With Betsy DeVos the Final Assault on Public Education Is On
Photo by yugenro
By Jim Miller
During the halcyon days of the Trump transition period, the Education Committee confirmation hearing of Betsy DeVos stood out as perhaps the most jarring example of the craven cynicism that defines the new regime.
The headlines said it all, with nearly every major media outlet noting DeVos’s scant qualifications and terrible performance with extreme skepticism. The New York Times expressed “Big Worries About Betsy DeVos” while the New Yorker outlined “Betsy DeVos and the Plan to Break Public Schools.”
Over at the Washington Post, they wrote “Six Astonishing Things Betsy DeVos Said—and Refused to Say—at her Confirmation Hearing” as Esquire opined that “The Betsy DeVos Hearing Was an Insult to Democracy.” The Los Angeles Times editorial, “Betsy DeVos Embarassed Herself and Should Be Rejected by the Senate” pithily observed that “what disqualifies her is her lack of understanding of existing law and policy, and her inability to address them thoughtfully.”
But, of course, the new leader of the free world was undaunted by all of this as he signed a stack of executive orders, one of which was his formal nomination of DeVos for Secretary of Education, saying simply, “Ah Betsy, Education. Right?”
Of course, Trump’s glib disregard for the terrible public reception that DeVos has received should surprise no one because he didn’t appoint her for her education credentials but rather for her status as a key operative in the world of corporate think tanks and foundations promoting the privatization of everything from the military and national parks to education.
As Andrew Hartman explains in Jacobin:
Donald Trump’s nominee to be the nation’s next secretary of education is Betsy DeVos, a longtime Republican operative from two of the wealthiest and most powerful conservative families in the nation. She is the daughter of Edgar Prince, founder of the Prince Corporation; sister of Erik Prince, founder of the private military contractor formerly known as Blackwater; and daughter-in-law of Richard DeVos, the billionaire who co-founded the Amway Corporation. DeVos, who received her entire education from private Christian schools, also has close ties to the conservative Christian Reformed Church.
In a recent In These Times piece, Diane Ravitch discusses those same connections and outlines With Betsy DeVos the Final Assault on Public Education Is On: