News Release

Billionaire DeVos “Ignorant of the Most Basic Federal Programs”

Devos ProtestCNN reports: “President Donald Trump’s selection for education secretary, billionaire mega-donor Betsy DeVos, appears to be his most embattled Cabinet pick, but Senate Republicans have largely held tight in their support. Senate GOP leaders are confident they can squeak DeVos through the Senate with the support of 50 Republican senators Tuesday afternoon, plus a historic tie-breaking vote from Vice President Mike Pence.”

Pete Tucker on Huffington Post reports in “Growing Resistance Says No to Betsy DeVos” that: “’When it comes to American education, teachers’ voices aren’t heard,’ Shayna Tivona, a pre-K D.C. public school teacher, said as she walked the Senate hallways. ‘Essentially everyone thinks they know more than teachers.'”

KEVIN KUMASHIRO, kkumashiro [at] yahoo.com@kevinkumashiro
Kumashiro stepped down as the dean of the University of San Francisco School of Education last month after serving in the position since 2013. He is the founder of Education Deans for Justice and Equity and is the author of Bad Teacher! How Blaming Teachers Distorts the Bigger Picture. He just wrote the piece “How to Pick a Better Ed. Secretary Than Betsy DeVos.”

DIANE RAVITCH, gardendr [at] gmail.com, @DianeRavitch
Ravitch is author of many books, including Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Public Schools and The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education. She is a research professor of education at New York University and served as Assistant Secretary of Education and Counselor to the Secretary of Education from 1991-1993 under the George H. W. Bush administration. She now blogs at dianeravitch.net.

She said today: “There are many reasons for the Senate to reject Betsy DeVos.

“First, she showed during her Senate hearing that she is ignorant of the most basic federal programs and laws.

“Second, DeVos is a fervent advocate for privatization of public education through privately managed charters and vouchers.

“Third, she opposes the fundamental principle of separation of church and state.

“Fourth, she refuses to divest herself of financial conflicts of interests, most notably her multimillion dollar investment in Neurocore, a dubious enterprise that sells expensive biofeedback methods to parents of young children.

“Fifth, she gave the Senate a misleading and inaccurate account of the for-profit online charter industry, which researchers have determined obtains terrible results.

“Sixth, under the influence of DeVos millions, Michigan has taken her advice and its national test scores on NAEP have plummeted.

“Seventh, the Detroit Free Press has written that DeVos has no regard for facts or evidence and it opposes her nomination. [See “What you need to know about Betsy DeVos.”]

“Last, for all the reasons above,  she would do irreparable harm to the public schools of the U.S.”