President Donald Trump and his secretary of education, Betsy DeVos, have made privatizing public schools a centerpiece of their education platform. This priority is reflected in the first two budgets Trump proposed, both of which would shift billions in taxpayer dollars away from public schools to charter schools and vouchers.
While the president’s education agenda did not prevail in his first year in office, he’s trying a similar approach in is fiscal year 2019 budget, which seeks to cut the major education line items by $3.4 billion (14 percent). These cuts would pave the way for increased funding for school choice programs.
Meanwhile, Trump and DeVos both support arming teachers as a primary response to school shootings, such as the Valentine’s Day killing of 17 students at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL.
As compiled by the NEA, here are some of the misguided actions by DeVos in her first year-and-a-half as secretary of education.
And who can forget the 2017 claim by DeVos that guns may have a place in school to fight off grizzly bears? Need we say more?
Beyond financial issues, DeVos has proven to be woefully ignorant about what public schools actually do and what students need. Furthermore, she refuses to answer questions that should be no-brainers, including whether climate change is real and caused at least in part by human activity. When pressed hard for an answer, she finally gave this non-answer:
"Certainly, the climate changes, yes."Education Secretary Betsy DeVos
It will be up to individuals, districts and states to push back against this uninformed, destructive federal agenda.