UPDATE 1/18/17: DeVos’ hearings were an utter fiasco; she made clear she lacks even a basic understanding of education issues. Mother Jones has gathered together videos of her worst moments here; Vox looks at one key issue she evidently knows nothing about. Also, BEARS!
Time to pester your senators again, this time about Donald Trump’s awful pick for Secretary of Education: Betsy DeVos, a billionaire school-privatization fanatic who’s devoted more than two decades to questionable education “reforms” that put more government money into the pockets of private corporations and Christian schools while undermining public schools.
After a delay caused by her failure to fully disclose her financial info, DeVos will be grilled by members of the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee today.
Lisa Graves of the progressive Center for Media and Democracy sets out the case against DeVos, noting in a post on PR Watch that many observers “have decried the choice as a looming disaster for public schools in America.”
Teachers unions are aghast:
Randi Weingarten, the president of AFT, stated that “Betsy DeVos is everything Donald Trump said is wrong in America–an ultra-wealthy heiress who uses her money to game the system and push a special-interest agenda that is opposed by the majority of voters.”
As Graves concludes,
The nomination of Betsy DeVos to be the head of the Department of Education is a clear sign that the nation is about to embark on a dangerously extreme national experiment in the privatization of our education system that could deal a death blow to our public schools as we have known them.
The expansion of charters has marched forward despite the fact that fly-by-night charter operators … have committed more than $200 million dollars in fraud and waste in recent years, as documented by the Center for Popular Democracy. …
As the Center for Media and Democracy has detailed, the federal government has spent nearly $4 billion in tax dollars on the charter school experiment advanced by DeVos and other billionaires, like the Kochs and the Walton family. …
[C]harter schools in the DeVos backyard of Michigan have been embroiled in fraud and scandal, and … the state has even received federal tax dollars for charters that never even opened. …
Betsy DeVos has used her family fortune to distort public policy to suit her personal agenda through direct donations and dark money because, in her own words, she wants a “return on our investment.”
Meanwhile, NPR notes that
DeVos and her family have given more than a million dollars to sitting Republican Senators, according to Federal Election Commission reports, as well as some $10 million more to Super PACs and party committees.
That has prompted numerous left-leaning groups, including End Citizens United, to call for some senators to recuse themselves on a DeVos confirmation vote.
So get calling! Or emailing!
You can find contact info for your senators here.
You can find out if they’re on the Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee here.
See my posts here and here for information and advice on how to make your calls and emails effective. If making these sorts of calls is tough for you, here’s some advice on calling politicians if you have social anxiety.
And please set some time aside this week to call your senators and congresspeople to urge them to oppose the GOP’s attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act. (See my post here.)
And to encourage them to boycott Trump’s inauguration. (See my post here.) At last count, more than 40 congresspeople have announced that they will be standing with John Lewis and skipping Trump’s coronation.
A real national resistance movement is developing to stand up against Trump and the Republicans. Make yourself part of it!