Another Trump Mis-Match!

Well, folks … he’s done it again.  Donald Trump has gone out there and found the most impossibly imperfect person to fill a cabinet position.  That person is Betsy DeVos who Trump has named to fill the position of Secretary of Education.

school2What is it, exactly, that makes DeVos such a poor choice to fill this position?  First, her education is in business administration and political science, while her career has been primarily in philanthropy and politics.  She served for many years as chairman of the Michigan republican party, but has never been either a teacher or a school administrator.  So, like the one who chose her, she has no actual experience for the job she will be stepping into.  But that is not the worst of it.

The worst of it is that she is what is known as a ‘school choice advocate’, a strong proponent of charter schools and school vouchers, neither of which do anything to help improve the public schools which the majority of children attend, and both of which actually take funding away from traditional public schools.

We have all heard of charter schools, but many may have only a fuzzy concept of what a charter school actually is and how it operates.  According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES):

“A public charter school is a publicly funded school that is typically governed by a group or organization under a legislative contract (or charter) with the state or jurisdiction. The charter exempts the school from certain state or local rules and regulations. In return for flexibility and autonomy, the charter school must meet the accountability standards outlined in its charter. A school’s charter is reviewed periodically (typically every 3 to 5 years) by the group or jurisdiction that granted it and can be revoked if guidelines on curriculum and management are not followed or if the accountability standards are not met.”

Legally, charter schools charge no tuition, intend to provide a higher quality of education than public schools, and cannot discriminate on the basis of race, sex or disability.  The charters provide rules and guidelines and the schools are periodically reviewed to ensure they are following the rules of the charter.  The problem?  Most charter schools are funded by taxpayer dollars that would have otherwise gone into the public school system, where some 90% of all students are getting their education.  The result?  Some public schools are not receiving adequate funding to maintain school buildings, provide quality teachers, and other amenities such as books and meals.

There is much more, both positive and negative, to be said for charter schools, but I cannot possibly cover all the pros and cons here, so let us return to Ms. DeVos and her track record.

DeVos.jpgAs an advocate for school choice, DeVos has pushed for charter schools in her home state of Michigan, particularly in Detroit.  DeVos sits on the board of the Great Lakes Education Project, which advocates for its education reform priorities in the Michigan state legislature. This group is responsible for pushing the legislature to end its plans for a Detroit commission to regulate charter schools. DeVos has been at the forefront of efforts to push against accountability by charter schools. Detroit’s charter school system is considered by many to be the biggest school reform disaster in the country. For more information on this, click here. 

DeVos is also a strong advocate for school vouchers that provide government funding for tuition at private and religious schools.  Like the charter school system, these serve very few, and take funding away from public schools that serve the vast majority.

There can be no doubt, especially in light of recent events in the U.S., that our educational system is broken and in need of repair.  In a 2015 PEW Research study, U.S. students ranked 35th in Mathematics and 27th in Science.  Our schools, so focused on technology, no longer teach basic History and Civics courses.  And our literacy ranking, according to one study, is 7th among industrialized nations. However, the path to improved education for ALL is not to set aside a few schools for the benefit of less than 10% of all school children in the U.S., while taking away from the greater good, the other 90%.  Charter schools may be an equalizer for a few, but in the long run, they impede the progress of the many.  I do not pretend to have the answers, to know what steps need to be taken to improve public education in the U.S.  But one thing I do know is that a charter school system that benefits a small portion of students with minimal accountability, is most definitely not the path to fixing the educational system in the U.S.

Additionally, neither Trump nor DeVos have addressed the issue of college tuition and student loans, which is a major concern in the U.S. today, and must be a part of any attempt to improve our educational system.

Betsy DeVos, like most of Trump’s close advisors, was born with a silver spoon in her mouth and married billionaire Dick DeVos, an heir to the Amway fortune. I have nothing against the wealthy, however I think that people who have known some form of struggle, of hardship, are better able to understand the needs of the majority than those who have always resided in the upper echelons.  And I definitely think that for the position of Secretary of Education, a person with a background in the field of education would be better prepared to address the needs of our crumbling educational system.

19 thoughts on “Another Trump Mis-Match!

  1. Pingback: Congress Just Voted To Make America Stupid! | Filosofa's Word

  2. Pingback: Dumb, Dumber and … Betsy DeVos | Filosofa's Word

  3. I think the world will go on, but yes, I agree, someone in education would make a better candidate. I heard just today that Trump appointed an orthopedic surgeon to oversee his Health Secretary. Also a good move concerning Obamacare and it’s mess.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, but sadly he wants to get rid of ACA (Obamacare) altogether, which will leave millions with no healthcare insurance, including yours truly. And, though he claims to have “something even better” in mind, there has been no evidence of it so far, and I am skeptical.

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  4. This is truly a mismatch. I have several teachers in my family that are nervous about this one. She is anti-common core, which they like, but she is also anti public school and anti teachers’ unions, which they do not like. I think some of these appointments are starting to get to Trump’s transition team. I watched Kelly Anne Conwoman…I mean Conway get visibly uncomfortable on Meet the Press on Sunday as she voiced her disdain for Mitt Romney. I actually agreed with her for once. I don’t find him to be qualified for Secretary of State, but beyond that, he tried to derail Trump’s campaign. So much for the loyalty factor.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, the woman who has a history of robbing from public schools to fund private schools as Sec’y of Education is beyond my comprehension. I am finding, if you look at his choices collectively, a trend that I do not like … a method to the madness that does not bode well. Sigh. And no, I don’t think Romney is qualified, but better him than the alternatives.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Your last two sentences could not have been stated any better. We’re treading on dangerous ground when we’re messing with the education of the majority of the nation. I have many friends who are educators, and I haven’t talked about this with them, but I doubt they like this choice.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! Yes, I also have many friends who are teachers and they are definitely NOT happy with this choice. Every one of them agree that the person best suited to this position would be somebody with a background in education, somebody who has actually spent time teaching in the classroom.

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  6. He seems to value people who can talk a good game, but have little experience under the hood. Even some of his better character picks like Governor Nikki Haley, has no global experience, so she will need to learn on the job, as would Romney if selected.

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    • I’m not even so sure about Haley, although I would agree that she is certainly one of the better ones. Apparently it is his goal to surround himself only with those who are in direct opposition to what is needed, and damn the consequences. I’m already tired of his presidency and it hasn’t even begun yet. Sigh.

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  7. Like so many insecure people, it is apparent that Trump is collecting people around him who pose no threat. The pattern is emerging but it should be no surprise. The idea is to make sure they do not threaten him and his fragile ego — and make him look good (in his eyes anyway).

    Liked by 1 person

  8. What a dangerous move to play with the education of a Nation.This could have ramifications far beyond the four years of Trump’s office if mistakes are made now. Taking funding from the many in the hopes of raising a gifted few cold lead to the US dropping down the league tales of the educated nations without actually producing one person to lift America from it’s slump. It’s going to take more than one well meaning person to change things and those others will need to be experts in their field.
    xxx Massive Hugs xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, it is imperative that we improve our educational system here, but for ALL … not just a small percentage. And I agree with you … if we go this route, the effects will be felt for decades, not just the few years of Trump’s ‘Reign of Idiocy’. Sigh.

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