Ignorance and Arrogance – the Defining Characteristics of the Betsy DeVos Hearing

Reblogged from GADFLYONTHEWALLBLOG

Betsy DeVos wouldn’t commit to protecting students with special needs.

She wouldn’t commit to keeping guns out of school campuses.

She wouldn’t commit to holding charter and voucher schools to the same standards as traditional public schools.

She didn’t know the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was a federal law.

And she couldn’t explain the difference between proficiency and growth.

That’s your nominee for Secretary of Education, America!

During a hearing of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) tonight, DeVos showed herself to be hopelessly out of her depth.

She tried to cover her ignorance by being noncommittal. But it was obvious that she had no idea what she was talking about more than half the time.

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Here Are Just Some of the Stunningly Bad Moments From Betsy DeVos’ Confirmation Hearing

Reblogged from Mother Jones

Betsy DeVos’ confirmation hearing to become President-elect Donald Trump’s education secretary was originally scheduled for last Wednesday but was ultimately postponed until late Tuesday afternoon. With an extra week to get ready, Senate Democrats came prepared—and DeVos, oddly enough, did not.

While Republicans on the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions lauded the billionaire philanthropist—and prominent GOP donor—for her commitment to expanding charter schools and voucher programs, committee Democrats barraged DeVos with specific, pointed questions about her attempts to privatize public education, even pleading with Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), the HELP chairman, for the opportunity to ask more questions as the three-and-a-half-hour hearing boiled over.

DeVos reaffirmed her support for an education system beyond a “one-size-fits-all” approach that opened up choices—”whether magnet, virtual, charter, home, religious, or any combination thereof.” But when pushed beyond her talking points, she was stiff and often thrown off her game.

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DeVos Song and Dance

Reblogged from CUMUDGUCATION

I am grateful that work kept me from experiencing the DeVos hearing in one long take, like a thousand fingernails being dragged down a twenty-mile chalkboard. So just as I experienced a disjointed hearing, I will share my disjointed thoughts.

The Reviews Are In

One of the reasons I’m not doing an in-depth review of the hearing is that I don’t need to– every major news outlet covered it, in some cases tweeting it in real time. Many major news outlets had one or more stories up by 11:00 last night. This may seem obvious, but what was the last education story that got this kind of blanket coverage? Maybe the Scopes Trial?

And the coverage was pretty honest, ignoring for the most part the shmoozing snoozefest that was the GOP massage of the candidate. NBC went with the headline “Education Pick Betsy DeVos Will Not Rule Out Defunding Public Schools” which is both shocking and true. USA Today says “More Questions Than Answers.” This morning, millions of Americans can easily find accounts of the hearings or watch the clips. After all these years, an education story is getting broad play.

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Growth vs. Proficiency and Betsy DeVos

No, Betsy DeVos is not qualified to be Secretary of Education

Reblogged from Eclectablog

Former Michigan Governor John Engler is out with a new piece on The Hill touting his friend, West Michigan billionaire heiress Betsy DeVos, as a “champion for all American students.” As a resident of Michigan, this strikes me as Lord Voldemort endorsing Dolores Umbridge as the Headmaster of Hogwarts, or perhaps as Stannis Baratheon offering his strong support for Melisandre of Asshai in Game of Thrones. In other words, caveat emptor.

Now, I may not be a former governor, or a billionaire, and I’ve only been involved in education since 1980 as a teacher, teacher educator, and policy researcher and author, but I’d like to respond to some of Gov. Engler’s assertions and humbly offer my thoughts on Ms. DeVos’ qualifications for this important position…

No–Betsy is not a businesswoman. She’s just rich. She was born rich, and married richer. That’s it. Nada. Ms. DeVos has never applied for, interviewed for, or been offered a job. You can’t just start out at the top as a board member–that’s not a job. That’s a reward–for being rich.

No–Betsy does not have the heart of a teacher. And just to be clear–that’s a nonsensical term. No one has the heart of a teacher. That’s just silly talk. Being a teacher is a job, and a darned hard one at that. Read more>>

MLK & Another Christmas

Reblogged from CURMUDGUCATION 

Every year around December 25, a whole bunch of people who aren’t actually Christians get all misty about a watered-down version of the original faith, make some generic noise about peace and good will while ignoring all the parts of the message that might be, well, more uncomfortable (“But wouldn’t the moneylenders get upset if we threw them out of the temple? That just seems so rude and uncomfortable. Maybe we should do something less confrontational.”), and follow it up with some noise about how, really, we should make every day Christmas.

Then on December 26th, they just scrub all of it out of their memory hole and go back to their usual lives.

Martin Luther King Jr Day has become kind of Christmassy. A whole bunch of people who aren’t ordinarily black or much concerned about social justice and all the rest of it spend some time conjuring up some warm and misty images of a man who was called a troublemaker, who criticized liberals and moderates for their uninvolved silence, and who did not give his life, but had it stolen by some angry white guy with a gun.

We’ll have posts and tweets about how great a man he was, how folks of all colors should just get along, illustrated with photos of King looking noble and stock photos of ethnically diverse hand clutching.  And then on January 17th, we’ll go back to arguing that Colin Kaepernick should protest injustice in some less destructive and disruptive manner than kneeling during the anthem.

Perhaps this is marginally better than trying to erase the day entirely so that King’s name isn’t even spoken, or is tied to a name like Robert E. Lee.

But I know this– talk is cheap (and stock photos are free). Read more>>