With the election of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States and his nomination of Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education, those who wish to dismantle public education may now have the help of the federal government .

President Trump’s nomination of Betsy DeVos is a clear message that President Trump wants to privatize public education and create a free market approach for the education of American children.  Look at the track record of Ms. DeVos. According to a newspaper article by Kate Zernike, Ms DeVos once argued “ that Detroit Public schools should simply be shut down and the system turned over to charters, or the tax dollars given to parents in the form of vouchers to attend private schools.”

Those with the same political views as Ms. DeVos often argue that the reason they are attacking public education is because they care so much about protecting nonwhite children from receiving a poor public education. Yes, there are a few situations where some nonwhite families may be helped by receiving direct financial help, but in the overall studies of charter schools and vouchers, the research has shown that charter schools on average, perform more poorly than public schools. Also, according to Professor Ian Haney Lopez, “direct subsidies to parents facilitates white flight from public schools, crippling funding for public school systems and redirecting state money into private hands.”

When supporting corporate directed charter schools and the use of school vouchers, one is also supporting a new way to bring segregation into the education practices in our society, along with the message that public money should not be spent of social services, like public education. Professor Ian Haney Lopez even suggests that “a dog whistle” message is being sent by people with these same political views  (like DeVos) that white tax dollars are being spent and being wasted on nonwhite children; so fear government and trust the market place. Furthermore, according to Professor Lopez under the premise of helping inner city nonwhite students, is the “tactics of Clint Bolick, who in the 1990’s proposed using black children as fronts in efforts to defund public schools.”

Makes one wonder what message (dogwhistle?) Ms. DeVos was using when she had black children behind her during her confirmation hearings that were being shown nationwide.  Hmmmm?

So if Betsy DeVos is confirmed, watch the attack on public education and American democracy!

 

    Authors

    Laura Finco is a Grade 8 Science educator at Stone Valley Middle School. When she is not in her classroom, Laura is either in Sacramento advocating for teachers' rights in order to protect our students or more casually, working with her golden retrievers in the agility ring

    The SRVEA blog is written by teachers for teachers. Anyone is invited to share their thoughts. If you would like to submit a blog post, please send it to SRVEA Communications.

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