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.
December 10, 2016
Culture Warrior Princess
Is there anything left to say about the awfulness of Betsy DeVos, President-Elect Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Education? Alas, there is… Not nearly enough has been made of DeVos’ extreme closeness to the extreme fringes of the Christian right.
From The Answer Sheet
Teacher to Trump’s education pick: Let’s ‘address the elephant in the room.’ It’s you.
...I don’t think we’ve really met yet; we are America’s public school teachers. There are about 3.1 million of us. We teach in large urban areas, we teach in the suburbs, we teach in small rural communities, and we teach in some really remote parts of our country. The most important thing to recognize is that we teach every kid who shows up. We don’t pick and choose the types of kids that we will teach, we teach ALL of them.
Because we haven’t really had much interaction, we thought it might be nice to share a little bit about the public schools we teach in. First of all, we are very proud of our schools. Public schools today have the highest graduation rate in American history. The Gallup Poll says that the rate of parents who are satisfied with their public school is the highest in American history. We are also very proud that our public schools offer more services to students with low socioeconomic backgrounds and special education needs than ever before. Not to be redundant, but we are proud that we serve ALL of the students in our communities...
From The Answer Sheet
Trump’s choice for education secretary vows to ‘end’ Common Core
Betsy DeVos, the Michigan billionaire whom the president-elect tapped to serve as education secretary, is now making the same pledge that Trump did. Appearing with Trump on Friday night at his “thank you to voters” rally in Grand Rapids, Mich., she said she will work to put “an end to the federal Common Core” and let states set their own standards. Apparently nobody told her that states already can.
December 9, 2016
From Daniel Katz, Ph.D.
Cory Booker Whiffs It.
Senator Booker is a bit of a phenomenon in the Democratic Party. Having risen from city council in Newark to the mayor’s office then to the United States Senate in a little more than a decade, the Senator is well educated, charismatic, and he literally saved a neighbor from a burning building. Actually, he also saved a freezing dog, fixed a broken traffic light, and personally shoveled out snowed in residents after a blizzard. Give the man an armored body suit and a utility belt, and he could be Batman. Political pundits already suggest him as a Democrat to watch out for in 2020.
What he isn’t, however, is a particular friend to public education.
DeVos' Michigan schools experiment gets poor grades
Donald Trump’s pick to lead the Education Department, Betsy DeVos, has spent two decades successfully pushing "school choice" in her home state of Michigan — a policy that she and her husband vowed in 1999 would “fundamentally improve education.”
Except the track record in that state shows that it hasn’t.
Despite two decades of charter-school growth, the state’s overall academic progress has failed to keep pace with other states: Michigan ranks near the bottom for fourth- and eighth-grade math and fourth-grade reading on a nationally representative test, nicknamed the “Nation’s Report Card.” Notably, the state’s charter schools scored worse on that test than their traditional public-school counterparts, according to an analysis of federal data.
DeVos says media is spreading ‘false news’ about her
President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for education secretary, Betsy DeVos, pushed back against criticism of her selection today — accusing the media of spreading false stories about her.
“There’s a lot of false news out there,” DeVos said on stage with Trump at a rally in her hometown of Grand Rapids, Mich. “All I ask for is an open mind and the opportunity to share my heart.”
DeVos doesn't have a conventional background in education, such as working as a teacher or schools superintendent. But the billionaire philanthropist has long donated to "school choice" advocacy groups and politicians who are supportive of school vouchers and charter schools.
From The Washington Post
Six donors that Trump appointed gave almost $12 million with their families to back his campaign and the party
The Michigan billionaire philanthropist and her husband, Richard, whose father was the co-founder of Amway, are major conservative donors and GOP contributors. The couple gave nearly $317,000 to the Republican National Committee this cycle. Altogether, the DeVos family contributed a total of $1.8 million this cycle to the party and Trump's campaign.
Weingarten on Betsy DeVos
December 8, 2016
Congressional Leadership on Education Will Agree with Philosophy and Policy of DeVos-Trump
When President-elect Trump nominated Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education, Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee), the Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, indicated his strong support...Alexander tried to make federal vouchers—the diversion of tax dollars for students to carry as tuition to private and parochial schools—part of the new Every Student Succeeds Act. He was unable to muster enough support in Congress to get federal vouchers inserted into the bill. We’ll have to watch what happens now that he and President-elect Trump and Trump’s nominee for secretary of education share, as a federal priority, the establishment of a school voucher program.
The Office for Civil Rights’ last hurrah?
Civil rights groups say they’re “deeply concerned” that the extension of civil rights protections to gay and transgender students by the Obama administration will be dismantled by Betsy DeVos, who Trump has tapped to lead the Education Department. DeVos’ family has a long history of supporting anti-gay causes, POLITICO previously reported. Trump’s surrogates, meanwhile, have said there’s no need to have an Office for Civil Rights, period.
From The Answer Sheet
A sobering look at what Betsy DeVos did to education in Michigan — and what she might do as secretary of education
DeVos is a former Republican Party chairwoman in Michigan and chair of the pro-school choice advocacy group American Federation of Children, and she has been a shining light to members of the movement to privatize public education by working to create programs and pass laws that require the use of public funds to pay for private school tuition in the form of vouchers and similar programs. She has also been a force behind the spread of charter schools in Michigan, most of which have recorded student test scores in reading and math below the state average.
Many pro-reform groups have praised the choice, saying DeVos will work hard to grow new programs that give parents more school choice. But public education advocates say they fear she will help propel America’s public education system toward destruction.
From Tim Slekar on WKOW.Com
Trump, DeVos, Eugenics. Trump education policy discussed on Capital City Sunday
Frightening and more frightening...Here's a billion dollar donor who can't wait to get rid of public schools.
From Follow the Money Blog
Trump Taps a Mega-Donor for Education Secretary
Betsy DeVos is widely recognized for her support of school vouchers and charter schools; her activism is matched by substantial contributions to school choice organizations. She gave $170,000 to the Great Lakes Education Project, a group formed by Betsy and her husband, Richard (Dick) DeVos, Jr., which has been the sixth-most-prolific independent spender in Michigan since since 2010. She chairs the American Federation for Children and gave $195,000 to the American Federation for Children Action Fund. Other members of the DeVos family gave $350,000 to these two school choice advocacy groups.
December 7, 2016
From Education Votes
Betsy DeVos as Trump’s Secretary of Education: A looming disaster for students
Public school supporters—those who believe that all children, living in every zip code, deserve equal access to educational opportunity—are speaking out in opposition to Donald Trump’s nomination of Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education.
Trump and DeVos have so far promised nothing but dangerous policies that harm students and weaken the public education system, which is completely at odds with the Department of Education’s critical mission to protect opportunity for all students.
If she is confirmed, DeVos will be the first anti-public school crusader to hold the position. And the causes and policies she supports will have a direct and negative effect on students.
From Mike Klonsky's SmallTalk Blog
Dems leave teacher unions hanging on DeVos
Hillary has her picture on milk cartons since she went missing after election day. SNL even picked up on it. Seems like the entire old-guard leadership must be out in the Chappaqua woods with her, especially when it comes to resisting the Trump juggernaut.
Most notably, at least from this educator's perspective, is their deafening silence around Trump's nomination of Betsy ("Make America Christian Again") DeVos for Ed Secretary. While NEA and AFT leaders, Eskelsen-Garcia and Weingarten, have been outspoken in the opposition to DeVos, they have been left dangling in the wind by the very Clinton wing of the party they risked their reputations for with their premature endorsements of Hillary.
Michigan Commentators Fill in the Gaps about Michigan’s Betsy DeVos
While school vouchers had been defeated at Michigan’s polls in 1972 and 1978, in 2000 Dick and Betsy DeVos backed an amendment to change the following constitutional language: “No public monies or property shall be appropriated or paid or any public credit utilized… to add or maintain any private, denominational or other nonpublic, pre-elementary, elementary, or secondary school.” Robinson explains that after Michigan voters rejected the DeVos-backed measure in 2000 by a 69 percent margin, the DeVoses settled on a stealth lobbying campaign to accomplish their long goal of marketplace school choice.
From Fred Klonsky
NEA and AFT “call to action” against DeVos nomination.
From the Illinois Education Association:
When President-elect Trump nominated Betsy DeVos for U.S. Secretary of Education, educators nationwide were disappointed and frustrated, but not surprised. (Click here for NEA’s press release and click here for the Edvotes story “5 reasons why Trump pick Betsy DeVos is wrong for Secretary of Education.)
Knowing our members also had thoughts and feelings about the nomination, NEA wanted to organize a call to action that would help them not only voice their dissatisfaction in this particular nominee, but also re-assert their values as educators. In partnership with AFT, an online sign-on letter has been created, called, “Open Letter: A Commitment to Student Success in Public Schools.”
From Americans United
Will Trump’s Presidency Empower Creationists?
There has been a lot of speculation about how President-elect Donald Trump’s pick to run the U.S. Department of Education, Betsy DeVos, might affect the issue of private school vouchers.
DeVos is known primarily for her advocacy of vouchers, and Trump has backed a nationwide plan with a staggering price tag of $20 billion. Many people are rightly alarmed.
But there’s another education-related issue we ought to be concerned about as well: creationism.
Trump’s vice president, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, is a creationist. DeVos’ husband, Dick, promoted teaching “intelligent design” creationism during his unsuccessful run for governor of Michigan in 2006. (Ben Carson, Trump’s choice to run the Department of Housing and Urban Development, is also a creationist, although he can probably do little damage there.)
December 6, 2016
From Detroit Free Press
Betsy DeVos and the twilight of public education
This deeply dysfunctional educational landscape — where failure is rewarded with opportunities for expansion and "choice" means the opposite for tens of thousands of children — is no accident. It was created by an ideological lobby that has zealously championed free-market education reform for decades, with little regard for the outcome.
And at the center of that lobby is Betsy DeVos, the west Michigan advocate whose family has contributed millions of dollars to the cause of school choice and unregulated charter expansion throughout Michigan.
BETSY DEVOS HITS THE HILL
...there are growing signs of Democratic opposition. Sen. Bob Casey (D-Penn.) told Morning Education in a statement that he has “serious concerns” about Betsy DeVos’ commitment to adequately fund public schools. “I believe that children who learn more earlier in life will earn more later, but that can only happen when all our public schools have the resources they need for serving all children,” Casey said.
From Education Week
DeVos Would Be First Ed. Sec. Who Hasn't Been a Public School Parent or Student
President-elect Donald Trump's pick for education secretary, Betsy DeVos, would be the first person to head the department in its more than 35-year history who hasn't either attended public schools or sent her own children to them.
DeVos, a Michigan philanthropist and GOP political donor who still needs to get through U.S. Senate confirmation before she can assume the helm of the agency, studied at private schools through her entire K-12 career, graduating from Holland Christian High School in Michigan, according to a family spokesman, John Truscott. She later went on to Calvin College.
And DeVos, a school choice and voucher advocate, sent each of her own children to private schools as well, Truscott said. He noted that some of DeVos' son and daughter-in-laws attended public schools.
December 5, 2016
THE 10 IDEAS TO FIX PUBLIC EDUCATION TRUMP APPOINTEE BETSY DEVOS IS LEAST LIKELY TO PROPOSE
After rereading Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine in the context of Trump's recent election as president with incessant ultra-conservative appointees, it occurred to me that the social and economic subversion and conspiracy she so aptly describes in the context of Chile, Argentina, Brazil, and elsewhere under the guise of free market laissez faire Milton Friedman Chicago School economics is something that Americans are now going to experience first hand. What follows is a more rational and far less expensive alternative vision of what could be done to fix public education, short of bringing American imperialism home to America, while privatizing the root organization necessary for a true democracy of, by, and for the people.
Betsy DeVos: School Choice, the Establishment Clause, Religious Liberty, and Public Education
Betsy DeVos explains: “We both believe that competition and choices make everyone better and that ultimately if the system that prevails in the United States today had more competition—there were more choices for people to make freely—that all of the schools would become better as a result.” Wermund continues: “However, the DeVoses also say public schools have ‘displaced’ the church in terms of importance.” Wermund quotes Dick DeVos, Betsy’s husband, who was also part of the interview: “The church—which ought to be in our view far more central to the life of the community—has been displaced by the school as the center for activity, the center for what goes on in the community. It is certainly our hope that churches would continue, no matter what the environment—whether there’s government funding some day through tax credits, or vouchers, or some other mechanism or whatever it may be—that more and more churches will get more and more active and engaged in education.”
From The New Republic
Can Democrats Save Public Schools from Trump and DeVos?
Anyone who cares about public education in America should be horrified by President-elect Donald Trump’s choice of Betsy DeVos to be education secretary. The billionaire Republican donor and heir to the Amway fortune is also one of the nation’s most influential advocates for the “school reform” movement that brought us George W. Bush’s failed No Child Left Behind and Barack Obama’s misbegotten Race to the Top. DeVos has long pushed for weakening teachers unions and expanding publicly funded and privately run charter schools. She’ll be eager to implement Trump’s massive voucher program, diverting billions from federal education spending to private (and sometimes religious, sometimes for-profit, sometimes virtual) schools.
From The Hechinger Report
Finland can teach Betsy DeVos a thing or two about valuing teachers and school choice that’s real
Donald Trump is promoting “school choice” as he vows to improve the American education system. To achieve this vision, he should start by putting his incoming Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos on a plane to world education superpower Finland to see what school choice means in its most powerful form — the choice from among numerous, great, neighborhood schools anywhere in the country.
From The Progressive
Five Questions You Should Ask about Secretary of Education Nominee Betsy DeVos
Betsy DeVos is arguably the most unqualified person nominated for Education Secretary in the history of the United States. As someone who has worked in graduate school admissions and has hired professors and staff over the years, I can say with all honesty her resume likely wouldn’t get a second look for a leadership position in a school district or university. She has never been a classroom teacher. She has never attended a public school. Her children have never attended a public school. DeVos has about the same level of qualification for Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, or Attorney General. Essentially, she has no qualification other than neoliberal and religious ideology. Charles Pierce summed up Trump’s cabinet appointments on MSNBC recently as: “people who are really inexperienced, billionaires, people with crazy ideas or really inexperienced billionaires with crazy ideas.”
From Fred Klonsky
A look at Betsy DeVos’ charitable giving and A look at Betsy DeVos’ charitable giving
Beyond the millions of dollars that the DeVos family has spent bankrolling Republican candidates across the country, Betsy DeVos and her husband, Dick, also have given away tens of millions of dollars of their fortune through a philanthropic foundation they started in 1989.
From deutsch29: Mercedes Schneider's EduBlog
Nevada Vouchers and More: Making Public Funds Private
US Secretary of Education nominee and “true pioneer of the school choice movement across the country,” Betsy DeVos, explains how the educational tax credit enables what would be public money (collected in the form of corporate taxes) from becoming public money...DeVos talks about how the AFC does it all: finds the school choice candidates (she’s particularly keen on private school choice); puts “political effort” behind electing/defeating candidates; “works on the policies… the actual legislation,” and “helps parents and kids to find schools and schools to find parents and kids.”
From Patrick J. Kearney in Huffington Post
An Open Letter To Betsy DeVos From America’s Public School Teachers
I suppose we also need to address the elephant in the room. We are a little freaked out by your nomination to be Secretary of Education. You aren’t an educator. You haven’t ever attended or sent your children to a public school, yet you seem to have some pretty strong opinions about them. You don’t seem to have been involved in the study of curriculum or school standards. What you have done is lobby (and spend millions of dollars of your own money in advocacy) for taxpayer dollars to go to unregulated for-profit charter schools. As teachers we like to look at data. Interestingly, the data from Michigan (where you have been able to use your wealth to influence a lot of education policy) would suggest that the charter schools you lobby for aren’t really achieving any better than their public counterparts.
Privatize, Monetize, Weaponize: How the DeVos family devoured Michigan’s schools
The news that President-elect Donald Trump had nominated Michigan billionaire and school choice advocate Betsy DeVos as our next Secretary of Education seemed to take the educational establishment by surprise. But public school teachers and supporters in Michigan weren’t surprised at all. They saw Ms. DeVos’ ascendancy to this lofty position as the final piece in an elaborately constructed jig saw puzzle that the DeVos family has been patiently working on, at their opulent vacation homes and on their luxury yacht, for the last couple of decades. And now that the final piece has been added, we will all soon see the “big picture” of the DeVos’ vision for the future of American education: Privatize, Monetize, Weaponize.
Trump’s pick for Sec. of Education Betsy DeVos UNVEILED and REVEALED with special guest Prof. Mitchell Robinson
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