Betsy DeVos accepted her invitation to speak at Ave Maria University over a month ago. The administration and faculty thought the current Secretary of Education was a good choice for the commencement speaker at the Catholic university’s graduation ceremonies. Despite the support of the faculty, 39 students signed a letter to the dean asking him to rescind the invitation at the end of April.
DeVos, an advocate of Christian education, supports dismantling the public school system, and she has earned criticism from disability rights advocate. In her home state of Michigan, she runs primary, secondary and vocational schools.
Although her politics remain unpopular, no one found fault with the speech she gave. She told students that they need to embrace the ugly side of society if they want to fix it. While DeVos may not have received thunderous applause, she was not booed or snubbed by the soon-to-be alumni of Ave Maria University, according to Time Magazine.
University President Jim Tower defended his decision to invite DeVos. The Daily Caller, a conservative blog posted his comments. In the article, he called DeVos a controversial but effective public servant.
DeVos’s speech went on to tell graduates to be ready for whatever life throws at them. The current secretary of education encouraged the alumni to continue their education beyond college. She, like the members of the university faculty, believes continued education is necessary to stay competitive.
The Trump-appointed U.S. Secetary of Education, Betsy DeVos is scheduled to make a public appearance in the Dallas, Texas area on Thursday. There are two groups that will be holding protests against her visit, and subsequently her controversial policies. The trip was not announced until yesterday but the Texas Organizing Project and the Next Generation Action Network have scramble to make their presence known during the visit.
DeVos has been criticized for her support for allowing private school vouchers to parents giving their kids a private education. She also has come under intense fire in recent days when she said that she had not visited any charter schools during her reign as Secretary despite saying that she supports them. Many feel that it is an active display of hypocrisy and that the visit is politically motivated.
DeVos is scheduled to make a morning stop at the Center for Technology and Advanced Learning in the Dallas suburb of Birdville. She will then make stops at several schools in the Dallas Independent School District in the afternoon. One of those schools will be at Dade Middle School at 2 p.m., where hundreds of protesters are expected. DeVos has been under fire ever since she was nominated by President Trump in 2017 because she does not have a strong resume that reflects educational experience. She is an advocate for private education which is not typical for the position, which is historically pro-public education.
United States Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos drew a crowd of protesters recently while visiting Billy Earl Dade middle school in Dallas, Texas. The actions of Dallas residents in response to the visit by DeVos is becoming a common occurrence where ever the embattled Education Secretary goes.
The demonstrations were organized by the Texas Organizing Project in conjunction with the Next Generation Action Network but also drew community support from members of a number of other organizations. The groups stood in protest of what they say is a desire by DeVos to privatize school education.
DeVos entered the school by way of a rear entrance and probably did not see the more than 100 people present in the front of Billy Earl Dade middle school, many of them taking part in chants of “our children are not for sale.”
Joyce Foreman, a school board member for the Dallas Independent School District was present at the protests and expressed concern that DeVos made a visit to the city. Foreman explains that the concepts of charters, privatization, and vouchers that seem to be central to the message of DeVos are concepts with which the school board member has major problems.
The trip to Dallas By DeVos is a result of a March meeting she had in Washington with an organization known as Urban Specialists. Urban Specialists does work with at-risk youth in the city of Dallas. When meeting with Urban Specialists in March, DeVos expressed her desire to come to Dallas and get a first-hand look at the group in action.
Education Secretary Betsy Devos has repeatedly trumpeted the concept of “school choice.” The word “choice” sounds positive and leaves the impression that parents and students need a wider variety of options when it comes to education. However, school choice, as it is purported by DeVos and other, far-right organizations, will actually be detrimental to schools and students throughout the country.
The proposal would allow taxpayer dollars – public funds – to be siphoned into private school organizations, most of which are not subject to the same accountability standards as public schools. By creating a marketplace of sorts, the proposal turns kids into commodities and hurts instructional opportunities in poorer neighborhoods by reducing badly needed funding in their schools. In fact, “school choice” would benefit only the wealthiest of parents who can already afford to provide private school tuition for their children. Possibly most detrimental, it would re-segregate schools.
What DeVos fails to point out is that choices are actually plentiful for our nation’s students. From athletics to fine arts to programs of study that lead to a career path, students and parents have numerous instructional options. Moreover, by law, public schools admit every student without regard to race, religion, health or any other personal background. Private institutions can accept or reject students at will. While many private schools provide exceptional education, they should be paid for out a parent’s pocketbook rather than the taxpayers’.
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and President Trump haven’t been on the same page lately when speaking on higher education. While DeVos calls the higher education system a failure, President Trump calls it the the best in the world.
On public school education, the two appear to remain of the same opinion as last year. “American carnage” was the term President Trump used to describe K-12 public school education in his 2017 inauguration speech. Prior to her own calling as U.S. Education Secretary, DeVos referred to a public school education as a “dead end.”
Perhaps DeVos’s confirmation hearing in January could’ve been an indicator that lower education wasn’t her only area of disapproval. She continued to vigorously support her efforts of steering taxpayer dollars away from traditional systems, saying that it was time to move towed a newer model from the one-size-fits-all approach taken by traditional preschool to college education systems.
During the most recent U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting, DeVos recalled a conversation she had with the Israeli ambassador to the U.S. He had asked her: “Why hasn’t America’s higher ed bubble burst?” She went on to describe in her address how the ambassador couldn’t understand why U.S. business would rely on education systems verses simply creating their own internal programs to equip a workforce with all the knowledge and skills needed for the jobs.
She also noted that educators and businesses often work side-by-side on the higher education curriculum in other parts of the world to ensure workers are being taught meaningful, useful skills.
On the other hand, President Trump delivered a much different message than DeVos the following day at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland. He touted America as having the best higher education system and workforce in the world, and he urged other countries to invest in America.
Funding was slashed for higher education in the administration’s first education budget proposal. Congress is currently examining federal laws as they apply to higher education. One particular element of higher education Congress is looking to rewrite is in potentially decreasing federal aid. They’re also considering who qualifies and how and to whom the funds should be allotted.
The state of Michigan submitted an education plan to the U.S Department of Education in April as required by the Every Student Succeeds Act. Since then, the state education officials have had their fingers crossed as they awaited the verdict of the Department of Education. Betsy Devos, the serving U.S Secretary of Education, announced on Tuesday that the Michigan’s plan had met all the statutory requirements, and she had approved it.
Getting the plan approved was no mean task for the state education officials. The Department of Education returned the first draft of the plan instructing the state education officials to revise it. The department had issues with five parts of the plan. The officials had until October 25, to finetune the plan and resubmit it. On November 15, a final copy of the education plan was resubmitted. While announcing that the plan had been accepted, Devos emphasized that the education plan should be used as a basis to build, strengthen, and expand the education sector and should not be treated as an achievement.
Brian Whiston announced on Tuesday night that the department had received the final approval of the plan. Whiston expressed his gratitude to the U.S Department of Education for working with the state officials towards getting the plan approved. Also, he recognized the invaluable input of other stakeholders.
The state leadership namely Gov. Rick Snyder and his lieutenant, Gov Brian Calley, had distanced themselves from some aspects of the plan. For example, Calley did not approve the metrics for special education students.