Betsy Devos unfit for Secretary of Education position

a.k.a. the tip of the iceberg

Samantha Simmons, Opinion Editor

To think the Trump presidency could not get any worse would be a mistake as seen by the recent nomination of Betsy DeVos as secretary of Education. To try and summarize all of the reasons why she is the bane of public education’s existence would be quite nearly impossible (we might as well just link the video to her hearing), yet we will try.

She doesn’t believe in public education. 

“…because of the public’s awareness that traditional public schools are not succeeding. In fact, let’s be clear, in many cases, they are failing. That’s helped people become more open to what were once considered really radical reforms—reforms like vouchers, tax credits, and education savings accounts,” said DeVos in a 2013 interview with Philanthropy magazine.

There are multiple levels and layers of public education, and grouping them all into the same two-word category is as ignorant as it is unsurprising coming from DeVos. Bred into the community of Carlsbad High School, we experience public education at its peak yet understand that we are on top of the mountain. Instead of striving to implement her specific beliefs in favor of private, faith-based education, DeVos should be looking to protect the freedoms of citizens while being cost-effective as well as realistic. It isn’t public education that is the problem, it is the people in charge such as DeVos whose lack of action speaks far louder than their words. Public education acts as building block for the future of our society; we must value the opportunity to shape our country’s future.

She comes from wealth and seems incapable of empathy for middle and lower class citizens.

“If you don’t live in an area with good public schools, you can move … if you have the financial means to do so. If you don’t, you’re screwed. If your local public schools aren’t very good, but you have the cash, you can send your kids to a higher-performing private school. But if you don’t have the financial resources, you are again screwed” (

A voice for the people, everybody. The extent of education should not be limited by her personal experience nor squandered by her lack of intellectual depth on the subject. America has been built from the ground up by citizens of every economic status and we must merit all families seeking refuge in the promises and opportunities of this country with equal educational opportunities. We should work on the improvement of public education instead of giving up on it for the reason that public education is the most far-reaching of any educational institution. Devon must keep all Americans in mind.

She does not believe in the separation of church and state. 

“Our desire is … to confront the culture in which we all live today in ways that will continue to help advance God’s Kingdom,” said DeVos during the confirmation hearing.

The freedom to be who we wish has been the foundation of this nation, protected under the constitution. To bypass the laws that hold our society together would be direct violation of the establishment clause and should be declared unconstitutional despite personal beliefs. We have an entire country to consider and the people in power should realize the extent of what the means.

Throughout her hearing she rarely mentions the actual students attending the school she will be regulating. 

Throughout the entirety of her speech she discussed the effects of education on the parents of the children being sent to those schools, but never the actual children. As a child in the public school system I was waiting to feel as though my needs were heard, but the lack of acknowledgement was insulting and ironic. We need an advocate for the people and she is clearly not qualified for the job.

She does not have an education degree or teaching experience and has never attended public school (and neither have her children).

“I got involved [in education] by starting a foundation about scholarships for education,” said DeVos in an interview with CNS News.

To have someone in charge of a field in which they hold no prior experience is terrifying yet an unfortunate expectation after Ben Carson’s nomination for Housing and Urban Development (after his previous career of pediatric neurosurgery). How can we expect a positive representation of educational needs in the process of reformation when the person in charge doesn’t even know what they are?

She expressed her belief that public school teachers are overpaid.

“Republicans don’t want to pay teachers enough. Democrats don’t want to reform tenure laws. It’s another partisan stand-off,” DeVos said during an interview in 2015.

The hardworking teachers striving to make education a rewarding aspect of students’ life are given the cold-shoulder. It’s understandable that not every teacher will be our favorite, but too often than not are teachers connecting with students beyond the classroom and inspiring their success in all aspects of life; that is priceless.

She believes that schools she have guns in schools for safety reasons. 

Using the unusual example of a school with legitimate wildlife threats, DeVos refused to absolutely outlaw guns on school campuses in the senate hearing.

Murphy: Do you think guns have any place in or around schools?

DeVos: That is best left to locales and states to decide. If the underlying question…

Murphy: You can’t say definitively today that guns shouldn’t be in schools?

DeVos: I will refer back to Senator [Mike] Enzi and the school he was talking about in Wyoming. I think probably there, I would imagine that there is probably a gun in the schools to protect from potential grizzlies.

I feel as though it is entirely unnecessary to even explain what is wrong with this. Gun control poses a serious threat to the lives of Americans across the country, especially in high schools where gun violence has risen dramatically since 2013. How are students supposed to feel safe in an environment that allows weapons on campus?

As a student in the public education system, and as an American citizen, I need to see more equal representation for every type or student and learner. I need high school teachers who are passionate about their job and position as an influencer for every kid that walks through their classroom door. I need a reason to wake up every morning at 6 a.m. because right now, I would rather stay in bed.

With a representative such as DeVos speaking for the voices of students like myself, these issues will never be resolved. I need someone who can advocate for the students and actually get work done within our school systems that are forming America’s Tomorrow. I need something better, we all need someone better.