DeVos’ marketplace turns kids into commodities
The secretary of education has vowed in speeches, in writings and in millions of dollars of campaign contributions to destroy America’s public schools.
This is not an accusation; it is her source of pride. Betsy DeVos wants to create a “market” of “choice” in which schools are no longer public goods, democratically governed of, by and for the people and their children, but instead, private organizations funded by our tax dollars but not governed by us, the public. Her stated “long game” is to use tax dollars to fund religious schools, specifically Christian schools. As a stepping stone to that goal, she advocates that tax dollars in the form of “vouchers” be shifted from the public’s schools to private schools and charter companies.
She calls this “choice,” putting children and their education out for bid.
Her years of pushing privatization in Ohio and in her home state of Michigan are fraught with harsh language about the public’s schools (“dead ends”), and at the same time a record of low achievement, questionable finances and instability in the charter schools she claims to be their superior.
Many people have commented on DeVos’ ignorance of federal policies that her agency is charged to enforce, notably, the IDEA law guaranteeing appropriate educational services to children with disabilities, a law re-authorized under President George W. Bush and bipartisan votes in Congress. DeVos had no answers for questions about how to best assess children’s learning, and her position on guns in schools brought tears to the eyes of anyone who understood the source of the question: a Connecticut senator, the Sandy Hook parents’ senator.
What struck me was less her lack of preparedness, but that broad, fixed smile as she stumbled through or avoided responding. I came to think of it as a power smile: A smile that said “I don’t need to know these things because I made large contributions to many of you on this committee, and besides, I have a completely different agenda for this department and America’s schools. I will create a marketplace of private DeVos’ marketplace turns kids into commodities: