I’d like to preface this post by saying that this will mostly be a rant more than anything else, so buckle up. And what, per-se, might this rant be about? Well, it’s honestly about a lot of things. It’s about how our education system is failing our kids; it’s about how we desperately need to change what’s happening with education in our country right now; it’s about why it matters that our government is cutting public school funding and after-school programs; but most of all, it’s about Betsy DeVos.
Photo Cred.: Snopes.com
Yep, that’s right. The one and only current Secretary of Education. The woman who is backtracking on all of the hard work we’ve put into our public schools and programs that help kids instead of hindering them.
I’m not going to be coy about this either. In fact, I’m going to tell you right now that I despise this woman with almost everything I’ve got. How she got to be Secretary of Education without any kind of background in educational practices or knowledge of curriculum is beyond me. Oh, wait, that’s right, our nut-job president put her there. Which means that I honestly can’t talk about DeVos without also at least mentioning Trump (who I also hate with a passion).
So why exactly do I loathe DeVos? Well, for one thing she doesn’t have the interest of every child in mind. If she did, then she wouldn’t be taking all of these federal funds for public schools and redirecting them to pay for private schools. That’s honestly just crazy to me. Private schools are private for a reason. They don’t get federal funds because they don’t have to follow all of the same rules as pubic schools do. For example, when a private or charter school does poorly on standardized testing and ranks incredibly low in a state’s academic performance they aren’t forced to restructure or pull up their test scores if they don’t want to be shut down. But pubic schools do. So why in the world is that even fair?
Simple, it’s not. DeVos has a specific agenda in mind and that’s taking away from public education because she thinks that it’s going to better our education system, which is honestly laughable. If anything is going to help our education system then it’s going to be putting money into public schools and after-school programs which help poorer children who can’t afford a tutor or need a place to stay and do homework until their parents get off work.
To be honest though, after-school programs are beneficial for all children whether they’re poor or not. I remember doing after-school programs that gave me a chance to work with my teachers more on things I didn’t understand in class. Not only that, but these programs often encouraged me to do my best in school and taught me that I could overcome obstacles I thought I would never be able to get through. And all because I could sit down with a teacher after school to talk things out instead of going home confused and not getting the help I needed.
There’s a great article that came out last year in December by the Washington Post that takes a look at what DeVos has done in Michigan as far as their education system goes. It talks about how even though there were repetitive failures in the charter schools she promoted she continued to push school choice, school voucher programs, and of course the charter schools. Most of the charter schools in Michigan were at the bottom of the barrel education and testing wise, yet they didn’t have to change a thing to raise their scores. You can bet your ass that if a public school had fallen that behind they would have either had to restructure completely or risk being shut down.
Photo Cred.: montanacatfish, imgflip.com
So why else do I hate DeVos? Well, if we’re going to look at the bigger picture here then it’s clear that she’s not an advocate for transformative education. How can I tell that? Simple—the fact that she refuses to have any interest in bettering public education tells me all that I need to know. Transformative education is about making schools better for every child not just those who have money. By ignoring the needs of public schools and even rejecting the good that they’ve already done for kids she clearly sees no need to help every child that’s out there.
By cutting funding for public schools DeVos has effectively shot our education system in the leg because now the students who need the most help (which are those that typically attend public schools) will not even get the chance to have the same quality of education that other students will. By cutting funding she has essentially said to our country that the children who come from lower-middle to lower class families don’t need quality education. No, not just that they don’t need it, that they don’t deserve quality education.
Photo Cred.: Just_Keep_Driving, reddit.com
Not only does DeVos want to cut funding for public schools and give it to private schools, but she also wants to incorporate religion into our school system. That’s honestly just not going to fly with me. You can’t force a student to participate in mass or prayer simply because you believe your religion is the one and only correct one. America was founded on the premise of freedom. And that includes freedom of religion, which means not every kid attending school is going to believe in Christianity. Forcing students to either attend a religious school or not get an education because they don’t believe in the same things is literally saying if you’re not a part of Christianity then you don’t have a place in our education system.
Not only that, but what the hell happened to separation of church and state? I guess that isn’t a thing anymore either. It’s honestly baffling to me how DeVos is just choosing to ignore the Constitution our country was founded on and promote her own ideals simply because she feels she is right to do so. It doesn’t work that way. You don’t get to shove your beliefs down my throat or anyone else’s and you definitely don’t get to do that through our educational system.
I can’t even imagine the horrors that would end up happening to our school system if she wound up integrating religion into our schools. I can imagine one though: the discontinuation of teaching the theory of evolution and replacing it with creationism. I shudder at the thought of that actually happening. Considering that we all know Trump is a huge supporter of alternative facts and DeVos is one of his biggest fans, I’m sure DeVos would be on board to kick that scientific theory to the curb and instead begin teaching kids that it was divine creation that really brought humans to life. Those two are such clowns I could throw a pie in both of their faces and just watch them run around blinded by banana cream while laughing my ass off at their stupidity.
Addressing the Issues (Personally)
DeVos honestly makes me sick to my stomach. Thinking about how much damage she can do to our education system in four years is overwhelming and makes me want to curl up in a ball and cry for the kids who are being raised in a broken school system. But it also makes me want to do something about this tragedy. I’m definitely not into politics, but I’m to the point where even I would run for Secretary of Education just to get things on the right path again.
Maybe someday I will in fact get involved with the politics of education simply because I want to do right by our children. Trump and DeVos are currently leading our nation into a pit of doom when it comes to our educational system (actually, Trump is just leading our entire nation into a pit of doom overall), and it’s hard for me to just stand by and let this happen. What am I to do? I’m just a student after all.
But maybe, just maybe, I can help by researching more about educational policies my state has control over and then advocating for more beneficial laws. Maybe at some point I could even get involved in the policy making process even though I truly do hate politics. Or maybe it’s enough for me to start small within a district and help even the tiniest bit to create better schools and programs for kids within that one district. At any rate, I’m more determined now than ever to be an advocate for transformative education. And I’m definitely determined to undo all of the damage Betsy DeVos has and will do to our education system.
What about you? What will you do? Our children are depending on us now more than ever. They are our future, so why not give them all an equal opportunity to quality education? Let’s do this right. Let’s make a difference—even if it’s just one step at a time.
Photo Cred.: onsizzle.com