U.S. Secretary Of Not-Education Betsy Devos’ assault on schools has made her so hated in America, we’re now paying $8 million to protect her from us.
The Washington Post reports:
Federal marshals are protecting Education Secretary Betsy DeVos at a cost to her agency of nearly $8 million over nearly eight months.
Apparently, Betsy DeVos was so traumatized by a brief attempt by protesters to block her from entering a public school in Washington, D.C., someone decided she needed extra security. But who could blame them? I wouldn’t want my child, or anyone else’s, to have to smile at someone who plans to destroy their future. Maybe she should try not pushing policies that hurt children, families, and teachers. Or trying to end public education as we know it. Then maybe people will stop threatening her by blocking doors to things.
And guess who’s going to pay? The U.S. Department of Education. That’s right. As Not-My-President Donald Trump urges $9 billion worth of education cuts — 13.5 percent — to fund his monstrous $54 billion increase in military spending, the DOE will be forced to pay their executioner. For now, we’re talking about around $1 million a month for eight months. It’s unclear whether Betsy DeVos will require extra security beyond September. But if she keeps pushing her agenda, she likely will.
Even in an administration chock full of cruel, venal, and hateful characters, Betsy DeVos stands out as exceptionally loathsome. While even the vilest of Donald Trump’s appointees sailed through their U.S. Senate confirmations, the GOP’s Vice President Mike Pence had to break a 50-50 tie for her.
The fact is, even some conservatives are appalled by Betsy DeVos’ lack of qualifications and hostility towards public education. After all “school choice” and the defunding of public education will prove disastrous for the rural districts in which many GOP lawmakers and their constituents live.
Among them are Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who forced Mike Pence’s tie-breaking vote. The problem with “school choice” is that millions of kids get left behind in underfunded, underperforming schools, and those “vouchers” don’t cover the full costs of transportation and private school tuition.
What little education-related experience Betsy DeVos does have is appalling.
And then there are the horrific results of Betsy DeVos’ efforts towards “education reform” in Michigan. There, she’s raised beaucoup bucks and served as chair for the state’s Republican Party. She and her appropriately-named husband, Dick, also pushed a massive “school choice” campaign back in 2000 called “Kids First!” Dick and Betsy Devos raised over $1.2 million, much of which came from them and their cronies.
That went down in flames, but a determined Betsy DeVos rose like a vampire from the ashes to found a trio of organizations with names that imply they’re pro-children: the Great Lakes Education Project, the American Federation of Children, and All Children Matter (which, to be fair, launched in 2003…well before the Black Lives Matter movement).
These groups pushed for “school choice” to the point where a mushrooming growth of charter schools throughout the state devolved into abject failure. Last year, The New York Times reported Michigan’s families went all in for school choice. They wound up with a nightmare where for-profit companies run 80 percent of the schools, student performance is abysmal, standards are non-existent, and kids often have insane commutes and miss school due to sketchy transportation.
The most selective schools get the best results, the rest of the students are out of luck. Tonya Allen, president of the Skillman Foundation, a nonprofit focused on improving the lives of Detroit’s poorest children, declared: “I often describe this whole environment as ‘The Hunger Games’ for schools.”
It turns out one of Betsy DeVos’ main goals for education isn’t even educating people. She may not talk much about her religious views, but deep down, she embraces the same right-wing “Christian” values as Vice President Michael Pence and the other fundamentalists who embraced Donald Trump.
Mother Jones points out that when asked about whether she thinks taxpayers’ dollars should go to Christian schools, Betsy DeVos answered:
“There are not enough philanthropic dollars in America to fund what is currently the need in education…Our desire is to confront the culture in ways that will continue to advance God’s kingdom.”
That’s right. She’s also pro-religious education. And we’re not talking about the kind of high-quality programs you see in various Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim and other K-12 schools across the country. We’re talking about the kind of right-wing “Christian education” that embraces social Darwinism but not actual Darwinism. Nor Climate Change. Nor that being gay or transgender is not a “choice.”