WSJ: Who’s Afraid of Betsy DeVos?
Trump’s Education nominee is the top Democratic target.
Wall Street Journal Updated Jan. 14, 2017 8:27 a.m. ET
Democrats are searching for a cabinet nominee to defeat, and it’s telling that progressive enemy number one is Betsy DeVos.Donald Trump’s choice to run the Education Department has committed the unpardonable sin of devoting much of her fortune to helping poor kids escape failing public schools. Progressives and their media allies have spent the last week roughing up Mrs. DeVos in preparation for her Senate confirmation hearing on Tuesday, which will feature the charms of Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. Liberals claim that Mrs. DeVos, wife of former Amway president Dick DeVos, is unqualified to lead the Education Department because she’s never been a teacher. Yet the same crowd howls that bankers shouldn’t be regulating banks. Which is it? Managing a bureaucracy isn’t like running a classroom, though both require a steely resolve. Most Education secretaries have been former teachers or school superintendents—not that student test scores are better for it. Perhaps Mrs. DeVos’s most important qualification is that she has the courage of her convictions. Progressives are willing to brook billionaires who use their wealth to expand government or augment their political influence. Hyatt heiress Penny Pritzker, whose family is a major Democratic patron, served as President Obama’s Commerce secretary. But a conservative who’s dedicated her private fortune to liberating poor kids trapped in lousy public schools? The horror!
More than a quarter of charter school students are African American, but civil rights leaders are divided over their growth. In the fall, the NAACP called for a moratorium on charter school expansion, amid concerns the schools are diverting higher-performing kids — and resources — away from traditional public schools, without the same accountability. “We see all across the country, charter schools expanding in ways that impoverish public education as a whole,” said NAACP president Cornell Brooks. That position has put the civil rights group at odds with many black leaders, who see charter schools as an alternative to failing neighborhood schools, particularly for kids from low-income families.”
Julieanna Nelson-Saunders, 11, attends KIPP Ujima Village Academy, a public charter middle school in Baltimore. - Amy Scott/Marketplace Inside a small brick row house in northwest Baltimore, Md., Tiela Smith pulls on a parka, pink hat and gloves and a huge backpack. Then she heads out the door to walk one block to Langston Hughes elementary school. But instead of going inside, she walks around the side of the building to a parking lot, where a yellow school bus is waiting. Langston Hughes closed last year, so Tiela, 8, now rides the bus a mile away to Arlington elementary. Tiela doesn’t mind, she said, because “when you don’t walk your legs don’t feel tired.” Her mom Nieasha Paige, a former teacher’s aide, does mind. Paige is legally blind, and said she misses the convenience and peace of mind of walking her daughter to the neighborhood school down the street. “It was a good school,” she said. Classes were small, everyone knew each other. At Arlington, she said, “it’s okay and everything, but it’s not like Langston Hughes.” The reasons Langston Hughes closed are complicated. Academically, it was one of the best-performing schools in its impoverished neighborhood of Park Heights. But enrollment had fallen over the years – partly, many believe, from competition from nearby charter schools.
Philly Councilwoman Gym joins call to Sen. Casey for open hearings on DeVos
The notebook January 13, 2017 — 6:01pm
Betsy DeVos has been chosen by President-elect Donald Trump as his secretary of education. DeVos, a billionaire, has poured money into Pennsylvania state politics to promote school reform and vouchers.
Philadelphia City Councilwoman Helen Gym has sent a letter to U.S. Sen. Bob Casey (D., Pa.), a member of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, asking that the confirmation hearing on Betsy DeVos to be secretary of education be opened up to other voices, especially to those wary that she will accelerate privatization of public schools. DeVos, a strong proponent of charters and vouchers, has drawn opposition from the major teachers' unions and other public education advocates. "Pennsylvania's experience provides direct insight into the harmful impact of the failed policies Ms. DeVos has spent her life advancing," Gym's letter says. "Our state already feels the ill effects of a weak charter law that makes it difficult to close corrupt or poor-performing charter schools." DeVos' hearing, which was postponed once, is now scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 17.
Councilwoman Gym’s Letter to Sen. Casey
Dear Senator Casey: Public schools are at the heart of our democratic society. That's why millions of Americans will be paying close attention as the Senate holds hearings on our nation's top education official on January 17. Based on her track record in politics and education policy, Betsy DeVos' potential confirmation would pose great harm to students in Philadelphia, in Pennsylvania, and across the country. I ask you to oppose the nomination of Betsy DeVos as education secretary and to ensure that your committee conducts a robust open hearing that provides an opportunity for outside witnesses and testimony to present this controversial nominee's full record to the nation. Billionaire Betsy DeVos is the first candidate for education secretary with no relevant experience in the classroom, running a public school system, or managing large organizations. For years, she has devoted her efforts and her family'S wealth to expensive lobbying campaigns: to privatize public education; to expand charter schools without accountability; to lobby for voucher programs that divert public resources to private and religious institutions; and to eliminate the power of labor unions. Moreover, in the absence of a complete ethics review, her family's extensive holdings raise serious concerns about conflicts of interest and her ability to fairly manage the Department of Education.
Education deans to Trump: We’re ‘seriously concerned’ about your agenda
Washington Post Answer Sheet Blog By Valerie Strauss January 13 at 2:29 PM
More than 175 deans of colleges and schools of education across the United States have issued a letter saying that they are “seriously concerned” about the agenda of the incoming Trump administration and urging it and Congress to protect the U.S. education system.
The letter doesn’t specifically name President-elect Donald Trump or his education secretary nominee, Michigan billionaire Betsy DeVos, but it is clearly aimed at policies they have espoused, including Trump’s stated intention of spending $20 billion in federal funds for block grants for states to support vouchers for children to attend private schools. Critics of that plan and other corporate school reform initiatives say that public school districts are harmed when public funds are directed elsewhere.
The deans offered four guiding principles for officials:
Six Reasons To Oppose Betsy DeVos
Huffington Post by Peter Greene Teacher and writer; blogger, curmudgucation.blogspot.com 1/14/2017 09:16 am ET
Senate hearings on Herr Trump’s cabinet picks are coming up soon, and you should be calling your Senator. Regardless of your political leanings, there are many good reasons for opposing Betsy DeVos as a Secretary of Education.
1) No experience with public education.
This is not like appointing someone to the post of Attorney General who is not a lawyer— this is like appointing someone Attorney General who has never been to court. DeVos grew up in private school, sent her kids to private school, and has spent her adult life advocating for private schools. She has literally no first hand knowledge of how the public education system works, for better or worse. As Senator Elizabeth Warren put it in her letter to DeVos:
There is no precedent for an Education Department Secretary nominee with your lack of experience in public education. While past nominees for Secretary of Education have served as teachers, school system leaders, and governors, and came to the Department of Education with deep executive experience in public education, you have held no such position.
2) No organizational experience.
DeVos’s experience is strictly in philanthropic advocacy, a sort of checkbook lobbying that has never required her to work with people with whom she disagrees. As Secretary of Education, she will need to work with governors, congresspersons, and the sprawling USED staff, many of whom are going to disagree with her in matters of policy and philosophy. As a philanthropic advocate, she has been able to surround herself with people who are like-minded and/or beholden to her. That would not be her situation as Secretary; she would have to build coalitions, reach compromise, earn trust and cooperation, and all without the use of her checkbook— she cannot simply threaten her way to compliance as she has in Michigan. One of the great criticisms of Arne Duncan was that he could not play well with Congress, instead insisting on dictating as if he were The Boss. Everything in DeVos’s background, including her dismissal of both political parties as failures, suggests that she would be even worse.
Breitbart by AP by DR. SUSAN BERRY13 Jan 201710
A former economic advisor to both the George H.W. and George W. Bush administrations is reportedly a top candidate for the post of deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Education, reports Education Week. Allan B. Hubbard, director of the National Economic Council under President George W. Bush and executive director of the President’s Council on Competitiveness and deputy chief of staff to Vice President Dan Quayle, is reportedly a top contender to serve as Betsy DeVos’ #1 deputy, if she is confirmed. According to Education Week:
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