Betsy DeVos is unqualified to lead education

Betsy DeVos
Betsy DeVos

One would think the department of education should be led by someone who understands all or most of the topics of education, someone who can commit to simple things like not taking funding away from public schools and holding schools and school districts accountable. Unfortunately, none of these describes Betsy Devos, the woman who was nominated for Secretary of Education for the next four years. During her hearing, she answered very few of the questions definitively, knew next to nothing about the issues that were brought up and would not commit to either side of multiple issues that were discussed.
The first thing that concerns me was Devos’ possible conflict of interest. During her opening speech before the questions, Devos stated that she wanted every parent to have choices between schools for many children. While she did not mention public or private schools, it seemed as if she was citing areas without private schools as trapping children in public schools without the choice of something better. When asked, she would not commit to not taking funding away from public schools, which means good public schools could lose funds, screwing over kids who are thriving in that environment.
Of course, that doesn’t affect colleges, but Devos has odd ideas when it comes to higher education policies. For example, she could not commit to keeping Title IX, a law that, among other things, helps protect women from sexual harassment and assault on college campuses. She also didn’t seem to know much about higher education in general and didn’t commit to making sure people who sexually harassed someone on campus get convicted.
This scares me. What would I do about someone following me or harassing me if title IX was revoked and I no longer had a Title IX office to go for help? How are women supposed to feel safe on campus if they don’t have protection? Of course, there is no way to confirm whether Devos will try to revoke Title IX or why she would do it. She might just not have known enough about the law to commit to it.
She couldn’t commit to much, actually. “I look forward to working with you” was the phrase she used multiple times when asked to commit to something, so many times that it became her standard way of avoiding a question. She could not say a simple yes or no, which implies either that Devos did not know enough about the subject or that she did not want people knowing what she actually thought. How the rest of the hearing went makes it seem like the former is more likely.
Another thing that bothered me was that Devos didn’t know about the debate between proficiency and growth. This debate covers whether schools should measure student success by their proficiency in a subject or by how much their knowledge of the subject has grown in a certain period of time. The nominee for Secretary of Education had to have this debate, one of the most important discussions in education, explained to her. How is America’s education system going to thrive if the person in power does not know about its issues and cannot clearly state their policies?
After watching the entire hearing, the only policies on education I know Devos has is that parents should have the right to choose a charter school for their children and that a gun at a school would be useful against a bear. Other than that, I have no idea what she wants to do while in office and I have a feeling neither does Devos. She didn’t know that guns would be used to protect the students from other people with guns rather than bears or that there are multiple debates going on in the education world other than the private vs. public debate and she seemed to know nothing about higher education, focusing on K-12 schools. Someone so ignorant about this world should not lead it.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply