American public education in peril as DeVos prepares to take the reins

Following nationwide opposition, DeVos sworn in as Sec. of Education, putting students in danger

· Feb 13, 2017 Tweet

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Every single student has been there. Sitting in class, wondering how this person in front of you ever earned the right to teach you the material.

Maybe it was your calculus teacher who never adequately explained how to find a derivative. Or maybe it was your biology teacher who seemed to barely understand the concept of osmosis. The point is, we have all had teachers who have disappointed us. Hopefully, we’ve also had enough good ones to make up for it.

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is an example of what happens when we don’t get involvedBetsy DeVos is the newest confirmed member of President Donald Trump’s cabinet. As Trump’s choice for secretary of education, DeVos Read…

Well this problem has now made its way to the top of our educational system. Despite a strong, unrelenting fight from Democratic senators, and two dissenting Republicans, Betsy DeVos will be the next secretary of education.

DeVos barely has any background in education, and the background she does have is not comforting. A longtime champion of private school vouchers and charter schools, she has operated her organization, American Federation for Children, as a branch of the Alliance for School Choice.

Her one-sided experience in education reform worries many, even those in the Republican party. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, said of DeVos, “I have serious concerns about a nominee to be secretary of education who has been so involved in one side of the equation, so immersed in the push for vouchers, that she may be unaware of what actually is successful within the public schools, and also what is broken and how to fix them.”

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Even more illuminating is a 2014 report that came out of Michigan, Devos’ home state, where she was a former chair of the Michigan Republican party. The report found that $1 billion pumped into charter schools yearly by Michigan taxpayers was not accompanied by strict accountability or regulations.

Per the report from the Detroit Free Press, “38% of charter schools that received state academic rankings during the 2012-13 school year fell below the 25th percentile.”

Furthermore, other investigations have found Detroit has a seriously flawed education system that “gives families many school choices, yet few high-quality ones.”

Yes, private school vouchers and charter schools do have their merits, but the ideal education system combines those with strong public schools to create choice and quality.

Unfortunately, DeVos is not the education secretary to lead us to this promised land of education. Instead, she is laughably unqualified and her little experience in the education landscape seems to yield no positive results.

Wisconsin congressman joins nearly 70 Democrats protesting Trump’s inaugurationAs a new political session begins, U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Wis., laid out his priorities and explained his reasons for Read…

Nowhere was DeVos’ lack of competence in the role of education secretary more clear than in her Senate confirmation hearing. She often avoided answering questions by continuously spewing vacuous phrases such as, “I support accountability” and “I think that’s an issue best left to the states.” She seemed to not understand the difference between proficiency and growth.

I am selfishly glad my time in education is coming to a close, for the mere fact that whatever changes Betsy DeVos does bring about will not affect me on a personal level.

But they will affect this country. In more ways than one. I do not know that public schools will continue receiving the vital funding they need to keep educating the youth of our country. I do not know if parents will end up going bankrupt paying for private school, just so their children can have a decent education.

One of the biggest lessons my parents ever taught me was about the importance of education. We all benefit from living in an educated society. It drives each and every one of us to be better. It helps us compete for jobs, and attract companies back to the United States. But clearly, education is not that important to President Donald Trump. Clearly, the only qualification he deems necessary for someone to lead our country’s education is a fat bank account.

Eric Hilkert ([email protected]) is a sophomore majoring in finance.


This article was published Feb 13, 2017 at 6:38 pm and last updated Mar 13, 2017 at 1:16 pm


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