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Betsy DeVos Hearings

Daniel Carvalheiro-Santos, Staff Writer

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Many people argue whether Secretaries of Education Arne Duncan and John King succeeded at improving teaching methods and programs aimed at bettering the education of many students across America.  However, it is incontrovertible how much these Secretaries were able to accomplish in such a short period of time. With the recent swearing in of Betsy DeVos as President Trump’s new Secretary of Education, many believe she will dismantle many of the programs implemented in previous administrations, while drastically changing the Department of Education. While it is undeniable that change will come, people have begun to exaggerate the incompetence and inexperience of Betsy DeVos. Who is Betsy DeVos and what is she all about?

Betsy DeVos is a member of the Republican Party and an outspoken member of the Christian Reformed Church. For many years, DeVos and her husband, Dick DeVos, have been key figures in the multi-million dollar company founded by her father-in-law, Amway. Her affluence has allowed her to participate in many charities, including her own charity, “The Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation”. Interestingly enough, during the 2016 Presidential Elections, she supported Marco Rubio, Carly Fiorina, and Jeb Bush, yet never endorsing Donald Trump. In fact, she was quite critical of his campaign ideals, going as far as to publically call him an “interloper.” However, when approached about her nomination, she gladly accepted a position in an administration she was not particularly fond of.

She has recently been in the news as the public has played witness to her topical Senate hearings. In a history-making vote, Vice President Mike Pence broke a tied 50-50 vote to officially elect Betsy DeVos to the position of Secretary of Education. Betsy DeVos believes in an education system with various education voucher programs, as well as an open education system (open privatization of American education). She has also advocated a grading system that is simpler, returning to the rudimentary grading system of A, B, C, D, F. In addition, Betsy DeVos said in a 2001 interview that she believes educational activism is a method of expanding “God’s Kingdom.” Her religious views have put her under some heat because many believe that she is not open-minded towards other religions and their perspective on education.

Betsy DeVos is a unique person in comparison with other Secretary of Education picks. Unlike many other Secretaries of Education, Betsy DeVos has no background in education. Although she has advocated her personal preferences when it comes to education in the past, she hasn’t been Superintendent of Chicago Schools (Arne Duncan) or Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee (Lamar Alexander). This is what concerns many people. Her lack of knowledge of the education system could potentially create problems in our already failing education system. Many say our education system can’t get much worse. Despite being one of the biggest economic powers in the world, we have fallen behind on education, slipping to the fourteenth best in the world. In the end, it matters not who leads our education struggle, but rather that we continue to make strides to excel and regain our position as leaders. The world expects our leadership. Our youth deserve it.  

Photo Credits to Pete Marovich

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