The first thing to know about Betsy DeVos, now that she’s survived a stunningly malicious confirmation to be U.S. Secretary of Education, is simply this: She’s not fighting to get rich kids school choice.
They already have it.
She and others in the movement are trying to bring school choice to all kids – particularly disadvantaged and minority students.
For this, she was crucified on Capitol Hill by cynical Democrats on behalf of their powerful patrons in the entrenched public education lobby.
Educational choice is the civil rights crusade of the early 21st century, and yet so many on the left and in inner cities have been hoodwinked into bitterly opposing it – curiously siding with the education bureaucracy rather than with kids and their parents.
To their eternal shame, one group of addled protesters even physically blocked Sec. DeVos’ visit to a Washington, D.C., school shortly after her confirmation. One protester was arrested, which begs the question: why weren’t more?
This is how blindly and fervently they oppose school reform and school choice, and how religiously they cling to their public education bibles and stick to their anti-choice guns out of fear of people who don’t think like they do. How sad.
We’ve seen it here as well: Last year, the public education bureaucracy rose up to oppose, and ultimately kill, a constitutional amendment that would’ve given the state of Georgia more power to rescue kids from certifiably chronically failing schools. The status quo, however ineffectual, must be preserved! How sad.
The character assassination of Betsy DeVos was a new low in American politics. Thankfully, there’s nowhere to go but up.
Particularly if Sec. DeVos is successful at bringing innovation and freedom to education.
“Millions of poor, disadvantaged students are trapped children in failing schools,” President Trump said at a recent meeting with DeVos and other child advocates, public and private. “It really is a crisis in education. We’re going to change it around, especially for the African-American communities. I want every single disadvantaged child in America, no matter what their background or where they live, to have a choice about where they go to school.”
DeVos’ website notes that, because of the American Federation for Children she has chaired, “over one million children are now in the school of their parents’ choice, instead of being trapped by their zip code in a school that failed to meet their needs.”
Contemptuous opponents tried to sneer that DeVos, who is wealthy, “bought” her Cabinet post. Yeah, right. Donald Trump needed the money.
The truth is quite the opposite, and supremely more uplifting: DeVos and her husband Dick have put their own money into avant-garde educational initiatives, including a public – note the word public – charter school “that combines their mutual passion for education with Dick’s love of aviation.”
How truly unfortunate – and what a statement about contemporary America – that such altruistic people get such brickbats in return. As one liberal journalist recently acknowledged, too many of his fellow liberals appear to have succumbed to “paranoia, mean-spiritedness and an aversion to understanding.”
Thank God there are still private citizens out there such as Betsy DeVos who will courageously walk through the fires of indignity and invective to serve us – despite ourselves.