Betsy DeVos: Fails on Education


This is the nominee to be our new Secretary of Education, don’t worry it gets worse. Her confirmation hearings started this past week and boy-oh-boy what a trip.

  • She suggested that schools should have guns in case of grizzlies
  • She was unfamiliar with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act [IDEA], which requires free and appropriate education for students with disabilities [video]
  • She was clueless about the education policy debate about evaluating students on growth or proficiency
  • She refused to say she would hold private and charter school [who receive federal funding] ‘equally accountable’ [video]
  • She refused to say she would protect students from fraudulent for profit universities [like Trump University] by enforcing gainful employment regulations



Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Education


First, Betsy is a billionaire, like our friend Donald. Why does this matter? You expect a billionaire to be in touch with the needs of public education? A billionaire who has no experience in education, other than pushing for failed programs (see below)?

The issues are summarized below in a series of quotes from multiple sources. [All bolding is mine]

Let’s start here,

“In nominating DeVos, Trump makes it loud and clear that his education policy will focus on privatizing, defunding and destroying public education in America,” American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten said. [HuffPo]

And here,

“She has lobbied for failed schemes, like vouchers — which take away funding and local control from our public schools — to fund private schools at taxpayers’ expense,” the labor union said in a statement. “These schemes do nothing to help our most-vulnerable students while they ignore or exacerbate glaring opportunity gaps. She has consistently pushed a corporate agenda to privatize, de-professionalize and impose cookie-cutter solutions to public education.” [Statement from The National Education Association]


Progressive Michigan executive director Lonnie Scott said the nomination “proves that having a shortage of experience means nothing as long you don’t have a shortage of money.”[…]“The DeVos family education plan has been a disaster for Michigan and we are truly saddened that Trump decided to import their failed ideas to Washington D.C.,” Scott wrote in a statement. [HuffPo]


Trump’s voucher plan could be a windfall for companies hoping to make money from our public education system. [Slate]


She has led the charge that has destroyed Detroit’s public schools

As one of the architects of Detroit’s charter school system, she is partly responsible for what even charter advocates acknowledge is the biggest school reform disaster in the country.


Detroit is not only the lowest in this group of lowest-performing districts on the math and reading scores, it is the lowest by far. One well-regarded study found that Detroit’s charter schools performed at about the same dismal level as its traditional public schools.


The DeVos nomination is a triumph of ideology over evidence that should worry anyone who wants to improve results for children.[NYT]


ACLU on school vouchers here and here