Why Do People Hate Betsy DeVos?

Secretary+of+Education%2C+Betsy+Devos%2C+has+come+under+fire+yet+again+after+her+interview+on+%2260+Minutes%22+this+past+Sunday.+
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Why Do People Hate Betsy DeVos?

Secretary of Education, Betsy Devos, has come under fire yet again after her interview on

Secretary of Education, Betsy Devos, has come under fire yet again after her interview on "60 Minutes" this past Sunday.

Photo by Creative Commons

Secretary of Education, Betsy Devos, has come under fire yet again after her interview on "60 Minutes" this past Sunday.

Photo by Creative Commons

Photo by Creative Commons

Secretary of Education, Betsy Devos, has come under fire yet again after her interview on "60 Minutes" this past Sunday.

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President Trump has been in office for well over a year now, and I think we can achieve the bipartisan agreement that there has been immense change. Many of his policies- the tax bill, the travel ban, healthcare, environmental cuts, the tariffs- have been quite revolutionary to modern America. On a side note, we as citizens have also observed a record number of departures from our administration– Michael Flynn, National Security Adviser; James Comey, FBI director; Sean Spicer, Press Secretary; Hope Hicks, Communications Director; Rex Tillerson, Secretary of State; just to name a few. Whether these people were fired, resigned, or left for other reasons, their departure have left gaping holes within the American government. For obvious reasons, having an insecure administration poses a serious threat to the direction America is being led. Taking this in, what is the American opinion for the current officials of the Trump administration?

Take Betsy DeVos, our current Secretary of Education. Nominated by then-President elect Trump after his victory in the 2016 election, DeVos is both a businesswoman and philanthropist who undoubtedly brings radical ideas to the table. These include her unwavering advocacy for school choice, school voucher programs, and charter schools. DeVos has held many political positions in the past, and was also a board member of the Foundation for Excellence in Education, Alliance for School Choice, Acton Institute, and All Children Matter. Moreover, the DeVos Foundation has made more than $130 million in charitable foundations. Taking all this in, why did DeVos encounter such immense opposition at the eve of her appointment, as highlighted by her February 7th, 2017 Senate confirmation with a 51-50 margin?

On Sunday, DeVos went on a “60 Minutes” interview to reveal what Americans should expect from our Department of Education, sparking a firestorm of criticism of the “most hated Cabinet secretary”. After the interview, progressives that make up the bulk of those impacted by her ideas ranted out their tremendous hatred for DeVos. It seemed she felt she could do whatever she wanted without any consideration of the current public school system. Just to elaborate, DeVos is a powerful supporter of school choice, which describes K-12 alternative programs to publicly provided schools assigned by location. Here is the predicament. 90% of American children attend traditional public schools, and DeVos has proposed massive cuts in public education in favor of alternative private, parochial, and charter schools.

According to DeVos, “We have invested billions of dollars from the federal level, and we have seen zero results.” Instead, she favors empowering families to make choices themselves according to their economic means, and supports “investing in students, not in school buildings, not in institutions, not in systems.” When 60 Minutes correspondent Lesley Stahl stated that “test scores have gone up over the last 25 years,” which has been proven by various statistics, DeVos simply denied that fact. As a student of the public school student myself, I find it incredulous to even speak of taking away money from the public education system. This institution lays the core foundation of a future for millions upon millions of children; yet, DeVos only wishes to spend tax dollars on privatized schools in which she has stakes in. Besides, DeVos’ experience with the public school system is trivial, having never attended one nor sent her children or grandchildren there. In an awkward section of the interview, DeVos admitted she hadn’t “intentionally” visited underperforming schools and could not think of a rebuttal regarding the poor quality of Michigan schools where school choice does exist.

Additionally, DeVos’ views on gun control were both unclear and threatening. When the Secretary of Education was asked whether she believed arming teachers was the right solution, she vaguely responded with, “That should be an option for states and communities to consider…But for those who are capable, this is one solution that can and should be considered.” In the wake of the Marjory Stonemason Douglas High School shooting that left 17 dead, America has been enveloped in the huge controversy over gun control. Progressives wish to ban all semi-automatic rifles and increase background checks; conservatives wish to uphold their second amendment and back the “good guy with a gun” theory. Many citizens- parents, teachers, students- have voiced their concerns over the idea of weapons entering school property, hence their strong hatred towards DeVos’ policies. Some even speculate this plan is only to boost her family’s investment portfolio, as her brother was the founder of Blackwater Worldwide, a private military company.

Perhaps most aggravating about DeVos are her views on the various civil rights of students, particularly minorities including special education students, transgender students, and victims of sexual assault. DeVos intentionally advocated for charter schools to provide less services to special education kids as those given by traditional public schools. She is also in the works of rescinding both rules that protect trans students and minority students from discrimination and disproportionate discipline, while at the same time making it more difficult for sexual assault victims to report abuse on college campuses. In fact, DeVos stated, “One sexual assault is one too many, and one falsely accused individual is one too many.” With the recent rise of the #MeToo movement, DeVos actually seems to be setting back sexual assault and harassment victims from telling their stories. Furthermore, when Stahl asked, “Do you see this disproportion in discipline for the same infraction as institutional racism?” DeVos only responded with “we’re studying it carefully.” DeVos seems to be a wealthy, cold-hearted businesswoman who pushes for an elitist agenda at the price of American education.

DeVos is a first of many. She was the first Cabinet nominee to require a tie-breaking vote by the Vice President Pence to be confirmed. She is the only Cabinet Secretary protected by a squad of U.S. Marshals because of death threats. She is one of the richest Cabinet members in American history, having being both born and married into wealth. And to top it off, her radical policies have infuriated educators, students, and parents across the nation. This weekend, her 60 Minutes interview was a disaster, and only further exposed her incompetency as Secretary of Education. There are few who are in support of her agenda, and it’s not a coincidence that they are the rich minority. On a personal note, I believe that her goal to break down the public school system is ludicrous and risks the education of all American children. If DeVos carries on with her plans, the American school system will see a terrible revolution that will reverse advancements and modernization. So ask yourself this- does a person who cares more about money than our children deserve to hold a leadership position in our government?

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