The presidential transition has been one big inside joke between Trump and the rest of the world. There is no question about that. The epitome of this (not-so) hilarious saga has been the nominees for cabinet positions as well as other top ranking officials provided by the President-elect for consideration by the lawmakers of this country. Reservations on the nominees have been warranted since the speculative stages of the process. Yesterday, however, the reservations of most of the people with any stake in the game (a.k.a the entire nation and quite possibly the entire world) came to a calamitous fruition yesterday during the congressional hearing on Secretary of Education nominee, Betsy DeVos.
DeVos’ background in education is seemingly dynamic. She was one of the main architects of the Detroit charter school system, as well as being on the board of various education “advocacy groups” and one political action committee, also known as PAC’s. You know, the thing that Bernie Sanders really hates. However, as evidenced by the hearing, this book definitely should not be judged by its cover.
To begin DeVos’ general deprivation of knowledge regarding elementary topics in the education realm was beyond alarming. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act is a federal law that ensures that people with disabilities are afforded “free appropriate public education” that is tailored to their needs. This law has been instrumental in allowing children, teens, and adolescents to attend public institutes of education that is accessible to their intellectual, physical, and emotional needs. DeVos vocalized her lack of awareness of this as a federal law, saying that she “may have confused it” with some unknown other.
Again the nominee’s fundamental lack of disciplinary knowledge came to light when questioned on whether standardized tests should measure student proficiency (Do they understand a topic to a benchmark right now?) or student growth (Have they learned over time?). DeVos didn’t just struggle to explain proficiency, rather completely failed by defining it as “each student is measured by the advancement they are making in each subject area”. This definition is the clear cut definition of growth. No if’s, and’s, or but’s about it.
Besides the clear disconnect between Betsy DeVos and her potential job, she also has a clear disconnect with the average person in the United States. DeVos grew up the daughter of BILLIONAIRE industrialist Edgar Prince. According to DeVos, neither her nor her children have attended any public schools, nor have had to take out any student loans. DeVos has lived the cush life that many people strive for. Not in the regard that she has surplus money or that she is up for a job she isn’t qualified for, but that she doesn’t struggle for the basic needs of the modern person in the United States. DeVos may be able to swindle others at the hands of our education system’s future, but she can never swindle the average person who may be affected by her decisions. And while DeVos and Trump and all of their political patty-cake-partners try and swindle the people of this nation, they must not forget.
“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest” -Benjamin Franklin