Betsy DeVos As Cruella DeVille

Trump and his minions surely do know how to win friends and influence people, don’t they?  The latest slap in the face by the current bunch came from Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Education, who has decided she would like to end the Special Olympics!

Special Olympics in the U.S. began in the 1950s and early 1960s, when Eunice Kennedy Shriver saw how unjustly and unfairly people with intellectual disabilities were treated. She also saw that many children with intellectual disabilities didn’t even have a place to play. She decided to take action.Eunice-Shriver-Special-OlympicsSoon, Eunice Kennedy Shriver’s vision began to take shape. She held a summer day camp for young people with intellectual disabilities in her own backyard. The goal was to learn what these children could do in sports and other activities – and not dwell on what they could not do.

Throughout the 1960s, Eunice Kennedy Shriver continued her pioneering work. She was the driving force behind President John F. Kennedy’s White House panel on people with ID. She directed the Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Foundation. Her vision and drive for justice grew into the Special Olympics movement.

Special-olympics-1

For the first time in history, people with intellectual disabilities were placed on a podium and publicly rewarded in recognition of their athletic abilities.  Courtesy Special Olympics

The first Special Olympics hosted 1,000 athletes from the U.S. and Canada. In the years that followed, the event achieved greater recognition from the Olympic Committee and from athletes and advocates around the world, and it expanded to include winter events as well. By 2006, by the sponsoring organization’s official count, there were 2.5 million participating Special Olympics athletes worldwide.specialy-olympics-2The proposal to cut all funding for the Special Olympics came as a part of DeVos’ budget proposal that would cut $8.5 billion, or about 12%, from the department’s budget.  What makes anybody in their right mind think that cutting funds from education is a good idea???  This country has been slipping in the worldwide rankings for education for years now, and ol’ Betsy wants to cut it more?

In addition to eliminating the Special Olympics program, other programs to be cut would be after-school activities for children in impoverished communities, as well as a grant program for textbooks, equipment, counseling services and other needs for schools, as well as school safety efforts, including mental-health services and safety equipment.

Note, however, that her budget proposal does include $5 billion to help children attend private schools. She refers to the initiative as “education freedom.”  The proposal would give individuals and corporations a 100 percent tax credit for contributions to state-sanctioned scholarship funds, meaning that donors could get back their entire donation through federal taxes. The money would be given to students to help pay tuition at private schools and other expenses.

Betsy DeVosSo, let’s put this in context.  Children with disabilities do not matter.  Children from families who are not wealthy do not matter.  The safety of our children does not matter.  Education in the United States, under the Trump administration, under the uber-wealthy Betsy DeVos, is for the children of already-privileged, wealthy families.

Fortunately, DeVos’ budget proposal is likely to be shredded in Congress and Betsy will be told to go back to the drawing board and try again.  Some comments from members of Congress:

“Cuts to autism funding and ending all for @SpecialOlympics is outrageous. When I was chair of the House Budget Cmte, we worked to balance the budget & these types of programs were off limits – for good reason. Hope ldrs in DC stop this ridiculous proposal.” – John Kasich, former Governor of Ohio

“I still can’t understand why you would go after disabled children in your budget. It’s appalling.” – Barbara Lee, U.S. Representative from California

“I believe this budget is cruel, and I believe it is reckless. I really am left with a very serious question for you: How can you support this budget? I mean that genuinely.” – Rosa DeLauro, U.S. Representative from Connecticut, and Chairperson of the education subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee

special-olympicsAlso fortunately, the Special Olympics in the U.S. do not depend entirely on funding by the Department of Education, but losing federal funding would certainly deal a blow to the program.  The bigger picture is that Ms. DeVos – the entire Trump administration – obviously views education as a ‘privilege’ for only the wealthy.  Since when was it decided that children who, simply by luck of the draw, were born into families with lots of money, had more value than others?

It should be noted that DeVos and her husband’s net worth is estimated at $5.5 billion. Pick on someone your own size, Betsy DeVos!

 

50 thoughts on “Betsy DeVos As Cruella DeVille

  1. I’m a bit late getting to this and heard Trump has already backed away from Devos’s decision. It isn’t wise to go against things sponsored by the Shriver/Kennedy family. They’re the closest thing America has to royalty and are intense in their interests, to say the least. —- Suzanne

    Liked by 1 person

    • In my opinion, the heading picture fits the situation perfectly. Having been a teacher you might know how I felt when I read that idiotic decision given by Devos. I also read she claimed it wasn’t originally her idea. Who cares where it came from. It was terrible. 😦 — Suzanne

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, I was thrilled when I found that picture! My best guess is that the idea came straight from Trump himself. They’re all a bunch of greedy, spoiled rich kids that never grew up, that never learned to care about anyone but themselves.

        Liked by 1 person

    • I can only imagine. I have a severely disabled son who is grown now (age 42), and I sat on the school board as a parent-advocate for handicapped kids for many years, so I can relate. If there were no public outcry, no ‘checks and balances’, I suspect they might well try to return to that era, but I think the hue and cry would stop them, just as it did today over the Special Olympics. Trump had to walk it back, for he was taking flak from both sides.

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  2. Dear Jill,

    Let’s spell this out. President Trump has grown weary of all the flak that he’s been incurring over the ballooning US deficit which will only get worse as there are not sufficient tax revenues to put the US debt in a downward trajectory.

    So now he’s on the hunt for extra funds to be garnered by massive cuts to those safety net programs that he promised his followers, to protect. That’s the real reason he wants to kill the ACA.

    The US Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is following orders but she’s demonstrating her singular lack of courage . by allowing her department to be used like this. Therefore she’s cutting GOV. funds to outstanding programs like the Special Olympics program and numerous others His budget is a reflection of his empty cruel soul.

    Fortunately, his budget proposal regarding these programs is DOA in the US Congress. The members on both sides of the aisle recognize political suicide when they see it.

    Hugs, Gronda

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is not the same Repub party we all knew, it has been hijacked by Trumpistas. Even Barbara Bush told her biographer that she’d renounced the Republican Party in 2018 – because of that President Donald Trump.
    She also blamed Trump for her heart attack in 2016. Bush said Trump’s ridicule of her son, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, during the Republican presidential primary pushed her health over the edge.
    Trump indeed drained the DC swamp, then refilled it with the stinkiest most wretched creatures on god’s green earth. 😦

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  4. Quote: “Since when was it decided that children who, simply by luck of the draw, were born into families with lots of money, had more value than others?” I sure hope that is a rhetorical question, Jill, or you need to read up on the history of man’s entire civilization. Children of the rich have always had more value… way more value… than those of the poor. That your current administration is bringing this into the open shouldn’t be a shock at all. Even in the heydays of “liberalism” the children of the poor fared poorly indeed. Check out the conditions in the Black and Latino ghettos, the reservations, the Tennessee valley, the subsistence family farms, et al, not during the depression, but during the 70’s and 80’s. The poisonous illiteracy that is now sweeping your nation was deliberately nurtured among the poor so that they could never “get ahead” and challenge the status quo. The poor make good slaves.
    Your country has always been a plutocracy; has always been run by plutocrats, whether elected (bought and paid for) or guaranteeing the “proper” results through corporate lobbyism and PAC’s. I have to hand it to Trump and his ass-kissers… they are gleefully hanging out America’s dirty laundry for the whole world to see.
    In keeping, you may want to check out this article… https://talesfromtheloublog.wordpress.com/2019/03/27/us-higher-education-a-system-of-meritocracy-that-never-was/
    If not, here’s the introductory paragraph: “Segregated housing and schools, gerrymandered districts and voter suppression picked up where Jim Crow left off. Housing ghettos are born of racist housing policies that rob the black community of opportunities to amass wealth.” In 2011, a black mother was imprisoned for falsifying her daughter’s address to allow her to attend an affluent, predominantly white school.” (David A Love is a Philadelphia-based freelance journalist and commentator.)

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  5. Special Olympics has been near and dear to my heart since being founded by Eunice Kennedy Shriver. The Special Olympic Athlete Oath was jotted down by her on July 20, 1968 just ahead of the opening in Chicago. They are words of inspiration that I taught my own children and recently taught to Benjamin as he has begun involvement in sports : “Let me win if I can. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.” I was stunned speechless last evening as I watched a 5 1/2 minute video on an email from Common Dreams. Representative Mark Pocan, D-Wisc. is questioning Betsy DeVos about this and other cuts. It is well worth your time to watch her defense of the defenseless : “We had to make some difficult decisions with this budget.” Apparently today, she is attacking the negative reception this has received by noting that Special Olympics raises more than $100 million every year in private donations and adding : “Given our budget realities, the federal government cannot fund every worthy program, particularly ones that enjoy robust support from private donations.” Might I suggest to Betsy that her beloved charter schools could benefit by implementing the same approach to fund raising, instead of depending on tax payers money. Thank-you!

    Liked by 3 people

    • I haven’t seen the clip, but read enough of her comments from that session to have slapped my computer screen a few times. As I said when Trump first nominated her, he could not have found anybody less qualified for the job. She has also rescinded guidelines for school punishment that were put into place under Obama. The guidelines were intended to make certain that any punishment was equally meted out, because they had found that black children are punished much more often than white students. And, of course, she has changed the rules for reporting campus rapes, saying that the men are as much a victim as the women. Oh yeah, she’s a real piece of work. Sigh.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. This has long been a vision of Canadian Conservatives, not the Special Olympics part, but higher education only for the rich. The poor are too stupid to make use of higher education!
    But taking $8.5 billion from the unforgunate, and giving $5 billion to those who can pay their own way is outright punishment for those born “have nots.” I’d love to have someone experiment with a broom handle up her butt and measure the distance to her brain–if she has one. Gross, mean, hurtful, yes! But that is exactly how she is treating others…

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    • She is a bitch extraordinaire. When she was first nominated, I loudly said that there was nobody less qualified. Her own education is lacking, but more to the point, she has put down public schools for many years, saying they aren’t effective, and promoted charter (read religious) schools. If she keeps up, look for a nationwide teacher’s strike before long. Just one more who was hired to destroy the very department she heads. The underlying reason, I believe, is to ensure that a generation from now, there are none but the wealthy who are well-educated enough to run the country. Bah Humbug.

      Liked by 2 people

    • I feel that way some days, but then other days, I’m ready to don my boxing gloves and fight some more. Sigh. The last few days … well, since Sunday when Barr put out his cherry-picked summary of Mueller’s report … I’ve been in that hole, trying not to pull it in after me.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Pure evil. Betsy said it was a hard decision to call for this but it had to be done. The only hard decision that needs to be made is to start taxing the rich and the powerful more and stop giving them welfare handouts the rest of us have to pay for. Hopefully this budget “proposal” will not pass, but it sure does show the depth of darkness in that place in Devos where the rest of us have hearts. Pure, unfiltered evil.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yep, she fits right in with the rest of the cabinet … an EPA administrator who doesn’t believe in climate change and worked for the fossil fuel industry, a Secretary of Education who doesn’t believe in public schools … gee, what more could we ask for? Her budget as it stands will never pass, but I expect eventually the compromise won’t be a whole lot better. This one, though, will have people speaking out … you don’t mess with kids if you’re smart … so we shall see.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. That’s what the Tories do here since years and we are reaping the “benefits” of risk g knife crime, mental health problems and current being dispelled from school because they have special needs. It’s appalling 😡

    Liked by 2 people

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