Devos the Devil?

Section Editor: Makayla Powell

The Trump administration so far has been just about what anyone could expect – controversial. One of these controversial aspects has been Trump’s pick for Secretary of Education, Betsy Devos, who was confirmed on February 7, despite some very angry parents that reached out to their senators in attempt to convince them to no. The confirmation ended in a tie that had to be broken by Vice President Mike Pence, who, of course, voted yes, securing Devos’ seat in the cabinet as the Secretary of Education.

betsy_devosPicture Credit: Creative Commons

So why are parents of schoolchildren everywhere so furious about Devos’ nomination in the first place? Senior Katie Costa said. “I really don’t understand why, of all people, Betsy Devos was President Trump’s pick. My mother is an elementary school teacher and is scared as to whether or not Devos will be privatizing education or pushing the Christian faith onto people. Despite our personal beliefs, it is clear that she could be ignoring many students in America who are not able to afford private education when we need to be focusing on them and making an effort to improve these schools with low student performance in my opinion.” Many people share Costa’s view, so here are a couple reasons as to why Besty Devos was a rather divisive pick.

The moment many people began to turn away from Devos’ as their choice was the confirmation hearing. It was almost like watching a train wreck, it’s horrible and tragic, but you just can’t look away. One of the infamous moments that have been highlighted by numerous media sources and angry parents and teachers was her inability to understand the difference between growth and proficiency. Senator Al Franken asked her if she thought student progress should be measured by growth or proficiency, and the question practically rendered her speechless. This alone has infuriated teachers and parents in the education community who believe that the nomination for the Secretary of Education should probably have some sort of idea on how to measure student progress or at least be able to respond in a competent manner, and rightfully so.

Along with some blatant incompetence, Devos also seemed to have no idea what IDEA was, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which is a federal law that requires all public schools to give an appropriate and free education to all students that have disabilities. Devos tried to say that it should be up the states to decide whether or not to enforce IDEA, and was seemingly unaware that it was a federal civil rights law until Senator Maggie Hassan had to notify her of such after Devos contradicted herself, saying that, “federal law must be followed where federal dollars are in play” and that she “may have confused it.” Devos’ clear lack of knowledge about simple education topics or well-known civil rights laws is rather unnerving to parents and teachers everywhere to say the least.

Another rather comedic yet frightening example of Devos’ inept ability was her failure to state that schools are no place for guns, because of, well, potential grizzly bear attacks. Now, this really seems like a meme unto itself but she truly said this. Although Devos’ statement was not very coherent and involved a lot of ‘uhs’ and ‘ums’, it seemed like she was only looking for a reason to disagree with Democratic Senator Chris Murphy. She referred back to a school in Wyoming saying, “I think probably there, I would imagine that there is probably a gun in the schools to protect from potential grizzlies.” And later on added that “If the question is around gun violence and the results of that, please know that my heart bleeds and is broken for those families that have lost any individual due to gun violence,” which wasn’t really what the question was around, Betsy, but thanks anyways.

devos-art Picture Credit: Creative Commons

The historical 51-50 vote ended Trump’s toughest confirmation battle yet and sets the stage for Devos to hopefully realize the weight of the task she has been handed and us regular citizens to come to grips with the fact that she is now in charge of the education of the children of America. We can only hope for the best.

 

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