There has been major controversy over the selection of Betsy DeVos for the position of United States Secretary of Education, simply because she has never attended public school nor has she done anything beneficial for them in the past.
Does this make her unqualified to hold a position of power over public schools? Yes, I believe it does.
DeVos attended Holland Christian High School for her secondary education, and continued onto Calvin College, a private, religious college, as stated on Cosmopolitan.
According to Mic Network Inc., DeVos received degrees for Business Administration and Political Science, something not particularly relatable to her position in the government. While Quartz Media LLC says her job requires her to “…be in charge of a $70 billion budget and the federal oversight of the U.S.’s 98,000 public schools…,” sources such as The Atlantic claim that “…DeVos has less experience with public education than previous nominees,” since a majority of her predecessors have been teachers or superintendents of public schools.
Although DeVos has interacted with schools in the past, her motives were not to benefit the public school system. Before her selection of Secretary of Education, DeVos was a chair member for The American Federation for Children, according to The Washington Post.
Upon reading The American Federation for Children’s mission statements on their website, I discovered that the charity’s main purpose is to aid parents in selecting the best schooling for their children, regardless of financial income.
The website claims that “The American Federation for Children (AFC) focuses its time and resources on supporting state-level efforts to provide low-income and middle class families with access to great schools through publicly-funded private school choice.”
Essentially, DeVos supports taking funds from public schools and putting them towards private schooling. This seems extremely bias, as she has only ever attended private school.
Public schooling can have great benefits that private or charter schooling does not provide, and I think that she does not see that due to her lack of experience.
Section I of the U.S. Department of Education Principal Office Functional Statements states that, “The mission of the Department of Education is to ensure equal access to education and to promote educational excellence throughout the nation.”
In addition to her association with the AFC, she also assisted in founding the West Michigan Aviation Academy, an alternative high school where Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) and aviation education is practiced, according to NPR.
Although she appears to be geared towards giving individuals the freedom of choice when it comes to schooling, I still don’t believe this makes her qualified. As I previously mentioned, there are many advantages to public schooling, and if she were to put the money towards private schools, the public schools, along with the 50.4 million students that attend public school, as stated by the National Center for Education Statistics, have a possibility of losing these benefits.
Alexandria Saurman can be contacted at Asaurman@kscequinox.com
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