Trump’s Pick for Secretary of Ed is Unqualified and Bad for Public Schools

Reggie Fullwood
Reggie Fullwood
Reggie Fullwood

“To the victor go the spoils” has been widely used for decades. Some attribute the term to Julius Caesar and others credit it to a New York Senator from the early 1800s.

To simply state it – the side that wins a fight or war basically gets the prizes, property, positions, etc. – the winner has the ability to control those or that in which they conquered.

This week the Electoral College met and despite cries from many for electors to pull away from President-elect Donald Trump, there were no surprises. The Donald will be the next POTUS, and as President he gets to appoint his friends, supporters and others that he feels will do his bidding in dozens of positions throughout federal government.

I have no issue with the president, governor, mayor or even the clerk of courts deciding who their people are, but… and there’s always a “but” right, when appointing certain positions please make sure that they are qualified.

For example, the guy or gal that you appoint to head the department of Housing and Urban Development should at least have some experience in housing and community development. Trump’s pick – a neurosurgeon.

Wait – maybe because the department name has the word “urban” in it – it’s OK to appointment a black neurosurgeon with practical experience.
Well forget HUD – let’s focus on one of my favorite topics – education. And don’t worry, this article isn’t about explaining why most of Trump’s cabinet picks don’t make sense either because they have obvious conflicts of interest or are unqualified.

I am going to focus on the proposed Secretary of Education. Here’s the million dollar question – should the person responsible for overseeing all education-related federal policies, programs, and activities of the United States at least have a degree from somewhere?

One would think that having at least a bachelor’s degree should be a prerequisite for the gig. How about teaching experience or any kind of background in educating a child? OK, how about this qualification – actually having visited a public school, which some would say that Trump’s pick probably never has.
And before some of you start thinking that the “liberal media” is always attacking good conservatives, the facts are the facts.
The fact-checking website “snopes.com” researched Trump’s nominee, Betsy Devos, and verified that she has no education degree, has not worked in a school environment, and she nor her children have ever attended a public school.

What Devos is for sure is a billionaire and major “school choice” supporter. According to several news sources, she comes from old money as her father, the late Edgar Prince, was a business mogul and her brother, Erik Prince, is the founder of Blackwater U.S.A, the infamous government services and security company. Her husband Dick DeVos is an Amway heir and together they co-own a technology investment firm.

I have no issues with her wealth or the fact that she gave some $9 million to the Trump campaign, but most haveissues with her lack of qualifications.
DeVos’ is a fierce school choice advocate, which means she supports having more options for families to choose from other than traditional public schools. The movement is big and powerful because of billionaires like her.

Not only is she a committed choice advocate, she leads the American Federation for Children, which along with its state-affiliated PACs contributed to 121 races in 12 states in the general election to support pro-school choice candidates, according to its website.
So we have a candidate for Secretary of Education that again doesn’t have a degree of any kind and she never attended a public school. Opponents would say well why is that important – well how can you be so opposed to traditional public schools without having first hand knowledge or a real basis for your opposition?

Of course any one can read media reports and it doesn’t take an educator to know that we have some serious problems in our public school systems throughout the country, but that does not mean public education needs to be dismantled.

Sure I agree that some reform is needed, but school choice advocates insist on demolition as their strategy. They would like each parent to have the ability to receive a voucher and with that “check” they can decide to go to a traditional public school, charter or private school.

This is an interesting concept because we all know (some may not admit it), but prestigious private schools don’t just let anyone in. So minority and low-income students will not have access to the same schools as their white counterparts – well unless they are outstanding football or basketball players. There are always exceptions to the rule.

The “voucher for all” concept is deeply flawed.

But again, to the victor go the spoils. Hold on tight America, things are about to get down right crazy. Hell, and don’t blame my half of America – we voted for Clinton.

Signing off from Pine Forest Elementary School

Reggie Fullwood

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