Wilmington demonstrators oppose Trump's secretary of education pick

  • Wilmington demonstrators oppose Trump's secretary of education pick

Wilmington demonstrators oppose Trump's secretary of education pick

The fate of that nominee, Betsy DeVos, turned the National School Choice Week gathering at the Capitol Visitors Center into something of a pep rally for the billionaire philanthropist whose confirmation hearing and committee vote have both been postponed amid Democratic opposition.

So who exactly is this grizzly-phobic nominee from West Michigan?

At her previous hearing, she displayed a total lack of knowledge on key issues facing education today, even ones that have been large issues for decades. How do I know?

There are tens of thousands of children just like Denisha all over the United States literally longing for the opportunity to attend a quality school based on their individual needs. DeVos has also been under fire for stumbling on Democrats' questions at the hearing about the rights of special education students, gun-free school zones and how student learning is measured.

But if DeVos's critics were really so concerned about the plight of American schools, they might have saved their ire for the man she's slotted to replace. DeVos, however, has a long history of fighting to drain money from public schools into private schools. While it is true that parents may select any private school-including sectarian institutions-these Establishment Clause claims generally fail because it is private money being spent at the schools, not government money. The DeVos family poured $1.45 million to eliminate oversight on MI charter schools, 80 percent of which are run by private companies. The Goddard school doesn't take vouchers, but leaders believe legislation could change that. In spite of the financial support for the expansion, charter schools have proven ineffective.

This week the Public School Forum of NC continued its tradition of forecasting the 10 issues most likely to impact public schools across the state this year.

With almost 80 percent of MI charter schools located in Detroit, the test score differences between those schools and public schools is negligible. Are we going to see more competitive charter schools across the nation?

According to CNN, the Senate is scheduled to vote on DeVos' confirmation on January 31.

Keith Poston is president and executive director of the Public School Forum of North Carolina, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization focused on public education in North Carolina. She has remained unphased by the data that suggests her push for charters is not working. But it was not always this way when it came to education. Arne Duncan, Secretary of Education under Barack Obama, was the superintendent of Chicago Public Schools before occupying the position, and Margaret Stallings, who held the position under George W. Bush's second term, previously worked as a director for the Texas Association of School Boards.

Despite Democrats pledging to vote against DeVos - including Democratic Senators like Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Chris Murphy of CT - she is expected to be confirmed when the Senate votes on January 31 due to the Republican majority. Yet she will be in charge of an entire federal department.

The New York Democrat was the only senator to vote against retired Marine Gen. James Mattis in the final vote to confirm him as Defense secretary. However, much to DeVos' apparent misunderstanding, states must comply with federal guidelines if they are to receive federal funding.