Betsy DeVos is a doctrinaire right-winger who means to destroy public education, replacing it with a system of religious schools that serve the middle class and the wealthy. Implacably hostile to the public commons, she would rip apart a core asset of our democracy.
When Vice President Mike Pence cast the deciding vote that put the billionaire Betsy DeVos in charge of the Department of Education, his action highlighted once again the curious alliance between the most libertine president in American history and the most politically powerful flock of evangelical Christians Washington has ever seen.
DeVos’s free-market principles are on full display in Detroit, where for-profit charter school operators have sowed chaos without creating any educational gains. Detroit’s miserable educational outcomes are some of the worst in the nation, and liberals have pointed to them frequently in their objections to DeVos.
President Trump’s choice of billionaire Betsy DeVos to be education secretary was confirmed by the Senate, but only after Vice President Pence was called in to break a tie that threatened to defeat her. The tie-breaking vote, which Senate officials said was unprecedented to confirm a president’s Cabinet nominee, came after two Republicans joined with 46 Democrats and two independents in opposition to DeVos.
The defection of two Republican senators has imperiled President Trump’s nomination of Michigan billionaire Betsy DeVos to serve as Secretary of Education. DeVos has contributed $5,000 to Susan Collins’ campaigns, but Lisa Murkowski’s no-vote was perhaps an even bigger surprise. DeVos’ family businesses have contributed $33,400 to Murkowski’s political campaigns since 1989, according to OpenSecrets.
Betsy DeVos, President Trump’s pick as secretary of education, has funded groups that champion “intelligent design,” a sophisticated outgrowth of creationism. Science educators worry that she could use her bully pulpit to undermine the teaching of evolution in public schools.
A lawsuit in the 1990s had Alabama poised to fund poor black school districts as fairly as wealthy white schools. As state attorney general, Jeff Sessions fought the effort passionately and won. Today, Alabama’s public schools remain a story of inequality because of Sessions’ duplicitous legal jousting.
Washington confirmation hearings are both theater and ritual. Behind the ostentatious displays of deference that senators and would-be cabinet secretaries must display toward each other is a useful democratic exercise. During Betsy DeVos’ confirmation hearing, senators learned that Trump’s nominee for Education Secretary is clueless, rich, and deceptive.
Billionaire Betsy DeVos, Trump’s pick to lead the Department of Education, is clearly one of the worst cabinet picks. Her nomination to lead public education may seem curious, as DeVos has never worked in public education and supports diverting public funds to pay for kids to attend private, religious schools. Advocacy groups, Democratic politicians and ethics experts have shot up red flags in recent days, strongly opposing DeVos’ nomination.
In a country where rising student debt grabs national headlines, efforts to make college “free” can also get attention. In truth, a large part of tuition costs are already subsidized in the U.S. through a combination of grants, tax breaks and loans. What causes waves is the ever-increasing sticker price, rather than what students actually pay.
The choice of Betsy DeVos to head the Education Department mystified all those who’d figured Trump was looking for a capable, forward-looking technocrat focused on student testing and teacher accountability. The choice horrified teachers unions, as DeVos is a billionaire Republican who has worked assiduously to weaken the public schools in Michigan.
Through targeted donations, DeVos helped kick start the Flint water crisis. For years, DeVos funded the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, a free market think tank. The Mackinac Center advocated for an emergency manager for Flint, promising that the manager would reduce government—and tighten the city’s budget.
Anyone who strives for a clear-eyed view of the Trump administration’s oncoming education agenda will find there is no evidence—zero—of anything other than the most extreme policy agenda for the nation’s public schools.
Under Cuomo’s plan, which he called the first of its kind in the nation, the state would cover tuition for any student from a family earning less than $125,000 a year by 2019, a means-tested benchmark that coincided with one proposed by Hillary Clinton during her presidential bid.
Conservative media have labeled higher education as a “privilege” and suggested students ought to choose fictional cheaper colleges.
Betsy DeVos is among a handful of billionaires who have created and underwritten the rapid expansion of charter schools since 2000.
The news left tens of thousands of students stunned: Just as the fall semester was starting, ITT Technical Institute, one of the nation’s largest chains of for-profit colleges, shut down all its campuses, stranding some would-be graduates a few months shy of a diploma.
At Florida State University, the initial memorandum of understanding between the Charles Koch Foundation (CKF) and the school’s economics department gave the foundation control over hiring decisions and the curriculum.
Last week, Florida Gov. Rick Scott went to California to steal some jobs. Scott urged California businesses to pack up and move to Florida because the minimum wage in Florida is only $8.05 an hour. That was actually the thrust of his selling point: Why are you paying your workers $10 an hour? Floridians will work dirt cheap!
Gunmen broke into a university campus in northwestern Pakistan, fatally shooting students in their dorm rooms in an assault that left at least 21 people dead, police and hospital officials said.
As high school seniors across the United States fill out college applications, many will run a cost-benefit analysis of the cost of a school against the lifetime earnings potential of a degree from there. But that is not the only equation to consider.
Not too long after the New Year’s champagne is popped and the parties have ended and it’s back to the business of the 2016 elections, candidates and voters will wake up to a slate of issues that have hung over from the year before.
The share of Americans who work in agriculture has shrunk from 41 percent in 1900 to less than 2 percent today, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
An entire school system in Virginia was shut down Friday — 10,000 students, all kept at home — after a teacher gave an Arabic calligraphy assignment. Unfortunately, the kids were asked to try writing a Muslim statement of faith. They went home and told their parents. Look out.