Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Steven Singer: Reasons People Hate, Hate, HATE Betsy DeVos

Lesley Stahl: Why have you become, people say, the most hated Cabinet secretary?

Education Sec. Betsy DeVos: I’m not sure exactly how that happened… I’m more misunderstood than anything.

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The above exchange from Sunday night’s “60 Minutes “interview highlights an important point about our Education Secretary.

She is deeply unpopular, but not because she’s misunderstood. If anything, she’s understood too well.

We know what she stands for and we don’t like it.

If she was really so misunderstood, why didn’t her answers in the interview veer away from the same usual canned responses she’s given time-and-time-again to the same type of questions?

What’s wrong with schools? Not enough choice!

How do we prevent school shootings? Let schools arm teachers.

You didn’t really even need DeVos to show up to the interview to be able to guess with a high degree of accuracy what her answers would be.

In fact, many of her responses seemed to have been coached—as if someone had prepared her with talking points before the interview even took place.

So without further ado, here is my exhaustive list of all the reasons I can think of why people really, really hate Betsy Devos. If I’ve left something out, please feel free to add it in a comment.

Why People Hate Betsy DeVos:

1) She didn’t earn her position as Education Secretary. She bought it. And even then it took a tie breaking vote by Vice President Mike Pence to shove her down our throats.

2) She wants to spend tax dollars to boost privatized schools in which she has a financial stake.

3) She doesn’t mind taking funding away from public schools to do it.

4) She wants to destroy the entire system of public schools which enroll 90% of America’s children.

5) She doesn’t really know what public schools are, having never attended one or having never sent her children or grandchildren to one.

6) She wants to arm teachers not because it will protect kids from school shooters, but because that boosts her family’s investment portfolio. (i.e. her brother’s mercenary army for hire, Blackwater)

7) She won’t make charter and voucher schools give the same services to special education kids as those provided by traditional public schools.

8) She’s getting rid of students’ civil rights protections while adding protections for nefarious student loan providers and fly-by-night on-line schools.

9) She’s rescinded rules that protected trans students.

10) She’s considering rescinding rules that protect minority students from being unfairly and disproportionately disciplined by schools.

11) She’s made it harder for victims of sexual assault and harassment to report abuse and easier for those accused to avoid prosecution.

12) She talks about state’s rights to determine their own education systems while using the power of the federal government to coerce them to doing things her way.

13) She wastes public tax dollars. She is the only Cabinet member protected by Federal Marshals, which costs us nearly $1 million a month. Whether this is necessary or not, as a billionaire she could save the taxpayers money by taking on this cost, herself.

14) She doesn’t care if the public doesn’t want her at their school or event. She goes anyway and then pretends to be angry that protestors showed up. She doesn’t seem to understand that as a public servant she should serve at our pleasure – not the other way around.

15) She uses tragedy as a photo-op – as she did when she visited the Parkland school to promote arming teachers. She didn’t meet significantly with students or staff. She didn’t listen to their concerns. She even bailed on her own press conference there when the queries weren’t to her liking.

16) She has no problem whitewashing black history as she did when she claimed historic black colleges were pioneers of school choice. In reality they had no choice. For many African Americans at the time, it was create black colleges or forgo post-secondary education at all.

17) She is ignorant (purposefully or not) of the results of her own policies. Her advocacy of school choice in her home state of Michigan has weakened that state’s public schools, not strengthened them.

18) She’s out of touch with average Americans. She’s the richest member of Trump’s cabinet and often travels in her super luxury yacht.

19) She’s rich not because she earned it, but because she was born into it and married into even more wealth. Moreover, much of her wealth is due to her family’s Amway fortune – basically it’s founded on rooking average people out of their hard earned money with what’s essentially a pyramid scheme.

20) She’s arrogant. She smiles vacantly at topics that don’t deserve a smile – they deserve serious regard.

21) She is extremely biased and partisan. She is supposed to serve the public interest, but her radical Christian Fundamentalism and anti-LGBT activism make her untrustworthy to serve in that capacity. Statements such as “There is enough philanthropic dollars in America to fund what is currently the need in education… Our desire is to confront the culture in ways that will continue to advance God’s kingdom,” do not help.

Okay. That’s all I can think of – though more may pop into mind as soon as I publish this. If I missed something please include it in the comments.

Hopefully this answers DeVos’ question about why she’s hated.


 

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.
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Steven Singer is a husband, father, teacher, blogger and education advocate.
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Lawmakers and other critics of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos have seized upon her “60 Minutes” interview as further evidence that she is the antithesis of what Americans should expect from the head of the Department of Education. (Photo: CBS/Screengrab)

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