Billionaire Betsy DeVos, an open enemy of public education, is unqualified and conflicted to serve as Secretary of Education and Republicans rammed through her confirmation without providing adequate information. But there’s nothing not to love if you’re Jan Brewer, the former governor of Arizona and not exactly the brightest light.
Even as she was gushing over DeVos, Brewer accidentally sent the wrong message. She called DeVos’ opponents “bomb throwers going every which way,” then added, “They annihilated her credibility.”
Nonetheless, Brewer said she was just thrilled that DeVos was confirmed and thinks the rest of America should be, too.
BREWER: I am absolutely thrilled, and the American public should be thrilled that we have somebody as talented and as dedicated as Betsy DeVos. She really cares about children and their education. She believes in local control and she believes in choice, and she believes in quality high standards. And she’s the gal who can get it done. I am just delighted. Absolutely delighted.”
As Rolling Stone pointed out, DeVos pretty much bought her way into her cabinet position and “she and her family are likely just getting started trying to buy Republican support for their radical agenda.”
But, not surprisingly, host Neil Cavuto whitewashed who and what DeVos is as he kinda sorta presented a meager challenge to Brewer.
CAVUTO: How is she going to run a department that isn’t too keen on her? By that, I mean she’s talked about revolutionizing the way that we should educate our kids, and been a big critic of the way, if you think about it, Department of Education sanctioned policies and programs and groups, to say nothing of teachers unions across country, have been merrily going along.
But Brewer is hopeful DeVos will win folks over.
BREWER: I’m hopeful, Neil, that they will listen to her once they get to know her and understand her philosophy and what direction she wants to lead education in our country for the better I will say. They ought to come around, but I have no assumptions to base that on. They have been absolutely horrid, destructive, it just defies all logic.
Watch Brewer below, from the February 7, 2017 Your World.
More importantly, we need to be realistic about what the impact of Betsy DeVos will be for the Dept of Education and for schools in this country. In the simplest terms, DeVos is going to be the Anne Gorsuch of the Dept of Education. She will oversee a slashing of its funding and size, most likely in the direction of eliminating the department altogether by 2020. As many services and areas that can be thrown back to the individual states will be done, leaving only a general administration that tilts its emphasis to private schools, charter schools and voucher programs to allow wealthier people to get a reimbursement for their tuitions.
DeVos’ real emphasis is an attack on public education and particularly on the teachers’ unions. Her intent is to marginalize and bankrupt those unions and make it look as though charter schools or home schooling is somehow the equivalent of a proper K-12 educational curriculum. By pushing her notions of “school choice”, what she’s really doing is pulling the money from the public school system, which will in turn reinforce her hypothesis that the public schools are just an underperforming drain on our communities.
Given the way these things tend to play out, I foresee a major graft scandal coming up within the next year or two, as it becomes clear that various private and charter school systems are getting preferenced and that certain individuals are profiting at everyone else’s expense. If the Senate changes hands in 2018, I wouldn’t be surprised to see significant discussions of this. Not sure if we will see the extent of what happened at the EPA under Gorsuch in the early 80s, where the department head was driven from office in disgrace and her deputy went to jail – particularly given that the House is unlikely to shift to the Dems for another decade. But as the truth comes out about how craven these people are (and as happened repeatedly under the W/Cheney group), the public’s unhappiness with the Pence White House will only accelerate.
I note that there are several other departments also being impacted by unfortunate Pence appointments, including the EPA, Energy, Labor, Justice etc. Some of this is synergistic. For example, Labor will no longer be looking out for unions’ rights – instead, they’ll be siding with the employers to find ways to minimize the impact of the workers. Teachers’ unions and public employees will essentially be put in a corner. Justice for its part will not be looking at civil rights issues or anything that would benefit lower income students and families. And at least until November 2018, there will be no area of recourse for the public other than protesting outside the Congress and the White House. We can look forward to near-constant events of that throughout the next two years.
I’m also foreseeing massive cuts, if not wholesale elimination of other departments like Energy and the EPA. These have long been Far Right goals and there’s no reason to believe they won’t pursue them now that they have an opportunity.
They can talk all they want about college and graduate studies. The real damage will be at the pre-school to high school levels, ending in the creation of an elitist class made up of those whose parents had the wherewithal needed to place their kids in good private schools.