The U.S. Department of Education is about to fall into the hands of an extreme right-wing bigot who has no relevant experience as an educator and did not attend or send her children to public school.
Among Trumpâ€™s horrifying line-up of racist, corrupt, anti-LGBTQ, anti-woman, super-rich elite cabinet nominees, Betsy DeVos â€“ the nominee for secretary of education â€“ stands out.
DeVos is a right-wing voucher and charter school activist whose numerous projects include the disastrous effort to spread charters in Detroit, which failed to increase student achievement while allowing charters to operate with little accountability or oversight.1 She also has an appalling record on civil rights, which indicates she will be a threat to LGBTQ children, especially transgender students, who face prejudice, harassment and bullying in schools and suffer from higher rates of depression and suicide than non-LGBTQ classmates.
DeVosâ€™ nomination for secretary of education is unacceptable, but the only way to block her nomination is if Senate Democrats push back with every tool at their disposal. Can you help make sure they act?
DeVosâ€™ work to promote charters extends across the country but has been especially focused on her home state of Michigan. The results of charter school expansion in Michigan, and especially in Detroit, have been dismal, but DeVos and her family have still pushed to limit accountability and oversight of charters. While most other states monitor chartersâ€™ results, hold them accountable for poor performance and require them to renew their charters, schools in Michigan can operate as long as they want, and the state exercises minimal oversight.2
Just as troubling as DeVosâ€™ record on charters are her efforts to promote vouchers, which would force states to spend education dollars to pay for children to attend private and religious schools. Data does not show that this strategy improves achievement for children who are historically underserved by public schools, and it dangerously blurs the line of separation between church and state.3 Some Democrats in Congress are pushing for payment of a delinquent $5.3 million dollar fine incurred by a DeVos-led PAC for giving $870,000 to an Ohio school-choice organization in clear violation of state election law.4 Itâ€™s a good first step. Now they need to do all they can to keep her from being confirmed.
DeVosâ€™ record on civil rights is as appalling as her record on education. She has funded a number of anti-LGBTQ organizations that oppose marriage equality.5 She was also supportive of the legal case to overturn affirmative action in Michigan that went all the way to the Supreme Court and resulted in sweeping limits on race-based admissions policies at universities across the country.6
Equal access to high-quality education is one of the cornerstone promises of our democracy. We have a long way to go and much work to do before itâ€™s a promise that is reliably and consistently fulfilled for children of color, children whose first language is not English and children living in poverty. Putting Betsy DeVos at the helm of the Department of Education puts the promise itself at risk.
Democrats must do everything they can to defend the Department of Education, starting with standing united against DeVos. Click the link below to sign the petition:
Thanks for everything you do,
Heidi Hess, Senior Campaign Director
Add your name:
- Douglas N. Harris, ",â€ť The New York Times, Nov, 25, 2016.
- Valerie Strauss, ",â€ť Dec. 8, 2016.
- Kristina Rizga, "," Mother Jones, Nov. 29, 2016.
- Danielle Douglas-Gabriel, ",â€ť Washington Post, Dec. 14, 2016.
- Nidhi Prakash, "," Fusion, Nov. 29, 2016.
- Rock Docksai, ",â€ť Inside Philanthropy, March 1, 2016.