I wrote a post back in November, Dear President-Elect-Trump I Would Like to Apply for the Secretary of Education Position to at the time, President-Elect Trump asking that he reconsider his nominee for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, due to the simple fact that she is unqualified. Not to mention that she is against public education - the very department she would be leading.
Alas, while I received over 11,000 hits on this one post alone (thank you to everyone who read it), I never heard back from now President Trump. Or his team. Or anyone. I even sent my resume and a letter to his transition team, to him personally at Trump Tower, posted to several newspapers, Tweeted to several senators and the man himself. But - no response. Not that I expected one - after all, who am I? Just an educator for over 28 years. Just a public-school product who has earned a doctorate in education and who has promoted public school policy, teachers and students my whole career. I don't have any money though (remember...public school teacher), so that might be it. Ms. DeVos has paid her way to this nomination - as the 21 Senators on her payroll can attest.
Anyway, obviously I could go on, and on, and on, and on....about Ms. DeVos complete lack of experience and qualifications to head the Department of Education. But that is unnecessary, as she publicly displayed her incompetence in her hearing. Here's a couple telling clips that, were you any logical person, should lead you to the conclusion that this woman should not be in charge of making decisions for the millions of public school children out there who rely on our education policies to provide them with equitable and quality education.
Yes, yes, to all you that think education needs a change and education is not doing all it should or can to support students, you are right. Education policy does need an overhaul. There is incredible inequity in our schools, there are students who are underserved and not receiving that quality education. Some things have already begun - i.e. ESSA, which is giving more control back to states over assessment after the debacle of No Child Left Behind. We definitely need an analysis of where educational funding is going and how it is being utilized because there is misuse and inequity in how it is allocated - I see this every time I go into a school district and see the disparity between schools within the same district. Yes - there definitely are many things that need addressing. BUT - taking money to 'fund' for-profit charters, that have no oversight or assessment requirements, among so many other things is NOT the answer. It will only create more inequity. And those underserved, minority, students of poverty, special needs students (that Ms. DeVos did not realize have a law that PROTECTS THEM) - they will not be looked after by Ms. DeVos. She can spout off a letter that plagiarizes others to pretend to understand and value education for all students, BUT, look at her debacle in Michigan and I think we see where her heart and money really lie - privatizing "public' education to put money in the pockets of non-educators and not really giving a damn whether students receive quality education.
Ms. DeVos was passed on to the full senate yesterday for a vote, after a 12-11, down the party line, vote in the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. A sad day, but not unexpected since the GOP controls all these days and seems to be unable to listen to logic, facts, or stand up to the President. The Democrats did not just vote because she was a Republican nominee - they actually used facts, answers to questions, ethical issues, etc. to make their decision. I hope that in the full senate, there are at least three GOP senators who can do the same and fight for what is right for our education, instead of following the party line in fear of retribution from not only the President, but also from the money-wielding power and influence of DeVos herself. If you are one of the senators she 'donated' to, my guess is you would not vote against her for fear she will support another candidate as retribution in the 2018 election. I keep trying to convince myself that there are some GOP senators that actually paid attention to DeVos' hearing, listened to her words, and recognized her complete incompetence. I hope they really studied her 'paperwork' and recognize all the conflicts of interest. I hope they read her 'letter' and identified all the plagiarized components, showing Ms. DeVos has no real knowledge of the things 'she' says she believes about public education.
But - as the last twelve days of this new administration have shown, hope and facts don't matter much. There is fear of retribution, there is fear of standing up for our American rights, there is the desire to have that power. I keep believing that those who have been placed in a position of power, like our Senate members, have not all lost their ability to look at the facts, listen to the actual words of the person being nominated, and make a decision based on that. If they are still out there, if those Senators still exist, then there should be at least a 51-49 vote AGAINST DeVos for Secretary of Education because based on her own words, her own record, and facts, she is NOT qualified for this position. (It would be great if it were 79-21 against DeVos...then we would definitely see how 'pay to play' works in our political system). But I will settle for 51-49.