Speak Out, First of Many

Last week, the president-elect selected Elizabeth DeVos as his nominee for Secretary of Education.  If there was ever a more unqualified candidate for such a post, I can’t think of one. Ms. DeVos, a former Michigan GOP state party chair, is a billionaire philanthropist. Apparently that meets the qualifications for heading the US Department of Education.

Betsy DeVos heads a PAC, All Children Matter, along with her husband. Founded in 2003 All Children Matter promotes school vouchers. In fact, Ms. DeVos, has been active as an advocate for school choice and vouchers as evidenced from this notation on her Wikipedia Page:

During the 1990s, she served on the boards of Children First America and the American Education Reform Council, which sought to expand school choice through vouchers and tax credits. She and her husband worked for the successful passage of Michigan’s first charter-school bill in 1993, and for the unsuccessful effort in 2000 to amend Michigan’s constitution to allow tax-credit scholarships or vouchers.

There is plenty more about this nominee that skews her viewpoint toward privatizing traditional public schools and, thereby, diverting essential and needed funding away from the education efforts for ALL children.  DeVos is a member of the board of Foundation for Excellence in Education  and  Chair of the American Federation for Children (AFC), which according to Wikipedia,

describes itself as “a leading national advocacy organization promoting school choice, with a specific focus on advocating for school vouchers and scholarship tax credit programs.”

So with a bias toward vouchers, charter schools, and “choice”, the Department of Education should be in good hands, right?

The time for speaking out is now, before Ms. DeVos’ nomination is approved. Take a close look at the policies and positions Betsy DeVos supports, where she directs her considerable financial resources, and then decide if you are willing to wait to see how this plays out.

My hope is that educators, parents and those interested in education of all students flood the phone lines of our Senators who will make a recommendation on this nomination – those Senators sitting on the US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions <link here, scroll to the bottom to see which Senators are on the committee and then contact them>.

If you live in Massachusetts, one of our Senators, Elizabeth Warren, is a member of that committee. Call her office and register your opinion: Washington Office (202) 224-4543, Boston Office (617) 565-3170, or Springfield Office (413) 788-2690.