News Release

An Education Secretary to Dismantle Public Education?

trump-a79b0-0354The Washington Post reports in “Trump picks billionaire Betsy DeVos, school voucher advocate, as education secretary” that “proponents of public schools immediately decried DeVos’s nomination as a catastrophic attack on public education. Some conservative groups are also likely to be unhappy; they have argued that choosing DeVos signals that Trump is wavering on his vehement opposition to the Common Core State Standards.”

KEVIN KUMASHIRO, kkumashiro[at]usfca.edu, 
@kevinkumashiro
Kumashiro is dean of the University of San Francisco School of Education and author of Bad Teacher! How Blaming Teachers Distorts the Bigger Picture. He said today: “DeVos has not taught or worked in public schools, or been a parent of public-school children, or earned experience or expertise as a leader, scholar, or teacher educator in public school districts. Nor was she a supporter of candidate Trump. But to advance Trump’s call to deregulate and privatize, she would be ideal.

“Through her family foundation (funded by the Amway fortune), and through her personal role on boards for such advocacy organizations as Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education, she has effectively leveraged her wealth to shape policy, including the expansion of school-choice and voucher programs, alongside the deregulation of charter schools, and even the expansion of the Common Core State Standards, which has been derided by Trump but which has figured centrally in the proliferation of high-stakes testing and privatization of testing. These so-called ‘reforms’ have been variously embraced and rejected by members of both major political parties, and yet, the research is clear: none of these ‘reforms’ will strengthen public education overall, and instead, have already proven to indirectly or even directly exacerbate inequities.

“Public education can and should be treated as a centerpiece for strengthening any democratic nation, and what the U.S. needs now is not the heralding of silver bullets but instead the investment in systemic reforms that draw on both a sound body of research and a compelling vision of the promises of public schools. The narrow and ill-informed vision and rhetoric put forth by Trump and DeVos take us in the wrong direction.”