I rarely, if ever, bring politics into my blogs. But I will make an exception for Betsy DeVos. Why? There are compelling reasons to defeat Betsy DeVos as Secretary of State. This is not a Republican, Democratic, conservative or liberal view point. This is about protecting the rights of students in public education and ensuring they have appropriate funding and programming. To begin, Betsy Devos comes from a very wealthy family. She is a billionaire. I have no problem with someone being appointed to the Cabinet if they are wealthy provided that they are also well qualified, knowledgeable, ethical, and competent to do the job for which they are appointed. Betsy DeVos is not qualified, knowledgeable, ethical or competent to do the job as Secretary of Education. She has no experience whatsoever in public education. In fact, most of her advocacy work in Michigan has been to strip public education of critical funding and channel public funds solely for private school vouchers and to charter schools. But DeVos’ efforts to channel public school funding into school vouchers for private school and for charter schools has not been successful. In fact, Michigan’s charter schools perform below the state average as compared to public schools. She is most polarizing nominee for Secretary of Education ever. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2017/01/31/why-betsy-devos-is-the-most-polarizing-education-secretary-nominee-ever/?utm_term=.2e33345bbc12 .
More importantly, DeVos is not a supporter of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). During DeVos’ hearing before the U.S. Senate Committee, DeVos did not even know about funding for the IDEA. She does not have a clue about special education. Devos’ testimony before the U.S. Senate showed she does not support federal oversight of special education and such issues should be left to the states. See https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2017/01/28/the-telling-letter-betsy-devos-wrote-to-clarify-her-position-on-u-s-disabilities-law/?utm_term=.ba479405687e How can someone who is so woefully ignorant of the IDEA be an advocate for children with disabilities. She cannot. See http://prospect.org/article/betsy-devos-alarms-special-education-advocates-parents. In addition, DeVos has conflicts of interests that present serious ethical questions whether she can serve two masters. Do we really want a Secretary of Education who has fierce loyalty to private sector interests that conflict with her obligations to serve the public interest in public education? Absolutely not. There are many reasons why DeVos is not qualified to be confirmed as Secretary of Education. Parents of children with disabilities have much to fear if DeVos is confirmed. I urge you to contact your U.S. Senator today and voice your opposition to DeVos as Secretary of Education. We only need one more Republican vote in the U.S. Senate to defeat her nomination.