Monday, May 6, 2019

Translating DeVos

Betsy DeVos is pro-school choice. Did you know that? Because if you didn't she'll tell you. And if you did she'll tell you again. In fact, it's the only thing she'll tell you about education. Most likely because it's the only thing she knows about education. She knows public education doesn't run like a business. She knows it should make her and her friends a profit. She knows those are her only talking points. And she's not even shy about flaunting how much she doesn't know. Like the rest of this administration, ignorance is a feature, not a bug.

Today, Monday, May 6, 2019, Sec of Ed DeVos gave a talk and interview with the Education Writers Association in Baltimore. It was a greatest hits tour of her thinly veiled attacks/talking points. Most of this blog will come from the livetweeting done by Evie Blad and Joy Resmovits.

DeVos began by claiming that she is an introvert and the media's focus should be "on the students." This is the first time but not the last time that she uses the children she claims to care about as a shield. It's a classic move that anyone who has been teaching for any length of time has seen a million times. Teachers constantly have students used against us. Also, she might be an introvert, but I think the real reason she doesn't like the attention is because she can't open her mouth without loosing a stream of falsehoods and nonsense and we are too smart to fall for it. I'm sure that she would disagree with me, but then she wouldn't have turned student journalists away if she was actually about focusing on the students.

Moving on, two examples that should alarm all of us...

Twice DeVos uses the language of business to describe education. First, she calls parents "consumers". Let's pretend that should be taken seriously for a second- What are they consuming? I know that DeVos would argue that this means that parents should be allowed to shop around, like when she tries to decide which new forty million dollar (not a typo) yacht to buy.  But here's the problem with that- How are those kids getting to the school their parents choose? Note- she doesn't have an answer for that. I'd make a cheap crack here about how she doesn't know how children get to school because her driver always drove her own children to their school, but I don't know if that's true and I'm not gonna look it up just for what's probably a joke. How about how do parents do this shopping around for different schools? How are the parents judging the quality of a school?

 She is advocating for parent choice, claiming that it will increase competition, and that competition is good for schools. Again, she would deny she thinks schools are businesses instead of a public good that exist not for profit but to strengthen humanity as a whole with no other gain in mind. As evidenced by this proof. No wait, that one is about her being ok with failing colleges making money off students. Hold on...Ok, this link. Crap, no. Sorry. That one is about her cutting student loan forgiveness again. You know, like someone who has "the students" front and center in her priorities.

And what about this?
This is important. So on one hand she's saying that competition is good, but right after that she's saying that it's up to the states themselves to monitor and prevent problems. So her plan is, "You deal with it." This falls in line with the idea that her real goal is to tear down the Department of Education as a whole. I know I can't type that without sounding like this, but I see no evidence to the contrary.

She also tried to argue what is and isn't public education, which is like my students when they haven't done their research well enough trying to explain to me what the Louisiana Purchase had to do with the Oregon Trail and settling for "it's in the west?" Rather than respond to it though, I'm going to let Jenn Binis be much more subtle and clear than I can be-

Evie Blad has a real great stretch about another blatant lie about school safety from Betsy that I'm not going to go into because she does a great job.

 Let us move on to her Top Two Most Egregious Stances of the time she spent lying on stage.

Oof. I mean...yeah. Bring it. I love it when the Secretary of Education openly attacks teachers in a public forum. This woman, who the newest National Teacher Of The Year had to meet (the President* wouldn't meet with him for some reason...I'll give you a hint- it rhymes with 'he's black'), is straight up saying, "The teachers aren't being adults and they're hurting kids." By trying to get paid a reasonable wage and by fighting for funding for schools so walls aren't falling in and computers are better than the ones from the Apollo missions and textbooks aren't so old that they only list six planets and are called Ye Olde Alchemy Booke.

And what does "adult time" mean? I mean, I know what it means in my house, and I guess that could be what Betsy means here- "Adult time" is when she tries to *&%$ us. I'm not surprised or shocked that she'd lay this at our feet, that she would stand on a national stage and claim that the teachers of this nation (during National Teacher Appreciate Week) are purposefully hurting children. But I do hope that those who welcomed her into their classrooms think back to that and wonder what they were thinking. You should have never given her a chance. We all knew.

And, to top it off, what's "great" mean? Who is to judge? Please tell me it's the person who failed the most basic part of her job interview. The person who admitted she doesn't even visit schools that underperform.

Let's close this bad boy out with her most awful and dangerous stance- How much she hates students of color, LGBTQ students, and students who are special needs. Again, "Gee Doug, hate seems like a real strong word." Yeah right.

Civil rights for students was governmental "overreach". Because she can't think of one instance in history where the government stepping in on a civil rights matter turned out well. Because we all know what side of the fence Betsy DeVos would have been on as Ruby Bridges made that long walk up to her school. She'd have been against the "overreach".

This is literally the Nuremberg Defense. "I only followed orders! I had nothing to do with the war! I didn't even know there was a war on! We lived at the back, near Switzerland. All we heard was yodeling... yodel le he hoo! Hoo hoo hoo hoo hoo, Yodelay, Yodelay, Yodelay!" As for the "first born" thing, what a weird aside, but ok. "I'm a first born and a terrible person, so I am especially good at following laws about hating gay people."

Now, if it sounds like I'm being too hard on Sec DeVos or you think I've taken some cheap shots, then please click on literally any one of the links I've supplied for you to read and tell me which one justifies her place in the United States government. Or find your own and leave it in the comments, tell me where I'm wrong or unfair. Please, it might actually make me feel better. There are a hundred ways the government is failing Americans right now, and it's easy to feel helpless against it while we wait for enough someones, anyones, to do the right thing and change things. I rally against a lot of it, but this is my home. This is the Sec of Education saying teachers are hurting students. This is her trying her best to scam my kids and their parents. She is attacking us. And we can not stand for it. We must call her out at every turn. We must grab her speeches and red line it like it was a final exam, checking every reference and claim. We must fight for us.

Oh yeah, she's still on her bears attacking schools thing too. Which is really funny. Until you remember it's all about her getting guns into schools.

**Thanks to all the education reporters who are covering her and giving us this information so that we clearly know who the people pretending to be in charge are. If you're on the tweets you should follow all the people I linked to, then follow who they RT.**

If you like this post and the other posts on this blog you should know I’ve written three books about teaching- He’s the Weird Teacher, THE Teaching Text (You’re Welcome), and A Classroom Of One. I’ve also written one novel- The Unforgiving Road. You should check them out, I’m even better in long form. I’m also on the tweets @TheWeirdTeacher.

No comments:

Post a Comment