The Trump regime’s newly confirmed pick for Secretary of Education, billionaire Betsy DeVos, is ready to shake up the establishment. How so? By gutting the agency she leads, introducing more “virtual schools,” and overseeing the rise of schools that “haven’t even been invented yet.”
What does the last part mean? Damned if we know.
In a new interview published this morning, political website Axios asked DeVos about what she expects to get done in the next four years. DeVos, an enemy of public schools, pledged to “slim down the department in some ways,” and said that new kinds of schools will be introduced.
“I expect there will be more public charter schools. I expect there will be more private schools. I expect there will be more virtual schools. I expect there will be more schools of any kind that haven’t even been invented yet,” DeVos told Axios.
Again, she didn’t specify what these new schools that haven’t even been invented yet would look like. But given the fact that she once worked for an organization that advocated for child labor, we can probably guess.
Just to be clear, I’m not joking. DeVos donated generously to the ultra-conservative Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty and has served on the organization’s board for over a decade. A blog post on the organization’s website really says it all.
“Let us not just teach our children to play hard and study well, shuffling them through a long line of hobbies and electives and educational activities,” the post by Joseph Sunde reads. “A long day’s work and a load of sweat have plenty to teach as well.”
DeVos even admitted that she’d be completely fine if the Department of Education was dissolved. Seriously.
“It would be fine with me to have myself worked out of a job, but I’m not sure that... I’m not sure that there will be a champion movement in Congress to do that,” she told Axios. Apparently she’s just waiting for some hero to come along and propose that the Department of Education is destroyed.
To top it all off, DeVos apparently sees no role for her agency to play in helping desegregate schools or combat discrimination of any form. She conceded that there was a role for that in the past, but doesn’t see any need for her agency to get involved in that today. Her answers to questions around the issue were all hypothetical historical situations.
“I think in some of the areas around protecting students and ensuring safe environments for them, there is a role to play,” she told Axios. “I mean, when we had segregated schools and when we had a time when, you know, girls weren’t allowed to have the same kind of sports teams—I mean, there have been important inflection points for the federal government to get involved.”
Axios pressed her to ask if the Department of Education should step in to address any of those roles today.
“I can’t think of any now,” DeVos told Axios.
It’s unclear if DeVos knows that America’s public schools are as racially segregated today as they were in the late 1960s. If she doesn’t know this, that seems like a problem. If she does know this and doesn’t care, that seems like an even bigger problem.
Betsy DeVos was a controversial pick for Education Secretary from the start. She was so controversial that Vice President Mike Pence had to step in an cast the tie-breaking confirmation vote in the Senate. DeVos has infamously has never attended a public school, has never sent her children to a public school, and has no formal education on how to run a school. And yet, she’s now the Secretary of Education.
So what exactly qualifies DeVos to run the Department of Education? She’s been an advocate for charter schools, a way to shift funds from public schools to private institutions that are notorious for having little oversight and closing overnight. And coincidentally, DeVos has contributed a ton of money to the Trump campaign. All told, DeVos estimates that her family has donated about $200 million to Republicans.
So it just goes to show you, kids. If you work hard, play by the rules, and your family donates $200 million to politicians, you too can get a job you’re uniquely unqualified to do.