Until now, Betsy DeVos’ nomination for secretary of education attracted critics because of her support of some controversial school choice programs. Since Tuesday, when her confirmation hearing took place, people started criticizing her for other things too. One of them, her apparent lack of understanding or awareness of education policies. When senators started asking her various questions regarding this matter, she seemed totally unprepared and surprised. It is not nice to have someone in a position about which she does not know anything.
DeVos and her lack of preparation
However, Betsy DeVos admitted that she lacks the experience with student loans. She also stated that she would soon study the policies of the department. DeVos even admitted that she was taken by surprise when senators asked her those questions. One thing many people criticized her for was the fact that she did not know that the broad statute governing special education for over 40 years represents a federal law.
DeVos is also a education philanthropist, investor and a Republican activist. However, she still seemed to not know absolutely anything about basic education ideas. Another problem was that she did not know the difference between growth and proficiency. Growth shows how much a student has learned over a certain period of time while proficiency shows how many students managed to reach a score.
A controversial figure
During her hearing, DeVos said that she does not plan to throw away public schools. Instead, she said that she would struggle to fulfill the needs of everyone. Senator Bernie Sanders asked her a very straightforward question. He asked if she would have still gotten the position without her family’s contributions to politics. She answered that this might have a possibility because she struggled to work for both children and their parents over the last 30 years. However, many participants at the hearing said that she is an “excellent” candidate for the job. Moreover, DeVos pledged to take a salary of only $1 if she will officially become education secretary.
A series of difficult questions
The discussion also reached a very controversial point where participants asked her whether or not she would consider groping and kissing a sexual assault. This was an arrow to what president-elect Donald Trump bragged about during his presidential campaign. DeVos responded that this kind of behavior in school would indeed be inappropriate and she would consider it sexual abuse.
Many teachers’ unions criticized her for being anti-public schools. However, she stated during the hearing that she would strongly support “great public schools”. Still, if such a school is not safe or not good enough for children, she would support the parents who would want to move their children at another, more qualitative alternative. Betsy DeVos, 59, is the wife of Dick DeVos, the heir to the Amway marketing empire. Over 20 years she spent trying to fight for charter schools in Michigan while also promoting conservative religious values. Her views also came into discussion as some participants worried that this might make her not accept certain orientations or minorities. She said that nobody should fall victim to discrimination of any kind and promised to take care of these situations.
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