For a detailed (and rather lengthy) case against Betsy DeVos heading the US DOE, you can read my post: Pence, DeVos, and Prince–Oh My! The post you are reading now is the broad stroke, 100,000 foot, super short overview and contains no details at all or citations. Want the nitty gritty? Check out Pence, DeVos, and Prince–Oh My!
I personally attended private Christian schools from Kindergarten through 12th grade and then went on to a private Christian college for both undergraduate and graduate degrees. After attending state university for two additional graduate degrees, I spent my entire professional life in public education as both a teacher and an administrator.
After retiring, I went on to do consulting work with public, private, and religious schools; districts and boards of education (both state and religious) around the world; embassy schools; schools for the armed services as well as working with education policy makers at the local and state levels. I’ve met tens of thousands of the most extraordinary, dedicated educators one could be privileged to encounter—people who don’t work a job, but rather live a mission, a calling.
I strongly advocate for public, private, and religious education. However, I completely and utterly oppose paying for private education with public, tax-payer money. I oppose any and all efforts to privatize public schools. I am completely opposed to using tax-payer dollars to fund for-profit educational management companies and schools. You see, I deeply hold these two core values: education is solely about maximizing the academic achievement of children, not making a profit, and the church and state should stay out of each other’s affairs.1
Education is about children. All schools that receive tax-payer dollars in any way, shape or form should be held to the same accountability standards as public schools. Faith practice is a personal matter.
So, that’s the contextual framework I had when I started doing my research to learn about Betsy DeVos, Trump’s nominee to head the US Department of Education. I knew nothing about her. I didn’t know if she had a connection to Mike Pence or not, though I suspected one simply because he heads the transition team. What I learned causes me very serious concerns.
I consider myself a fairly easy-going sort of guy. I never raise my voice. I just take things as they come. And tomorrow’s always a new day with lots of possibility.
But as I was typing my piece for PenceWatch.US: my post about DeVos, I actually repeatedly caught myself pounding the keys on my little keyboard. In my mind’s ear I was literally yelling my words into the computer. I realized that I am profoundly upset by what I have learned about Betsy DeVos.
My profession, my passion to provide all children with the best educational experiences possible for them, my commitment to maximize their academic achievement and empower them to think critically and to engage meaningfully with the great problems and issues of our day is literally at tremendous risk. Simply put: I’m deeply worried.
So, I pounded my words onto the screen. Every keystroke said: Protect the children. Empower the future with their full potential. Don’t steal from the children!
I’ve written two posts: this short one and a much, much longer and heavily sourced post that makes the argument that Betsy DeVos is absolutely unfit for the job.
The Call to Action
So you can take my word for it and call your two state senators now, tell them you are one of their constituents, and tell them you want them to vote “No” on Betsy’s appointment to head the DOE.
Or, if you need some convincing, I invite you to read my post: Pence, DeVos, and Prince–Oh My! I hope I present a compelling, accurate and honest case without offending my conservative or my liberal friends, my Republican or my Democrat friends, my religious or my non-religious friends. Her appointment goes way beyond partisanship, ideological bent, or faith practice. And, after reading my case against Betsy’s appointment, call both of your senators. The vote will be held on Tuesday, January 31st at 10:00am.
Friends, this is a very serious call to action. The current speculation is that she will be appointed. I can think of little worse for America’s schools.
As an aside, Canada, with its Catholic Boards of Education, deals with this issue in a very interesting way that appears to work well for them. ↩