Home > Uncategorized > Revisiting Predictions on President Trump’s Impact on Public Education I: Betsy DeVos

Revisiting Predictions on President Trump’s Impact on Public Education I: Betsy DeVos

A year ago I wrote several posts on where I thought Donald Trump’s presidency might lead public education. For the next five days I am going to revisit those predictions to see how they panned out. Today I begin with a look at how the appointment of Betsy DeVos is playing out as compared to predictions I offered in 2016.

On November 23, 2016, I opened my blog post on Betsy DeVos’ nomination as Secretary of Education with this:

Just when you thought the future of public education couldn’t be dimmer, President elect Trump turned out the lights with his nomination of billionaire charter proponent Betsy DeVos as his Department of Education head.

The blog post recounted Ms. DeVos complete absence of experience in public education, her advocacy for deregulated for profit charter schools, her desire to offer opportunities for parents to use taxpayers funds for sectarian schools, and her complete contempt for public schools— or “government” schools as she called them. I later wrote an op ed piece that our local newspaper published and have added a “DeVos” tag because I found myself writing repeatedly about her actions as Secretary of Education.

Nothing in the past year has changed by perspective on Ms, DeVos’ intentions. She is clearly opposed to democratically elected school boards and in favor of complete privatization. She is an unabashed proponent of vouchers— vouchers that parents could use to attend any school they wish including sectarian schools. And with 35 state houses controlled by the GOP and a solid majority of legislatures under GOP control we are witnessing a surge in voucher bills unparalleled in history.  And given the trends and legislative actions at the federal and state levels, I also stand by the concluding paragraphs of the post I wrote just over a year ago, which read:

Any hope of any reforms that might lead to more funding for public education went out the window on November 8, and any hope of any relief from the privatization that plagues public education was lost well before that when the race boiled down to Mr. Trump against Ms. Clinton, who was fully on board with the direction “reformers” were taking public education during the Bush and, yes, the Obama administrations.

Here’s the saddest part of this story: digging out of this huge hole dug for public education over two decades will require a heroic effort. I hope a 2020 presidential candidate emerges in the near future to help lead the way.

And even sadder: to date no 2020 candidate has emerged thus far….

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