From the moment she was nominated by Donald Trump to serve as Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos has been under fire from those concerned that her unorthodox views on how to best educate students could wind up creating two separate systems: One for the wealthy and another for everyone else.
Teachers were especially opposed to DeVos, and for good reason. This is a woman who has never taught, has no formal training in the field, and holds controversial views on using public money to fund charter and private schools. And in the three months since she was confirmed, DeVos has done little to allay those fears.
Veteran educator Patrick Kearney wrote an open letter to DeVos which he shared with The Huffington Post, and in that letter, Kearney lets the Education Secretary have it with both barrels, writing:
“You’ve now been the Secretary of Education for a few months and I have to say, we’ve moved from being freaked out to understanding that you are who we thought you were.”
Specifically, Kearney criticizes DeVos’ first budget for the Department of Education, which would eliminate $1.2 billion from after-school programs and also cut $27 million in arts education and $12 million for Special Olympics programs. That same budget would eliminate a loan forgiveness program which is meant to serve as an incentive for teachers to work in rural communities. Kearney blasts the budget:
“Your budget seems to try to surmise that schools are wasting money by providing safe places to go after school, giving young people the opportunity to create art, and supporting special education students.”
The drastic budget cuts would be accompanied by increased funding for charter schools and voucher programs which would use public funds to allow students to attend private and religious schools. To that, Kearney commented:
“Who are you serving?. Your proposed budget would suggest that your interest is in diverting dollars away from programs that directly impact young people and putting those dollars into the pockets of those who would like to make a profit in the business of educating our young people.
“In no universe does your budget make public schools better for the students who need them the most.”
This article was originally published by the same author at LiberalAmerica.org