Thursday, December 15, 2016

What The Hillsdale College Connection Reveals About Donald Trump’s Extremist Education Agenda

What The Hillsdale College Connection Reveals About Donald Trump’s Extremist Education Agenda:

What The Hillsdale College Connection Reveals About Donald Trump’s Extremist Education Agenda


Donald Trump’s election to the US Presidency left education policy experts at a complete loss to explain what this would mean for the nation’s schools. During his campaign, Trump had given few clues about what would inform his education leadership, only that he had some antipathy for the US Department of Education, that he was no fan of Common Core, and that he would advocate for more “school choice.”
After his election, experienced education journalists at Education Week predicted Trump would embrace conservative Beltway think tanks and state education policy leaders who had bristled under the rule of Obama’s education department, and he would reject the influence of teachers unions, civil rights groups, and politically centrist education “reform” groups.
Many who pointed out “personnel is policy,” speculated Trump would pick an Education Secretary from the ranks of his transition advisers who came mostly from the above mentioned DC-based circles and state government centers. Other knowledgeable sources predicted Trump might draw education policy knowhow from “outsider” sources, such as the military, big business, or the charter school industry.
No one – not a single source I can find – anticipated Trump would look for education expertise in the deep, dark well he repeatedly seems to draw from – the extremist, rightwing evangelical community.
The DeVos Nomination
The first clue that Trump would embed the extremist views of radical Christian orthodoxy in the White House’s education policy apparatus was his nomination of Betsy DeVos to be the nation’s next Secretary of Education.
As Politico reports, DeVos is a “billionaire philanthropist” who “once compared her work in education reform to a biblical battleground where she wants to ‘advance God’s Kingdom.'”
Politico reporters point to numerous recordings and interviews in which Betsy DeVos and her husband Dick, a billionaire heir to the Amway fortune, promote education policies as avenues to “greater Kingdom gain … lament that public schools have ‘displaced’ the Church as the center of communities, and refer to their efforts to advance private, religious schools as a “‘Shephelah,’ an area where battles – including between David and Goliath – were fought in the Old Testament.


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