American education

This year in America, and in the years to follow, the country will experience significant change, courtesy of President Donald J. Trump’s appointed committee and overall goals for the future. So far, President Trump has already fast tracked the act of repealing ObamaCare, and has provided a plan for “the wall” that will be placed on the border of Mexico and the United States. However, despite these many changes, one thing that can be guaranteed to have little to no change will be American education.

President Trump appointed Betsy DeVos,

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image from NBCnews.com

an American businesswoman, philanthropist, and education activist, specifically education that is provided from Catholic private schools, to be his secretary of education. However, her lifetime of higher-class education did not prepare her for the questions she was asked by the senators during her confirmation hearing.

One of the first questions she was asked, by Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut, regarded guns in schools. He asked Ms. DeVos, “Do you think that guns have any place in, or around, schools?” DeVos responded that it should be left up to the locals, and individual states to decide on that.

Following a visibly distressed and confused look from Senator Murphy, DeVos continued by saying, “I think the underlying question is…” only to be cut off by Senator Murphy, “You can’t say definitively today that guns shouldn’t be in schools?”

Guns and gun-safety have been discussed for years, but it is widely known that Senator Murphy is strongly against weaponry in schools following the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

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image from esquire.com

DeVos referred back to Wapiti, Wyoming to reinforce her position. “I think probably there, I would imagine that there is probably a gun in the school to protect from potential grizzlies.” The Daily Show contacted a school in Wapiti asking if they do hold guns within the school, and if they intend, or have ever used the weapon for grizzly bear attacks. They responded that they do not have a gun, and they have never encountered a grizzly bear. They did say that if such a situation were to arise, they have a fence around the perimeter of the school.

Senator Al Franken asked DeVos if students should be measured by grade-level proficiency or yearly progress, and DeVos responded, “If I’m understanding your question correctly, around proficiency, I would also correlate it to competency and mastery, so that you, each student, is measured according to the advancement that they’re making in each subject area.” Senator Franken, trying hard to follow her statement interrupted her, correcting her train of thought, stating that she is talking about growth. “That’s growth. That’s not proficiency. So in other words, the growth they’re making isn’t growth. The proficiency is an arbitrary standard.”

Senator Franken did his best to clarify his question stating, “I’m talking about the debate between proficiency and growth, what you’re thoughts are.” After Devos asked for further clarification, the senator informed DeVos that “this is a subject that has been debated in the education community for years, and it surprises me that you don’t know this issue.” That’s our proposed secretary of education.  

Ms. Devos was asked multiple questions, and in response to many, if not all, she fumbled on her words, stuttered, and shocked the senators with her responses. One of her responses was about aid for mentally disabled students and whether or not funding for the teachers should be repealed. DeVos insisted that decision be left up to the specific state’s budget.

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image from newsweek.com

Ms. DeVos is unsupportive, and arguably, unaware of longstanding policies and functions that are in relationship to the department of education, specifically in respect to special education and for-profit universities. Our possible new secretary of education has had absolutely no experience with student loans such as FAFSA, something that is relied on by millions of students. She basically has no experience with education, educational terms, how academic success should be assessed, or simple-minded safety measures.

“Rest In Peace” future generations of America.

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