Gabbin’: DeVos, DeWrong Choice

Government leaves citizens without solutions for unqualified appointment


Photo by Lily Hartenstein

Neither DeVos nor her family have ever attended a public school, an educational majority of which she will be in charge.

It is AP Literature and I know what is expected of me. 40 minutes, one book, two pens and several sheets of binder paper. I am familiar with the novel, inside and out. I have spent the last week memorizing literary devices and themes. Three words: I am prepared.

The nominee for the Secretary of the Department of Education is less prepared than the students she would be overseeing.

Let’s gab seriously now: Betsy’s DeVos’ confirmation hearing last Wednesday was as hectic. Senate members ripped into DeVos’ stances on current policies, and the Michigan native fell apart at the seams.

Highlights of the night included the nominee’s confusion between ‘growth’ and ‘proficiency,’ a strained relatable mentioning of her mother’s past as a public school teacher, ‘review’ as the go-to word of the night and her non-existent relations to government funding for college financial aid.

There were many moments throughout the three-hour hearing that had me concerned. Her vague answers proved to the American people, and especially the youth she will be leading, of her preparedness, or the lack of it.

It was embarrassing.

She was unaware that the Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was a federal law. As a nominee attending her own hearing, it is unsettling to find out that she hasn’t done her homework. Absolutely no slack should be cut in her case for not knowing what IDEA is.

The Secretary of the Department of Education could potentially be her job for the next four years, and her gaps in knowledge are the difference between providing a fair and just education system to American youth and the wrong one.

Another highlight of the night was DeVos’ lack of experience with government funding. Personally, this is no fault of hers, as the nominee has lived a cushy life thus far. But this moment was a turning point of less questioning on her part, but rather more questioning on Trump’s part.

Trump has nominated a candidate unqualified on the national level. In her home state, DeVos has preached a “school choice” attitude. But according to Politico’s website, the nominee’s plan with charter schools hasn’t been scoring too well on a nationally representative test.

Her home state of Michigan “ranks near the bottom for fourth- and eighth-grade math and fourth-grade reading on a nationally representative test,” according to Politico’s website. Employing a similar plan across the country could be detrimental to shaping the generation of America’s future.

In the end, the public was left with numerous unanswered questions after the three-hour hearing. FiveThirtyEight’s website listed concerns that should have been elaborated on: teacher evaluations, improving struggling schools and academic standards. DeVos is innocent in this case, leaving the representatives of the Senate the blame of not asking such questions. It is disappointing that the superheroes of the night weren’t able to give DeVos a chance to answer with her policies on such subjects.

As a student, I’m appalled. There is no doubt in my mind that DeVos is the wrong candidate for the position. Her support in the Republican senator community alludes to the fact that other members of legislature share her ideals, further promoting her ideas and beliefs.

I have little to no power in this decision as the cabinet is being decided as quickly as possible. The fact that citizens lack a voice in this process dissuades me from believing the that our current democracy has not strayed far from our Founding Fathers’ ideals. It is for this exact reason that a candidate is being unwillingly thrust upon American citizens.

And the grizzlies, DeVos, I can assure you are fine.


Corrections: Due to an error in the uploading process, an outdated version of this article was printed on February 2, 2017 in Issue 4.