Betsy DeVos Poses a Threat to Education

BY ARASH AKHAVI staff writer

We first heard about Betsy DeVos in late November of last year, when President Trump nominated her to be in his cabinet. DeVos is often ridiculed for her remarks regarding a Wyoming school requiring the use of firearms as defense against grizzly bears, which, to say the least, is a weird claim. DeVos was confirmed as the Secretary of Education after a 50-50 tie in the Senate was broken by Vice President Mike Pence. This was the first time in American history that a Vice President had been summoned to break a tie in the Senate for a cabinet nominee. Betsy DeVos of the Republican Party grew up in Western Michigan. Her brother, Erik Prince, is the founder of Blackwater. Blackwater, now called Academi, is an American private military company. She is from a very wealthy family that regularly donates money to the Republican Party. She has donated well over 200 million dollars to Republican causes, and candidates who run for office.

DeVos has made it very clear that she is not in favor of public education and is steering towards privatizing it. DeVos believes that a child’s ZIP code should not dictate where they go to school, alluding to the idea that children are being sent off to subpar public schools. She has been criticized by many for neglecting public schools altogether, as she is in favor of directing taxpayer dollars to support private education. Coming from a line of wealthy individuals, DeVos has had little to no experience with public education. When being interviewed for her position as the Secretary of Education, Senator Elizabeth Warren pointed out DeVos’s inexperience with student loans and financial aid, as she would be managing the Department of Education for the United States.

While DeVos has received mostly exuberant comments from the Republican Party regarding her confirmation, many democrats and supporters of public education are frustrated with the choice of the new Education Secretary. Personally, I am a huge advocate for public schools. Having the opportunity to attend one of the best public schools in the East Bay, Berkeley High School, is awesome. BHS is one of many well funded public schools that is able to give everyone who attends equal opportunities. This makes the playing field a little more level. Private schools, on the other hand, are only accessible to families who have the money to pay for them. They are funded by the students and donations, unlike public schools, which are funded by the state and federal governments. As a child I grew up attending public schools so I am strongly against DeVos’s stance on neglecting public education as I believe it is a very valuable and accessible asset.