-what-you-may-not-know-about-betsy-devos/?utm_term=.b37c3d43318c

Betsy DeVos’s Education Hearing Erupts Into Partisan Debate, New York Times

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/17/us/politics/betsy-devos-education-senate-hearing.html

Meet Betsy DeVos, Trump’s Secretary of Education Nominee, Snopes

http://www.snopes.com/betsy-devos-education-secretary/

Facts and Studies, Council for American Private Education

http://www.capenet.org/facts.html

6 Things to Know About Private Schools and Special Education, Understood

https://www.understood.org/en/school-learning/choosing-starting-school/finding-right-school/6-things-to-know-about-private-schools-and-special-education

1 COMMENT

  1. Great article! I absolutely agree. I was in the public school my entire life. For most of it, I was in the Kansas public schools, which are some of the worst in the country. There’s obviously a lot of work that’s needed to change the current public school system, and DeVos has made it obvious that she would rather place her focus and funding in other school systems -private and charter schools- rather than fix the system that affects more children than any other in our country. It’s honestly sad to know that we now have someone choosing the future of millions of children and teachers, when she’s never been in their position and admitted that she bought her way into the position of power… A lot of my high school teachers wore black to show that they mourned the end of the public education system as they know it, and I think that’s how a lot of us feel.
    Thank you for your insightful article!

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