Photo credit: Michael Vadon | Flickr

Born billionaire Betsy Devos has been trying to starve public education for decades and she's been extraordinarily successful at it. Her family's big money has enabled her to ram through her agenda in her home state of Michigan, leading to the biggest funding drop of all the fifty states over the last two decades with an explosion of for-profit charter schools that has helped make the state's schools the second most segregated in the nation, trailing only Mississippi.

As Secretary of Education, she's trying to bring this agenda to the nation, proposing budget cuts to education that were even too severe for a GOP Congress. While she's emboldened usurious lenders, she's abandoned the trans kids' basic rights and fought to make it easier for sexual predators get away with abuse.

Betsy DeVos taking over the Department of Education was the greatest victory for those who seek to starve and re-segregate our public schools. But it could also be its demise.

Help us fire Betsy DeVos and rebuild public education.

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“Poor Betsy” doesn’t like being criticized…

Secretary of Education and Disney villain Betsy DeVos spoke to a group of education writers in Baltimore the other day, and it appears her feelings are hurt.

“I never imagined I’d be a focus of your coverage. I don’t enjoy the publicity that comes with my position. I don’t love being up on stage or on any kind of platform. I’m an introvert,” she told them.

Many in the media, DeVos added, “use my name as clickbait” or “try to make it all about me.”

But education is “not about Betsy DeVos nor any other individual,” she said. “It’s about students.”

Ironically enough, this bit of “poor little me” whining comes on the heels of one of Ms. DeVos’ most outrageous statements, an attempt to redefine the very meaning of “public education”:

“Let’s stop and rethink the definition of public education,” she said. “Today, it’s often defined as one type of school, funded by taxpayers, controlled by government. But if every student is part of ‘the public,’ then every way and every place a student learns is ultimately of benefit to ‘the public.’ That should be the new definition of public education.”

No, Betsy. Just no. That’s not how any of this works. You don’t get to snap your grubby little money-stained fingers and just redefine the very nature of public schooling in our country, like some Teach-for-America-Thanos.

And, Betsy, if you truly believe that most public schools are “failing” (Narrator: “They are not.”), or that “school choice” and “Education Freedom Scholarships” are going to fix the problems in the schools (Narrator: “Problems that Ms. DeVos helped to create.”), there are more than a few people who would like to have a word with you on this…like John Dewey, and Paulo Freire, and Gloria Ladson-Billings, and Diane Ravitch, and our nation’s more than 3.2 million public school teachers, and the vast majority of parents of the 50.7 million children in our public schools who are either “somewhat satisfied” or “completely satisfied” with the quality of their kids’ education

Never one to let a good controversy go to waste, now Betsy is using this little kerfuffle to claim that teachers don’t like her because she’s rich, and is also trying to drive a wedge between teachers and their unions by pointing out that Randi Weingarten makes $500,000 per year.

Just a couple of thoughts for you, Betsy.

1. Teachers don’t hate the rich. What we are not fond of is immensely rich folks who take jobs for which they are supremely unqualified, and then using their wealth and political power to try to destroy our profession.

2. If you’re rich, have thin skin, and don’t like the “common people” making fun of you, or criticizing your actions, then just stay on your yacht(s) and count your money. Betsy has been working behind the scenes in Michigan for decades, using her wealth to exert an out-sized and pernicious influence on the state’s education system.

[CC DeVos image by Michael Vadon | Flickr]


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