Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Betsy DeVos: A Dilettante with an Ideology but No Real Policy Plan | janresseger

Betsy DeVos: A Dilettante with an Ideology but No Real Policy Plan | janresseger:

Betsy DeVos: A Dilettante with an Ideology but No Real Policy Plan


I was struck by Dana Milbank’s column in yesterday’s Washington PostTrump is Looking More and More like a Man Without a Plan. Milbank enumerates what has happened around a lot of the President’s proposals—redoing the Affordable Care Act, defeating the Islamic State, banning travelers from particular countries and cultures, cutting the federal budget. Ideas get articulated but the details are lacking or won’t stand up in court. Or there is a lot of flexibility on what’s really acceptable as long as something gets done. “Such policy anticlimaxes are becoming routine in Trump world. Tough rhetoric, big promises—and no substance. Trump looks more and more like a man without a plan… How presumptuous to expect Trump, after campaigning on historic tax reform, actually to have a proposal! The emerging evidence that Trump doesn’t have a plan for much of anything isn’t entirely bad. No plan is better than a bad plan… Having actual policies may just not be part of this president’s plan.”
Certainly the same pattern seems to be emerging in the U.S. Department of Education, where the Secretary is a wealthy philanthropist and dilettante who seems to have two priorities.  First, privatization of the public schools has been her lifelong lobbying mission.  Second, as a lifelong Republican married to a businessman, DeVos favors deregulation. Her commitment to these causes is ideological, however;  there is no evidence of a detailed policy agenda built on particular programs and a specific timeline for implementation.
Valerie Strauss captures the situation in her recent column.  Betsy DeVos, explains Strauss, has visited four schools officially since she was confirmed in February: one in Washington, D.C., one in Bethesda, and two in Florida: “The Education Department did not respond to a query about why these schools were selected. But consider this: In central Florida… the Michigan billionaire and her husband, Dick DeVos, own at least one home at Windsor, a private sporting club community on what the development’s website says is a ‘lush barrier island between the Indian River and the Atlantic Ocean.’ …  Betsy DeVos has further ties to central Florida: Her father-in-law bought the Orlando Magic basketball team in 1991, and the family still owns it.” DeVos’s school visits may be a key to grasping her approach to her job: what’s convenient for her personally and what’s ideologically tied to her life as a lobbyist for school privatization, but not a policy plan for overseeing the civil rights of the nation’s 50 million children and adolescents in the public schools.
Neither does Betsy DeVos demonstrate that she has really paid attention to how to manage a department that, since 2002, has been charged by Congress with overseeing a huge federal Betsy DeVos: A Dilettante with an Ideology but No Real Policy Plan | janresseger:


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