A collection of articles and information, sorted by date, about President-elect Trump's choice for US Secretary of Education. Check back frequently for additional articles.
November 29, 2016
From Sheila Kennedy
Another Disastrous Appointment
Ms. DeVos is a long-time financial supporter of the extreme Right, believes schools should teach Creationism, and has been a generous donor to anti-LGBT groups. She is a rich ideologue who has been described as “an enemy of public education.”
Michigan blogger Ed Brayton, who has observed her at close range for several years, is blunt; “Putting her in charge of the Department of Education is like making Al Capone the chief of police.”
This choice is a disaster for schoolchildren—and especially for low-income children.
From Chicago Public Fools
Betsy DeVos and the end of public education
Don't fool yourselves--DeVos isn't the sudden end of the world for public education, like a bomb being dropped. She's more like the result of a slow-traveling virus or a zombie invasion. Our schools have been in peril for years. Now I think we will be able to see it more clearly. It's time to get to work.
Betsy DeVos and the segregation of school choice
For more than a decade, Holland Public Schools has watched its enrollment fall, prompting the closure – and demolition – of multiple schools.
The decline is not the result of an aging community with fewer, school-age children. Rather, it’s largely a reflection of Michigan’s generous school choice policies. Choice has, consciously or not, left districts like Holland not only scrambling for students, but more racially segregated as its white students leave, often for districts that are less diverse.
From Mother Crusader
DeVos Removes Controversial Twitter Photo But Conflict Of Interest Concerns Continue
So not only has DeVos updated her header photo, she's updated her website to reflect the fact that she is Trump's nominee for Secretary of Education. Not much to go on here in terms of her thoughts about the job, though. And the only information offered under the "Education" tab is what you'd expect - just a string of school choice buzz words. It's all about "America’s broken education system" and "children trapped by their zip code in a school that failed to meet their needs."
And there's even a blurb about founding the West Michigan Aviation Academy, a charter high school.
But not a positive word to say about traditional public schools.
Not. A. Word.
The Long Game of Betsy DeVos
You’ve heard about Detroit, and Flint, with its poisoned river, but there are other less well known cases—like Benton Harbor, Muskegon, and Highland Park, which at last count was down to a single public school. Within a few years of Public Act IV’s enactment, half of Michigan’s Black population was living under some form of emergency management. *The municipalities and school districts that have been taken over are predominantly African American and poor,*...
...the long game has long been about making over the state’s schools: breaking up the government monopoly over education and getting rid of that pesky prohibition that keeps public monies from following kids to private schools, especially private schools of the religious variety.
From The Hechinger Report
Reform Democrats: Stop calling Trump names when you really support his policies
It’s one thing to disavow President-elect Donald Trump. It’s another to rally against his policies, which we assume will be what his nominee for Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has endorsed in the past. It’s too easy to call Trump a racist, bigot, xenophobe and a white supremacist as evidence of one’s dissent.
From Right Wing Watch
Trump Education Secretary Nominee Betsy DeVos’ Huge Potential Conflict Of Interest
Unmentioned in the [New York Times] profile is that [DeVos] has attempted to personally profit from the policy changes she has pursued. Financial disclosures made during the failed 2006 Michigan gubernatorial campaign of her husband, Dick DeVos, reveal that the couple owned shares of K12 Inc., a company whose core business is the management of public for-profit online charter schools. While the financial disclosure document specifically mentions the DeVos’ joint ownership of assets, it does not reveal the quantity, type or value of shares the couple held in the company.
From Mother Jones
Trump's Billionaire Education Secretary Has Been Trying to Gut Public Schools for Years
Last Wednesday, President-elect Donald Trump announced that he would nominate billionaire activist and Republican fundraiser Betsy DeVos as his education secretary. The news came as a shock to the education world—DeVos' ideas for school reforms are even more radical than what Trump proposed on the campaign trail.
From The Daily Dot
Trump's education secretary Betsy DeVos is an advocate for conversion therapy
DeVos has ties to pro-common core organizations, supports voucher programs and for-profit education, and has no experience working in a school environment.
She and her husband have also donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to groups opposing same-sex marriage and organizations supporting conversion therapy. According to Think Progress, DeVos "would have the power to promote those causes in schools across the country by weakening anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ students."
From Non Doc
‘Worse‘ than you think: Betsy DeVos and the far-right
Here’s the real danger DeVos represents: She is not just a run-of-the-mill corporate school reformer who promotes “public charter schools” under the auspices of bringing disruptive innovation to public schools. She pushes a for-profit privatization agenda that is doing for schools what privatized jails and prisons did for nonviolent offenders; what privatized water systems did for the citizens of Flint, Michigan; and what Blackwater’s mercenaries did for Iraqi noncombatants (and the American soldiers who faced the retaliation sparked by Blackwater’s abuses).
November 28, 2016
From Diane Ravitch
California Charter School Association Congratulates Betsy DeVos
Let’s be clear. DeVos is first and foremost a supporter of vouchers. When vouchers are not available, because voters don’t approve them (as in her home state of Michigan), she supports charters. She doesn’t necessarily support “high-quality charters,” she supports low-quality charters, no-quality charters, and for-profit charters. Last spring, she and her husband spent nearly $1.5 million in campaign contributions to block legislative efforts to make charter schools accountable. Detroit is her petri dish; it is the lowest-performing urban district in the nation on NAEP measures. In addition, she and her family have also devoted large sums to anti-gay legislative campaigns.
From Fred Klonsky
Corporate reformers are phony agnostics about Trump’s choice of DeVos.
For the corporate reformers the pro-choice DeVos is everything they could hope for in a Trump Department of Education.
...For the rest of us who care about America’s public schools and students, we know from DeVos’s record that she will be a disaster.
From Non Profit Quarterly
DeVos and our “Failing Schools”: Overkill Approach to a Red Herring
President-elect Donald Trump’s nomination of Betsy DeVos as our next Education Secretary makes perfect sense if you think he wants to keep his word. During his campaign he promised that his administration would “free children from failing government schools,” creating a market-driven educational system. In Ms. DeVos, he has found a true believer in this policy direction. She believes that public education as we know it has failed and needs to be replaced with a new system of independent, privately operated schools.
From A Teacher on Teaching
Heroes Who Don't Fight: America's School Reformers (Betsy DeVos Additon)
If Betsy DeVos passes Senate muster, we will be adding a woman with zero teaching experience—with zero experience as a school administrator—who never went to public schools—who never sent her children to public schools—appointed by a man who went to private schools—a man who sent his children to private schools—and Mrs. DeVos will “lead” us all to battle. I suspect she knows about what most men and women who have held the post of U. S. Secretary of Education have known about working with America’s children.
Next to nothing.
From Diane Ravitch
In Michigan, under GOP (DeVos) Rule, Teachers’ Pensions are on the Table
GOP state leaders in Michigan are warning that they plan to find a “solution” to the problem of teachers’ pensions. This is the DeVos legislature, commanded by Republicans who salute when the DeVos family calls.
From Diane Ravitch
Jane Mayer: Who Is Betsy DeVos?
It would be hard to find a better representative of the “donor class” than DeVos, whose family has been allied with Charles and David Koch for years. Betsy, her husband Richard, Jr. (Dick), and her father-in-law, Richard, Sr., whose fortune was estimated by Forbes to be worth $5.1 billion, have turned up repeatedly on lists of attendees at the Kochs’ donor summits, and as contributors to the brothers’ political ventures. In 2010, Charles Koch described Richard DeVos, Sr., as one of thirty-two “great partners” who had contributed a million dollars or more to the tens of millions of dollars that the Kochs planned to spend in that year’s campaign cycle.
MSNBC: Lily Eskelsen García reacts to Betsy DeVos's Nomination as Education Secretary
From John Crisp in Times Record News
The perfect education secretary for the Trump administration
President-Elect Donald Trump has made a number of strange choices for his cabinet, but in terms of the achievement of a particular goal, one appointment stands out as near perfect: Betsy DeVos as secretary of education. DeVos is a member of the so-called Republican donor class. Her vast wealth - she was born into money and her father-in-law founded the multi-level marketing scheme, Amway - is at odds with Trump's efforts to curry support among the working class. And she has no direct experience with education, such as teaching in a classroom or administering a school. Her essential connection to education is her persistent effort to move public money away from public education and into the hands of parents who want to send their children to private schools or charter schools. And this is one of Trump's goals, as well as of many Republicans in the House and Senate.
President-elect Donald Trump and Betsy DeVos Push Increasingly Discredited School Policy
While public schools across the United States are the quintessential institution of the Ninety-Nine Percent, for years now public policy has been driven by the ideas of the One Percent. Nobody exemplifies this ironic contradiction better than the woman nominated by President-elect Donald Trump to serve as our next Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos. She is the founder and chair of the board of the pro-voucher American Federation for Children, and she leads the All Children Matter PAC. Betsy DeVos and her husband Dick lead the Great Lakes Education Project, the organization behind the massive growth of unregulated—and mostly for-profit—charter schools that are now known to have contributed to the financial crisis in the Detroit Public Schools. DeVos is also a board member of Jeb Bush’s pro-privatization Foundation for Excellence in Education.
From Nancy Bailey's Education Website
Special Education: Vouchers and Betsy DeVos
Some parents may get a good private school with a voucher, or even a decent charter school, but those schools are few.
The fact is we don’t always know how good a private school or charter is when it comes to serving children with disabilities. There are no safeguards.
The fear is to throw education funds at vouchers and charters with little regard to IDEA will mean the end of any special services in the long run.
We have to recognize that a lot of reformers want this very thing.
From From The Young Turks
Why Trump's Education Secretary Is So Dangerous
November 27, 2016
From WFYI Indianapolis
Betsy DeVos, Trump’s Education Secretary Pick, Oversaw $1.3M In Indiana Political Donations
...As chairwoman of the American Federation for Children she has overseen political contributions to expand private school vouchers, education tax credits and charter schools access around the country. (Chalkbeat Detroit has a great primer on DeVos here).
In Indiana, the American Federation for Children PAC has given $1.3 million in donations focused mostly on those efforts. The 501(c)(4) organization describes itself as: “a leading national advocacy organization promoting school choice, with a specific focus on advocating for school vouchers and scholarship tax credit programs.”
From Diane Ravitch
DFER Congratulates DeVos, Enemy of Public Schools
...the DFER statement does not mention vouchers, which is DeVos’ most cherished goal, nor does it acknowledge that DeVos paid out $1.5 million to Michigan legislators to block ANY oversight of charter schools. Nor does it refer to Michigan’s for-profit charters, which are 80% of all charters in the state. Nor does it make any mention of public schools, which enroll 94% of all public school children (excluding those in religious and independent schools, which are about 10% of the total).
From Russ on Reading
Heavens to Betsy (DeVos)!
DeVos is the ultimate privatizer of education. Not satisfied with using quasi-public charter schools as a way to drain resources from actual public schools, DeVos goes Full Monty on vouchers. She wants to eliminate public education entirely by giving every child a government check to go find the private school or religious school of choice. It is, of course, "the civil rights issue of our time." I have cataloged the danger and false promises of vouchers in this post from a few years ago. It is important to note that the heavily education reform-minded Obama administration rejected vouchers as a solution because it drained public dollars from public schools that were already strapped for resources and because vouchers did not work.
How Bad Is DeVos? So Bad...
...even if you think that Betsy DeVos is bang-on correct in her education ideas* there is no reason at all to believe that she has any of the tools necessary to succeed as head of the US Department of Education.
Betsy DeVos is the most terrible of the terrible choices for Secretary of Education.
From Diane Ravitch
Nancy Flanagan: DeVos and the Hoax of Charter Schools in Michigan
I live in Michigan, where the charter movement was an outgrowth of Betsy DeVos’s inability to get a voucher law through, resulting in her turning to charter schools (DeVos family paid–twice!–to put failed voucher initiatives on the ballot). Initially, 25 years ago, the goal was conversion charters–making Christian (not Catholic) education free for white parents in western Michigan, by putting up a new sign and moving Bible Study classes to the end of the day, as an “elective.” A few education progressives took advantage of the law to start high-tech schools (very sexy, at the time), including one in Henry Ford Museum. Charters were all about serving the privileged kids and the promising kids, with new, out-of-the-box thinking.
From A View From the Edge
Redefining Our Definitions
...the central narrative supporting calls for increased school choice from people like new Secretary of Education nominee Bet$y DeVo$ is that public education is failing our kids. They further contend that school leaders and teachers are not sufficiently motivated to do anything about it.
DeVo$ and other corporate reformers understand this is an argument they are winning.
From Bob Braun's Ledger
These Democrats "Applaud" Trump's Billionaire Education Secretary
The people who run Democrats for Education Reform (DFER), a national, pro-school-privatization organization with roots in Newark, can’t quite figure out what to do about an incoming national administration that promises to give the group just what it wants–billions for privatized public schools. Of course, the Trump administration also brings racism and white supremacy to the highest levels of government–a fact that can hardly escape the notice of DFER’s, president, an African-American law professor from Newark.
So DFER’s Shavar Jeffries, president of an organization that blames teacher unions for failure in urban schools, put out a statement that congratulates–yes, congratulates–the billionaire heiress Besty DeVos for her appointment as Donald Trump’s education secretary and, worse, Jeffries “applauds” her commitment to charter schools.
Then the statement goes on to hint, but only hint, what should be obvious–that the Trump administration will literally be about as friendly to people of color, the poor, and non-billionaire urban residents as the KKK is.
From The Answer Sheet
What’s the worst that could happen with Betsy DeVos as education secretary? Two scenarios.
President-elect Donald Trump’s decision last week to nominate Betsy DeVos, a Michigan billionaire and conservative activist, as his education secretary has caused great consternation in parts of the education world — those parts that are deeply concerned about the future of public education.
From deutsch29: Mercedes Schneider's EduBlog
Why DFER’s Shavar Jeffries Must Support Ed Sec Betsy DeVos
...because DFER already has a relationship with both a DeVos’ nonprofit as well as a DeVos-chaired nonprofit– a financial relationship.
From Ed in the Apple
Why do Trump, Pence, DeVos and Republicans Support Charter Schools, Education Vouchers, “privatizing” Social Security and Medicare/caid? What Does Supporting “Small Government” Mean? And, Will Trump Build a Statute of Ayn Rand on the Washington Mall?
The sharpest critic of our public school system is the Nobel Prize winning economist Milton Freedman; in his Capitalism and Freedom (1962) Freedman laid out his views of education, views clearly at the core of the Trump/Pence/DeVos education philosophy...
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