CNN reports: “Senators are expected to vote Tuesday on the nomination of Betsy DeVos for education secretary. She is expected to be confirmed, with Vice President Mike Pence casting the tie-breaking vote. All 48 members of the Democratic caucus and two Republicans — Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins — oppose DeVos, but Pence would give Republicans the one extra vote they need.”
MITCHELL ROBINSON, mrob [at] msu.edu
Robinson is chair of music education at the Michigan State University College of Music and has written extensively about Betsy DeVos and her history in Michigan.
In “Privatize, Monetize, Weaponize: How the DeVos family devoured Michigan’s schools,” Robinson writes that while some were surprised by Trump’s nomination of Devos, “public school teachers and supporters in Michigan weren’t surprised at all. They saw Ms. DeVos’ ascendancy to this lofty position as the final piece in an elaborately constructed jig saw puzzle that the DeVos family has been patiently working on, at their opulent vacation homes and on their luxury yacht, for the last couple of decades. And now that the final piece has been added, we will all soon see the ‘big picture’ of the DeVos’ vision for the future of American education: Privatize, Monetize, Weaponize.
“As Michiganders know, Betsy and Dick DeVos are religious and school privatization/choice/voucher zealots. They were humiliated by the twin failures of voucher legislation in 2000 and Dick’s loss in the Michigan governor’s race to Jennifer Granholm in 2006, and these dual humiliations resulted in the development of the DeVos’ ‘long-game’ strategy to achieve their goals of privatizing public education:
1. Destroy the Democrats biggest single source of financial support by gutting teacher unions via Right to Work legislation.
2. Capitalize on the elimination of the charter school ‘cap’ to explode the number of non-regulated and for-profit charter schools in the state.
3. Use charter schools as the mechanism to ‘blur the lines’ between public and private/religious schools.
4. Use this ‘blurring’ of boundaries between church and state to build public support for the redistribution of public funds to religious and private schools.”
In “Trump names Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education: It’s Game, Set, Match for public education,” Robinson writes that DeVos’ goal is a “a two-tiered educational system:
“One, a system of elite private and religious schools for well-to-do, mostly white parents with the means to afford expensive tuition payments, staffed by qualified, certified teachers, with a rich curriculum based on face-to-face instruction in clean, safe, well-maintained schools…
“The other, a parallel system of ‘fly-by-night’ virtual and online ‘schools’ that open and close seemingly at random, and for-profit charters operated by scam artists like Northern Michigan’s Dr. Steve Ingersoll, with little to no state or federal regulation or oversight, and a bare bones, ‘back to the basics’ curriculum delivered by unqualified and uncertified ‘teachers.'”
In “Betsy DeVos is not just unqualified, she’s dangerous,” Robinson writes: “The news that Betsy DeVos will not divest her financial interest in Neurocore, a Michigan ‘biofeedback’ company, should alarm anyone who cares about the health and safety of our children. Because this is not simply a financial issue; it’s part of a disturbing trend in Ms. DeVos’ involvement and activism in education, and her potential confirmation as Secretary of Education.”
Also see from Jezebel: “Someone Is Paying Strangers Online to Beg For Betsy DeVos’s Confirmation.”