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During her tenure as Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos has taught the public many lessons, most of which she did not intend. Her radical agenda educated the public about the privatization movement and its ambition to cripple public schools. She taught us that there really are people who put the profits of for-profit colleges above the students who were defrauded by them.
PeterGreene says she taught us why the Secretary of Education should be an educator.
He quotes a recent conference call that’s head with reporters. One thing is clear: she has no empathy or understanding of those who work in the schools. She is utterly indifferent to their knowledge and experience.
Meanwhile, privatizers are chomping at the virtual bit to get students shoved into more profitable avenues of education-flavored products, like her old friends at the Heritage Foundation who are cheering her on to keep pushing the product because this is ed tech’s Katrina and by God they are going to cash in or know the reason why.
The Koch-funded Mercatus Center has more of the same. “Leverage the near-ubiquity of cellphones and internet to deliver instruction online,” but near-ubiquity is a lame measure, indeed. I imagine that none of these deep thinkers would like to be shot into space in a rocket that contains a near-ubiquity of oxygen tanks nor live in a home with a near-ubiquity of food. Worried about students with special needs? Senior policy analyst Johnathan Butcher reads the fed instructions as saying, “Give it a shot, but hey, if you have to leave them, leave them with our blessing.” Butcher adds “Parents, taxpayers, and policymakers should not allow traditional schools to claim they do not have the resources or expertise to deliver instruction online” based on God only knows what. And he touts the Florida Virtual School, Florida’s experiment in cyber-schooling that just keeps failing upward because Florida’s political leaders would rather finance a profitable turd than support public education.
In short, the amateurs are out in force, yammering about how schools should now see things their way, even though they don’t know what the hell they’re talking about.
It would be great, in the midst of all this, to be able to turn to a secretary of education who actually knew something–anything– about the inside of a classroom, who actually had a grasp of the many issues involved in the current crisis. I don’t mean to pick on DeVos, who is basically the Herbert Hoover of education right now– I can’t think of any secretary of education, not Arne “Katrina is super-duper” Duncan, not John King, not Rod Paige, not any of them, who would be worth a spoonful of rat spit right now.
But we could really use someone who knows what they’re talking about and isn’t just salivating at the chance to push some more anti-public ed policies. Of course, what any classroom teacher would know includes this– that when times get tough and crisis rear their heads, you can absolutely depend on the government bureaucrats to be largely useless, and you’d better figure out how to navigate this on your own. Which sucks, but it’s one of the many “hard things” that teachers already do, all the time.