Betsy DeVos is underqualified for education position


Mackenna Finley


Betsy DeVos has it written best at the top of her own web page. “Betsy DeVos is a proven leader, innovator, and disruptor.”

She will lead us into further polarizations. She will innovate the ways through which the under privileged are systematically oppressed. And she will disrupt any chance of educational progress. Betsy DeVos is anything but fit for the position she holds as United States Secretary of Education.

In the weeks leading up to her confirmation as Secretary of Education, DeVos raised mass amounts of conflict and concern amongst not only Democratic but Republican politicians. One of these skeptical politicians is Senator Al Franken.

Senator Franken has spent much of his political career pushing assessment of school children based of growth instead of proficiency. When questioned whether she favored proficiency or growth based assessments, the response DeVos offered was concerning to say the least.

“I think if I’m understanding your question correctly about proficiency, I would also correlate it to competency and mastery so that each student is measured according to the advancement that they are making,” DeVos said.

Franken could only respond in concern for her lack of familiarity with this pressing educational conflict. He was not the only one to question how someone with such little understating of the educational environment of the United States could take on the position that she did.

DeVos supporters would argue that the Charter schools she started in Michigan lends to her credibility, but I would argue that the opposite is true. DeVos may have opened high performing charter schools across the state, but it is clear in her statements that she is still ignorant to the conditions of education in the U.S. and what actions are necessary to improve the system. In the state of Michigan there is no qualifications for those wishing to open a Charter school, you need only raise the money. And that is what DeVos did.

By throwing her money behind these schools, DeVos was able to influence the conversation regarding the politics of education. These actions do not resemble those of an experienced politician. These actions characterize her as no more than a lobbyist, using her wealth to influence the political field.

Despite her charter schools in low income areas of Michigan, DeVos is still far removed from the situations of the low income and minority students who her policies are directly affecting.

“I have not,” Devos said. The sentiment was echoed several times throughout her conversation with Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren. Warren questioned DeVos in her previous experience with Federal Student loans. DeVos denied having any experience managing a fund of such a size and magnitude, and continued to comment that neither she nor her family has ever had a need made use of these funds. DeVos has never had to stand where these underprivileged students stand, and this ignorance is reflected in her comments and actions.

As Warren continued her conversation with DeVos, the soon to be Secretary of Education offered comments of little substance. DeVos promised change without being able to explain how she would fulfil these promises.

Under closer examination, it is clear that DeVos has no independent sense of her position on key issues, and instead just adheres closely to the politics of President Trump.

During an exchange with Senator Christopher Murphy of Connecticut, DeVos could not so much as take a solid position on the place of guns in schools.

“I think that’s best left for locales and states to decide,” DeVos said, prompting a startled response from Senator Murphy.

“You can’t say definitively today that guns shouldn’t be allowed in schools?” Murphy said. DeVos’s counter continued to offer no clear position on the issue as Murphy’s questioning continued. “If President Trump moves forward with his plan to ban gun free school zones will you support that proposal?”

“I will support what the president elect does,” DeVos said. The only definitive stance she was able to take in her exchange with Murphy was to throw her support blindly behind the intentions of President Trump.

During her time in the spotlight, Betsy DeVos has managed to offer only damning evidence that she is under-educated, under-qualified, and unfit to be in the position of power she now holds. She does not have a grasp on the educational climate of our country. She does not understand the needs of the underprivileged youth that she is expected now to take into consideration. She has proven that she is willing to support policies and programs that are discriminatory, classist, and generally unsound. Perhaps politicians like Betsy DeVos fit into Trumps America, but that is not an America I want to know.