The Problem with Betsy DeVos

Betsy DeVos has come under a great deal of attention since she was selected to take up the mantle of Secretary of Education under the Trump Administration. The majority of this attention has come from the Democratic Party and has, unsurprisingly, been overwhelmingly negative. Most recently Ms. DeVos has been scathingly criticized by the Black Congressional Caucus as well as the Poverty and Race Research Action Council for her failure to put her past statements of principal into action. The statement primarily scrutinized was taken from one of DeVos’ recent speeches with the Brookings Institute and reads as follows: “[socioeconomic and racial diversity is] a real benefit in schools.”

However, Ms. DeVos’ statement came just before she started cutting the remnants of Obama era school funding for just that (socioeconomic and racial diversity) at the behest of the Trump Cabinet. I do not wish to tackle the issue of socioeconomic or racial diversity in schools here, but rather, Ms. DeVos’ previous statement about them because the liberals criticizing her are correct – she said one thing and then did another. She said she was for economic and racial diversity and then flip-flopped and cut out the grant program (Opening Doors, Expanding Opportunities) that would have fostered those ends. It seems to me she is being highly hypocritical on the issue, angling for more support and popularity, rather than acting out of some purely ideological desire to enact school reform. Nevermind whether you are for or against socioeconomic and racial diversity – you should certainly be for honest political leaders.

Predictably, most republicans are defending her and most liberals are calling her the gamut of names we have all come to expect (and which I won’t bore you with here). I would much rather she come out and just say what she thinks given how rare honesty is within our ever-shifting  political landscape. But given the fact that this would almost inevitably end up with her out of a job (and probably a social pariah for the rest of her life) I won’t be holding my breath.