Education Advocacy

Education cabinet choice concerns families nationwide

Staff Editorial

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Elliot Weems
After any presidential election, the president-elect is required to select new cabinet members. President Donald Trump has already chosen many new candidates to have positions, including environmental protection and health services. One choice brought to light was his choice for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, a billionaire Republican activist and philanthropist from Michigan, who strongly supports the right to choose what type of school one attends, but has limited experience with public education. Although she has no prior experience, DeVos is going to be responsible for future generations by controlling the level of education they receive, and so families across the country are justifiably concerned, and the decision to instate DeVos is one that needs to be protested.

Beyond concerns about her many possible financial conflicts of interest, DeVos already showed a capability of damaging public education as she did in her home state, Michigan, by pouring money into charter school advocacy and even arguing to shut down Detroit public schools, even though charter schools often perform the same as traditional schools, and sometimes worse. Due to her past legislation’s and her pushing to close important public schools in poorer parts of town, many wonder what kind of damage DeVos will strike upon the country once she is nationally responsible for over 50 million students, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

DeVos is an advocate for school choice plans, which are controversial because in some cases they can allow families to use public funding for private schools. Critics say choice plans undermine public education, and are often under regulated and can amount to profiteering. Rabbi Jack Moline, president of the Interfaith Alliance, called the pick “deeply disappointing. It suggests that [Trump] has little regard for our nation’s public schools or the constitutional principle of separation of church and state.” Her inexperience can lead to issues that could have been prevented if a qualified politician were chosen over someone who doesn’t fit the bill. Giving the title of Secretary of Education to an under qualified nominee can result in many problems for current and future generations.

One of those issues include limiting opportunities to students who attend public schools. This being because DeVos has been known to cut funding within public education in order to leave more money for private and charter schools. Lily Eskelsen García, the president of the National Education Association, slammed the choice to nominate DeVos, saying it would undermine public education. DeVos “has consistently pushed a corporate agenda to privatize, de-professionalize and impose cookie-cutter solutions to public education.” García is one of many who believe public education and attendees will suffer from Trump’s choice. By nominating DeVos, Trump and his administration have demonstrated and proven how out of touch they are with what works best for the majority of the population of parents, educators and communities.

Another problem that may reveal itself is the fact charter and voucher schools don’t have to accept everyone who applies. Applications are reviewed based on good grades, behavior and past experiences with school. Most of these schools won’t accept applicants because they don’t have a particular aspect that the school is looking for and it doesn’t make the school look good, therefore resulting in the decline of most applicants, leaving a large portion of hopeful students without the education and materials that every child deserves to succeed.

The issues at hand should be reviewed and taken into consideration. Although Trump’s cabinet choices are mainly set in stone, Betsy DeVos should be reconsidered, and her nomination should be protested, whether by students through social media or other formal methods by teachers and parents, like mailing letters or making phone calls to local representatives.

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