As I watched Betsy DeVos evade, bob and weave and avoid answering questions today about how she intends to make public school classrooms safe for children and their teachers, I am struck by a brutal reality.
It is that the secretary of education is as unqualified for her job as the man who selected her to guide public education policy, Donald Trump, is unqualified for his job.
CNN’s Dana Bash sought to get DeVos to commit to a strategy for how she intends to advise local school leaders struggling to make classrooms safe for human habitation after they closed them because of the global coronavirus pandemic.
DeVos couldn’t answer. Or she wouldn’t answer. Couldn’t, wouldn’t. It makes no never mind to me. I sense she doesn’t have a clue.
She was selected by Trump to lead a massive education agency even though she has no experience with public education. She was educated in private schools; she sent her children to private schools; DeVos is known to be a huge advocate for voucher programs that take money from public school districts to pay for private schools.
There’s all of that, plus there’s this: Betsy DeVos doesn’t have an ounce of political cache that she can spend. When the U.S. Senate got around to voting on her confirmation, it ended with a tie, leaving the decision up to the Senate’s presiding officer, Vice President Mike Pence to cast the tie-breaking vote. It was the first such vote in U.S. Senate confirmation history.
To my way of thinking, Betsy DeVos has no business setting public education policy for millions of American children, their parents and the educators who teach them. She continues to demonstrate her ignorance or disinterest in public education.
I suppose Betsy DeVos and Donald Trump deserve each other … and the public deserves better.