Thursday, January 19, 2017

Teachers Call Trumps Billionaire Education Secretary Nominee Public Education Enemy #1


Trump nominee for Education Secretary faces fierce criticism from teachers unions that she is working against public education. 

This belief was reinforced when billionaire Betsy DeVos - dubbed public school enemy # 1 -  refused to answer important direct questions critical to people with limited financial resources and those with disabilities. And perhaps most surprising response came when questioned by Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut the safety of our children in school. Her response on having guns in schools; guns in schools could 'protect from potential grizzlies' 

When asked does she agree that schools who receive federal funding be held to the federal law? Specifically of IDEA (Individuals with disabilities act), bullying and violence? She was nonresponsive and when pushed,  finally said she would leave bullying to the states and she never responded to the question on IDEA.  When asked if vouchers - a program she has championed - would be made available to children enrolled in both special education and general education, she did not respond, rather she skirted the question and referred to a scholarship program in Florida. 

My question now is, how does someone seeking the highest education post in the United States, and a critical post for the future of this country not have a response to these legal, ethical and moral questions?

Asked outright by Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont whether she got the job because of her family's political contributions, DeVos said: "As a matter of fact I do think that there would be that possibility. I have worked very hard on behalf of parents and children for the last almost 30 years."
On tuition-free public colleges and universities, DeVos said: "I think we also have to consider the fact that there is nothing in life that is truly free. Somebody is going to pay for it."
She skirted Sanders' question on whether she would support making childcare free or much more affordable for low-income families as is the case in many countries, saying only that she felt strongly about "parents having opportunities for childcare for their children."  
"But it's not a question of opportunity," Sanders fired back, raising his voice. "It's a question of being able to afford it!"
Responding to fierce criticism from teachers unions that she is working against public education, DeVos told the committee that she would be "a strong advocate for great public schools."
"But," she added, "if a school is troubled, or unsafe, or not a good fit for a child — perhaps they have a special need that is going unmet — we should support a parent's right to enroll their child in a high-quality alternative."
Ethics and morality play a role in education, and it seems to me Ms. DeVos is unclear on her position when it comes to those less fortunate then herself. 

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