By FATAMA ZOHRA
February 9, 2017
“This new era will bring many changes, and parents, educators, and students alike will have no choice but to adapt to it.”
Betsy DeVos, a “crusader” for education may just leave our children’s schooling in a metaphorical bloodbath with her policies on education.
DeVos was recently elected as Secretary of Education by a tie-breaker point (51-50) and will begin an era where the people in charge of education are masquerading as givers of choice, rather than taking away from the education system.
This new era will bring many changes, and parents, educators, and students alike will have no choice but to adapt to it.
One of the most prominent ideologies that Betsy DeVos is known for is her advocacy to extend and implement more charter schools and voucher programs, A way to apply the money a student would get in public schools towards charter schools.
DeVos expresses her concern for giving parents the choice to send their students to educational opportunities aside from public schools to obtain a better education.
DeVos claims that vouchers will allow low-income families to be able to send their children to charter, private or charter private schools. However, she misses the mark on reform at the core. She focuses on taking away from public schools, rather than nourishing their needs.
Public schools are deeply rooted in America’s history– the need for public schools can even trace back to the Freedmen’s Bureau from the Reconstruction era, DeVos chooses to ignore the struggling schools and instead insinuate stereotypes that public schools give a poorer value of education than other forms of schooling.
By moving away from improving public schools, she will steer the money gained from taxes to creating charter schools that may not benefit the people she advocates for.
Through vouchers, families will have the opportunity to apply the money that public schools get for a student in that state to an alternative school such as charters, religious or private schools depending on the public school quality in that area or if parents have other purposes for choosing an alternative educational path.
Though low-income families will get aid, DeVos makes no clear indication on how she will extend vouchers to make sure all costs are covered. DeVos emphasizes the application of charter schools, but not the books, supplies or extra fees embedded into the charter school system. Instead of giving families the right to get a quality education, DeVos is forcing education to be only of quality in charter schools.
Here are some things to know about DeVos’s policies and ideas:
1. Schools should have the right to bare arms. . .in case of a bear attack.
Betsy DeVos claims that schools should have the right to bare arms due to the protection of the students. During her hearing, DeVos suggested that some schools may need guns due to grizzly attacks, which proves that she is completely out of tune with what our schools actually need.
In “A Study of Active incidents in the United States Between 2000 and 2013” created by the FBI, 24.4% of shooter incidents are reported to have happened in schools, only second to businesses with 45.6% to its name. Grizzly bear attacks, however, create a whopping 0% in terms of attacks on schools. Instead of protecting our students, DeVos will only make our schools more vulnerable and with it, our children.
2. Sorry, but proficiency and growth are not the same thing.
DeVos stumbled when asked about her stance on the long heated debate within education of proficiency vs. growth. Proficiency is the mastery of a subject, while growth is seeing the development a child goes through in a subject. She was unable to clearly give an answer and often interchanged the two terms.
Someone with the title that DeVos has won should understand the differences due to the complexity that American students hold.
At eye level, many think proficiency is the key that every student must uphold to, but when looking at students, many educators understand that proficiency may not be the standard to which students can be held due to the environment or personal reasons students may be in contact with.
If DeVos cannot form a stance on this education policy, students of every level will be ignored or ineffectively taught and measured.
3. No need to address the disabled and abused.
In the Senate hearing, DeVos tried steering around questions about her thoughts on the opportunities that disabled students should have and the steps institutions should take against sexual abuse.
“I know that there’s a lot of conflicting ideas and opinions around that and if confirmed,” said DeVos during the hearing. “I would look forward to working with you and your colleagues and understand the range of opinions, and understand the views of the higher education institutions that are charged with resolving these and addressing them, and I would look forward to finding some resolutions.”
All students, would rather “look forward” to figuring out a plan after she is elected.
4. FAFSA? What is that?
“If you can’t commit to using the tools that are already available to you in the Department of Education,” Senator Elizabeth Warren said in response to DeVos who did not provide a clear plan to oversee financial aid packages, “then I don’t see how you can be the secretary,”
During the Senate hearing, DeVos admitted to have never had taken a loan out for her education and to have never handled a budget such as financial aid packages, but rather she would “review” how to go about it.
With no experience, having DeVos handle budgets and disbursements such as financial aid may cause many families to miss out on a quality education that she promises to extend.
In addition to financial aid, budgets for schools and the vouchers she promises also need experienced members to implement a plan, but alas, our new Secretary of Education has not an ounce of experience nor a paragraph of a plan to spare.