Betsy DeVos and the future of public education
Last Tuesday, Feb. 7, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos was confirmed by the Senate.
With a large movement to block her confirmation, the Senate had a 50-50 tie that included both Democrats and Republicans voting against her. Vice President Mike Pence broke the tie, making it the first time a vice president has ever had to break a senate tie for the confirmation of a cabinet member.
Social Studies teacher Daniel Gilleran said that he thinks that the struggle over the confirmation was because of her wealthy donations to Republican senators and the fact that she has little government experience.
“The tie-breaking vote by Vice President Mike Pence was historic because never before has a V.P. broke a tie for a cabinet level position. Of course, they have done so on legislation issues but never for a cabinet position,” Gilleran said via email. “Ms. DeVos is so controversial because of her lack of traditional experience in public education. She has also been an advocate for a long time for school choice and vouchers. In addition, she has donated large sums of money, actually millions, close to 200 million by one estimate, to Republican causes and candidates including several senators who voted on her confirmation.”
Ultimately, this confirmation could affect North as many of the policies DeVos advocates for could potentially draw funding away from public schools across the country, most notably her favorable view on schools of choice and vouchers.
Junior Mckinley Fradeneck said that she is against the confirmation of DeVos because of her lack of experience in public education and her poor performance in confirmation hearings.
“I am 100 percent against the confirmation of Betsy DeVos. For starters, she only supports private schooling, private catholic schooling specifically. She thinks that charter schools are not-for-profit, which they are,” Fradeneck said. “There are several people who will benefit financially from her being Secretary of Education. She has no teaching experience, she has never been an administrator, never worked with schools, and there is a lot of her donating to all of the Republican senators campaigns.”
Senior Demetri Stathos take an alternative approach. He said that he supports her confirmation because she does not support common core and will return power of what goes on in our schools to the states.
“It’s going to be the states a lot more,” Stathos said. “Like jurisdiction over setting regulations and standards for what they think is right for the whole community instead of dealing with the country as one whole giant block.”
Gilleran said he sees why DeVos is a controversial candidate. He said that like many of President Trump’s other nominations, she has little government experience.
“Many people in education feel she is unqualified to run the Department of Education since she has never been a teacher, principal nor administrator or has gone to a public school nor have her children,” he said.