Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post
Mark Keppel High School

Opinion: Betsy DeVos is devoid of qualification

Betsy DeVos, President Donald Trump’s pick for education secretary, has had her confirmation process delayed twice– once because the vote on her confirmation was postponed, and again because she didn’t have enough votes to be confirmed. Bottom line? People think DeVos is not sufficient for her job.

On Jan. 17, DeVos had her confirmation hearing, where she horrified Democrats with a lack of credibility, professionalism, and cluelessness. According to the Washington Post, the 58-year-old billionaire failed to address public school gun policies and the Obama administration’s handling of sexual assault on college campuses. She also did not acknowledge the performance standards of schools and whether they should “be required to report suspensions and expulsions, and incidents of bullying and harassment.”

DeVos, who graduated from the private liberal arts school, Calvin College, has never held public office, and has no experience with public schools or the trillion-dollar federal student loan program. What she does have is millions of dollars, which she invests in her advocation of vouchers (in which students are funded to go to a school of their choice) and privatization of schools.

While this doesn’t sound too bad, another article from the Washington Post says that Democrats fear the use of vouchers, which serves as “an unprecedented and catastrophic attack on public schools”.

Furthermore, New York Sen. Charles E. Schumer also expressed that DeVos’s persistence of such ideas could take away “a good public education” from students, “a decent salary” from teachers, and “make it harder for parents to get a good education for their kids.”

Junior Hilary Luong, who presented a current event on DeVos’s confirmation hearing, said, “As a student, I feel frightened and apprehensive due to DeVos’s lack of experience in education. To me, her role in education is purely for business since she is set on privatizing schools.”

It’s not just outraged Democrats who are speaking out against DeVos. On Jan. 31, the day DeVos’ nomination was voted on, two GOP (Republican) senators vowed to vote against her.  A CNN article also noted that “even pro-Trump Republicans conceded that DeVos delivered a lackluster performance in her confirmation hearing”.

Vouchers and privatization of schools is not the answer. Betsy DeVos, with her minimal knowledge and expertise, can become a threat to the education and futures of students.

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