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Joseph Kaminski

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August 21, 2017

DeVostating the Education System


Conservatism is at it again with attempts to destroy the public education system. At this point, it is almost certain that Betsy DeVos – the multi-billionaire who has already begun the push for the privatization of education – will become America’s 11th Education Secretary. If you’ve been living under a rock (or perhaps inside a nuclear bunker) since the election results, you probably haven’t been aware that Trump has been concocting the most corrupt and unqualified cabinet that rivals the historical counterparts of Harding and Grant.

Loud and clear: I, alongside any sane teacher or teacher-in-training, am against Betsy DeVos in any official chair concerning education. Betsy DeVos is a billion dollar joke. A relatively close acquaintance of mine, a ‘jar-headed’ marine who voted for Trump merely out of ‘principle’ for his own career, informed me that Trump’s defense secretary choice – James Mattis – was the only real reason he voted for Trump at all. When I told him about Betsy DeVos being nominated for Secretary of Education, he merely apologized and said “I voted for my own career.”

Yes. That’s what he said. “I voted for my own career [in the military].” To him, if he’s reading, I’d like to reinstate that no matter who won, his military career would have been safe and sound. Neoliberal war-hawk Hillary Clinton wouldn’t have done much to topple America’s already out-of-bounds military budget. Neoliberal war-hawk Hillary Clinton, however, wouldn’t have completely tarnished the education system – putting my career in jeopardy – for a few million bucks.

If you recall, Hillary Clinton’s “ghost cabinet” – what would have been behind the scenes had Clinton pushed to the left and won the White House back in November – is…pretty bad.

If [Allen’s] list is accurate, Clinton viewed the presidency as an opportunity to empower her wealthy, centrist allies. There’s no evidence at all, in fact, that she learned anything from the anti-establishment sentiment that propelled Bernie Sanders’s popular challenge to her candidacy.

Hillary Clinton’s cabinet would have been bad, by Sarah Jones

Yes, it would be leagues better than Trump’s carnival of unqualified corruption; but for a fauxgressive candidate who ran on mostly elitist foundations rather than populism, it would have angered the left that she depended upon. On Hillary Clinton’s “ghost cabinet“, a relatively boring collection of lukewarm neoliberals and corporatist shills, sat three ideas for her Secretary of Education:

  • Jennifer Granholm, former Governor and Attorney General of Michigan
  • John Sexton, former President of New York University
  • and “Likely an African American (and/or at Education)”

Even a name that is simply composed of a race is MILES better than anything Betsy DeVos can cough up for her resume, for the record. Jennifer Granholm, John Sexton, and “Likely an African American” are all choices that would have been placed into the Education Department are all better than Besty DeVos.

Let me just say that it is hilarious that Jennifer Granholm was considered for the Secretary of Education. It’s funny, because Jennifer Granholm beat the shit out of Dick DeVos (Betsy DeVos’s husband) during the Michigan Gubernatorial Election of 2006.

Regardless; as an educator, I am appalled by Betsy DeVos being anywhere near the Department of Education, as I fully believe she will do anything and everything in her power to destroy the public education system.

Betsy DeVos Education Hearing

Betsy Devos at a confirmation hearing on January 17, 2017.

DeVos has never attended, worked in, or sent her children to a public school. She has absolutely no idea how the public school system works and has shown no attempts to even learn. She has absolutely zero government or bureaucratic experience, and what very little government experience she may have comes from when her husband – Dick DeVos – face planted against Jennifer Granholm in 2006.

DeVos, rather than increasing her resume to ever become the Secretary of Education, has spent most of her adult “career” donating millions of dollars to corporatist, conservative politicians and lobbyists. In return, the politicians she supported financially have in turn supported her favorite “charity”: giving money to conservative religious schools with no strings attached! Betsy DeVos wants to use the American school system to “build God’s kingdom”, how ironic!

She does not have an education degree and has never taught.

During her initial hearing, DeVos proved time and time again that her knowledge on the basics of education is in the negative.

In questioning by senators, she seemed either unaware or unsupportive of the longstanding policies and functions of the department she is in line to lead, from special education rules to the policing of for-profit universities. – Nominee Betsy DeVos’s Knowledge of Education Basics Is Open to Criticism, by Kate Zernike

Just so you understand how unqualified Betsy DeVos is…watch the following video:

If that’s not enough for you, I encourage you to watch the most cringe-worthy, horrifying moments stemming from her hearing. The following video showcases Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Tim Kaine, and Al Franken all giving Betsy DeVos basic questions and scenarios to the Education Secretary nominee…but she manages to flunk the whole test.

Best DeVos will do nothing productive as education secretary. She will harm teachers, gut the public education system, and ruin the modern day education system in any way possible. Her past shows us how she feels about the public schools that her present proves she knows absolutely nothing about. Her policies are outdated and ineffective – medieval, even – as she focuses on conservative and religious aspects of a school system that should be focused on education as a whole.

Lets be real…Betsy DeVos bought a ticket to Trump’s cabinet. This pay to play way of conducting politics is throughout Trump’s insane cabinet. It’s pathetic, it’s threatening, and it’s absolutely DeVostating for the federal departments that need progressive reform…now more than ever.

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