Friday, November 25, 2016

Opposing DeVos

The edubloggochatosphere have pretty much blown itself up over the designation of Betsy DeVos to the position of Secretary of Education. Oppositions runs across the spectrum, from progressives who are upset by a super-privatizer taking over responsibility for public education to conservatives who thought they were promised an outsidey, drained-swamp, Common Core smasher and instead are looking at an old-swamp, Bush-buddy, Common Core apologist (for what it's worth, I don't see DeVos making any real attempt to defend the Core).

So, how do you like me now?

So what can you do?

First, you can remember that this appointment is not a done deal and is, in fact, subject to the approval of Congress, that other branch of government that is not run by the President.

Second, you can take some easy options. For instance, here's a link to the Network for Public Education, which has once again provided a simple and handy form for contacting your Congressional representative and saying, "Please don't!" The form will provide you with a perfectly swell text, but if you want to add complaints of your own, consider any of the following:

* DeVos is the very model of an establishment big-money Republican-- exactly the sort of people that Trump claimed would NOT be running this administration.

* DeVos has spent her entire adult life tearing down public education. Putting her in charge of public education makes no more sense than putting a draft dodger in charge of the Department of Defense.

* DeVos's ideas about education have been tried, extensively, in Michigan, particularly in Detroit, and they have been disastrous, helping to create one of the worst education messes in the nation with failing and churning charters and grossly undersupported public schools.

* DeVos favors little or not oversight of charter schools, providing the taxpayers with no accountability for how their tax dollars are spent.

* DeVos has no experience working in education or in government. She has literally nothing in her background that would suggest that she could succeed in this job.

If you're a teacher, you can throw in this one

* I know that this administration is unlikely to choose a secretary that I will whole-heartedly approve, but DeVos is beyond the pale. Her history makes her likely to not just mismanage public education, but to burn it down.

Third, if you'd like to work a little harder at this-- call. There are several resources that will help you find your Congressmen, including this one and this one and this one. (Just to be clear, it's your Senator that will decide the appointment, but it's fair game to let your Representative know so that he can tell your Senator about all the fuss he's hearing). A phone call to the office (short, sweet, to the point, and not ranting like a crazy person) will make more of an impression than an email.

Make no mistake-- Donald Trump is not going to nominate someone for the office that we will all (or even mostly) find a great choice. Face it-- nobody has made a good choice for the office in pretty much ever, and Trump is clearly not the man to break that streak. But there is misguidedly ineffective, and there is aggressively destructive. You will have to make your own call on this-- for me, Betsy DeVos is a far-worse-than-average choice for the office, and I am willing to kick a little to let my elected representatives know it. I have no reason to think we can win on this, but I know two things-- you miss 100% of the shots you don't take, and the loser in the argument always wins the right to say "I told you so" later when they turn out to have been correct all along.

1 comment:

  1. I don't think we will win this one, but it sets us up for future battles when Devos with the blessing of Trump tries to divert Title 1 dollars to charters.