Betsy DeVos.

Bad for…Everything.

Betsy DeVos is “President” Trump’s nomination for Secretary of Education. She is not the right pick for American students. Let me tell you why.

Guns in Schools

DeVos refused to commit to making schools #GunFreeZones. I’m sorry, a Wyoming school DeVos plead to allow guns to protect children from grizzly bears doesn’t have a gun. Furthermore, the school doesn’t allow weapons on campus.

It is astounding how protecting and educating students and teachers is not the first priority of anyone who is the Secretary of Education. It does reassure me that Betsy DeVos is absolutely not the right person for this role. I want a Secretary of Education who firmly believes guns have no place in our schools.

Devos on Measuring Student Progress

While responding to Senator Al Franken, DeVos stumbled over understanding growth versus proficiency in measuring student progress– a long time debate in the education world. Frankly, it’s surprisingly someone with a decade-long career in education doesn’t understand the basic debate of measuring how the progression of students throughout their schooling. If you’re interested, here’s a look at the growth vs. proficiency debate.

I wouldn’t go to a brain surgeon if I were undergoing treatment for skin cancer (I also wouldn’t go to a brain surgeon to run the Department of Housing and Urban Development, but that’s not the point today). Similarly, I wouldn’t trust someone to manage my public schools if that person has never been in a public school. DeVos didn’t attend public schools, has no experience working in a public school, and doesn’t send her kids to public schools. She’s not an educator or a curriculum and standards expert. She is, however, a wealthy lobbyist (so much for draining the swamp).  

Just like I expect my doctor to be an expert in what she does, I expect my Secretary of Education to be an expert in – call me crazy – public education.

Paying for Education

“Interesting.” That’s what she called Senator Bernie Sanders plan for free college. I don’t know about you, but the last thing I said “interesting” to was when my mom would not stop talking about the new grain they got to feed their cows. Let’s be clear; it wasn’t interesting. I just needed her to stop talking about it (and also feel heard). Does DeVos think the proposal is worth consideration? I doubt it.

How can someone worth billions of dollars–with no experience in public education, nor student loans–create policy for average Americans? Has DeVos ever need to make a decision to decide between paying for school or paying for someone to watch her kid? More than one million Virginians are impacted by student debt, owing more than $30 billion in student loans. I want a Secretary of Education who understands the crushing burden of debt. Not someone who throws money at it.

School “Choice.”

DeVos favors vouchers instead of an investment in public education, giving students “choice” to attend unregulated, unstructured, unaccountable schools. In Michigan, DeVos successfully killed a bill that would regulate charter schools in the state.

Now, 80% of Michigan charter schools are unregulated and lack transparency. Charter schools have consistently fallen below state standards. Here’s a look at what DeVos did to public education in Michigan. Don’t let this happen to the country. Don’t let this happen to Virginia.

Sexual Assault on Campus

Virginia universities and colleges have not been immune to sexual violence. We all have a responsibility to make sure that students feel safe on campus, and assaulters are held accountable. Under a DeVos department, it is unclear if sexual assault protections under Title IX would stay in place. We need someone who will fight for the protections of students not just in Virginia, but across the country.

These are just some of the clear reasons why Betsy DeVos is unfit to be Secretary of Education. We didn’t even mention the Individuals with Disabilities Act, enforcing federal laws, forgiving or refinancing student debt, teacher evaluations, academic standards, or – everyone’s favorite–textbooks.

Call your Senators today and tell them to oppose Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education.

Senator Tim Kaine – (202) 224-4024
Senator Mark Warner – (202) 224-2023