Friday, December 2, 2016

Julie Vassilatos: Betsy DeVos and the Zombie Apocalypse | Diane Ravitch's blog

Julie Vassilatos: Betsy DeVos and the Zombie Apocalypse | Diane Ravitch's blog:

Julie Vassilatos: Betsy DeVos and the Zombie Apocalypse



Julie Vassilatos, an activist parent of children in the Chicago public schools, writes here about Betsy DeVos.
She begins by offering a round up of some of the best posts about DeVos. We all must get up to speed on who she is.
In addition to being a fervent advocate for vouchers and charters, she has given generously to anti-gay organizations and organizations that promote creationism. I am trying to imagine what the U.S. Department of Education will do under her leadership backwards.
Julie points out that Arne Duncan paved the way for DeVos. Duncan and his Department made school choice a priority, leaving an opening for the next step, which is vouchers.
She would not have been able to accomplish what she did in Michigan without the federal government’s encouragement of privatization efforts for the past 8 years. She would not now be poised to bring full privatization to the nation if the field had not been tilled for this for the past 8 years. Duncan’s Department of Ed absolutely created the conditions for Betsy DeVos. She may be different in emphasis, but not in kind from Arne Duncan. She touts charters, choice, and competition; Duncan’s Department of Ed touted charters, choice, and competition. She likes vouchers; the Department of Ed never definitively closed the door on vouchers. She has given millions to unregulated charters; so did the Department of Ed. Federal visa policy and the New Market Tax Credit created the conditions to make charters very big–global–business.
All that was settled years ago. Now corporate ed control is poised to succeed in a totalizing way; all that was needed was a billionaire secretary of education who knows absolutely nothing about public education, is purely ideology-driven, and is well-practiced at controlling legislators with her cash.
Don’t fool yourselves–DeVos isn’t the sudden end of the world for public education, like a bomb being dropped. She’s more like the result of a slow-traveling virus or a zombie invasion. Our schools have been in peril for years. Now I think we will be able to see it more clearly. It’s time to get to work.


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