Panther Press

  • New Semester Begins 1/25

  • Finals on 1/22 and 1/23

DeVos’ Impact as Secretary of Education

Laurel Ritter-Wiseman, '17, Staff Writer

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

“Do you think that if your family had not made hundreds of thousands of dollars in contributions to the Republican Party that you would be sitting here today?” Bernie Sanders asked Betsy DeVos at her confirmation hearing on January 17th 2017. The question was honest and sincere as many were curious how Ms. DeVos, a documented opponent to public schools, achieved the nomination for secretary of education. Donald Trump has highlighted how our education system leaves students “deprived of knowledge.” Ms. DeVos’ solution is something called “school choice.” This would allow families to take the money that would be used for public schools into private and charter ones. For a public school like Strath Haven, this would result in less funding. This maybe could work if that meant less students, but if a student were to leave a private school and come back to Strath Haven, the public school would not receive the money that was already invested in the private school. Ultimately, that would leave public schools with the issue of having less money for more students. Less funding means less advanced placement courses, fewer art and music classes, and fewer resources. Essentially, this leads to the degradation of public school systems.

DeVos also aims to give more power to the states to determine regulations and requirements. One program that could see severe consequences is special education because if left in the hands of the states, individual states could determine the rights provided to students with special needs. Pennsylvania could go either way in a decision to require public schools to have a special education department, and like numerous other states, many students rely on these programs. Additionally, our school for example, relies on these students to enrich the Strath Haven community. Additionally, when questioned by Senator Chris Murphy about gun control in schools, DeVos refused to state she believes guns shouldn’t be permitted and failed to acknowledge the serious issue that arming teachers would cause.

Historically, the charter school system that DeVos pushes hard for simply does not work. According to the Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO), 75% of Detroit public schools performed better than the charter schools. Betsy DeVos tried to implement school choice in Detroit and it left the city with larger class sizes, outdated resources, and decrepit learning environments. This could cause underfunded schools to only sink deeper into poverty.

DeVos’ motivation for school choice does not justify the plan. It is not to aim at creating a more integrated school system or more socioeconomic mobility. She endorses charter schools as an opportunity to expand “God’s Kingdom.” Private schools are not held to standards the way public schools are. This leaves room for religious influences. A nation wide school choice system would cause the entire education system to suffer, as standards would decrease dramatically.

The student newspaper of Strath Haven High School. The Panther Press is first and foremost a reflection of the opinions and interests of the student body. For this reason, we do not publish any anonymous or teacher-written submissions, and we do not discriminate against any ideology or political opinion. While we are bound by school policy (and funding), we will not render any article neutral, although individual points may be edited for obscene or inflammatory content. Finally, the articles published in the Panther Press do not necessarily reflect the views of the editors or advisors.
DeVos’ Impact as Secretary of Education