Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Betsy DeVos’ Planned Remarks – Smoke and Mirrors. | Daniel Katz, Ph.D.

Betsy DeVos’ Planned Remarks – Smoke and Mirrors. | Daniel Katz, Ph.D.:

Betsy DeVos’ Planned Remarks – Smoke and Mirrors.



As members of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions prepare to question Michigan billionaire, Republican mega-donor, and school choice and voucher zealot Betsy DeVos, her prepared remarks for the committee have already been released to the media. The document is hosted by Politico according to Wall Street Journal education correspondent, Leslie Brody:
The remarks follow what you would typically expect from a controversial nominee trying to tip toe around her record of zealously advocating tearing down traditional public education even in the face of evidence of failure.  It would be unrealistic to expect DeVos to acknowledge the wreckage that her policies have wrought upon Detroit Public Schools or to note that even philanthropists and foundations interested in charter schools and vouchers routinely pass over Detroit because the situation on the ground is too wild west for their tastes.  We never could have expected her opening statement to acknowledge that her efforts have pushed Michigan into sending $1 billion each year into a largely for profit charter sector rife with double dipping and self dealing, or to explain why political operations that she funds oppose even the most basic efforts to exert oversight over charters that are failing.  And it was not likely that her remarks would expand upon her brazen admissions in the past that she wields her family’s vast fortune to specifically get political outcomes that she favors, nor was she ever going to admit to the committee that her major goal in education activism is one part ideology and another heaping part of destroying the organized teacher unions who tend to support Democrats.
All of that will have to wait for the questions, we hope.
That said, there are hints of her hopes and goals hidden in and between some of the rhetorical choices of the statement.  Shortly after her opening thank yous, she will say:
“We are blessed beyond measure with educators who pour themselves into students.
“The schools in which they work are as diverse as the students they educate. In fact, all of us here – and all our children – have attended a mix of traditional publicly-funded and private schools.  This is a reflection of the diversity that is today’s American public education.”
This is also a direct contradiction:  Private schools, by definition, are part of the American primary, secondary, and collegiate education environment, but they are not part of “public education.”  The only way one arrives at that spot is by philosophically seeing the over $600 billion spent on PUBLIC K-12 education in the United States as a fungible honey pot that can be shuffled from one provider Betsy DeVos’ Planned Remarks – Smoke and Mirrors. | Daniel Katz, Ph.D.:



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