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Does she have our back? A breakdown of Betsy DeVos

by Staff Editorial
Mon, Feb 13th 2017 10:25 pm
Elizabeth Pritchard/EDITORIAL CARTOONIST
Elizabeth Pritchard/EDITORIAL CARTOONIST

 Betsy DeVos is now officially the United States Secretary of Education. Many people are against her as the choice for the head of education in our country. Her blatant lack of knowledge in the education system has been demonstrated in almost every speech she has made and every answer she has uttered to questions regarding her stance on education. 

People are worried because DeVos has repeatedly said that public schools are what is wrong in the U.S. She believes wholeheartedly that the blame for low test scores and graduation rates falls completely on the public education system. Her solution to end this is to slowly distribute more funding towards charter schools and provide vouchers, which she believes will provide a better education. 

In the speech she gave in Austin, Texas on March 11, 2015 before she was even made the nominee DeVos stated, "Let me give you a real world example of what I'm talking about ... Alpha School is high-performing school, with graduation rates ranging from 70 percent - 90 percent depending on the year. Beta School is a low - performing school, with graduation rates hovering around 50 percent ... If you chose Alpha School, then in Washington D.C. you chose a private or charter school for your kids."

If you look up Charter Schools in Washington, D.C. on greatschools.org which rates schools across the nation based on test scores there are over 50 charter schools which have a rating of six or above on a 10-point scale. However there were over fourteen pages of charter schools who had a rating of five or below on the 10-point scale. 

The approximately 52 charter schools with good grades only covered two full pages plus two more on the third page. When you use the same website to look up public schools in Washington, D.C. there are 49 public schools that have a six or above rating on the same ten point scale. 

This proves that in Washington, D.C., even though there are more charter schools than public schools, there are only three more charter schools with ratings above a five. So in truth choosing to send a child to a charter school over a public school would not have been the "alpha" option.

This invalidated spewing of purely falsified information from DeVos has become more blatant and resulted in her only getting the position of Secretary of Education by one vote and the one vote being Vice President Mike Pence's which in truth proves very little. After her fumbling during questioning which took place at her confirmation hearing Tuesday, Jan. 17, DeVos' lack of knowledge about the education department became particularly clear. 

According to The New York Times article, "Nominee Betsy DeVos's Knowledge of Education Basics Is Open to Criticism" "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." 

This is where prospective and current college students should begin to be afraid of what policies DeVos may put in place. 

She had no recollection that there were laws in place to protect special education, she has no personal experience with student loans since neither herself nor her children had to stoop so low as to apply to the federal government for money in order to pursue higher education. All of this is based off of the aforementioned The New York Times article including the statement where DeVos said she would have to review the department's policies regarding student loans granted to students attending for-profit universities. 

The College at Brockport may not be a for-profit institution, but it could be said that we are a part of the public education system since we are state-funded and not governed by a private organization. 

The fact that DeVos has never taught in a classroom is also unnerving as she does not understand "the difference between growth, which measures how much students have learned over a given period, and proficiency, which measures how many students reach a targeted score" according to the same The New York Times article. 

As DeVos repeatedly said in the 2015 speech, "government sucks." As a result of this belief DeVos feels adamantly about she stated at her confirmation hearing that she wants to dissolve federal and state authority when it comes to education. This means that decisions such as: gun control, procedures on how to handle domestic violence and sexual assault reports, how to measure learning and other crucial choices will be left up to individual school districts. 

Students who already feel marginalized in the education system whether it be because of a learning disability, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation or any other marginalized identity will only continue to be alienated. 

DeVos has not promised to keep federal and state education loans in place, she has not promised to keep funding public schools which according to nces.edu.gov, 50.4 million students attend. If she dissolves all government authority in education then the status of state colleges like our own is up in the air as well. 

DeVos has given thousands in campaign funds to republicans over the years according to the aforementioned The New York Times article. This is the only reason she was nominated by Donald Trump and the only reason she could have possibly been supported by the Republicans who didn't find her lacking. 

Her goal to bring religion back into the education system will not only destroy the advancements made in science but also create bias and divide as not every student believes in the same theology. 

Since DeVos has been sworn in there isn't much we can do but stay informed on the policies she comes up with and how they will affect our education and students across the nation. If we stay informed then we can, with concrete evidence, protest against the privatized, secularized education system DeVos is hoping to create. 

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