Under Article I, Section 5, clause 2, of the Constitution, a Member of Congress may be removed from office before the normal expiration of his or her constitutional term by an “expulsion” from the Senate (if a Senator) or from the House of Representatives (if a Representative) upon a formal vote on a resolution agreed to by two-thirds of the Members of that body present and voting.
The United States Constitution does not provide for nor authorize the recall of United States officers such as Senators, Representatives, or the President or Vice President, and thus no Member of Congress has ever been recalled in the history of the United States. The recall of Members was considered during the time of the drafting of the federal Constitution in 1787, but no such provisions were included in the final version sent to the states for ratification,
Around noon today, a banner flashed across my screen letting me know that Betsy DeVos had been confirmed as Secretary of Education. While I knew this was the likely outcome, I am nonetheless angry and disappointed. First, though, let me commend the two Republican senators who actually voted their conscience: Senator Lisa Murkowski, of Alaska, and Senator Susan Collins, of Maine. Hats off to them both.
Ms. DeVos is, as I outlined in a previous post, the worst possible candidate for the position. I will not reiterate my arguments, but will simply say that our not-so-illustrious Republicans in the Senate have just succeeded in ensuring that twenty years, forty years, sixty years from now, our population will be even less intelligent than it is today. Once those of us who actually received an education that taught us to think for ourselves die off, there will be nothing left but self-focused, self-serving, narrow-minded people left in the U.S. (Okay, perhaps that is a bit extreme, and the reader can use his/her better judgement to put it in perspective … I get to rant every now and then)
As you read above, there is no Constitutional means for the people who elected the senators responsible for the killing of American Education to remove them from office, and even if there were, I imagine that, like everything else, it would be a long, drawn-out process. However it is, after just over a month, quite obvious that what we have in Congress is a collection of greedy, self-centered Republicans. The slogan “Clean the Swamp” has taken on an entire new meaning, and these men and women are swamp rats the likes of which we have not seen before. What I suggest, then, is that we begin planning for future elections today! The following eight Republican senators who voted to confirm DeVos will be seeking re-election in November 2018:
If only one of these individuals had considered the future of education in this nation, I would be writing an entirely different post today. If just one of these men and women had voted their conscience rather than their wallets, we would have the opportunity to improve our education system. But not a one of them had the courage of their convictions. Not one of them. And why? Check out the graphic below, which explains a lot:
What can we expect under DeVos? Certainly we can expect a significant percentage of the budget for K-12 education to be diverted away from the public schools that most of our children and grandchildren attend and earmarked for school vouchers and charter schools, which benefit a relative few.
- Schools will not be able to afford to hire the ‘best and brightest’ teachers, those who motivate and inspire children rather than simply assigning lessons and following a set curriculum
- Schools will be forced to cut programs such as art, music, and athletics that contribute to a well-rounded education
- Schools will not be able to afford to replace aging textbooks with more updated versions.
- Things like supplies, building supplies and maintenance, student meals … even playground equipment and maintenance will fall by the wayside
In addition, Special Education for children with special needs could well become a thing of the past. The following is an excerpt from the DeVos confirmation hearings last month:
Senator Maggie Hassan (D-New Hampshire): I want to go back to the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act. That’s federal civil rights law. So do you stand by your statement a few minutes ago that it should be up to the states whether to follow it?
Betsy DeVos: Federal law must be followed where federal dollars are in play.
Hassan: So were you unaware when I just asked you about the IDEA that it was a federal law?
DeVos: I may have confused it.
One final note: Charter schools and school vouchers tend to be religious schools, further reducing the diversity that is necessary to help our children grow to be less inclined toward bigotry in all its many forms.
And yet, FIFTY Republican senators lacked the cojones to say “No” to DeVos’ confirmation. Of course, in addition to receiving funds from DeVos and her ‘philanthropist’ family, and in addition to being cowed by the bullying of Trump, these senators have no personally vested interest, as their children all attend private schools.
While most of the attention surrounding DeVos’ nomination has focused on K-12 education, it should be noted that her confirmation also puts her in charge of the nation’s trillion-dollar student loan program. Though she has said little on the topic of higher education, she has criticized proposals for free college education and also for student debt elimination programs.
The U.S. currently ranks 115th worldwide in linguistic diversity, and 14th in education. The U.S. ranks only 7th in literacy worldwide. I will be very curious to check those statistics in a few years, after DeVos has had time to implement her elitist policies.
Ms. DeVos’ confirmation is yet another huge black mark on our nation. It is a sad day when we put the desires of a few above the needs of the many, yet that is exactly what was done today. We cannot hope to remain a competitive and respected nation if we allow our system of education to fail the majority of students, which is precisely what Ms. DeVos has proposed. Great job, Senators … the future of our nation rests on your consciences.