Thursday, May 21, 2020
Betsy DeVos Has, In Fact, Become Arne Duncan 2.0
“Yes, absolutely,” DeVos responded.
She's pursued the goal of funneling public tax dollars to private schools (particularly religious ones) and now she is using Duncan's technique of using competitive grants and the levers of power that come with her office to push that policy. And she's no longer feeling shy about it. Mind you, as Barnum notes, she tried to blunt the criticism in an interview with Rick Hess (AEI):
“I don’t see any parallels, to be honest. Race to the Top was wholly designed by the Obama administration to advance their policy priorities,” she told Rick Hess of the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank. “Our discretionary grant competition is completely the opposite. … Yes, it is focused on reforms, but they are reforms that any intellectually honest person would have a hard time arguing aren’t needed.”
"Completely the opposite?" That doesn't even make sense. Is her argument is that Duncan was doing it for bad reasons, but she is doing it for good ones? That Obama administration policies were for their own selfish reasons, but she's on a mission from a higher power? At root, it's the oldest politician argument in the world, the personal intellectual defense against charges of hypocrisy. Because it's only hypocrisy if you think the same rules apply to everyone, but if you believe that there are different rules for people who are right and people who are wronmg, well, then-- no hypocrisy at all.
Short form: DeVos has become Duncan. Heaven help public education if she stickms around for four more years.