Twenty-One Reasons People Hate, Hate, HATE Betsy DeVos

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Lesley Stahl: Why have you become, people say, the most hated Cabinet secretary?

 

Betsy DeVos: I’m not sure exactly how that happened…

I’m more misunderstood than anything.

 

 

The above exchange from last night’s 60 Minutes interview highlights an important point about our Education Secretary.

 

She is deeply unpopular, but not because she’s misunderstood. If anything, she’s understood too well.

 

We know what she stands for and we don’t like it.

 

If she was really so misunderstood, why didn’t her answers in the interview veer away from the same usual canned responses she’s given time-and-time-again to the same type of questions?

 

What’s wrong with schools? NOT ENOUGH CHOICE.

 

How do we prevent school shootings? LET SCHOOLS ARM TEACHERS.

 

You didn’t really even need DeVos to show up to the interview to be able to guess with a high degree of accuracy what her answers would be.

 

In fact, many of her responses seemed to have been coached – as if someone had prepared her with talking points before the interview even took place.

 

So without further ado, here is my exhaustive list of all the reasons I can think of why people really, REALLY hate Betsy Devos. If I’ve left something out, please feel free to add it in a comment.

 

WHY PEOPLE HATE BETSY DEVOS:

 

1) She didn’t earn her position as Education Secretary. She bought it. And even then it took a tie breaking vote by Vice President Mike Pence to shove her down our throats.

 

2) She wants to spend tax dollars to boost privatized schools in which she has a financial stake.

 

3) She doesn’t mind taking funding away from public schools to do it.

 

4) She wants to destroy the entire system of public schools which enroll 90% of America’s children.

 

5) She doesn’t really know what public schools are, having never attended one or having never sent her children or grandchildren to one.

 

6) She wants to arm teachers not because it will protect kids from school shooters, but because that boosts her family’s investment portfolio. (i.e. her brother’s mercenary army for hire, Blackwater)

 

7) She won’t make charter and voucher schools give the same services to special education kids as those provided by traditional public schools.

 

8) She’s getting rid of students’ civil rights protections while adding protections for nefarious student loan providers and fly-by-night on-line schools.

 

9) She’s rescinded rules that protected trans students.

 

10) She’s considering rescinding rules that protect minority students from being unfairly and disproportionately disciplined by schools.

 

11) She’s made it harder for victims of sexual assault and harassment to report abuse and easier for those accused to avoid prosecution.

 

12) She talks about state’s rights to determine their own education systems while using the power of the federal government to coerce them to doing things her way.

 

13) She wastes public tax dollars. She is the only Cabinet member protected by Federal Marshals, which costs us nearly $1 million a month. Whether this is necessary or not, as a billionaire she could save the taxpayers money by taking on this cost, herself.

 

14) She doesn’t care if the public doesn’t want her at their school or event. She goes anyway and then pretends to be angry that protestors showed up. She doesn’t seem to understand that as a public servant she should serve at our pleasure – not the other way around.

 

15) She uses tragedy as a photo-op – as she did when she visited the Parkland school to promote arming teachers. She didn’t meet significantly with students or staff. She didn’t listen to their concerns. She even bailed on her own press conference there when the queries weren’t to her liking.

 

16) She has no problem whitewashing black history as she did when she claimed historic black colleges were pioneers of school choice. In reality they had no choice. For many African Americans at the time, it was create black colleges or forgo post-secondary education at all.

 

17) She is ignorant (purposefully or not) of the results of her own policies. Her advocacy of school choice in her home state of Michigan has weakened that state’s public schools, not strengthened them.

 

18) She’s out of touch with average Americans. She’s the richest member of Trump’s cabinet and often travels in her on super luxury yacht.

 

19) She’s rich not because she earned it, but because she was born into it and married into even more wealth. Moreover, much of her wealth is due to her family’s Amway fortune – basically it’s founded on rooking average people out of their hard earned money with what’s essentially a pyramid scheme.

 

20) She’s arrogant. She smiles vacantly at topics that don’t deserve a smile – they deserve serious regard.

 

21) She is extremely biased and partisan. She is supposed to serve the public interest, but her radical Christian Fundamentalism and anti-LGBT activism make her untrustworthy to serve in that capacity. Statements such as “There is enough philanthropic dollars in America to fund what is currently the need in education… Our desire is to confront the culture in ways that will continue to advance God’s kingdom,” do not help.

 

Okay. That’s all I can think of – though more may pop into mind as soon as I publish this. If I missed something please include it in the comments.

 

Hopefully this answers DeVos’ question about why she’s hated.

‘We’re Sorry Teachers are Unfairly Blamed’ says John King – Man Responsible for Unfairly Blaming Teachers

John King AP

Sometimes the messenger matters.

You wouldn’t expect Native Americans to believe an apology from Christopher Columbus.

You wouldn’t expect African Americans to believe an apology from David Duke.

So why the heck do the Democrats expect teachers to believe an apology from John King!?

The acting U.S. Secretary of Education is – himself – responsible for more attacks on public educators than almost anyone else.

In his former role as New York Chancellor of Education, he refused to fix a school system he was responsible for destroying all the while pointing his finger at teachers.

However, late last month in his new federal position, King gave a speech at a Philadelphia high school acknowledging the mistakes of the Obama administration in tying teachers’ evaluations to student test scores – a practice he was guilty of in New York.

“I think there’s just such an urgency around making sure that teachers feel valued in our society,” King said in an interview with the Washington Post in January.

“It’s one of the things I worry a lot about. I want young people to see a future for themselves as teachers.”

Seriously!?

Were you worried about teachers in New York when you tied their evaluations to unproven and inferior Common Core tests? Were you worried about students when you approved an obviously fraudulent charter school run by an obviously fraudulent con man? Were you worried about the profession when you ignored and dismissed parents at various education forums? Were you worried about public schools when you sparked the largest opt out movement in the country?

I’m sorry, but this apology rings hollow to most educators. We know you. We know that your biggest qualification for your position in charge of the nation’s public school system is a three year stint teaching in a “no excuses” charter school with a high suspension rate.

It’s kind of hard to believe you mean a thing you say. And by extension, it’s hard to believe a thing President Barack Obama says about education, either. He was the dunderhead who picked Arne Duncan to be his first Secretary of Education and then you to succeed him.

It must be an election year.

Since a few months before the Presidential Primaries, the Democrats have been apologizing for the damage they’ve done to public education.

Obama says he wants to reduce standardized tests. That’s great – with less than one year left in his second term! After increasing it beyond even the wildest dreams of his predecessor George W. Bush!

But since we’re talking apologies here, are you, Mr. King, willing to actually do anything to make things better for the nation’s teachers?

For instance, do you think the U.S. Department of Education should be exempt from regulatory capture? In other words, should a regulatory agency like the Department of Ed advance the commercial or political interests of special interests that dominate the industry it is charged with regulating?

In other words, should any employee of the department or their immediate family be permitted to collude with the corporate interests seeking special favor in the field of education? Should a prominent member of the department also be allowed to work for an industry seeking to profit off our public schools? Should his wife?

No? Then perhaps your wife Melissa Steele King shouldn’t be accepting a position at Bellwether Consultants, a leading corporate education reform organization. They represent The New Teachers Project, New School Venture Fund, KIPP, IDEA Charter Schools, Gulen Charter Schools, Rocketship Charters and many others.

So while classroom teachers will only be able to communicate with you through official correspondence, a representative of the standardization and privatization movement will be right across from you at the dinner table every night!

If you really wanted us to take you seriously, your family wouldn’t be pulling this crap.

Your latest apology is just an attempt to smooth over your own Senate education committee confirmation hearing on Thursday, Feb. 25. You want to show how much bipartisan support you have so you can become the official Education Secretary and not just acting Education Secretary.

Look, you might say. I just threw a bone to teachers. They love me!

What a steaming pile of bullshit!

Does that offend you? Oh. Then please accept my most heartfelt apology.


NOTE: Diane Ravitch also posted about this article on her blog.

 

Do Democrats Give a Crap About Public Schools? John King as Next US Secretary of Education

John King, Arne Duncan

Meet the New Boss.

Same as the Old Boss.

Arne Duncan is out. John King is in.

It’s the kind of tone deaf decision we’ve come to expect from President Barack Obama on education matters.

We’ve put up with 7 years of Duncan’s buffoonery as U.S. Secretary of Education: A man with no practical knowledge of the field. A corporate functionary. A drone. A mouthpiece for all the worst ideas of the 1% to sabotage public schools and replace them with charters.

And who does Obama replace him with!? Former New York State Chancellor King!? A man who was almost run out of his state on a rail!? A man with – admittedly – more experience than Duncan but all of the worst kind.

King resigned his NY position in the throes of terrible publicity for his and NY Board of Regents’ foolish approval of an obviously fraudulent charter school run by an obviously fraudulent con man. He ignored and dismissed parents at education forums, refused to fix an education system that he, himself, destroyed and was met with the largest opt out movement in the country. Oh. And that education experience I spoke of – he spent three years teaching in a “no excuses” charter school with a high suspension rate.

And now King’s the top policymaker in the nation for public schools.

It’s hard to imagine a worse choice. The Koch Brothers? Donald Trump? An inanimate carbon rod!?

Lest we forget, this is a decision made by Democrats – the supposed saviors of education.

Progressives have been howling against Obama’s test-and-punish education policies since early in his first term. And now when this liberal lion has an opportunity to show what he’s learned, to demonstrate that he’s taking our concerns seriously, his response is a middle finger salute.

It’s revealing politically.

The Presidential Primaries are only a handful of months away. If the Democrats really wanted to court educators, the party would have put pressure on Obama to make a pick teachers might actually be able to stomach. After all, whoever the President picks will only have a year in office – not long enough to make any major changes one way or another. But at least the Democrats could make a show of listening to an important voting block.

Instead the Democrats have demonstrated their true colors. They don’t care about schools, teachers, parents or students. They figure we have no where else to turn. We’re a gimme. They don’t have to concede anything. We’ll vote for whoever the Democratic nominee is.

I am only one man. I belong to a lot of education groups, but I am speaking only for myself here when I say this: MY VOTE IS NOT A SURE THING.

I will not vote for just any Democrat over any Republican. No, I don’t see any of the GOP candidates as being good for education. But most of the Democrats are the same or almost the same.

If the Democrats don’t give me a candidate I can believe in, I will not vote Democrat. I will vote third party. Heck! I’ll write in “John Dewey” before I’ll vote for a faux progressive Democrat like Obama.

I know what some people will say. This is a wasted vote. We have to keep a seat at the table. We need someone who maybe someday might possibly do something just a little bit helpful.

And that’s exactly why we’re in the predicament we are now. We can’t keep voting for the lesser of two evils, because at the end of the day, we’re still voting for evil.

I am so sick of politicians who smile to my face and stab me in the back. If I’m going to vote, it will be for someone I believe in, and if a Republican bent on destroying public education wins, at least he’ll have the decency to be honest about it.


NOTE: This article also was published in the LA Progressive.