Current Department of Education secretary, Betsy DeVos, embarrassingly struggled through a an interview on CBS’s “60 Minutes” on Sunday, March 11. It was evident that DeVos failed to prove her knowledge of the current public education system and has no real plans to improve current conditions. As someone with very little knowledge about the nation’s public school system in general, she was already met with negative response from citizens upon her induction, and this interview was a high-stake event for the billionaire and school-choice advocate.
When retired journalist Lesley Stahl asked DeVos about her plans for struggling K-12 schools, DeVos provided the remarkable response, “I have not intentionally visited schools that are underperforming.”
It’s disturbing that our nation’s Department of Education Secretary couldn’t bring herself to visit schools that need her attention the most. In her eyes, it makes more sense for students from these schools to simply choose different, “better”, ones to attend. Stahl even called out the inadequate secretary by saying, “this sounds like a lot of talking instead of acting.”
DeVos’ obvious uncertainty about the success of school systems is widely disturbing.
She argued that the federal government has invested billions of dollars into the public school system and has seen zero results. Stahl was quick to respond by noting public school test scores have increased over the past 25 years.
DeVos claims that school-choice is the better alternative for students. During the interview she claimed, “any family that has the economic means and the power to make choices is doing so for their children.” But, what about those families who don’t have the economic means to make these choices? What about the family who simply can’t afford to pay an out-of-town school tuition, let alone for the extra gas it will take to get them there?
It’s unsettling to think that the person who’s in charge of education is hardly educated herself. How can we be comfortable with the fact that the public education system is being undermined? Education isn’t a privilege, but a right. To disregard the school system is to disregard the American dream. Children can’t be expected to make something of themselves if they are at a disadvantage from the get go.
DeVos needs to either quickly educate herself on how to better public school systems and find a way for the average, middle-class family to gain an education comparable to the wealthy, or she simply needs to resign and give her role to someone worthy of deciding the future for America’s children.