Betsy DeVos

The New Secretary of Education May Harm Your Education

Betsy+DeVos+at+her+Confirmation+Hearing+%28NBC+News%29
Betsy DeVos at her Confirmation Hearing (NBC News)

Betsy DeVos at her Confirmation Hearing (NBC News)

Photo by: NBC News

Photo by: NBC News

Betsy DeVos at her Confirmation Hearing (NBC News)

Elizabeth Grant, Editor-In-Chief

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With the inauguration of the new President has come a long list of new people who are expected to fill administrative positions. Among the controversial is Betsy DeVos, who became the nation’s Secretary of Education when Vice President Mike Pence voted to break the tie in the Senate, and confirm her position.

Critics and democrats have bashed her for her seemingly unqualified nature. The New York Times calls her “A Republican donor with almost no experience in public education.” They, among other liberal sources, point out that DeVos has never run, worked in, attended, or sent a child to a public school. She is a billionaire who has spent the majority of her life advocating for charter schools, schools that operate independently of the established public school system in which it is located, and in some cases are privately owned. That’s right, she advocated for the privatization of schools, not for the public ones with which she is now entrusted.

To be fair, DeVos has argued in the past that privately owned charter schools would outperform public schools. She claims that they should be exempt from some state regulations, and should be shut down if they did not lead to the betterment of student academic performance.

But think about what this last part would mean. A school determined to be “under performing” would be shut down, uprooting the possible thousands of students who would then have to find education by some other means. And students who could not afford private charter schools, well they would be left to their own devices. And that’s a problem. Because our government, in the Constitution of the United States, has promised us, as children, protection and the opportunity to pursue happiness.

Regardless, we also have to look at the fact that DeVos does not practice what she preaches. She has consistently lobbied to shut down the public school system in Detroit and funnel the money to charter schools regardless of their performance.

Still, the most damning evidence for her inability to be Education Secretary can be seen in her Senate hearing. She indicated that she was skeptical of Education Department policies to prevent fraud by for-profit colleges; and it was not clear that she understood how various student loan and aid programs worked, or could distinguish between them. And this is a major warning sign, especially for students who may be heading to college in the near future.

For Ramona students who may be reading this, this sort of lack of knowledge may directly impact your own student loans in the future. As when you will be entering college, she will still be in office. The average debt for a California citizen getting a 4-year is $22,191, and has been on the rise. The cold, hard facts are that Americans owe nearly $1.3 trillion in student loan debt, spread out among about 44 million borrowers. In fact, the average Class of 2016 graduate has $37,172 in student loan debt, up six percent from last year. And a policy that favors the de-funding of public colleges and universities will not make these numbers go down. Likely, they will skyrocket, and you will spend a large portion of your life trying to pay this debt off.

Our suggestion? Simple, the most effective way to create change is to go after it yourself. If you want policy in this country to reflect ideals other than the ones DeVos has in mind, remember to go out and vote at your next available opportunity.

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