Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Diane Ravitch: Trump’s Nominee for Secretary of Education Could Gut Public Ed - In These Times

Diane Ravitch: Trump’s Nominee for Secretary of Education Could Gut Public Ed - In These Times:

Diane Ravitch: Trump’s Nominee for Secretary of Education Could Gut Public Ed
Billionaire Betsy DeVos will be great for private, religious and charter schools—and bad news for students and teachers.


If there’s an upside to her nomination, it’s that she may force policymakers to admit the U.S. is headed toward privatization of its education system.
It’s hard to imagine someone less qualified to oversee the nation’s schools than Betsy DeVos, the Trump nominee for secretary of education whose Senate confirmation hearing is set for Wednesday. DeVos did not attend public schools, nor did her children. She has never been a teacher, administrator, practitioner or scholar of education. In fact, one wonders whether she has ever actually set foot in a public school.
Instead, DeVos is a billionaire who grew up in the Christian Reformed Church and would like to see religious schools supported by public funding. She once described education reform as a way to “advance God’s kingdom.” Born into the powerful Prince family of Michigan, DeVos is part of the Christian right royalty in the United States. Her father, Edgar Prince, helped found the anti-gay Family Research Council. Her brother, Erik Prince, is founder of the mercenary group Blackwater Worldwide, which received large contracts from the government during the Iraq War. Betsy later married into the DeVos family, billionaires who founded the Amway company and also have deep ties to the Christian right.
The two families have contributed generously to anti-gay and anti-labor causes over the years, but Betsy DeVos and her husband, Dick, have shown a special passion for privatizing public education. In 2000, they used their clout to organize and fund a referendum in Michigan that would have allowed public money to flow to private and religious schools through the use of school vouchers, a practice the state constitution forbids. Michigan voters defeated the referendum resoundingly, 69-31 percent, but that didn’t end DeVos’ crusade.
She also chairs the American Federation for Children, a lobbying group that advocates for so-called school choice. DeVos has become a leading national proponent of school Diane Ravitch: Trump’s Nominee for Secretary of Education Could Gut Public Ed - In These Times:

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